Sunday, March 29, 2009

Its done!

I have finished my jellyfish! And here it is. Of course, in person its a lot more sparkly and detailed than can possibly be depicted here, but you see the gist of it. I love it! Stingy and mysterious and dark and deep.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

In the home stretch!

I was very productive today with artistic endeavors and even with cleaning (vacuuming most of the house)! Whew! I certainly didn't start out he day planning to do that; it just happened somehow. Anyway, all the sewing is done so today I had the finishing chores in front of me. Here I have cut the erstwhile sleeve from the backing fabric. It is 9" tall by the width of the piece -1". I have double folded and ironed the edges here.

Its a little hard to see but I have sewn up the sleeve (a tube, really) and pinned it to the back of the jellyfish. This has to be hand sewn so that the stitches won't show on the front. This tube will then house a wooden slat that can be threaded with some wire or wall mounted on two nails.

This is how I sign my pieces: with a small tag sewn behiond the lower right corner of the piece with the title, my name and the date. I make them up ahead of time and keep a supply on hand. As you can see, I have named this piece "Benthic Medusa."

Normally, I would be done at the above stage. But I had in mind some further embellishments that I thought would be somewhat delicate and so would not be amenable to the handling involved in all of the manipulations of the last stage. Remember those bobbles? Here they are again and I'm going to glue them down with...wait for it...glitter glue. How much fun is that???!!

The bobbles are in place now--don't they look cool? And if you check Haeckel's original plate (see the first post on 3-18-09) there really are some little spherules arranged on the large tentacles.

I've used the glitter glue to add some highlights and sparkle all over. Here is a close-up of the jellyfish cap.

I'll post the whole, completed jellyfish tomorrow!

Friday, March 27, 2009

OK--what about MY jellyfish??

Its been a busy day and I've been putting the final touches on my jellyfish. More quilted details including yet another color of Angelina fibers at the top of the jellyfish cap. This one is called "purple flash".

Here's the fluff of the purple flash prior to ironing. I need a long, skinny shape so I have pulled it out appropriately.

And here it is all ironed and hot-fixed.

The shape I had left over looked very like a mustache so I asked Fiona to model it for me. I think she is quite fetching in an iridescent blue mustache, don't you?

Its pretty small, but I think you can make out the purple flash at the top of the cap.

The flower organ (you remember that thing, right?) also cried out for some jazzing up. After some deliberation, I chose to quilt and embellish at the same time by going around the central watermelon pink embroidery with some hot pink metallic thread. Its jazzy all right (in a thready kind of way).

So here's the whole thing. Pretty much done (at least with all of the sewing).

Now its time for a careful ironing (can't let the bare, hot iron touch the Angelina fibers) to flatten everything into one plane. Then I trim the whole thing down to a regular rectangle. Its a persnickety job that involves a lot of measuring. If its not cut square now, it will hang funny and look off forever.

The raw edges have to be finished in some way or other--there are lots of options. For representational artquilts of this type, I usually use my machine's blanket stitch all the way around a couple of times. If there is some of the white batting still showing egregiously, I darken it with a black sharpie.

More of Ed's Art and... an Art Duel!

Ed has been sharing some of his smaller pen and ink pieces with me. Amazing, intricate, wry, amusing all come to mind as descriptions. This forest scene is my favorite.

Since he loves the small scale (which also intrigues me), I had an inspiration and challenged him to an "art duel". I had received some miniature canvases in my goody bag from Nude Nite (see the post from 3-16-09). We will both use these tiny canvases (they are 2"x3") to create some art in the medium of our choice. We will have a week to complete our works and then I will post them on this blog and let folks vote for their favorites by leaving comments. Everyone has to promise to be objective! And not leave multiple posts (surely not!). I'm very excited about the whole process!! Here's a pic of one of those canvasses--they're really small!

More Jellyfish art

The jellyfish are multiplying at our house. Here is my son, Ed's (14) rendition.

I am just blown away by how we all influence each other and how different all of our jellyfish are. So cool. I think it really illustrates the organic nature of individual creativity. None of us creates in a vacuum.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quilting proceeds...

I have actually been getting a lot done in the quilting department but it is a slow process so I haven't posted in a couple of days. Here is what I have gotten done so far--all of the black background (ugh, quilting on black with black thread!) and quite a bit of the jellyfish cap. I'm posting large pics so the stitching shows up. Luckily, I have a macro setting on my digital camera that works pretty well!

I'm really on the home stretch as far as sewing is concerned. I still have some embellishment in mind (stay tuned for that!) and of course I have to finish the edges and sew on a sleeve for hanging.

