As my maple leaves were getting raked off the front yard, I remembered that at this time of year, last year, I went out and took photos of maple leaves. I got all the color variations I could find, and I wanted to thread paint them. Printing my photos on fabric treated with Bubble Jet Set, with the computer and a new set of color ink cartridges, went smoothly. I printed four large leaves and one smaller leaf, I heat set the fabric with the iron.
I had a beautiful ice dyed piece of fabric to use on the back of the leaves, in bright green, rust and gold. The first photo is a little washed out, but you can see how the back of each leaf looked. I fused the 3 layers together with Pellon Wonder Under.
All five leaves, ready to thread paint. I did the yellow and rust one first, because it was the simplest with basically two colors. I stitched the vein first to give a good contrast to work with.
I usually begin with the darkest dark, then the lightest light area, and I use rayon thread to give it a bit of shimmer. With the leaves, I want to finish the colors around the edge next, then fill in with the medium value colors. I do NOT thread paint the entire area, I leave the middle value color to be the photo color, so you can see how true to life I am stitching.
After stitching I cut out the leaf as close to the stitching as I can. Then I use a small zig-zag stitch to add a fine wire around the edges on the back of the leaf. It is tricky fussy work, but I like being able to bend the leaf tips any way I want. My friend just stitches wire down the vein of the leaf, but you don't have enough shape control. I put in an OLD needle 'cause I always hit the wire at some point, it can break the wire and push it into your machine. Everyone cringed when I told my art group that, they said careful you don't mess up your sewing machine. When I'm done with the wire I use Fray Check along the edges to control threads from getting too loose.
The leaves are from an Oregon Big Leaf Maple, the real leaves can get to 10-12", but I made mine about 8" so they would fit on an 8.5 x 11" piece of paper.
This leaf was the most difficult because of all the color changes and matching the mauve and salmon color was hard. None of the colors blended together which gave it a very mottled look.The salmon thread I had was a variegated thread and went from salmon to pale pink, not what I wanted, but it blended so well on the spool, I could not tell it was variegated.
This is my favorite leaf. The flame colors went from yellow to gold to orange, scarlet and then deep red. By not covering all of the photo, you are just highlighting the colors and giving it texture.
This leaf had just begun to change from green to rust and yellow along the edges.
I wanted to have a base of moss, to attach the leaves to. I had a few photos in my collection but they weren't quiet what I wanted. So I took a rainy Sunday drive up river to two of my favorite places, Swiftwater park and Baker wayside. Lots of moss on the trees, rocks and ground, we had finally gotten some rain the last couple of weeks after a dry summer. I took at least 20 pictures of different moss. I picked the brightest green photos, and they had a little something extra, leaves, pinecones and pine needles. I printed four different 5 x 7 photos and cut them up into curvy shapes. I layered the moss with batting and a batik backing and stitched around the clumps of moss and the pinecones. Then I stitched the sections together in a patchwork of shapes, and attached the leaves in a few places only, so they can be all bendy. I want to work on the moss some more, I've stitched on little patches of green velvet and a green furry fabric, and I want to add French knots and other stitching for texture. I also have some hand dyed green cheesecloth I want to add. So when it is all done I'll post a finished pic. I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right column to see what other talented textile artists are up to this week.