Sunday, January 24, 2016

3-D Transformation of Felt with Wire

I have long been fascinated with the seeming random quality of how leaves curl as they dry on the limb and then fall to the ground in an artful manner.  What follows is an experiment in trying to capture the feeling that I have when seeing dried leaves on the ground in the Fall.  Nature will always trump my efforts but that doesn't stop me trying.  Perhaps the following will act as a tutorial for you to make your own 3-D fiber art forms.

1.  Tools:     - 20 lb. picture hanging wire
                    - straight pins
                    - wire clipper
                    - beading foot
                    - free motion foot
 2.  Pin wire to felt.
 Note:  A pattern is not necessary.  Instead, merely started pinning the wire to the felt in wavy       lines that are meant to suggest the undulant lines of many leaf shapes.
Starting to Pin Felt to Fabric
3.  Set zigzag stitch width and length on sewing machine to 3.5 zigzag width and 1.5 length.  If you try this, you may need to set the machine width to a different number.  Just make sure that it will be wide enough to let the needle pierce the felt on either side of the wire. You don't want to dull your needle by it splitting the woven wire.

4.  Stitch wire to felt using beading foot.
Close-up of wire stitched onto felt.
How one completed leaf side and center stem evolved
5.  Pin wire to second side of middle stem and stitch, as described in #4.
6.  Sandwich a second length of felt over the wire stitched felt with the wire in the middle of the two pieces.
Layering Felt
7.  Pin the two layers together.  Insert pins so they capture the wire under them.  Use stitching line from the top layer as a guide.
8.  Stitch the layers together.
9.  After stitching around the entire leaf form, change from the beading foot to a free motion foot and reset your machine's stitch length and width to zero.
10.  Free motion quilt the leaf form in whatever pattern you choose.
11.  After completing a free-motion quilting design, use a stiff paint brush to paint the veins of the leaf form with green acrylic paint.
12.  After completely painting the leaf veins on both sides of the form, blend orange and brown      Setacolor fabric paints (or even acrylic paints, if desired) around the edges and into areas of green paint.
13.  Once the paint dries, cut around the edges of the form to "release" the leaf.
14.  Here is my resulting flat, elongated leaf form.
15.  Below are three of many ways the form can be manipulated.  Because it has a picture hanging wire skeleton the form can be flattened and reconfigured over and over again and each time it will hold its form.

Always remember, never fear to experiment.  
Sometimes wonderful things happen.
© Linda Friedman 2016.  All rights reserved