Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Scrap Adventures Hit It With Everything You've Got

Last week, I turned a silk ear into a sow's purse, in the form of a squarish silk scrap dupioni piece that turned into a barely tolerable bowl
At about the same time I created a long strip in a similar way - laying silk scraps on muslin, then freemotion stippling on top.  Like the bowl, the initial results didn't impress me.
But then I happened to go through my yarn stash, searching for a take-along crochet project for our Hawaii vacation. I came across a bag of yarn scraps, including lots of metallics and tinsel and embroidery thread and what-not.  I started peeling it apart and strewing mini-clots with abandon:
Next, from my sheer stash, I dug out an old garlic bag (the lavender netting), and various strips of tulle - sparkly blue, gold with glitter, off white, etc, I distributed them on top. 
The more I buried it, the more I liked it: 
You can't just start stitch over this. The presser foot will catch under every thread.  If I owned a felting machine, it could have just pounded the layers together.  Fortunately, there's a cheap and effective alternative: Cover the chaos with water-soluble stabilizer (I use Solvy)...
...Then freemotion stitch on top with a decorative thread....
...Once the stitching is done, soak it to remove the Solvy. Since I didn't stitch too tightly, I decided to just tear the Solvy away.
By the time I was done, I didn't just like it  - by gosh, I loved it! 
The back was a non-colorful mess (I ran down random bobbins), but I had to do one more thing before covering my tracks. I crossed two 18" pieces of floral wire on the back and hand basted them in place. They fit perfectly, from corner to corner. 
When we returned from Hawaii, I fused a blue dupioni silk to the back side: 
And I bent....
...and bent...
It felt like an oceanic seascape. Iridescent algae, tropical fish, and seagull shadows? Plastic bags, water bottles, lost jewelry? I tossed a broken rhinestone necklace on top. 
That looked poignant, and made me think of the Titanic. It also reminded me of the expensive prescription glasses I'd just mysteriously lost on a Hawaiian beach, possibly abducted by the local chickens or dolphins (Somewhere off Kauai there's a fortunate farsighted dolphin wearing Transitions (r) progressives). Going with the lost valuables theme,  I tossed on a few vintage metallic buttons. 
...and tested different bends: 
The more I bent it, the more I realized I had something else stuck in the back of my head. It finally came to me - in Hawaii, we not only experienced multiple H2O waves, but also glass ocean waves. I saw these glass sculptures in several galleries, first in Kela's Gallery, a fantastic glass shop just up the street from Vickie's Fabric in Kapaa (described in my blog post two weeks ago). Here's one from  Kela's. (Google 'glass ocean wave sculpture' and you'll see many variations by many different artists.)
Eureka! My piece wanted to be like that. I curled under one end and found a netted produce bag to pin on for the foam.... 

That's a definite maybe! I'm also going to experiment with lace. When finished, it can serve as an elaborate gigantic coaster: or a nightstand piece to park my replacement Costco eyeglasses (insurance isn't paying); or as a coffee table conversation piece.

Or not. There are other choices as well. If I hadn't put in wire,  and folded two edges to the middle,  I could have a  hypothetical cocktail purse:
Hypothetical, because I am so rarely invited to cocktails (Pause for pity party ). Or, I could roll it and set it sideways and make a base, as a vase/basket
Or, I could cut it apart to make a more structured vessel.  A pillbox hat? A doormat? Speculation welcomed! 


  1. Cathy, thanks so much for sharing your creative process! Too often, I just give up after that first sight of something rather messy and dispirited. I am sure there is a metaphor in their about how we respond to life in general.......

    1. Miriam, I give up plenty on all kinds of things...but somehow I have this deepseated belief that when a quilted thing is hideous, you should just pile things on top of it. Sometimes it works better than others. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I agree with you Cathy, in this case more is more ....great! Lots of fun. I am interested in the wire background and waiting to see what you do with that. I have tried putting wire structures into pieces, once it was just free motion on solve, but I could quite come up with something interesting. I love the oceanic notion. And I'm curious about the lace, might it be the froth of the waves?
    We'll see.

    1. Exactly, Daniela, I was thinking that the frothy foam could be made from lace. Possibly stiffened lace? I have some vintage lace that's been in my stash for years that I'm thinking needs testing. I like the produce bag, too, because it is kind of mathematical....I've just started dabbling in wire, I have a lot to learn, especially what to do at its ends....thanks for the nice comment!

  3. I don't know what it is either, but it is fabulous! Perhaps the Hawaiian vacation did more than rest your weary bones. It is oceanic, it is warm, I love it!

    I remember i did a course once at the Royal School of Needlework in London
    That resembled your idea.
    Payed a lot of money for the day.
    This is a Masterpiece. I love it.
    Zipora widawski / antwerp /belgium

    1. Gee, Zipora, I'm glad SOMEONE out there is getting rich having this kind of fun!!! (The Royal School of Needlework, that is.) Thanks for your nice comment!!!

  5. I really love what you have done with your original work. So creative! I can't decide which I like best but water themes are always popular with me. I admire your creativity! Vivian

    1. Thanks, Vivian. I love water themes, too! Though this one involves detritus on the water....hmmmm.....

  6. I love the wave concept! The evolution from a project that you didn't like to the ultimate creation was very interesting to follow. You are truly creative!

  7. Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing!


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