Saturday, January 14, 2017

Change of plans

Just over a week ago, I noticed that the last joint of my left index finger was tilted to one side.  This is a pretty important joint to those of us who do hand sewing.  This had happened once before to a different finger, and at that time, it was determined that I had ruptured a tendon. This lead 9 weeks with a splinted hand, and while I have a functional finger, I also have a permanent deformity.
So when it happened this time, I didn't fool around.

So hand sewing, on the reliquary or anything else, has been put on hold.  There is no tendon rupture, but rather hard use, old age, and arthritis, have all resulted in a loose joint that tends to "sublux"and may do so for the rest of my life.  That's what 60 years of intricate hand stitchery gets me!  I have been given a splint to use, and it's been suggested that I give the finger a rest. So far this appears to be working, but then, I haven't been doing any hand sewing since.

Rather, I took the opportunity to work on a project for a gallery show next November.  My main piece is finished, but all of those displaying have been invited to produce a 12 by 12, inspired by the 4 by 6 photograph of a prairie sunset.  I decided to take the opportunity to try my hand at needle felting, using an embellisher.  I've done this before, but not for years, and my work has always been somewhat abstract.  This time I wanted to try to actually reproduce the photo in the larger size.

I created a pattern, collected both yarns and rovings, and prepared an interfaced polyester felt substrate.  Then I copied the pattern on tracing paper, and, sewing from the back, transferred it to the prepared backing, with machine stitching.  Then I prepared a vinyl overlay to use in placing the yarn and rovings on the front surface. 

Here is the front of the piece after the sky and water had been felted.  You can also see the original photo and the vinyl overlay. Looks pretty awful, at this point.

 Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a either roving, or a suitable yarn, in my stash, for the black bits.  Hard to believe, but these things happen.  I figured finding black dyed roving would likely be both difficult and expensive, so I hit the local Michael's hoping to find a suitable yarn and really lucked in.  I needed one with a soft twist, that I could take apart and use as I would roving.  This one was perfect, and I spent one full evening turning it into roving that I could use for the darker parts of the picture.

Then felting it took most of today.  This is what I ended up with, before adding the FMQ'd details.  Not perfect, but I chose to allow myself to accept pretty good instead of fretting over perfect, about a year ago, and haven't been disappointed yet. 

Next the fine details were added with FMQ'g, and the piece trimmed.  Wanting to press it before adding the backing, I turned over.  Oh my Goodness!  I wonder if I don't find the back more appealing , from an art perspective, than the front.  It's certainly a softer, more peaceful mood, which reflects the mood of the original photo better.  What do others think?

I plan to link this With Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Fridays, and to The Needle and Thread Network


Mary Ann said...

I've never felted before but I do have a set of needles. One day. You have a difficult decision to make. Too bad your piece can't be hung so that it can be viewed on both sides. It's hard to say because I can't see it in person but I do like the wrong side.

Margaret McCall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peg's Place said...

Wow! Just like that you produce a masterpiece! So nice!

Angela said...

Gorgeous work!

rtquilter said...

Oh, how I sympathize! I have just had a year off fibre art with a nasty trigger finger- my SECOND on my right hand! Surgery in December and at therapy right now but I am getting there! Hope YOU do too. Your reliquary is stunning!!! Pace yourself and be kind to your fingers!!