Tuesday, July 30, 2019

July Art Elements Theme Reveal-Flowers

Hard to believe it is the end of another month-which is a milestone for me as I am now 4 weeks post-op! Yay-I'm getting there.
Marsha chose this month's theme and she chose flowers. Such a perfect theme for mid summer. I am a huge lover of flowers and grow a variety of perennials as well as annuals. They are always an inspiration.

I was a bit late in even thinking about what to create this month. Early in July I was still under the influence of pain medication and was only able to do some watercolor washes and doodling for the Art Elements post. I created several flower doodle drawings that you can see here if you missed it.

Finally when the fog of medication wore off I realized I needed and wanted to create something that had been on my mind for a while. I created some cyanotype prints on fabric a couple years ago that I wrote a blog post about here.  This particular piece has been sitting near my sewing machine begging for my attention. I knew I wanted to either use it as a centerpiece for a larger quilted wall hanging or alter it and do some hand stitching.

I opted for hand stitching-the only thing is I didn't think any of it through before I starting stitching.
Perhaps there was still some brain fog going on. I picked my thread colors and started sketching some flowers across the top of the skull. About half-way through with embroidering the flowers I realized I had no idea what the end results were going to be. The fabric piece was approximately 9.5x11". So did I want to just frame it? Nope. How about just cutting out the skull and flowers and fusing it to another piece of fabric to mount on a canvas or frame? Maybe BUT I was almost half finished with the flowers and knew that if I cut around the stitched flowers I might end up cutting the stitching or I would end up with some ragged edges. What to do???

Before going any further  I decided to see if I could use just a little watercolor to cover the white lacy looking pattern at the top of the fabric. It was actually a plastic placemat that I used for the cyanotype print. It looked cool until I started stitching and the stark contrast of white was too busy with the flowers. So I tried watercolors and of course I got it a little too wet and the watercolors started to bleed into the stitched flowers. YIKES!! So lots of flushing with water to try and remove the color before it set.  Lots of blotting and lots of cursing. This was definitely a lesson in 'what not to do"!  When I finally removed all the color from the stitched areas I was able to tone down the bright white with just a small amount of watercolor. I let the fabric dry thoroughly and decided it was time to make a decision on cutting and fusing to another piece of fabric before I did anymore hand stitching.
As you can see from the previous photo to this one, I kept adding flowers and leaves as needed. My initial sketches just didn't quite seem to be enough.

I knew that black fabric would really set off the colors well so I delicately fused some wonder under to the back of the cyanotype being careful to not put too much pressure on the embroidery so it wouldn't flatten it out. Then I decided on a somewhat oval shape so I could almost cut out all the areas that I didn't like on the cyanotype print. Once it was fused down to the black fabric I stitched around the perimeter with fly-stitches and then went back to finishing the flower wreath on the skull. I decided to have the flowers spill over the edges of the cyanotype onto the black background to ensure that the cyanotype was fully incorporated onto the black. When I was happy with the flowers I decided it needed just a few beads. So I used some size 8° beads with an 11° as an anchor bead to scatter around the feather stitching along the edge of the cyanotype.

I have ironed the black background but have not yet stretched it over a canvas and stapled it to the back. I typically put some quilt batting or a couple of layers of felt between the fabric and canvas before folding over and stapling.  So that is on my agenda for later this week. In the meantime I plan to blog hop and see what everyone else created for this challenge.
Ready to be layered over quilt batting & stapled to a canvas for framing
Thanks to Marsha for pulling me out of my post-op doldrums to get my creative juices flowing again. This was fun and I have a whole series of embroideries planned after this one!

Here's a list of the guest participants and the Art Elements team members. Please enjoy the blog hop.

Guests Participants:
Evie and Beth

Art Elements Blog Contributors:
Cathy You're here!


  1. So beautiful how you let the flowers "spill" over the frame, and the black background is perfect against the colors of the flowers!

  2. Beautiful work! Your french knots look gorgeous. I always enjoyed making them and admiring them. I love the black background.

    1. Thank you Kathy! Yes, I think the black really sets off the brilliant colors.

  3. Thank you for participating in this theme Cathy! I am so happy you are on the other side of your surgery and well into your recovery. I want to go back and read up on your other posts to see about the process (thanks for taking the time to link them up!). I love how your eye for color and design really makes a piece come to life. And the play between the skull and flowers is delightful on so many levels!

    1. Thank you so much Marsha! I really enjoyed getting back into the swing of things.

  4. It was interesting to read about your process here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The final result is stunning! I'm glad you are through the worst of your post-OP recovery.

  5. Thank you so much Linda!! I am so glad to be well on the road to recovery also.

  6. I was curious in the beginning where you were going with your project, but the end results are beautiful! I love your piece.

    1. OH thank you so much!! I had been wanting to use the cyanotype print for a while. I thought flowers would be perfect. Almost like a Dia de los Muertos piece.

  7. Glad you're recovering well. I can't believe it's been 4 weeks already! Looks like you're keeping well occupied though. I love that design!

  8. This is so completely awesome. When I grow up, I want my stitches to look as neat as yours.

  9. This piece is so beautiful! Makes me try stitching (on my to-do list for a long time) :) Sharing trials and errors is so special, thank you!

  10. I admire anyone with the patience for such detailed stitch work and you have some patience! that is a lovely piece, the colours on the flowers really pop.

  11. I hate that month was so rough for you and hope that you're healing up well. As for your contribution, it's beautiful! I adore all the thought and care you put into it, even if there was a little accident, it all worked out marvelously in the end.

  12. I love how you contrasted the simplicity of the cyanotype print with the extravagance of the flowers. It is quite striking. I wish you a speedy(ier) recovery and look forward to seeing new art from you..

  13. I really love that cyanotype print and how you decided to stitch on it - I'm always in awe of your talents, Cathy, this was a great idea! Even with brain fog you have great ideas!

  14. I love this! What a fantastic cyanotype print to start with - and the flowers made it perfect!


Wishing you peace, love & chocolate!

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