Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Seed Pod Theme Reveal

I think I say this every month but it's so true..."I can't believe time flies so quickly and we're already at the end of another month!" So here we go again with Art Elements' reveal of another fun month of creating-- Jen's theme for the month-seed pods.

I also always start with grandiose plans and life inevitably gets in the way.  The creative juices start churning and the biggest problem is that I have so many ideas brewing that I can't get to them all. I find myself starting numerous pieces and then realizing I can't finish them all, so I console myself with concentrating on one or two pieces.

First off, I ordered some natural silk cocoons. I have used some in the past for previous projects that were already dyed., but I wanted to dye my own and then use them in some way to depict seed pods.
Natural silk cocoons on left. Fiber reactive dyes & dyed cocoons top right, lower right cocoons still in dye bath.
Once they were dyed, I decided to create some seed pods with bits of a nuno felted scarf I made but never really liked.
First nuno felted scarf I made and didn't really know what I was doing. Perfect color for seed pods!

I wanted the pods to look a bit like lotus seed pods,  so I cut the scarf up and used it to gather around some silk cocoons. I stitched it all together, gathering fabric where needed and stitching through seed pods as well. Once I did that, I needed to figure out what the heck I was going to do with the pods.
Seed pods made from nuno felted fabric and silk cocoons.

Seed pods created with nuno felted fabric and silk cocoons.
Once the seed pods were stitched I used some 28g wire to wire them directly onto a twig. The thin gauge will easily thread directly through the felt to attach it firmly. Then I used some wooly wire to create some tendrils along the branch around the pods. It didn't turn out exactly like I envisioned but it's definitely something I would like to explore more in the future. I really like created in 3-d with felt and the silk cocoons really a fun element.

The beautiful red pods in the first photo actually dried to such a deep red that they almost look black. I left them in the dye bath a tad too long. I had intended to make a necklace with those red 'pods' and will probably get to it sometime later. But they got put on the back burner while I played with my lino and carving tools.

Lino carved poppy pods left upper, left lower-inked with brown fabric ink. Right side a mono print onto eco dyed fabric.
This was the first time I have made a lino print since high school. I realize my tools are not that great, I should invest in some higher quality but I was still pretty pleased with how it turned out. My initial plan was to print onto fabric and then do some stitching and possibly beading. Then I got the idea to use a piece of fabric that I had eco printed on last fall. It was the perfect background for the poppy pods.
Lino printing onto previously eco printed fabrics.
The top fabric above was my first 'test' print on muslin fabric with speckled leaf prints. The second printing onto heavy cotton that had very subtle ghost prints left by leaves was the one I chose to start stitching on. After the lino prints were done I also used a thermofax screen to print the Queen Anne's Lace seed heads on with Jacquard's Lumiere paint in bronze and silver. Then I used a carved wood block to add some more elements beneath the plants/pods along the 'ground' level.
Close-up of left side of printed fabric. This was the first poppy pod printing with ink.
Close-up of right side of fabric. These poppy pods were printed with the leftover ink from the first printing.

This is as far as I've gotten with stitching.

I initially planned to just cut the fabric beneath the ground level above but I really like the bottom half of the eco printed fabric so this is probably one of those pieces that will continue to 'grow'. I think I need to stitch some deep roots on the pods and a whole underground network. So stay tuned to see how this gets finished.
You can see the whole piece here with the shadows underneath the plants/pods just begging for lots more stitching!

Lino prints on paper.
I also had to try my lino cut with some paper and my gelli plate. Above photos are: top left black ink directly on lino and printed on paper. Above right I put way too much blue ink on my gelli plate then re-inked my lino with black ink and stamped it onto the gelli plate over the blue ink, then pressed my paper over the gelli plate. Lower left, is the second pull off the gelli plate which I really like! Then the bottom right is the third print I pulled from the gelli plate. It may be my favorite!
Now I understand why everyone is so gaga over monoprinting and gelli plate printing!!! Who knew it was so much fun? 
I was determined to keep playing with this little lino cut, soooo I found an old paper that I had printed using transfer paints to transfer to fabric. I had painted this in a workshop using stamps (leaf & spiral)I made years ago with plumber's rubber sheeting and mounted on wood.
Poppypods printed onto previously painted surface

And last but not least, I had some lovely little pod like ceramic pieces from foxpaw beads.
I have been wanting to use them somehow/someway, so this was the perfect time to play with making a necklace using one of the pods.
Lovely textured pod hanging from a hand knotted necklace.

