Monday, 14 February 2011

Chapter 8 Complex Samples

I have started with a paper sample using some of the coloured papers I produced in the earlier chapters in my original colour scheme of red and green. This helped me find my bearings as I started this chapter.

Sample 1
This first try at the complex samples is worked on red silk printed with green acrylic paint as the background with an overlay of green voille onto which painted bondaweb has been fused using the iron.
The third layer is comprised of straight stitch using the free machine style. I worked with an embroidery foot, the feed dog down and the upper and bobbin tension set at normal; I used a size 90 needle and rayon machine embroidery thread in red.I love this thread which on this occasion picks up the sheen of the red silk. I've stitched the outline of the shape underneath but with pointy edges to emphasise but strengthen the form and then worked a diamond shape in the centre to compliment this. I've repeatedly stitched within the shape to fill the space and then handstitched around the edges with running stitch in both red and green [anchor stranded cotton] to highlight the shape.
I was intrigued to watch the work come alive and develop a 3D effect as I added the hand stitching. On my original, the work has a real jewel-like quality as the red silk shimmers through from beneath the green printing and then picks up the sheen of the threads on the top layer.
The trapunto quilting in the centre gives the work a further 3D element, especially as the raised diamond shape catches the light.

Sample 2

This is worked using a green woollen based fabric printed with red acrylic paint as the background which is then overlaid with red printed silk.
I've placed the third machine-stitched shape obliquely to give a feeling of movement and I love the triangular shapes which appeared as a result within the two far ends. I used both red and green Sylko thread for this but with Madeira metallic machine thread on the bobbin below, with the lower tension slightly loosened and the top tension a little tighter to produce a whip stitch; I keep a separate bobbin for this purpose. The effect is very subtle but I was thrilled when the work started to sing as I added the running stitch in a thick metallic thread worked within the channels produced by the machine stitching.
It was a bit more of a challenge to stuff the rectangular centre for the trapunto but I got over this by stuffing the space a little and then sewing it up bit by bit, this enabled me to achieve the fullness needed to give the 3D effect. I really like the shadow produced by the trapunto in different lights both natural and artificial.

Sample 3
Now for a change in colour scheme using the turquoise and red/orange colours.
I used a turquoise synthetic fabric printed with a mix of red and orange acrylic paints for the background.
I decided to use a simple shape for the first layer as I wanted to include one of my favourite but more complicated templates as an overlay [see templates]; I needed to ensure that the beautiful shapes created by the this process could be seen so I chose sheer fabrics for this sample especially as the second layer would certainly obscure the patterns developing underneath.

I really love the effect produced by layering and bonding sheer fabrics, it created a very soft image which gives the impression of an ageing process and corrosion, it reminded me of a 1950s dress fabric. Really gorgeous and I wish I'd thought of photographing it in its own right. Next time........ ! Learning point.
I love the effect of strips of the first red/orange layer showing around the outside of the second turquoise layer. The latter gives a lovely shadowy effect which makes the turquoise background glow in places.
When considering the 3rd layer [machine stitching] I felt I needed a simple shape which would allow a larger central area to be exposed so that the layers underneath could be appreciated.
In creating the central diamond space I found myself extending the lines into the appendages of the cross and in doing so created more shapes [triangles]. The machine stitching, worked with a rayon machine embroidery thread using free style straight stitch then filled and followed the triangular pattern. I didn't plan this. To my delight the machine produced an interesting chevron effect when I turned the work in the embroidery hoop and this was accentuated by a slightly loose tension underneath [also not planned but a happy surprise].
The hand stitching then followed the triangular contours of the 3rd layer, I decided to work in thorn stitch to reflect the chevron effect and used a turquoise stranded cotton to contrast with the red/orange machine thread. I could have used chevron stitch here but prefer the added oomph given by the couching technique in the thorn stitch.
Finally I added the trapunto which helped to showcase the centre and the beautiful effects of the bonded sheer fabrics of the formative layers.

