This week I am inspired by Ruth Rae who makes little piles of fabric, paper & treasure & stitches them all together making beautifully messy soft lacey gorgeous collages. I'm working from her article in Cloth Paper Scissors Sept/Oct '07 called "whispered words, ethereal fragment squares" Each part of that title appeals! My challenge is to work in pale creamy fabric - Ruth has used lime green lace & scrim but I thought I'd stick to pale.
Feel free to skim or just look at the pictures! I'm put off by great blocks of words, too & I can see a couple here!
First I gathered together my fabrics, I never realised I had so much pale stuff!
cotton, calico, builders scrim silky & lacey bits
And my papers (lots of those!) - sheets of music, book pages & I added a rusted piece & a tea bag (sans tea).
then the treasures
These are what I could lay my hands on quickly, Ruth had twigs & broken bits of jewellery, too. She'd added words to dominos & had starfish, rusty keys in the mix. She gets her words from her vintage books so you can cut out from books or magazines 'meaningful' words or stamp them yourself & add those to the pile.
A few stamps; I used a butterfly & a celtic heart & would have used my own carved spiral but I couldn't find it , drew it instead. I stamped them on watercolor paper & tore interesting edges. I tinted these with terracotta stamp pads, gold on top. Gold edged some of the book papers too. Note to fingers - use thinner paper to stamp on if you're hand stitching later! Ruth suggested stamping organza but I forgot that & did the paper instead!
I made this one above first, as a sample & my DH, bless him said it was great, mount it & frame it! Oh! So I added the lace at the bottom & the linen backing to make it more substantial.
Ruth advises 2 ways of coloring your fabric & paper. coffee stain - 1/4 cup of instant coffee (not sure how many teaspoons in there) to 5 cups of very hot water. Wet fabric first then steep in mix for 30 mins. Blot papers & for added effect, sprinkle both with a few coffee granules for a 'spekled' effect, add some coffee water to deepen stain. Dry.
The other way is with acrylic paint - wet fabrics, one part paint to 5 parts water, mix & dip, blotting the papers. Keep going till you like what you see.
Well I had to use a key, didn't I! Shame I didn't straighten it but I do love that these things are loose inside.
Ruth says to cut/tear some fabric 7x7. place on top of felt or batting. Add book text, then lay out 'elements' you want to trap under fabrics, add layer of cheesecloth or organza, add layer of 'altered' & stamped paper or fabric or lace. Pin if you need to & sew a running stitch along edges & around the treasures to keep them in place, adding 'hidden' elements & snippets as you go, making little pockets. You can machine quilt a little design here & there.
I found that things fell out all over the place but with this way of working you can start from the bottom & lay everything out or stitch down bit by bit, or you can start from the top & make a few 'pockets' & then lay those out on top of a half made piece. Practice, play! I decided to do more than one as I might as well while I had the spare double bed covered in everything (or is this what sensible people usully do?) I do enjoy just making little squares, I mean thumbnail size or inchy size without really knowing where they will end up. That way you make your own 'treasures' or embellishments or medallions, whatever you want to call them - my favorite word for them is jewels, lovely, fires my imagination. This is where Ruth stopped but did suggest you/we could add further beads & embellishments. I did on some of them untill my eyes started to fall out!
Not the 'squarest' creations in the world - they do look better rolled up. Even better on a wrist ;)
Now I need to clear that 'spare bed' it's in the eldests old room where my sewing is taking over more & more ( why waste it) but where we need to move into as we've got a few nights B& B next week, wonderful!