As I have been pondering the whole topic of slow sewing, it has taken on many different meanings. Last week I talked about hand embroidery and now I’m creating fabric pictures.
Find Your Voice
The book begins with Finding Your Voice. The author tells about her personal experiences finding inspiration, and then turning them into fabric pictures. To me, this is they key. Find your inspiration, then add fabric and texture.
What inspires you? Is it birds, animals, or landscapes? There is a section on how to take these ideas and make them into fabric pictures.
What makes your soul sing? Is it plants, flowers, or gardens? Maybe children at play? Get outside with your camera (or sketchbook) and find what inspires you.
The author uses her own sketches as a jumping off place, but you are not limited by this. I’m not a great sketcher; for me a photo would work equally for inspiration. Hint: Take those digital photos that inspire you and convert them to black and white. You’ll get a whole new look.
In this example, the writer shares a story about making a fabric picture of a friend’s dog. She talks about making quick sketches (I would say use a camera, myself) and then jotting down notes.
She’s also not afraid to show the one that wasn’t so great and the one she eventually used. For me, I always appreciate when the artist shares the entire process it takes to create their art.
With any new crafting endeavor there are always supplies that will need to be on hand. Fortunately, there is an entire section in the book that talks about supplies. It’s mostly about gathering different materials to make your fabric picture have depth and texture. Most will be found rather than purchased.
When you read through the book you start to see a variety of different materials that the writer has incorporated to make each picture unique.
The section in Fabric Pictures that most intrigued me was on Composition. In this section Ms. Bolton talks about taking the time to create a composition.
She says, take your time composing a fabric picture. Walk away, come back, edit, walk away again. At one point she gives an example of abandoning a project for months before returning to it.
Clearly, it’s as much about the process as the final product. To me this is the essence of slow sewing.
The book is more than just a sampling of the artist’s work. The final section gives you a step-by-step project on how to create a dragonfly fabric picture.
Here’s my sad attempt at making the dragonfly. I don’t think he looks very joyful. I’ll have to work on that.
For my project I used things I had on hand. I cut up a flour sack tea towel for the background. The sides were done with some beige linen I had in a drawer. The top is Essex linen. The rest is from my stash.
To create the dragonfly I used this Silhouette design. I uploaded it into the software, deleted the butterfly, broke apart the elements, and then printed it. (affiliate)
Additional Supplies I Recommend
Because the book is about creating fabric pictures, I think that the type of thread you use can also become an element to the design. I’ve included a couple of additional supplies that I think would be incredibly helpful for creating a fabric picture.
1. Clover Applique Pins #231 – These are 3/4″ long sharp pins designed for appliqué projects. Because they are so small they won’t poke you like longer pins. I think they are absolutely necessary for any type of appliqué work. (affiliate) A word of caution ~ these are teeny, tiny pins. Never put one in your mouth. Read this article to find out how dangerous it can be.
2. Aurifil 12 wt. Thread – Since thread is an element in many of these designs, using a high quality thread is essential. This 12 wt. thread is ideal because it is strong and comes in a ga-zillion colors. Because it can also used for hand embroidery, using this thread makes it simple to add a little embroidery to a project. (affiliate)
Recently, I began taking an eCourse by Kelly Rae Roberts. (affiliate) I’m not a painter and at this point I’m not sure I will ever take up painting; however, this course is an excellent source for learning more about mixed media art.
For me, I am going to try incorporating layers into sewing projects. While Kelly Rae and I differ dramatically in our styles, I have found the information useful and I’m processing it as I go along. I think you may start to see some of these lessons incorporated into my personal style.
Since I am taking this art course, I was able to really see how to apply the artistic process to making a fabric picture.
The hardest part of any journey is the first step. I am here to encourage to you to take a few steps in this direction. Look around for something that inspires you and then create a fabric picture.