I’m in the process of making a soft sculpture frog. I haven’t got to the stage where there is anything interesting to show so I thought I would show you one I made a few years ago and sold.
I made the flower using free motion embroidery on water soluble stabilizer. His lace, at the neck and cuffs, was also made on water soluble stabilizer, using built-in sewing machine stitches. He has glass eyes and I made his shoes from polymer clay.
I am hoping that the new frog will be even more frog-like.
This week I thought I would show you the wet felted piece that didn’t make it into my doll club’s two colour challenge. (Challenge is described here.)
After choosing the colours and felting the piece I did some free motion embroidery in places and added green beads in others.
I then decided to do some hand embroidery to add some contrast. I added some french knots among the green beads.
Once I abandoned the idea of using just 2 colours I added the orange beads.
The first All Dolled Up meeting of the season is this weekend and I have to have my summer challenge piece ready. Last spring we picked two colour chips out of a bag and our challenge was to create a fibre art piece (it doesn’t have to be a doll) using those 2 colours. It should be obvious from our piece what the 2 colours were. I decided to do a wet felted wall hanging. I didn’t have the right colours but thought that if I mixed what I had it might come close. It didn’t. Then I lost the 2 colour chips. I’m pretty sure that I know what the colours are. I have embroidery threads that are pretty close, so I decided to do one of my free motion dancers using the 2 colours. I used the lighter blue for the background and the aqua green for the figure.
Then I had the idea to do a black figure on a white background.
I love So You Think You Can Dance. This season I have been trying to sketch while watching it on TV. I have no way to record the program and stop the action, so I make very crude stick figures in various positions all over the page of my sketchbook. Afterwards, I use my little artist’s manikin and put it in the position of one of my stick figures and draw a slightly better sketch of the dancer.
Once I have a sketch I like I trace it onto water soluble stabilizer. I use free motion embroidery to fill in the figure and then add a lacy grid pattern around it to make a rectangle. In my first embroidery, I filled the background in a little more than I intended so I added some gold metallic thread to the figure to help it stand out.
I left it for a time while I decided what to do about it. It needs a back ground in order to see the figure. Hanging it in a window also works, but the sun would not be good for it.
Meanwhile I had done some more sketches and was ready to try again. I figured, as long as I have to add a background I might as well embroider it on a background and then I don’t have to make sure all the bits of the background lace is attached to other stitches. So I went off to my favourite sewing store, Yarn Forward & Sew On, to get some suitable stabilizer. Well, I did buy a little bit of stabilizer, just in case, but Jo-Ann Raven persuaded me that I should frame it in a deep frame with the fabric close to the glass leaving space behind the embroidery for light. So that is what I did. Thanks Jo-Ann.
At the moment I have not put any backing on the frame. I have photographed it hanging on a blue wall (at an angle to avoid reflections) and again out in the garden.
For my second embroidery, also on water soluble stabilizer, I did less background stitches. I think too few. In future, I will do something in between, less than the first attempt and more stitches than the second.
I made some more fish.
I made three bodies and then embroidered the eyes and fins.
I’m still having trouble with the stabilizer scrunching up as I sew but it’s a little better after putting it in the freezer for a while before I start embroidering on it.
When I started to sew on the fins , I realized that I had forgotten to embroider the dorsal fins. I also didn’t like one of set of eyes, so I decided to redo it in a different colour.
The tail fin of the green and purple fish was a little floppy so I coated both sides with Acrylic Matte Medium. When I finished the fish I hung them outside to photograph.
The Green Man started out as an exercise to use techniques that I learned in a Robin Foley workshop to build up areas of a face using batting. The original workshop used a carved styrofoam block as a starting point. For this project I started with a flat surface. Once I had built up the areas and “skinned” it, I needle sculpted the wrinkles and painted it with soft pastels. Then it sat for a few years and became lost in my studio.
My local doll club, All Dolled Up, had a UFO (UnFinished Object) challenge so I found my Little Green Man and decided to put him on a background. I painted a prepared canvas with pastels and attached the head to it with acrylic medium. Then, I made leaves with free motion embroidery.
I put masking tale around the edges to keep the stabilizer from wrinkling as I sewed.
I also found an embroidery project in the basement. It was based on a Mola, which is a hand sewn reverse applique panel made using several layers of cloth which are cut away to reveal the layers underneath. Mine is machine sewn and it is only one layer. The image is based on my cat. I sewed it onto a bag.