Monday, 7 July 2008


I am well on the way with the first piece off the list of future pieces.

When I was out doing some photography a year ago now, I took some photos of the lichen on the stone including on one of the gravestones. The carved text said 'IN MEMORY OF'. I put the photo into Photoshop and applied one of the filters. I obtained an effect which appealed (not to everyone I would imagine but each to their own). I could see a small piece based on this image.

Original photo
Original photo
After special effect
After special effect
Rather than use the text on the gravestone I decided to change it to MEMORIES. I wanted to stitch the text
onto acrylic felt and zap it with a heat gun to distort it. I wanted to use rayon thread and wasn't sure how much heat it would take so I made a test sample - very unlike me . I set up the hoop for the embroidery machine to stitch out just the letter M.
Hoop set up
As you will notice, I am a very careful user of materials and have developed ways to mount in the hoop using as little as possible. This is why I save all scraps of everything. They always come in useful as with the strip of black stabiliser in this hoop. It is pinned to the water soluble stabilser left from another stitch out. Just the right size piece of felt is pinned to that and the letter stitched out.
I removed the letter and cut away as much of the stabiliser as possible from the back then zapped it with a heat gun.
As you can see the acrylic felt has melted and distorted and the rayon thread has withstood the heat which is what I hoped would happen.
I also noticed that the felt on the other side was still as original and did not have all the solid melted hard surface on the front.
I decided that when I stitched out the full text, I would zap it from the reverse so the soft felt would be on the front.
I created the MEMORIES text in the digitising software for the embroidery machine and sent it over to the machine. I set up the large hoop in the same way as for the sample.

Another left over strip of black stabiliser did the job again. The machine stitched out the text. When complete it was removed from the hoop and as much of the stabiliser as possible was removed from the back.
The text was placed on a cork tile and zapped with the heat gun.
Remember to take precautions when zapping acrylic felt with a heat gun.
I made the background by painting a piece of very textured hand made paper with grey acrylic to represent the stone. I coated this with acrylic wax before sponging the surface with blue and lime Byzantine paints. I then stitched over the surface with threads and used one of my favourite stitches - sorbello st. This will be layered up using finer and finer threads until I am happy with the texture. The stitching shows through the zapped text. This is the unfinished piece - just some more layered sorbello stitching to do and finishing off.
One for the sample book.
I have colour washed a piece of silk ready for the next piece and will start that tomorrow. I am going to do some digitising for another piece now which will help me learn the new 4D software. I hope it will do what I have in mind.
Cheers everyone.

1 comment:

Purple Missus said...

Fantastic! Love the way you got from the original gravestone to the finished piece. Especially like the way the background peeks through the zapped felt.
I'm one of those people who use a great big piece of fabric for one little piece - I think I will just put the name 'Shirley' in big letters in my workroom - maybe that will remind me to be less wasteful :)