August 12, 2008


"Grapefruit and friends" - the working title for this piece was originally "Citrus" as it includes oranges, lemons, blood oranges and grapefruit but I do love the French version of it above.

Starting with a multi-coloured piece of velvet in pale pinks and oranges, I added even more layers of depth by using DEKA Iron On Heat Transfer Paints over top. These are powders that you reconstitute and paint onto paper, then iron onto synthetic fabrics - one of the few ways of adding colour to synthetics.

I deepened the colour by adding yellows and reds. I then picked out a variety of machine embroidery threads with which I would add the stitched details.

I added the outlines of the fruit, adding layers of colours for the outer skins and for the pith interiors.

Then outlines of leaves were added between the fruits and the majority of the stitching started, filling in all of the exterior spaces with nine different shades of blues, all overstitched to blend the colours and build the richness...

One hour of sitting at a sewing machine without a break staring and concentrating on a surface 12" from your nose is very intense. This piece took over 20 hours of stitching and is just sooo wonderfully tactile - you just have to touch the softness of the velvet versus the stiffness of the dense layers of machine stitching.

I was at a quandry thinking of how to finish it. I wanted it to be touched to be appreciated. I was thinking that a cuff would be wonderful - worn against your skin and yet seen from different angles to see how the velvet puffs out from the dense stitches. Nancy Dormer and I were brainstorming and I happened to notice an empty canvas she had laying on the ground. When I picked it up it clicked - I could wrap the piece around it and still have all the benefits that a cuff would have. An edge to view it around; the softness and dimension of the velvet still available for the touch; and yet a vehicle that could be mounted on the wall or left freestanding on a shelf. It was the perfect solution!

I did two pieces using this same technique and absolutely love them both. They are the richest in colours and lushness; and are both so tactile that they scream out "touch me! touch me!"

1 comment:

Nancy PD said...

Awesome colours!! Interesting explanations of how you did your wonderful art work. I enjoy the brightness and textures of your Pamplemousse et Amis. Visited Nectar Desserts today and enjoyed the personal tour by one of the artists - you. It made each piece of artwork even more special when I learned how much work is put into each and every stitch. Keep it up.

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