How many of us were lucky enough to grow up with a magical-seeming Christmas stocking? One which was waited for with eager anticipation, fawned over and loved?
My sister and I were reminiscing over our childhood stockings one day, and decided to look on the web to find something similar. We don't know what happened to our stockings - they got buried somewhere as our parents moved around - so we hoped to jog our memories by viewing vintage stockings. To our disappointment, we didn't find anything at all which recalled our fond memories.
That was the day that I decided to branch out into this exciting field, and put myself in the role of "grandma", making quality handmade, heirloom stockings, which can be kept for a lifetime and more. Just like when I was a child, I still delight in the abundance of glittering sequins and beads. I love the way the light plays and interacts with these objects, and I hope they become a treasured part of any family's traditions.
And there are puppets available in my shop, as well!
This work was underway for a little less than a month. I got to use my blended wool in the wet felting process for the first time. I was surprised how much was needed, and of course I didn't make enough in advance and had to blend it and lay it out at the same time, which prolonged the amount of time sitting on the floor - not my favorite position, especially when you consider that the whole process takes from 5-6 hours.
Here I have the dry wool laid out (left) and in the right photo the process is already fairly underway. The wool has fused into cloth but is not yet shrunken down.
Below is a view of the blended wool I have laid on top of the felted wool at the bottom of the piece, to evoke the varying colors of the dying sun on desert sand. I've begun to stitch the wool/viscose down with a variety of silk thread colors in a meandering line. Before stitching wool, I use a homemade, washable solution to make it into a solid mass, like fabric so that it's easier to work with.
In order below, we have the base color of the pyramids, to which I added highlights and shadows. Then I have a styrofoam board for making little figures from fibers. They also have a washable solution to harden them. After they're dried, I can securely stitch them on and wash out the solution in the end. I originally intended to needle felt the figures, but because they are so small, especially around the neck area, it was hard to get a defined enough shape, especially since the underlying wool is not felted and therefore fairly open and loose. Anyway, although not my favorite process, pre-shaping the figures was the best way to go.
Next, after doing all the math to scale the face from the sketch, I drew it onto paper and stitched through it. This outline became the guide for filling in with needle felted viscose and silk fibers. I don't have a lot of colors in these materials, so on it's own, it didn't quite fit the piece. Therefore, the next step was to add beads on top, which added an extra eye-catching feature and balanced out the colors so that the over all effect was more harmonious.
The process is nearly finished! After the head was completed, something was needed to connect the top and bottom of the work. In comes silk fiber! And presto - it's done!
I am so excited to announce that my art quilt, Cycles of Time and Space, is in the Crocker Art Museum’s 2021 Silent Auction and is available to bid on right now!
This post is to show what happens behind the scenes - the creative process, if you will. This piece was a tricky one, to say the least. I finished it during a very difficult time in my life, and though I wasn't happy with the (first) result, I didn't have the energy to break through the invisible barrier that was preventing me from realizing the full potential of this piece. I put it away in storage, thinking that I would never let anyone see it, I was so dissatisfied with it. Then, maybe 9 months later, after I had developed new techniques with new materials, I decided to pull out this artwork and give it a new life.
It is not recommended to "finish" a work and then decide that it's not finished. I had to remove/undo a lot of the finishing work in order to continue, such as the label, the velcro for hanging and the binding. Sometimes making textile art involves a lot of hassle.
On the left, the original figures and background created with hand embroidery. On the right, a photo which shows the more or less original idea for the work, before I began making a lot of changes.
It was difficult for me to realize what was lacking and therefore what was needed. I dyed the bottom half a darker color. I started playing around with adding fibers to the surface, and debated whether or not to add a "veil" of silk organza (which I ended up doing).
I played around with different orientations and decided to flip the piece 180 degrees. Below you can see this change and the beginning of the stitching over the organza. In the middle picture, the stitching is completed. To me, the artwork was definitely improved, and had a soft, atmospheric presence, which I really liked. But I still thought it needed something. Using photo editing software, I tested out a few more ideas and decided to subtly add some 4th dimensional geometric shapes, using hand embroidery.
Finally, this piece became something which I'm happy to show the world, and offer for purchase to lovers of art!
This year’s Art Auction Season taking place online using the Bidsquare platform and is open for everyone to participate! Please visit: www.crockerart.org/artauction to learn about the Crocker’s Art Auction Season. If you’re already a Bidsquare pro, you can view the works at
www.bidsquare.com/auction-house/crocker-art-museum. Registration is free for everyone, and
bidding is now open!
Support raised from this year’s Art Auction Season is critical for the Crocker and for the
thousands of children, families, and adults the Museum serves every year. Your generous
support is needed now more than ever.
Thank you for your support!