Do you have a thinking place? A place where you can go to clear your mind and let problems solve themselves. For me, it is my shower!!! While soaking under the warm spray of water I have solved accounting problems, house repair problems, quilting problems and have had more inspirations than I want to admit. My water bill would probably be a lot less if my thinking closet was somewhere else!!!
My latest epiphany relates to a guild challenge that is due at our meeting next Tuesday…. less than a week away!!! The challenge is “When You See a Tree” and, as usual, I had way too many ideas of what I would like to do. Many times the real challenge for me is to narrow it down to just ONE choice and often that narrowing takes place at the last minute!! This particular morning, I kept coming back to the idea that a tree is a place of refuge and the image that formed was a tree branch with a bird’s nest in it.
I was pretty sure that I wanted to use some three dimensional leaves and other accents so I wanted to do something different with the tree bark as well. I have seen tree trunks that were made with cheesecloth and thought that it might be fun to try it myself. The first problem was that I needed cheesecloth!!! After a walk thru my local grocery store I finally asked the customer service person and was told that I could find it in the cleaning section where the rubber gloves are!! Not exactly where I would have put it, but at least I left the store with it in hand!!!
I began by wetting the cloth and loosely folding it in a plastic box. I dribbled three colors of paint onto the fabric…..
…..and then pressed the color through out the cheesecloth. When I squeezed out the excess paint, I grabbed another piece of fabric and used it to sop up the beautiful brown leftover paint…..
The two dyed pieces were carried down to the driveway for a (hopefully) quick drying session.
While I waited for the fabric to dry, I cleaned and put away all of the paint and supplies. Now my husband, when he reads this, will fall into a dead faint because I am SELDOM known to pick up after myself when I am in “creative mode”.
Of course the Georgia sun and heat, which has been in overdrive in the last 3 weeks, was nowhere to be found. The first 10 minutes of “drying time” produced no great difference in the fabric, so I grabbed my hair dryer and started adding some heat of my own.
That did the trick and I was quickly back in my studio trying to figure out the next step. I felt that the cheesecloth needed something else added to it so I pulled out my felting tools and started adding bits of wool roving to the cheesecloth base……
After seeing that it was working well, I switched over to my felting machine which hasn’t been used in YEARS!!!
And, in a few short minutes, I had a wonderful piece of fabric to turn into a tree trunk…..
As I laid it out, I was super pleased with the result…..
Next I picked a background fabric and started thinking about how to add leaves to the piece. I knew that for perspective some of the leaves needed to be very small and fairly dark in color. After thinking about fusing leaves on I had the idea that stamping them would be easier!! I cut a leaf shape out of foam….
….and started stamping on a scrap of fabric, following lines that I had drawn in first. I was thrilled with the results…..
I drew in some tree branches with a Pigma ink pen and then stitched over some of them…..
I was extremely happy with how it looked after I placed the felted branches over the top…..
Now it is time to add the leaves that are in front of the branches and I guess that I need to insert the bird nest at some point!!!
More to come……