Sunday, January 12, 2014

"Horse Chestnut at Bear Creek"

"Horse Chestnut at Bear Creek" a 3-D wall hanging, made with my original photos, printed on fabric and thread painted withe rayon thread. I was inspired by an episode on Quilting Arts TV Click here by Barbara Schneider making 3-D leaf fiber art. Barbara makes giant leaves, from original scans, then makes free form bowls with them. I saw the episode one week too late to collect fall leaves, I wandered around and found several that were not totally brown and still had some color left to them.

I started in Photoshop to increase the color saturation and manipulate the color a little bit. I wanted it bright and colorful! Next was to enlarge it with "Posterize" I did not want a full 4 pages, so I set it up on half a page, and only printed the top 2 pages of the 4 set. I used a white cotton treated with Bubble Jet Set and backed with freezer paper. I printed it on the HP printer at "Best" setting, the colors came out real well. Layering with Wonder Under iron on fusible and a backing of my own hand dyed fabric, gave me a stiff enough leaf, so the stitching would not distort it. I began thread painting with the darker veins, then a rust along the veins, and the edges. The edges were several shades of rust, yellow, cream and brown, mostly I did the darker colors, the light colors and some accents. I left the mid tones of the fabric to show through. Last I went back with some dark brown dots, and small details.
The finished leaf, it looks and feels almost real, the texture is amazing. I trimmed the leaf close to the stitching, and used Fray Check along the edges so the stitching would not unravel where I had trimmed it.

I dreamed one night about putting the leaf on some river rocks, nice and puffy, round, I thought I might use a gather stitch around the rocks to make them really round and 3-D. The perfect photo was found in my stash, colorful rocks in different sizes, I think it was taken at the beach. I cropped it so I used only the colorful rocks, when printed as an 8" x 10" the rocks were large enough to match the leaf. I wanted dimension so I thread painted the rocks first with only an iron on interfacing, then added batting, stitched around, and trimmed the batting. This is "mock trapunto" and added lots of loft, I even added extra batting to several of the rocks. The rocks were then layered with another layer of batting and a gray Bali batik backing. I used a dark charcoal cotton thread to outline each rock, and make it puff up, adding heavy stitching in the empty places between the rocks to make it recede. Lots of 3-D texture, again they almost look real. Then trimmed and stitched in a narrow black satin stitch, with Fray Check. the 8 x 10 was not enough rock, so I made another section, in the photo, and added it to the top.

I tried to take a side view of the piece so you can see the dimension. I hand stitched the leaf on, in only several spots, so it was off of the rocks, and rippled and curled. Close up pics of the finished piece.
And finally a closeup pic of the rocks. This was so much fun, I have several more ideas to try out, so I'll go look through my photo collection. Let me know what you think of it, please leave a comment.

I have linked this with Nina-Marie's site "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see some wonderful textile artists.


  1. You just blew my mind! Thank you for sharing your work and the thoughtful, educational tutorial!

  2. I try to explain some of my thinking as I make a piece, like stitching the rocks first then adding extra batting. Thank you for your nice comments.

  3. This. Is. Stunning.
    You made me want to stop everything, and figure out how to make something similar. Really.
    LeeAnna Paylor

  4. You've created a wonderful composition. I love the dimensional aspect of it. Looks like a really fun technique - I can see why you want to do more!

  5. Very creative! Creating dimension is addicting.

  6. Absolutely breathtaking! It looks so real.

  7. Starting with my photographs makes it look real, I say if a picture is worth a 1000 words, it is worth a 1000 yards of thread.