Monday, November 1, 2010
I love Autumn and with the season and all the inspiration around me it became the theme I decided to work with. I decided recently that I need to challenge myself to try some different techniques and this presented a good opportunity to paint fabric; add hand-stitching; include a found object; and let the process create the form the piece took, creating its irregular outline.
The leaf is a real leaf that I had picked up last fall and pressed in a book. I came across it the very day the color challenge was announced and I knew that I wanted to use it. The rich, rusty color seemed just right. The challenge was how to stabilize it well enough to attach it. In its pressed form it was very delicate and brittle. I started by fusing fabric to the back side, which strengthened it considerably, but I could still see that if it bent, even a little, the leaf would crack. I ended up gluing it to a piece of illustration board and carefully cutting it around the outline of the leaf, with a craft knife, after the glue was dry.
I really enjoyed painting the two fabrics, using a small sea sponge to do most of the mottling of acrylic fabric paints, including a bronze metallic paint. Since I can hardly bear to not have any patterned fabric in my work, I used one of my hand-carved stamps to add some very subtle pattern to the patina fabric. I liked the way the fabrics looked as I stacked them up and so I worked out a composition using that idea. I had found some hand-dyed floss in the patina colors, so I added a scattering of little stitches across the background, then glued my stabilized leaf in place.
This detail, taken at an angle, reveals that the "stacked" background fabrics are actually quite flat. The trompe l'oeil effect of shadow and raised surface was done with paint. The leaf, on the other hand, does actually protrude about 1/8th inch because of its illustration board backing.
This really is one of my very favorite 12 x 12 pieces at this point. It was an exercise in problem solving and the colors were a joy to use.
Both photos should be clickable for a closer view.