Sunday, June 24, 2012

WIP Wednesday - On the Rocks - Fibre Art - About the Work

My show PATHWAYS opened Saturday at the Textile Museum in Almonte.  I was pleased with the turnout and the many comments and questions about my work ( I will post some pictures soon).  Since every piece of work has a story attached to it,  I've decided to post information throughout the summer about the individual pieces in this exhibit.  A member of my online quilting group attended my opening and was interested in how I constructed the waves in my mermaid piece -"On the Rocks: Sometimes You Just Need to Get Away" - since our online group is currently working on a waterfall challenge (   So I have decided it might be helpful to start with this one - it's one of my favourites anyway.

Several years ago the choir I was in sang a song by Connie Kaldor called 'Wanderlust'.  It was about women needing to get away once in a while.  I think we can all relate to that feeling.   Last year I wanted to enter pieces into a juried exhibit called "The Sea".  I started thinking about mermaids perched on the rocks as the ultimate getaway, which  brought me to thinking about that song.  And this was the result (btw, it wasn't accepted into the exhibition).

 I painted the background fabric for the sky and water, then appliqued the figures and embroidered the details.  I painted the skin tones then covered it with very fine organza to give her a sparkly look.  The rocks are patterned organza with swirls that reminded me of snails.   I embroidered the swirls and added the octopus with fan, seaweed (including some in her hair), starfish, a book entitled "A Woman's Guide to Travel Escapes", and sunglasses (lenses painted with 'rose coloured' pearlized paints).  The rockhopper penguin (what else?) carries a tray of embroidered food as our mermaid sips a martini "on the rocks".   Talk about getting away from it all.  In the distance is a tiny fishing boat...... The whole piece was stitched and quilted by hand.

Now the waves....
Using some of my own painted water fabric, I cut individual waves and placed them along the bottom of the piece.   I stuffed some of the waves with loose batting to give more depth, then finished stitching them on and painted the white caps with pebeo setacolour shimmer pearl fabric paint.  (The blue 'water' fabric had been painted with setacolours too then sprinkled with salt crystals while the paint was still wet to give that mottled effect).

This technique could also work for a waterfall, by stuffing some sections of the falls as they fall vertically then stitching randomly around the falling water (could use sparkly thread too).   Pearlized paint could be used to highlight the falling water as well as the splash at the bottom (which could also be three dimensional).  I hope this is helpful.

Check out the Needle and Thread Network for their WIP Wednesdays where bloggers can link up their own blogs - and lots of other interesting stuff!


  1. Congrats on the opening.....wishing you much success with it all. I do love the mermaid. She is a beauty.

  2. congrats on the must be excited. Love the piece.

  3. I love your mermaid. You stuck to your concept right through your whole piece. It should have been picked. Thank you for the explanation about how you did the waves.

    Congrats on your show and good luck.

  4. Best of luck in your show. I love the combination of fabric and paint. Beautiful.

  5. Enjoy your show! Thanks for explaining your technique. I'm not sure that I could do it without taking a hands-on course though ;).

  6. Your handpainted fabric is beautiful! Congratulations on your exhibition!

  7. Congratulations on the show , lovely mermaid :-)

  8. Thank you for the detailed explanation, and sorry your wonderful piece didn't get accepted.


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