We're all about jellyfish around here!

It seems that jellyfish are the art subject du jour at our house. My daughter, Fiona (10), recently created her own jellyfish with colored pencils. I think it turned out rather nicely!

Monday, March 23, 2009

And it starts to get glittery...

Hi all. I decided that I needed some more glitz so now that the small tentacles are done, I've turned to my favorite shiny stuff: Angelina fibers. Here it is in the little packets it comes in. Its loose, fluffy stuff.

Here is some of the loose Angelina in the gold color. It also has some flashes of iridescent blue in it too.

Now comes the magic! A quick hot iron application and--Voila! The fibers have all heat fixed to each other and formed a sheet that can be cut and sewn. I sandwich the fibers between 2 silicone sheets for the actual ironing process (you can use tissue paper, too.)

Here's a bunch of the other color I used: Calypso Blue. KInd of in the same color range as the blue flashes in the gold stuff.

And here is the sheet it made after ironing.

Using a tracing paper template (just can't do without that stuff!) I cut and placed some ridges on the jellyfish cap.

And here are the echoing ridges on the inside of the cap. These are pretty filmy pieces, I'll have to be pretty careful sewing/quilting them down.
That's all for today!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Quilting has begun...

I'm excited to have started on the actual quilting today. Hopefully it will show up in the pictures. Of course, quilting always, but always looks better in person. No matter how many pictures I take or how good they are, something is always lost in a photo of the fine details of the textural stitching and the three dimensional aspect. This is the "quilt sandwich" the top is face down, the batting is the white stuff. The fishy fabric will be the backing--have to keep with the marine theme!

Here is the sandwich all safety pinned together.

The safety pins are "quilter's pins"--they have a curve in them to aid in getting them to pierce all three layers of the sandwich.

This is what the tentacles look like prior to the quilting. The yarn is tacked down to the top but I need to sew through all three layers now.

I have now sewn through all layers (=quilting) with a dark pink thread in a jagged zig-zag stitch. I thought it would look more stingy and tentacley and it does. (trust me, in person it looks very stingy and icky!)

And then my daughter snuck up on me and took my picture as I was sewing. Thanks, Fiona!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Minor progress

Not too much to report today. I had to work this morning and was caught up with many, many errands in the afternoon. Life beckoned. But I did get a little sewing done so here it is. The five skinny tentacles are sewn down and the last is pinned down. Love it! I thought it might be interesting to see the back as well so that it is. You can see all of the thread tails and where I have trimmed the excess fabric. Quilting is next so I'm really trying to come up with a quilting pattern plan. I'll likely just echo all of the shapes and structures that are already there. It always sounds boring but ends up looking sharp.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The jellyfish starts to come together

More progress to report. Doesn't look like a whole lot, but it actually took a fair amount of persnickety sewing. Here are the three back tentacles all sewn down--l love the way they look; exactly the effect that I was going for.

I've laid down the loose jellyfish to get the exact placement here. I'm excited by the effect.

All of the large tentacles have been added and after a lot of meticulous sewing, the jellyfish (including the flower-like organ at the terminus of the projecting tube) is all sewn down. Whew! I have three more of the thin tentacles to go and then after a bit of final neatening and detail sewing, its time for the quilting.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Here is where I left off--a detached jellyfish. Hmmm, what are those little bobbles off to the side on the work surface (my stained ironing board, btw) ?? I'll not divulge their role just yet, but aren't they cute?

The central tube has a flower-like end organ so I sketched it out on tracing paper here.

I chose a very light, almost chartreuse, yellow for the organ. Here it is all cut out and laid down. Notice I traced the center details in pencil as a sewing guideline for myself.

And now I've embroidered that detail in some delicious watermelon pink thread. Don't worry about all of the loose threads--they'll be trimmed and tucked in the back out of sight.

Time for tentacles! I've traced out the larger ones on my original tracing paper template. I like their curves.

Here I've already made the tentacles with more of that transparent pattern fabric and laid them in place. Hey--they look pretty good! I can't sew them all down at once--some go on the jellyfish itself and some go on the background with the jellyfish on top of them. Careful planning is key!

Now its time for the long, thin tentacles. I'm using some pink yarn that is variable in thickness. I've got it laid out here in a possible configuration.

Here's my first tentacle pinned into place. I will couche it down (now there's a good word!) with some slightly sparkly/iridescent thread. You can see the chalk outline for the body of the jellyfish so that the placement is not lost.

Stay tuned!