Friday, December 26, 2014

Master Craftsman Color 2nd piece

I finished my second piece and I am contemplating whether I should re-do it. Not totally what I envisioned - I think the middle portion should be darker. When I showed it to DH he thought it looked like a ski-run. Oh well! I call both pieces Views from the TARDIS - which actually was the original inspiration. I hope it looks abstract enough. I will sleep on it...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Master Craftsman Color Step 2

After much agonizing and dragging of feet, I finally had to get going, in order to make the January 31 deadline. This step is on value and contrast, with 2 stitched abstract pieces to demonstrate the concept.
I started on a computer rendition, followed by painting the pieces I planned to stitch:

I tried out different color combinations on the doodle cloth.

I settled on these colors for the the first piece:

For the second piece, I plan to paint the center white portion a light grey - to provide a high minor key with much less saturation.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Antique Mirror Chrysanthemums

Started on the superposition chrysanthemums. They were reasonably ok - all things considered; the edges were not as evenly scalloped as they should be. At least the stitches were not sinking into the foundation. There are a lot more chrysanthemums that I should be able to improve on. It was quite difficult to stitch through all the layers in addition to the thick fabric.

A few "personal devices" I employed: 
1. I used DMC cotton instead of self-padding silk;
2. I used pliers to pull the needle through on the thick parts;
3. I used my circle template to generate the circles.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Antique Mirrors

Back to Faded Treasures. It's tissue transfer and basting, on and on and on...
Basting is done.

I decided to not baste every line, as evident in the two hanabishis. I'll see what happens when I start stitching them.

Tissue removed. I had to vacuum the floor afterwards to get rid of all the tissue scraps that I threw down as I was removing them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wedding Ring Pillow

This is the final version for the flower circle, I hope. I stopped "enhancing" it as it will only go downhill from here. The original intended stumpwork wire rimmed petals did not work, so I decided to do concertina roses. These are more triangular in shape, and provide a contrast to the round spider roses - although they are a lot harder to work with the soft silk ribbons, especially the thinner 7 mm ribbons. I added calla lilies with pearl centers at the top and sides as well.


Now I have to find out about the font for the date and wordings...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wedding Ring Pillow

Modifying the design as I go along. I use the silk from an old silk shirt, that has highlight spots which gives it a nice texture. I'm using 3 widths of natural white silk ribbon - 2 mm, 4 mm and 7 mm. I've added small glass beads, small fresh water seed pearls, and french knots with single and double strands of Rainbow Gallery Splendor silk.

Next I'll be working on the detached wire-rimmed  petals; debating between using the Splendor silk or cotton floss, on an organiza ground - so as to make the petals more delicate.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Short Stitch holding, Wedding Ring Pillow

I did the temporary holding stitch, at 1 cm intervals, and finished the Short Stitch Holding (SSH) for the blue section. I was not able to maintain a consistent angle, so for the light brown section I decided to establish the angle using temporary guidelines that the SSH will follow. I'm using Clover Size 50 silk thread for the SSH, and to thin it out, I'm removing one of the 3 strands.

A concurrent project I'm starting is a Wedding Ring Pillow for my son's wedding next April. I had some problem getting started with the design, so I made a first attempt that was used as a starting point for discussion. The ground is dupioni silk, with spider roses, stitched leaves and french knots and beads. I initially added some crystals that turned out to be too much; the color is also too white. 

The next version should be reasonably close to the final piece. The design was made using a compass, with bubbles representing the motifs. I will make one more prototype before finalizing with silk threads and ribbons. The font will be the same as the wedding invitation (which hasn't been decided yet).

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Camellia, Blue Flower Framed

The frames came today and here are the final pictures. The Camellia (JE Phase 7) is a wood frame with a gold lip, double matted with green and gold.

The Blue Flower (EGA GCC) is a gold frame. Unfortunately it is too shallow to accommodate the artwork, the spacer and the glass. I will have to do something else about it, as it will be very unwise to hang it without the glass protection.

And while I had the tripod set up I took some additional views of the pieces.

For the antique mirror, I did some more blending during the 2 day class over the weekend.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Antique Mirror Foundation

The foundation of the round foreground mirror is done. I'm all set for Mary Alice Sinton's class this weekend! I'm looking forward for some pointers on doing the blending thread, as I'm not too happy at the way they turn out in the trial areas.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Faded Treasures

The gold paper strips woven in the weft direction make it easy to lay the weft foundation. In places where the background showed through, it emphasizes the bronze mirror. I think this is the right fabric for this piece. I mapped out the color changes for the foreground mirror.

I tested out the blending color at the top section, to make sure it is ok. The blue and brown patch at top left and the top edge are the blending threads that cover up the needle holes

Pooky is keeping me company, sleeping on my spare (and currently unoccupied) Japanese embroidery frame.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Faded Treasures

Got started on Faded Treasure (or Antique Mirrors). Initially I was disappointed that it did not come in the mottled red-brown fabric of the photo. Now I think the nishijin mottled black gold is prettier, although it is challenging since the fabric is unforgiving of mistakes, and the outline was hard to see because of the reflection. It got better after a while. So far the weft foundation was not too bad. I will have lots of practice with superposition and cords; I did not do either technique well in the earlier phases.
All the motifs will be covered up once the foundation is in place - and then they need to be transferred back on top of the foundation.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blue Flower Metal Embroidery Done

I made a few changes to the piece, most prominent among them the blue bud at the top, removal of the extra leaf, and replacing the edging with gold twist instead of blue silk. There are other minor changes, such as the center of the flower. I think I like it better this way (apologies to Ms Kinsey), and it's a good thing I am not sending it in for evaluation.