I used some thin nylon cord to string on some seed beads to hang from inside the pod. The mala type necklace was created using a combination of matte African turquoise beads and black lava beads strung onto the same nylon cord, then hand knotting between the beads.

I still have lots of seed pod ideas swirling in my head. Maybe I will get to them one day along with all the other stuff I want to create.

I can't wait to see the seed pod creations from the AE members and all our guests that are playing along this month.

Grab a cuppa and settle in for some inspiring artwork.
Here's the list:
Guest Artists:
Art Elements Team: 


  1. The lotus seed pods turned out fab and they make for an eye-catching organic sculpture! Your lino printing experiments look so cool and I like all the effects, you can mix and match them for some pretty collage art!

  2. Wow you have been busy, Love the lotus heads, but the printing and stitched piece is stunning, I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops

  3. I don't even know where to start. So many different things to see, so many details, so much to love! I think the lotus heads are my favorite, though.

  4. I seriously don't know where you get all these amazing ideas but WOW your pods are all so amazing! And the lotus seed pods - yes, gorgeous! The printed and stitched piece is my fave as well! I'm in awe!

  5. WOW~ I mean WOW!!! I'm SO in love with your cocoon and felt lotus pods all the way down to the fuzzy tendrils. I don't know why, but I just want to touch them and admire them. Such a creative visual!!!

    Of course you already know that I am a huge fan of the printed fabric with stitching that you've been working on. I would love to hang something like that on my wall where I see it when I work! I can't wait to see what you add to it moving forward. I really like the idea of the complex root structure for the lower half. SO many possibilities.

    I did hand knotting ONCE to make a mala for a friend. That is tedious work for me but I'm sure people would say that about the hand stitching that I find relaxing and addictive. Beautiful work!!!

  6. The lotus seed pods are beautiful, and your lino prints are awesome! Yes, it'd be wonderful if you add in a below-ground view into that one piece. :)

  7. Wow...so much in this post, I don't know where to begin or end...so I'll just say "fantastic"!!

  8. Dang! You got a LOT accomplished this month. And all of it is so stunning. I am always amazed at what you do with some fabric, needle and thread along with a few other bits and bobs. The linocut is perfect for so many things. You could make your own set of handmade monoprinted cards too. I am so glad you played along this month!

  9. You made some really wonderful things. I love the last pod necklace. It is spectacular in color and design.

  10. Blimey you did so much!! those felted pods are awesome, I really love those and your monoprints.

  11. Cathy, your felted lotus seed pods are gorgeous! Such a great combo with the silk cocoons. Did I miss it or have you said if it's a wall hanging?
    Actually, ALL of your ideas turned out great. I really like the focal that pairs wonderfully with your choice of beads.
    And the stitched lino printed WIP ... can't wait to see the progress on that!

  12. My mind is all a swirl. The felt! I have a few cocoons I wanted tout things IN - the opposite to your gorgeous assemblage. The Lino - you had me there. Love the print but the fabric? Wow. And then you stitched? Oh heavens. I cannot wait to see where this goes! And then you Gelli printed. Ok knock me over with a feather. LOVE. MUST TRY. And then a necklace - do you ever sleep?

  13. I love (and am in awe!) of all of your creations! What really, really gets me is your wonderful textile art: the dyed fabric, the printing with your carved lino, the added depth by the screen, and how you bring it all together and create such stunning and wonderful depth with your stitching. You have a wonderful eye for colour, design, composition... and the organic vibe really speaks to me!

  14. I love your lotus pods with cocoons and your textile prints. I included your creations as a part of a fashion Trend forecast we created at a recent workshop. Our instructor who was also once my teacher remarked that seed pods are going to be a big trends in the next few seasons. Thank you for inspiring my presentation.

  15. WOW you created so many beautiful pieces Cathy, I really like what you did with the cocoons and the tendrils look great, and then your lino cut (I have tried lino cutting several times and it is not easy) I love those especially the one on fabric with the stiching, it just looks so organic and has so much texture and detail, beautiful!

  16. The necklace is gorgeous. The wooly lotus pods are delightfully whimsical. But that printed and stitched fabric piece is simply stunning. I love everything about it, from the colors to the details.

  17. I love coming to your blog Cathy, it's always a treat to see your wonderful creations. The cocoon pods are stunning, the printing and embroidery, and the jewellery... all beautiful!

  18. Cathy, those natural silk cocoons make my heart sing! ♥


Wishing you peace, love & chocolate!

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