Seasonal Fibers Tree

Title:   Seasonal Tree of Fibers

Materials:

  • ¼ “ hot rolled steel rod
  • Copper wire, 1/8 to ¼ in diameter, recycled from construction electrical wires
  • Fibers
    • Fall – animal protein fibers (wool overdye, Angora, Wool, and silk)
    • Winter – metals  (copper, silver, gold)
    • Spring – synthetics ( rayon, metallics, metalized polyester, viscose, nylon)
    • Summer – plant proteins (linen, cotton, flax, bamboo)

Manufacturers used: DMC, Anchor, Rainbow Gallery, Kreinik, Excella, Caron, House of Embroidery, Weeks Dye works, The Thread Gatherer, Renaissance Designs, Edmar Co., Glisten Gloss.

  • Wood base from a tree limb
  •  Alene’s leather glue, clear drying
  • Old Master’s Tong oil
  • Clear acrylic spray

Techniques:

Rolled Steel rod was cut into 4 pieces of 25 inches each, cleaned on wire wheel and initial bends made using vise, and hand bending.  Then the four “trunk/limbs’’ TIG welded together.  This was later reinforced with more welding to give additional strength so the upper parts could get more bends.  Welds were ground down on grinder belt and smoothed with sander.  Wood block was sanded and old bark removed then the wood was oiled twice with tong oil and left to dry for 24 hours.  The base metal was bent to form a ‘’rooting’’ similar to the tree I used as inspiration. Photo # 1.  Four holes were drilled on drill press using a 9/16 th inch drill bit. (Original plan was to use epoxy to secure base in the holes but the fit was perfect.) Base legs of tree were inserted in holes and the upper tree was bent a bit more, by hand, to give better shape.  Metal was re-sanded at this point by hand.   The copper wire was stripped of plastic (very difficult to do) and select lengths were wrapped around the upper tree limbs. Then tree was sprayed with clear acrylic spray to help avoid direct metal contact with fibers.  After another 24 hour dry time and buffing with soft cloth the fibers were attached.   Attachment was done with half hitches of fiber bundles and then they were lightly glued to insure they stayed in place. The metals were not glued. Lastly the threads were steamed to get out most of the wrinkles and then trimmed with scissors to give uniform length. (except the metals)

Successes: 

The entire tree looks finished and the fibers color shift worked well.  The wood block gives the needed stability to the project and overall it looks colorful.

Failures:

The initial idea of more welds would not help the overall design. Also the use of brazing copper wire to limbs to make the copper stay in place did not give enough spaces for the number of fibers I wanted to use. (this was tested on scrap metal to verify if idea would work)  And the idea of adding weld buttons to top of each limb to hold the fibers would have taken away from the smooth shape I was going for.

This project continues my exploration into trees as a theme for my art.  The openness and the smooth lines of this sculpture help keep the simplicity of design.  Use of recycled wire, left over fibers and rescued wood show how nothing is going to waste at my house!

(for detailed fiber as to color code, mfg, and color name please ask… it is in my original sketch book)

Chicken Legs I Experimental stitchery

This was an attempt to use artist canvas to incorporate stitchery (embroidery) onto a painted canvas. This is the first of a series I am working on.

Photo 1. Painted with acrylic paint and stitched with Rainbow Gallery Bravo cotton thread using a # 20 needle. Multiple stitches mostly of woven types (better view of stitches in next photo) Art canvas 9.5 in X 7..5 in.

Photo 2. Close view showing L. to R. half hitch, twisted half hitch, long couching, over under weaving over 3 threads, couching, bullion and long stitches.

Photo 3. Back view showing canvas stapled to frame (commercial purchase already on frame) and threads pulled thru to back.

Lessons learned: Let paint dry at least a week. Use sharp needle and try not to pierce canvas until you are sure of the location, small white spots in canvas will peak thru. I would have been better off using a table clamp to secure the canvas but since it was small it was not too bad to work with. (All projects in this series will be on the 9.5 by 7.5 inch canvas) Tension can be tricky and doing the bullion was not great. I had forgotten how to do the stitch then the cotton thread with the wrong twist (S twist) did not like to behave! I learned the bullion stitch using Brazilian method. I will attempt this stitch again using Brazilian rayon thread and correct “Z” twist.

NOTE: just as in many types of stitchery around the world, Bullion stitch is done in different fibers and methods depending upon the country. Brazilian is the raised embroidery done with the “Z” twist rayon threads. In Australia, the more common “S” twist and everything from cotton to wool to silk is used with beautiful results. At a later point in my experimenting I will do a sampler of each type.

Chicken Legs I Experimental stitchery

This was an attempt to use artist canvas to incorporate stitchery (embroidery) onto a painted canvas. This is the first of a series I am working on.

Photo 1. Painted with acrylic paint and stitched with Rainbow Gallery Bravo cotton thread using a # 20 needle. Multiple stitches mostly of woven types (better view of stitches in next photo) Art canvas 9.5 in X 7..5 in.

Photo 2. Close view showing L. to R. half hitch, twisted half hitch, long couching, over under weaving over 3 threads, couching, bullion and long stitches.

Photo 3. Back view showing canvas stapled to frame (commercial purchase already on frame) and threads pulled thru to back.

Lessons learned: Let paint dry at least a week. Use sharp needle and try not to pierce canvas until you are sure of the location, small white spots in canvas will peak thru. I would have been better off using a table clamp to secure the canvas but since it was small it was not too bad to work with. (All projects in this series will be on the 9.5 by 7.5 inch canvas) Tension can be tricky and doing the bullion was not great. I had forgotten how to do the stitch then the cotton thread with the wrong twist (S twist) did not like to behave! I learned the bullion stitch using Brazilian method. I will attempt this stitch again using Brazilian rayon thread and correct “Z” twist.

NOTE: just as in many types of stitchery around the world, Bullion stitch is done in different fibers and methods depending upon the country. Brazilian is the raised embroidery done with the “Z” twist rayon threads. In Australia, the more common “S” twist and everything from cotton to wool to silk is used with beautiful results. At a later point in my experimenting I will do a sampler of each type.