Thursday, March 28, 2013

Butterflies - Work in progress

Work In Progress
This is an art quilt that has been in progress for quite a while, especially if you count the time between when I dyed the fabric and then finally decided what to use it for ... this is actually the first piece of fabric I ever dyed and it was done in a workshop over ten years ago.  I absolutely loved it ... too much to ever use it!

Two or three years ago I decided that it would be a wholecloth background for a butterfly quilt and I jumped in to designing it and creating very stylized butterflies for it. When it came time to actually attach the butterflies to the background (which I had already quilted by then) I just couldn't do it ... the butterflies just didn't feel right. I rolled the quilt up and went on with other projects but every now and again I would go back to it to see if I could figure out what was wrong with it.

A few months ago I decided that I needed to really focus on this quilt, because it meant a lot to me ... so, I hung it on my design wall where I looked at it each time I entered my studio, and eventually I decided to experiment with a different design of butterflies.  I still wanted them to be fanciful butterflies, but they needed to be a bit more realistic than the first ones I had designed.

These butterflies were all created as separate entities but before I quilted them to the background, I added a gently drifting layer of gold organza that was then hand stitched with variegated gold thread in a seed stitch ... and then I added a sprinkling of gold seed beads to catch a bit of light. (Sorry the colours are not very true on these detail shots ... it is closer to the gold and mossy green of the full size photo)

After the butterflies were machine stitched (using lots of free motion stitching in a variety of threads) I then switched to hand embroidery, using funky stitches and different threads, sometimes layered two or three deep for added texture.

Remember, you are looking at a work in progress . . . it still is not finished!  I will give these butterflies some bodies and some antennae ... I have made quite a few samples of bodies to try out, but haven't settled on what I will use ... and I haven't created quite the right set of antennae yet, either. 

Here are some of the samples I am pondering for bodies . . . felted, wrapped yarn, silk cocoons, fluffy yarn (trimmed), and I'm going to try some painted tyvek, too . . .

So those are the choices still to come on this creation . . .


thebutterflyquilter said...

Love this so much! Can't wait to see it finished. You know I just love the butterflies!!

DownHome Designs said...

This will be well worth the wait! I'm looking forward to seeing it finished...even if it takes a while. : )