Experimenting with paper, inks, stamps, paints, fabrics, stitches, metal..........

Experimenting with paper, inks, stamps, paints, fabrics, stitches, metal..........

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Inspiration from an Art Swap

One of my ATC swap themes, almost a year ago now, was 'Stitching, Real or Fake'.

With a broken sewing maching, I was going down the 'fake' route, but after looking through my stamps there were a number of images I thought would work really well with some embroidery stitches.

As with a lot of these things, they seem to evolve - choosing certain colours or stamp style, adding a bit of this and a bit of that.  Once I had dyed some old white cotton sheet with brown, yellow and green Distress Ink, Stain and Re-inker, the overall look couldn't really be anything other than tattered.

I finished a trial piece, but it didn't feel like it was finished.  It needed something else.  So, using a borrowed machine I free machined around the edges of the piece and added the ruffle with some torn piece of dyed cotton.

For the next few pieces I backed the material with fairly heavy weight interfacing using bond-a-web. I find it makes it easier to do some free machine embroidery without the need for an embroidery hoop, which I don't like using with the machine if I can help it.  Using the machine stitching, I added some embellishments made with rags (also dyed with Distress Ink and stains) along with some buttons.  Again, some random free machining and zigzag stitches around the edges of the ATCs finished them off.

I was really pleased with how they ended up and even though tattered, I thought they turned out with a real 'spring' feel.  This set were very hard to post off for the swap, I was so happy with the final result, so I decided I would make more, maybe in slightly different colour ways as toppers for cards, and some different sizes, maybe a piece of larger art work.

So far, the different colour ways has not happened - I love these colours!

I made an A5 size card birthday card along similar lines and mounted the fabric stitched element (slightly larger than an ATC) on a background made from the grasses stamped directly onto the card.

Finished Birthday Card

Close up of Machine Stitching and French Knots
Another card was made for a 90th birthday, adding some stamped butterflies and mounting the topper on some gold mirror card.  A cutomised brad with '90' holds on a tattered hand dyed rosette to finish it off.
With a request to enter a piece of work into an exhibition, I was struggling to come up ideas, then thought as I had enjoyed making these pieces with stamping and stitching I could come up with something larger with the same kind of look. 

On this occasion I started with a frame and pre-cut mount and worked out how big the piece was going to be from there, in this case just smaller than A4.  With some stamps from a variety of different companies (Claritystamp, Hero Arts, Martha Stewart, Inkylicious) of grasses and plants I stamped a test piece on paper to see how the stamps would work together.

After cutting a piece of cotton to the required size and staining it with a variety of Distress inks and stains I again stabilised the material with some heavy(ish) weight interfacing and bond-a-web.  I rubberstamped a selection of images, some multiple times, some overlaying other images with a sepia shade of archival ink and heat set it. 

From there I added more grasses by way of free machine embroidery and highlighted some of the stamped images with stitch, but leaving some of the stamped images without any embellishment. This seems to make them appear in the background and I really like the way it looks.  Hand embroidered long stitch, French knots and straight stitch flowers were added in a range of green, gold and brown shades to finsih off the piece. 

Framed piece
I have made a couple of these pieces now along the same lines with similar colourways, each time experimenting slightly with the free machine element.

ATCs are a fantastic challenge, and one theme can keep on inspiring you months afterwards.