Working in short spurts, I've been able to put together the basic working surface of two collages, and have planned, in my mind, the next steps.There are two critical decisions to make with each one--first, how to back the piece, so as to provide a firm enough working surface, and secondly, how much machine stitching vs hand stitching does each one need.
My long range plan is to mount each one on a stretched canvas. With enough laborious hand stitching, with mono-filament, This can be achieved with just about any fabric, but if I want to attach beads, a firm, fairly dense attachment process is necessary. I tried the second (second picture) one with a layer of Warm 'n' Natural batting behind it. I really don't think this will provide enough firmness to prevent the weight of beading from pulling the piece off the canvas. The first one, I backed with a layer of strong iron-on interfacing. I believe this will go a long way towards supporting the beading, but, with both, I think some sort of adhesive will be necessary to secure it to the canvas.
The white section of this piece certainly stands out, and I'll have to address that. But my plan is to cover it with grey buttons. Now that I can see how useful a photo can be in evaluating value, I'll be sure to check the results of my work that way.
To address the second concern, I have to go back to why I'm doing this. Certainly, I need a few hand work projects, but I also believe in letting my pieces talk to me, and the one immediately below says that the large center piece needs to be attached by machine, even if it is later covered with beads.