Thursday, June 29, 2017

Theme of the Month-Insects

Over at Art Elements Diana chose Insects for the June theme challenge. I was excited about this because I have a small collection of butterfly wings that I was determined to use for some jewelry components. And I also found the most beautiful INTACT Eastern Black Swallowtail that I wanted to display or use in a work of art.
My Collection of butterfly wings and the intact Swallowtail

Well, this is as far as I got making a pendant with one of the butterfly wings....So stay tuned for some resin/butterfly pendants sometime in the future.
Wire for butterfly wing
BECAUSE once I started sketching (luna moth, dragonfly and butterfly) all kinds of projects started popping up in my head. I decided to take an alternate route away from jewelry for this project.
This beautiful piece of green fabric was in my stash and was begging to be used for a dragonfly. So for the first 'insect' piece I beaded a multi-hued green dragonfly.
Beaded Dragonfly
I fused the fabric to a piece of stiff interfacing and drew my dragonfly directly onto the fabric. Originally, I attempted to use tracing paper and a transfer pencil but the pencil DID NOT transfer very well onto this fabric, which is a rayon blend linen. I used a large enough piece of fabric so that I could mount this on a stretched canvas. Finished size is 8 x 10. My plan is to frame her in a floating frame.
Finished Dragonfly
This fabric also reminded me of the color of a luna moth so I just had to use this fabric to create one of those as well. Just wasn't sure what/how I wanted to create the moth--beaded, embroidered, felted, or a combination of all of these. Well, I decided to go back to my 'roots' and make a soft sculpture luna moth.  (I used to make stuffed animals and soft sculpture dolls YEARS ago)

First problem-I didn't create a pattern.. I just drew out some wings on the green fabric, backed it with quilt batting and started machine embroidering. Well, my luna moth is now a mutant luna. Her wings
are not proportional to her body and the aspect ratio of the wings is all wrong. Oh well, artistic license to change things, right?
The upper wings should be wider than the bottom wings but I liked the bottom wings and didn't want to remake them nor did I want to re-do the top wings plus I was running out of that beautiful green fabric. Her body is quite plump (and a tad too big for the wings) but I like the fuzziness. After sewing & stuffing it, I needle-felted some pale yellow/cream wool over it to resemble a moth's body and even gave her antennae with the felt. I used a bit of wax to twist the antennae and keep the fibers stuck together.
Fuzzy Luna Moth Body
After I machine quilted the wings I backed them with more green fabric and satin stitched the edges. I was originally thinking I would stuff the wings with poylfil but then decided they needed to be 'floppy' not fluffed up. And anyway, the quilt batting gave them enough substance that they didn't need to be stuffed.
Soft Sculpture Mutant Luna Moth

Earlier this month I was cleaning/organizing my studio when I came upon a package of  Shrinky Dinks plastic that I have had for years. So I thought I would make some butterflies to possibly use in other projects. I just drew the butterflies onto the plastic with a Sharpie pen and then colored in the areas with Derwent Inktense Color Pencils.
I had forgotten just how much the plastic shrinks when heated so I did a really large one and a smaller one. I found out it shrinks almost 50%.
Shrinky Dink Butterflies BEFORE baking
Brilliant Butterflies after baking
As the plastic shrinks the colors become 'concentrated' and transform into deep, brilliant colors.
The larger butterly was approximately 6 inces across before baking, now it is about 3 inches from wing tip to wing tip. Smaller one was about 3" and now about and inch and a half.
Now I just need to figure out a way to use them in another project. I could always bead around them!

I can't wait to see all the wonderful insects that the other team members and guest participants have created for this month's challenge. You can click on the links below to check out all the bugs!


Art Elements Team

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