Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Waves and coral...

I'm just back from a week on the beautiful Scottish Hebridean island of Tiree, so appropriately this entry is about 2 pieces I have recently finished which were inspired by the beautiful shorelines and seascapes of the island.

For both of them I wanted to explore combining fabric and fibres with my embellisher, and adding beading and embroidery as I do for my jewellery pieces, but on a larger scale. I decided to use embroidery hoops as frames, and I used unbleached cotton batting as the backing/surface.

The first piece is called 'Coral', and was made as a 30th birthday present for my dear friend Eli.

Here's the process of adding fabric and fibres. I sewed on pieces of cotton fabric, scrim and muslin, and then added silk throwsters waste, silk noil and mixed threads with my embellisher.
Next I added many glass beads in different shapes and sizes, and some hand embroidery stitches to finish the piece off:
Here are some details:

The next piece I have been working on is called 'Waves'. A while ago I had bought some (more!) wonderful handdyed threads, fibres and fabric from thredfairy, and had been itching to use them in a larger piece. I love the muted grey-silver-turquoise palette - reminds me of stormy seascapes and louring clouds above.

Here's the process - again I sewed on some fabric and paper pieces before adding fibres with my embellisher, and then adding glass beads and freshwater pearls. Hand embroidery stitches finished off the piece.

Here are some details:
And the finished piece:

It's going on the wall in my hall!

I'm quite pleased with the way these two turned out - kind of variations on a theme. Next time I'm going to experiment with different backing fabrics/surfaces, and will continue with the never-ending search for a good framing solution... .

The trip to Tiree gave me so much crafty inspiration, I'm looking forward to trying out all my ideas!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Birthday backgammon board

My Dad and I started learning how to play backgammon earlier this year, so I decided for his birthday I would make him a backgammon board (we had previously been playing on a piece of paper!).

I decided to make a felty-fibrey version - less of a 'board' - softer and more flexible so it could be rolled up and easily stored/carried around.

First I made the felted background with my embellisher, using Merino roving, mulberry silk, silk noil, soy silk, firestar, bamboo fibre, silk throwsters waste and wool locks:

I cut the 'spikes' out of felt, and set the whole large felted piece onto a larger piece of yellow felt for extra thickness and sturdiness:

I machine-sewed the spikes onto the felted piece, and then sandwiched it all together and sewed around the edges of the felted pieces.

Next, I made a couple of 8-tama kumihimo braids to go around the edges of the piece:

and then I cut away the excess backing felt from the edges:I sewed marigold-coloured ribbon onto the backing felt to cover up the machine-stitching:

I also made a wee bag, with another kumihimo braid as the tie, to hold the dice and counters:

I decided to use vintage buttons for one set of counters, and shells from Portobello beach here in Edinburgh for the other set:

The finished piece! It measures about 51cm x 35cm.

I'm looking forward to using it next time I visit my parents :D