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.
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.