The most difficult part was the rough purl, used in the pea-pod shaped leaf. I had to pick them up very carefully with the pads of my fingers, any extra pressure such as with my finger nails, and they crimp. I hope I never have to work with these again!

I think a square gold metal frame with be appropriate for this piece.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blue Circle Metal Embroidery

I decided I like the flower center as is. It turns out to be quite a nice piece, especially with the gold twist in place, on the inside of the pearl purl. I think I'll keep working on it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blue Flower Silk and Metal Embroidery

While waiting for my next JE class next month, when I'll start on (deep breath) Antique Mirrors, I decided to work on a piece I got about 5 years ago as part of a GCC course -  "Beginning" silk and metal class. I was not very interested initially, and didn't review the contents in detail until now. It came with a nice heavy  piece of silk, already edge-hemmed and carefully packed. The instructions were well written, with a lot of information on the various silks and metals, history and their usage. I made some minor modifications, changing a leaf to a bud (which I'm very fond of), and using JE techniques in places. I used my Pilot frixion pen to draw the design on the fabric. Surprise! This is the first fabric I've encountered that the tracing remains quite obvious even when heat erased! I will have to keep this in mind.
The blue flat silk thread came from Japan, but felt slightly different than the silk from JEC- maybe sturdier and doesn't snag as much - but seems to be less shiny. Instead of using 6 strands of flat silk per the instructions, I used 3 strands and stitched them very close together; I also changed the angle of the stitching on the petals.

The motifs are small, making them quite difficult to do. I don't agree that this is a beginner's piece. This will be a (hopefully enjoyable) challenge.

The rough purl flower center was hard to do. A few of the spirals on the left side were ok, but the rest are not good. I will sit on it for a while, and see if I feel like re-doing them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

EGA Master Craftsman Color

My Step 1 projects came back and I got a "provisional pass", which requires a re-submission before Step 2 can be judged. The piece that did not pass is the black-and-white piece with the red raft. The judge pointed out that this piece is a complementary color scheme (red-green), and not a non-traditional color scheme. I briefly considered re-designing both pieces, using geometric designs so I can have a freer rein on the colors. Then I found out that the easiest fix would be to replace the red raft (sigh!). This will then be a modification of a traditional triad color scheme (green-purple-orange) with only 2 colors (green and purple), and thus fulfills the requirement for this step. I was able to unstitch the red raft without affecting the stitches around it (except for the doll hair oar). I replaced it with the same purple hue I used in the first piece (also a requirement that I did not fulfill). It looks really drab now - that must be why this is not a traditional color scheme!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Camellia Done!

I will inspect it later and then do the paste and steaming. It turns out to be a nice piece.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Camellia Branches done

The branches look quite realistic, using just twisted silk.

Next are the gold outline leaves and then it is done!

Friday, August 1, 2014

More Camellia Leaves

I went and studied my camellia plant. The top of the leaf is different in color than the bottom, and I think that's what the piece is supposed to show - the full leaves are the top view, and the half leaves are the bottom. Except in the photo from JEC one of the full leaves are not done that way, and unfortunately I followed that before I figured it out; not going to change it now, as the end is in sight..

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Camellia Leaves

Finished the calyces, and a few leaves, plus the stamens and centers of the camellias. I don't like the color of the stamens for the mottled camellia. It's too pink. I may or may not fix it - depends on how I feel about this piece when done, as it is difficult to take out.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mottled Camellia Petal

After I sent in my MC Color pieces, I tried two attempts to stitching flowers with special light effects. The first was light diffused transparent flower petals (no picture). The next was a very pretty begonia that I found in my garden, and I wanted to try long and short stitching shading. I was not able to reproduce the paper-like texture of the petals, or the delicate progression from yellow to orange. So I have to shelve these for now.

I went back to my JE Phase VII Realistic Effect Camellia. I last worked on it was 9 months ago. I finished the mottled camellia petal, and my standards are deteriorating! I'm hoping to work up some enthusiasm for this piece, so I can get onto my next (and possibly last JE) piece - Antique Mirrors.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Second Piece Redone

As I was doing the write-ups for the pieces, I realized that they were both monochromatic! Yikes!! After I calmed down, I studied both pieces to see what I could do. One, I can't change the water; two, I can't change the stitched karst, three, it won't do any good to change the fisherman and the boat. That leaves the silk-gauzed distant hills. Initially I was going to change the colors of the hills in the mauve piece - but since this piece is a definite monochrome color scheme, it may be better (and easier to justify) changing the black-and-white piece.
Thus the hills are now green, and with the red raft being such a dramatic color, I think it falls in the realm of "non-traditional" color scheme, as I cannot give a name for it. Keeping my fingers cross for the judges to accept that..

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Both Pieces Done

I am calling them done, even though they are not exactly the way I originally envisioned them. One of the most fascinating aspect of karsts formations are the gnarly trees, hanging on for dear life on the eroded substrate. Unfortunately I tried several approaches and couldn't get it right. So bare karsts it is! I also tried several ways to represent the shimmering water, but they didn't work out either.

What did work out was the bright red raft - looks really cool against the monochromatic scheme.

As opposed to the subdued raft, which looks subdued.

I found some leaf skeletons from the yard and brushed them with gel medium, and stitched them onto the left karst. I think they look fine.

I will review them tomorrow and hopefully they will still look ok. Now onto the research paper...