Art Elements June theme Challenge Reveal – Sunflowers

So another month quietly and swiftly slips by and once more it’s time for a reveal for the latest Art Elements theme challenge hosted this month by Sue Kennedy. Sue chose sunflowers as her theme and these bright and bold beauties turned out to be the perfect pick for the heatwave we’re currently experiencing in the UK…no room for delicate blooms here right now!

As soon as the theme was announced I went straight for this book on three dimensional embroidery by Pam Trott to find out how to stitch the sunny stunners on the cover.

The technique is really a combination of embroidery and weaving between threads held in place by a pin (or in my case a needle as I didn’t have any pins long enough for what I wanted. Instead of the french knot centres used in the book I decided to build my design around a bead embroidered cabochon. We’ve just had a summer secret santa amongst the Art Elements team and mine arrived the day I started this project and included this fabulous Lisa Peters raku cabochon – a prefect fit.

I had a small square box frame in mind for this piece so I concentrated on the flower and worked on a backing of batik fabric fused to beading foundation to give the illusion of foliage. It doesn’t really show in the photo but the frame is lightly gilded in gold.

I was pretty pleased with the result for a first attempt at the technique but I did think it could do with a little something extra and I’ll be honest, the fact that there is a gap in the joint at the top right hand corner joint of the frame bugs me no end. So that led to the creation of Bert…a rather large (in comparison to the flower) and anatomically incorrect felted bumble bee.

I’ve never felted anything this small before (as the holes in my fingers will attest) and he’s far from perfect. I did considered making another one to see if I can improve on him but he has rather grown on me and looks quite at home perched on the frame so for now he stays.

My second piece was really a rather quick experiment that I tried at the end of a painting session when I just happened to have some yellow paint left in my mixing pallette. I remembered this lino cut that I made on my last trip to visit Jenny Davies-Reazor in the US and wondered whether I could incorporate it into a mixed media piece.

I began by flooding an area of paper with a graduated watercolour wash to create a loose halo of colour and then loaded the lino cut with pigment ink from a stamp pad.

I didn’t put enough pressure on when I applied the stamp so the facial features didn’t come out but no matter – I Just added some darker brown paint to the centre and some flashes of gold from a paint pen and the result was this abstract interpretation of a sunflower. Again I wasn’t that impressed when I did it and just chucked it to one side but when I came back to it and tried it with a mount I rather liked it…so much so that I may have to try other things in this more random style.

Last but not least we have a sweet little sunflower necklace that I made whilst sat under the shade of some trees in the garden when it was too hot to do anything else.

The design is worked around one of my own face cabochons with Czech glass beads for the petals. A copper bead bail and a simple leather cord make for an easy to wear and fun piece.

So that’s where this months inspiration took me and I hope you enjoyed my offerings – many thanks to Sue for giving us such a great theme to work with. To see what the rest of the challenge participants have created please join us on our blog hop using the links below and don’t forget to keep and eye open for the next theme coming up very soon.
Thank you.















AE Team









18 thoughts on “Art Elements June theme Challenge Reveal – Sunflowers

  1. I have been longing to see what you were making Lesley , having viewed your teaser of Facebook. The sunflower is stunning and that cab is just perfect for the centre. Lovely work

  2. I love Bert!! he is fabulous! As soon as you mentioned the larger gap on the corner of the frame I couldn’t un-see it so I understand how much that bugged you and Bert is perfect there. The flower in the frame is fantastic, I love the woven petals.

  3. All your pieces are wonderful. The felted bee is so cute on the frame. I absolutely love the necklace that you made with a bead embroidered cabochon. It turned our to be a great summer necklace.

  4. Fantastic work all around, I love to see techniques that I have never even thought of trying. Bert is adorable, hands down. The perfect addition!!

  5. Oh, Bert! I am in love with Bert. I was not expecting him and he is so perfect with the framed flower. It’s as if he was always part of your plan. I am impressed with all the different media you work with and your talent and skill in them. It’s hard not keep scrolling back up to Bert though. He stole the show. But I do love everything, especially the very organic print. We’re having a heatwave here as well and it is no fun. Here’s hoping it cools off soon for us all.

  6. Lesley, wow, you were so inspired as well! I love that first piece, and that you made Bert – perfect addition to the frame and you’d never know why! Also love that lino you did and the watercolors and wow, for being new at this, you are very talented! And finally the necklace – I just love how you put things together and how you attached it to that large hole bead for a bail – perfect!

  7. The embroidered/woven sunflower looks lovely, Lesley, and the background is just perfect. And Bert – aw, he’s just so cute – I love him! I also like your abstract sunflower. As for the necklace, it definitely has an aura of fun around it, and I like how it can be made quickly.

  8. I love Bert too πŸ™‚ The beaded sunflower (and I was also so curious after the sneak peak) is stunning! I also love your prints and the lose layering you did with the stamped image and paint! And the beaded pendant is just beautiful! I love how you used the leaf beads to create a corona around the sunflower – sungod! πŸ™‚

  9. You have been busy as Bert the BEE this month. WOW!!! Obviously I’m in love with Bert…who wouldn’t be with those little wisps of wings and spindly legs! πŸ˜€ I loved seeing the technique for the sunflower petals and end result is so animated and has great depth! That might be my favorite piece of this challenge.
    The watercolor and stamp ended up turning into a really nice subtle art piece! I can see why at first the loss of the face made it seem a throw away but the end result is soft and has a feel of whimsy! Nice work all around.

  10. Bert is a Rockstar.. I love him and I am very allergic to bees, but he makes me wanna cuddle with him. I also love the stamp and necklace.. Have a great weekend.

  11. I just love your pin woven petals on the sculptural sunflower. It looks as though you are a pro already. Your necklace is perfect-the cabochon, beading and design work so well together. And the watercolor washes with the lino stamp print is gorgeous. If you hadn’t said the face print didn’t come out well so you painted over it I would have never guessed. The painting looks intentional. It definitely looks great surrounded by the mat.

  12. What wonderful pieces you created Lesley, your first piece is just amazing, I can’t even get my head around three dimensional embroidery and I love the needle felted bee he is just perfect!

  13. Your stitched piece is just marvelous on its own, but Bert finishes the whole scene whimsically and perfectly! Your lino stamp sun? is a great study in colors too.
    I absolutely love the transparence of the glass petals in the necklace and the way you beaded the forehead gives it a different dimension.

  14. These are all wonderful creations, but I am especially intrigued by the demensional embroidery. I’ve never heard of it before and I adore the sunflower you made with it. Fabulous!

  15. I love the bee – scale doesn’t bother me one bit. I also tend to be drawn to a composition that breaks a frame. More engaging in my eyes. The beaded pendant is perfect! And I LOVE the mixed media! Printing! Watercolor! All the things! Art camp 2018 – here we come!

  16. Your embroidered sunflower is amazing and I just love that cutie, Bert! You made some really great pieces this month. I’m so impressed with the number of different mediums you and so many others work in.

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