In July I went to a week long art retreat called Fibres West. It was a fantastic way to mix with other like minded creative people who also love textile art as much as I do.
It was held at an agricultural college that is actually a working farm. It is a lovely setting and a great place for taking a long walk but it was freezing cold in the middle of winter.
My class was using water soluble fabrics to make thread only pictures taught by a wonderful Canadian, Amanda Mccavour. The first few days we did a lot of samples and experiments, then the last three days I did my final project.
The leaves on the right were originally the same size as the other samples but I had the machine tension too tight so as I stitched it got smaller and smaller. It was a lesson learned.
Next we trapped pieces of paper or fabric in the layers of stitching. I was tired of square samples by now so wanted to try a bit of drawing with the machine. I did daisies. The blue bits in the petals is mulberry paper and the centers are Japanese paper supplied by our tutor. I later colored the white centers with watercolors because I put it on a white background.
Another experiment we did was to use shading to make an image appear three dimensional. I enjoyed this lesson and will develop the technique more in the future.
Amanda does wonderful installations, sometimes using many multiples (4000!) of one shape. She showed us how to do one of her favorite designs that is based on the spirograph. It may look simple but it was very hard to stay on track. I did end up with a bowl shape but it will take a lot more practice to get the stitching even.
My final project was to be a bird cage and I decided I wanted to add a couple of birds. This picture shows the sheer fabrics I added before I stitched the birds. I didn't want the black cage to show through them so that is why I added fabric.
My finished piece turned out the way I wanted it to. I used some patterned plastic bag on the cage. It wasn't as stiff as I would like so later on I did add more stiffening to the piece.
Our wonderful tutor Amanda is center front wearing the green jumper. I am standing at the back right in a purple jumper trying to keep warm, lol. You can see a lot of the work of the class on the wall behind us. It was a superb class and wonderful week.
I later added the daisy sample to a journal page to go into my fabric art journal later this year.
I have used beads to raise my birds off the white background here so it could be displayed recently. That worked well but I am going to stiffen it properly soon so it can be framed and hung proudly in my home. I like the way the shadows are on the background and want to play on that. The possibilities of this technique are endless.