Friday, June 27, 2014

Performing Surgery on "Following the Sun"

If you follow my blog, you know by now that I am not a planner. I know what I want to accomplish with a piece of art work but, I don't always know how to get there before I start. I am learning. After completing, two very large thread paintings, I now know that I must thread paint the image before I attach it to the background.

I worked on both pieces simultaneously so I didn't learn from one before working on the other. The Water Boy, had only one small area that bulged. However, I found early on that I needed to work on the boy's image separately from the background. I added him to the background after both were finished.

   Area before repair
Area after repair                                                                                                                                                                                       
I found this to be a very successful repair and was quite happy with the results. It does not, however, take place of doing it right in the first place. I can attest to the fact that it is heart stopping to cut into a piece you have spent months working on.
The Water Boy
Following the Sun
32" X 38"
Following the Sun is a project for my fiber art group. HiFiber, issued a challenge to it's members to do a piece using monochromatic colors. Since one of my passions is flowers, I decided to follow my muse and make yet, one more sunflower. Because I wanted to step out of my box a little, I decided that after I finished the applique I would heavily thread paint/quilt the piece.
I didn't intend to quilt quite so heavily, but I got carried away. Once you do that, you have to carry the density of quilting through the whole piece.
After I finished quilting the flower, the background was very warped, as was the flower, itself. I knew that quilting the background would help but I knew it won't take care of the majority of warping. At this point I placed it on my design wall and left it for months. 
 We now have a venue, The Art's Center in Clemson, SC, for an exhibit in August. I needed to get this fixed. I finished the background quilting and the center of the flower. I then decided that the only possible way to salvage this was to cut into the petals and cut away some of the bulk.
I chose areas that I felt would make a good place for a repair. In this section the edge of one petal looked like a good place to start. I cut the area with a very sharp E-Acto knife. I then overlay the edges to see how much needs to be cut out. I mark it with chalk and begin to cut away. I did this in steps as I do not want to cut away too much.  I then butt the edges together. On the back of the piece I fuse a piece of fabric that will cover the cut edge. I then come back to the top and thread paint to cover the mended piece.
finished repair.
I have learned a lot from working on these two pieces. I could have made two large floral wall hangings in the time it has taken me to create this one. However, I do find that I learn better by making mistakes and repairing them, than I do by planning ahead. Don't flame me for not planning ahead, I have learned such a good lesson from this project. I do know what to do next time I want to heavily thread painted/quilted a piece.
I hope this information might help the beginner thread painter. Stopping the heart to often can be bad for your health. 
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  1. Thanks for sharing, Marilyn. The quality of your work loudly underscores that you do learn from your mistakes.

  2. I love the little boy! Thanks for sharing your insights.

  3. it's like a tapestry now. Striking and textural, good call on cutting it out and using it another way. That's really what Ellen Ann Eddy does at times too. Both pieces are so stunning. Good job!!
    LeeAnna Paylor

  4. Your work is so awe-inspiring. I'm just so amazed at your courage in cutting into those pieces, but thanks for sharing. It gives us all insight into correcting problems with our own work.