One of the things I'm always talking with my friends about is how to present fiber art in the best light. So I'm always looking for solutions myself. When I started embroidering these pieces, I didn't have a plan. (I don't recommend that!) But, I leaned on my tried and true techniques (like rattail binding and mounting on wooden cradle boards) and here is a sample of how one of them will be mounted.
After I trimmed them and bound them with rattail, I realized they were not all the same finished size. They measured 6" to 6-1/2" so I couldn't mount them on a standard 6" square. But I wanted to hang them all together so I decided to buy 8" x 8" cradled boards (I buy mine from Dick Blick) and paint the boards black (with acrylic paint) so each piece would float on the surface and maybe the differences in sizes would be less noticeable.
I haven't attached any of the pieces to the boards because I'm still thinking about whether to glue them down all the way to the edge or just glue the center so the edges are free, giving the final piece some dimension. Sometimes, I think about these decisions for several weeks before I make the final decision.
I've been interested in Eco-dyeing ever since I visited my friend Susan Brooks and took a day long workshop with her. I also bought her book and all the supplies but never got around to actually eco dying any papers or fabrics. It all seemed too complicated for me (although Susan made it look easy!).
But yesterday, I got my friend Judith Cassel-Mamet's monthly newsletter where she explains how to eco-dye fabric in hot water, just using the sun to transfer the dyes contained in plants and vegetables. So, I thought I would give it a try. I did 4 jars: black beans, walnut shells, crushed walnut shells, and yellow onion skins. After just a couple of hours, I could see that the beans and walnut shells were already dyeing the fabric but the onion skins and crushed walnuts didn't seem to have any affect. I will leave the jars overnight and see what happens. If it works, this will be a simple way to dye your own fabric! Now, I'm sorry I threw out those sunflowers that wilted in my vase. I bet I could have used them to experiment with!
I won't share Judith's recipe but I'm sure if you contact her through her website, she would be happy to send you a copy of her latest newsletter. I also recommend you sign up for Judith's newsletter because she always shares a fun technique to inspire! Heres the link.
Back to hand stitching tomorrow!
One thing I am enjoying while I am stitching these abstract pieces, is having fun with color. Some artists use the color wheel to decide on a color scheme. I just like looking at my work and trying a different color next to another color. No plan or rhyme. Just intuition. My only "plan" is not to place the same color next to the same color, but that's just common sense. I also like to vary my lights and darks for balance. I'm now thinking about how to finish these and mount them. Because I don't measure or have "rules" each piece is a slightly different size. Always a challenge to make a cohesive grouping. I'll share next week.
Carol Ann Waugh
I am a mixed media artist and love color and texture!