Monday, May 26, 2014

Red Devil Begonia Leaf

The original leaf photo.
This project began with a walk through the local farmers market on a sunny Saturday, with my neighbor, we usually walk there every Saturday. I saw this beautiful begonia plant, that one of the vendors had, I asked if I could take a picture, as I have been making quilted leaves from my photos. He said he had a leaf I could have, that broke off when he unloaded the truck. What luck, and generosity! It is quiet large, at least 8" long, and very wide, the color is a bright vibrant burgundy, with darker green accents, and lime green veins. I carefully carried it home, and put it on the scanner, it did not turn out well, the scanner flattened the ripples and it did not look right, so I went with a regular photo on a white background. I was so excited, I could not wait to begin.
I enlarged by "postering" when printing, so it was on 4 sheets of paper. I did a black and white copy first to check the size, and how to make the curled part of the leaf overlap in 3-D. I printed on treated sheets of fabric with "Bubble Jet Set" and freezer paper backing. I did not have any trouble feeding the fabric through the computer printer. I printed a second sheet of the top left corner, to use behind the leaf curl overlap. Even though I used Photoshop to increase the color saturation, it still printed out very blah, so I made a light wash of acrylic paints with glazing medium, to punch up the color. It worked very well, but I lost some of the lighter highlighted areas.
I began by trimming each section, butting the edges together and fusing an iron-on fusible (Wonder Under) to the back, then fusing it all to a Bali batik in a very similar color. The technical difficulty of adding the extra piece to curve out over the front, was a challenge, I needed to find a pivot point, which was NOT where the four sections came together. It was at the base of the curl. I thread painted with rayon thread, the lime green veins first, then added a dark green around them, following the color on the photo.
A very dark burgundy went a round the edges, and a medium burgundy spread inwards in flame type veins, and mottling. I followed the darker areas of the print, and added some in the center also, surrounding the dark green and working towards the edge. OOPS!! I sewed two of the layers together, on the 3-D curl, unstitch! This was not the only time I did this, it plagued me all the way through the project. Pay Attention!!
You can see how the curl overlaps the bottom part of the leaf. I stitched a lighter burgundy, in the center from the veins out, then a medium mauve rayon to finish in a net pattern to fill all the center areas.
The Finished Leaf Wow, it came out awesome!! To finish it, I had to trim the outside edge, close to the stitching, then used a black Pigma pen the darken the edges, where some white fabric was showing. I decided to use a fine floral wire around the outside edge, to give it shape and help crimp and ripple the leaf edge. It took patience to zigzag stitch the fine wire to the back, with dark burgundy thread. I did not want a satin stitch ridge to finish it, the zigzag was softer and blended with the stitching I had already done.
The back of the leaf stitching, and a photo with the original leaf, the edge is turning black, my neighbor is trying to root it in a glass of water. The color is almost identical. The finished fabric leaf is 14" long by 12" wide.

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  1. OMG! This project would kill me, not that much patience! It's beautiful Amy, great job!

  2. Thanks Bonny, the photos don't even do it justice.

  3. Amy: This is just stunning. A true work of art. I would love to try this one day. The depth and free form are the most impressive parts.

  4. Wow! This fantastic! What a process and thank you for sharing it. Beyond my ability and patience but you really did a nice job.

  5. Gorgeous, the texture and colors are beautiful!

  6. oh, amazing how identical the coloring and shadowing came out. It's so textured. Love the workmanship Amy, Good job!!
    LeeAnna Paylor not afraid of color!

  7. OMG - did you hear me gasp!! That is just truly crazy amazing - love the technique - the texture - well everything!!

  8. Amy, I thought the pictures were beautiful..seeing it in person today took my breath is absolutely beautiful and opens up so many possibilities in art quilting. Thank you for being so willing to share your creative process with us.....

  9. I don't want to pooh-pah my work, but it really was done in a weekend. The thread painting goes quickly, but the hardest part was stitching on the wire around the circumference, we tend to forget the effects of Pi, adding so much distance around something.

  10. This is amazing and looks so real. The begonia that you saw on my blog is fuzzy, as you thought.