Sample 4

This time using a purple [synthetic] and yellow [silk] colour scheme. The yellow silk has been fused in place, I cut the four squares out as I wanted to reveal the yellow printing [acrylic paint] underneath. the attractive fray of the yellow silk has also been fused in place and I love the efects of the threads which have escaped.
I wanted to see what would happen if I fused the cut out squares to the surround and then applied the machine stitching over them. it soon became clear that I would need to add several 'layers' of the machine stitched shape to pull the image together. Using the same template throughout I used tracing paper to help me work out where to place them for best effect [see templates] and then added 3 more layers of stitching using a fine satin stitch worked in the free machine style. I then added the hand stitching worked in both yellow and purple stranded cotton to enhance the shapes which had developed usually in contrast to the colour underneath, I particularly like the effect of the hand stitching in the channels produced by the machine stitch.
The four added squares appear to rotate and at the same time hang by a thread to the main image.
As I planned and adjusted the work, using the tracing paper overlay, I realised that I would end up with more than one centre so decided to use the four squares which had materialised uniformly in the top left hand corners of the boxes of the main motif.
I'm pleased with the feeling of movement this experiment has achieved although, not surprisingly, it was time consuming.
I feel that perhaps the purple synthetic background fabric is a little too light as it has become distorted by repeated stitching.

Sample 5
I have returned to the red and green colours here. This image was inspired by a really beautiful rose in a bouquet of flowers given to me by my husband for my birthday in January. The petals had an extroadinary velvety texture and again I wish I'd photographed them then, before I pressed them. I decided to try and use them in this piece as the colour was so close to that in my red/green range and with Valentine's Day approaching I wanted to try and use the rose petal enclosed in a heart shape in the centre space and then enhanced by the trapunto.
I started by fusing the petals to the green background and then lay the first layer of fused fabric [red rayon] over this at an oblique angle. The third layer of straight machine stitching is worked in the same shape but set symmetrically and with a square stitched in the centre to showcase the rose petal. Machine stitching alone around the heart was not bold enough so I tried adding some fine running stitches [stranded cotton] but these were still not to best advantage. I didn't feel I could add anymore stitching given the delicacy of the petal so wove a strand of red and then green thread through the running stitch which raised the stitching and enhanced the heart shape as desired. I added running stitch to emphasise the cross shape and then added a fused layer of the red rayon to frame the sample and machined stitched this in place. I added the two rows of running stitch weaving through the first to reflect that surrounding the rose to balance the image.
I don't know how long the rose petals will retain their texture and colour, I could have covered them with a sheer fabric but would have lost the immediacy of their wonderful texture and the lovely markings that run through them. I made the mistake of using a whole square of fusible web when I applied the petals to the green background which left an unsightly mesh on the exposed surface; I have managed to scrape this off to a large extent but will be more specific next time and apply the fusible web to the back of the petals only.
I'm very pleased with this sample and as soon as it has done its job as my husband's Valentine will be kept out of sunlight and secure in my work folio!

Sample 6

Blue and orange this time! I wanted to achieve a rich dark effect with discrete orange blocks of colour showing through from the printing on the background navy rayon.
I thought I could add to this effect by fusing an orange silk shape as the first layer followed by another in a navy sheer voille and then a third layer of navy synthetic to develop the effect of discrete blocks of orange peeping through as a contrast to the dark navy blue.
The final fourth stitched layer is the worked in the same shape as the first orange layer in navy Sylko thread in the free machine style and then surrounded by a row of machine stitching in the normal way with the dog teeth raised.
I had wanted to try something other than running stitch to capture blocks of colour but decided to use it here in rows of three around the outside of the image, alternating blue and orange, to give the effect I was after. This has also produced an impression of movement around the exterior.
Double and single running stitch in the centre has added lighter definition thus allowing the outside to give an impression of strenth and punch.
I feel that the trapunto in the central rectangle has worked well and showcases the lovely effects of the layers beneath the surface.
I was, however, disappointed with the effect of the fused navy voille as the mesh has shown through too much, maybe I could have painted the Bondaweb first to disguise this.
I'm puzzled as to how I can overcome the problem presented by the mesh of the Bondaweb leaving such an unsightly effect, I've tried adjuusting the heat on the iron to no avail. Any tips?.