Friday, September 12, 2014

Bloom: Painted, Stitched, and Embellished.

I am working on a new piece titled Bloom. It incorporates many techniques that I have been working on improving lately including painting, stitching, creating depth and dimension, and color value.
 I am almost finished, and I am down to the final hand embroidery now. This has been a really fun and challenging piece, but I have had a lot of fun creating it.
 It all began with a little square of fabric that I started as a demonstration on how to create a central motif without any marking in a workshop last summer at the Mendocino Art Center. I wanted to do something different, so I painted the dimpled longhorn beetles in metallic pink and purple with Lumiere paints.
Then I decided that I might as well add a few embroidery stitches to it and use it as a little sampler.
The piece floated around my studio for the past year. It would surface occasionally, and I would often think that I should do something with it.
This first image is a mockup I did in Photoshop to help me decide on the proportions and composition. I call this my cartoon, and it is actually the most important part as far as I am concerned. I often do a lot of preliminary sketches just to help my ideas gel.

That was a photograph at the upper right of the initial painted and hand embroidered piece.

All of the hand painting was done with my Textile Design Stencils.

The stencils I used were the Beetles, Moths, Poppy, Small Stones, Lattice, Passion Flower, Moths, and Springtime. I love combining them in different ways.
 The finished piece is 36" x 52".

The inspiration for this piece was the amazing diversity found in nature, and how we are rewarded for taking the time to notice and appreciate the details of our surroundings.

The gold and blue circles were hand dyed silk that was appliqued on. I hand painted the two strips and the background separately before putting them all together. I was concerned that if I made a mistake I would have to redo the whole thing, so this was a much less stressful situation.
From there on it was all just filling in the blanks. Although it is involved, that is the easiest part for me.
This is the Indonesian lantern fly framed by the poppy. The curved vertical unstitched areas create nice little ridges between the rows of stitching.
These are dimpled longhorn beetles. The center was painted with the passion flower stencil, but I haven't decided how to embroider the middle of it yet.
Now you can see the detail of the background. The gray stripes are 1/2" wide. 
I will post a full image when the piece is done. I still have some hand embroidery to do on it. Here are the details of what I used to create the piece: Better Black Kona cotton, wool batting, Neopaque and Lumiere paints, Aurifil thread, DMC and Weeks Dye Works embroidery floss.
 I would love to hear from you, and don't hesitate to ask any questions.
Also, I have two WORKSHOPS coming up in the next couple of weeks if anyone is interested.


Norma Schlager said...

I was perusing your blog after reading this entry and OMG you work is sooooo beautiful! Your stencil work, the intricate shading, the designs, the handwork. I love it all. You are an inspiration!

A.Sproule said...

Dear Norma,
Thank you so very much.
you have really made my day. I will post a full image of the piece later.I have been having a blast with using the stencils in innovative ways.

Smokey Leal said...

April---I may have to do another extra credit essay on another of your pieces! I believe that in the 'Fine Art' world those critics of fiber arts could see your work, they would be whistling a different tune. You continue to cast a bright light in the world of Fiber Arts. Thanks you so much! Smokey

KAM said...

This piece, like all of your work, April, is magnificent. The details added with stitch to the stencils are most delicious.

A.Sproule said...

Thanks so much Kristin; I have really been enjoying doing the handwork in the evenings.
I hope that you are well, and take care.