Spalding Embroiderers Tyvek Leaves…..

Yesterday I spent a very enjoyable day in the company of a lovely group of ladies, the Spalding Embroiderers, who meet at Pode Hole Village Hall in the Lincolnshire Fens.  The group had booked me to do a workshop for them, giving me free reign to decide what we would be doing.

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I wanted to offer them something completely different and something I was pretty sure they wouldn’t have done before.  I settled on putting together a workshop to make my Tyvek Leaves.  Tyvek is a wonderful product to work with as it has so many possibilities when it comes to colouring, shaping and distressing.

My blue/green handmade leaf stitched with metallic thread and embellished with tiny coloured beads.

Tyvek leaf with metallic thread and beading.

It felt a bit of a risk as it would involve so many different stages and I wasn’t sure how the group would take to shaping wire frames using pliers.  I needn’t have worried, their enthusiasm and positivity was terrific and the hall was filled with conversation and laughter all through the day!  In fact, putting together this workshop has reminded me of how much fun I had designing my first leaves and it’s been great to get back to making more of them.

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The leaves worked out beautifully.  As you can see, everyone got their leaf to the stage of it having been distressed with the heat gun but unfortunately we ran out of time to get the holes embroidered so they will continue with that at home.  I hope to receive photos of some of the finished leaves as and when they get done.

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A big thank you to all the Spalding Embroidery ladies for making me feel so welcome and for being such wonderful, enthusiastic students! I shall look forward to seeing you all at our next workshop.

 

 

 

Autumn Leaf Challenge…..

A few days ago prolific artist Laura, from Create Art Everyday, blogged about a challenge she is taking up which involves painting a leaf everyday for a month.  You can read about the challenge and where it originated here.  I liked the sound of this so I thought I would have a go…..I don’t do painting so this is a real challenge for me!  Last night saw my first attempt, fortunately I painted two leaves which I hope makes up for not having made the time to do one today!  

  
My idea is to use this challenge to create a “leaf” sketchbook which in turn can be used as a resource for making more Tyvek and Lutradur leaves.  I’m not convinced I can keep up with painting every day but I will do what I can and hopefully I might see an improvement in my painting by the end of the month!

Lutradur Autumn Leaf…..

This is a photograph of two autumn leaves and a leaf skeleton I made from Lutradur.

Autumn Leaf skeleton made from Lutradur

This is a skeleton leaf which I created in response to the 4th quarter challenge from the Felting and Fibre Studio.  The subject matter was chosen by Zed, who specialises in felt making, and it required participants to create something along the lines of “land art”.

My blue/green handmade leaf stitched with metallic thread and embellished with tiny coloured beads.

Tyvek leaf with metallic thread and beading.

My immediate thought was to create an Autumn Leaf, possibly a leaf skeleton, and photograph it with real fallen leaves. I had previously made a couple of leaves from Tyvek which were embellished with metallic threads and beads, but for this challenge I wanted to make a more natural looking leaf.

A photograph showing my painted leaf having the veins sewn on using my Janome sewing machine

The painted leaf has veins sewn on.

I thought I would try out a new material which I had bought a few months ago but not yet made the time to experiment with. It was a heavy weight Lutradur purchased on-line from nid-noi.com Lutradur is one of several Spunbonded textiles which include Tyvek, Evolon and Kunin. These are manmade fibres with strength and flexibility making them ideal for textile art. They can be washed, dyed, painted, printed, stitched, burned, fused, foiled, stenciled, and slashed with ease. You name it, spunbonded textiles can take it.

I began by sketching an outline and coloured the fabric with Inktense blocks. Once the paint was dry I drew the veins, using a Frixion pen. The leaf and the veins were then machine stitched using Gutterman green 100% cotton thread and an open toe embroidery foot. Once the leaf was cut out I used my heat tool to distress it. It was at this stage that I discovered Lutradur doesn’t shrink and distort like Tyvek……it wasn’t reacting as I had thought it would. I had made the leaf larger than it needed to be thinking it would shrivel but it turns out that when you blast Lutradur with heat your work retains its overall shape and size. Having said that, I loved the lacy effect it created and was really pleased with the finished leaf skeleton.

A handmade leaf skeleton with a beautiful lace effect created by heat distressing the fabric.

Distressed Lutradur resulting in a beautiful lace effect.

Three Autumn leaves, two real, the other handmade.

My skeleton leaf created for the Felting and Fibre Studio challenge.

Tyvek leaf…

Tyvek leaf

Tyvek leaf

I’ve been playing with the Tyvek again and this time I had a go at machine stitching the fabric, using the embroidery foot and a metallic thread, onto a metal framework which I made in the shape of a leaf.  I tried colouring it with different mediums and discovered that acrylic paint and felt pens seem to work just as well as the fabric paints.  I love the lacy effect that can be achieved when heat is applied and, having seen the way the shadow is cast on this photo, I am thinking that using this technique I could make some beautiful votive’s.

3D Tyvek Leaf

3D Tyvek Leaf

Getting Creative With Tyvek…

Last week I discovered an exciting new (to me at least!) ‘crafting’ product and, having tried it out yesterday, I thought it worth a mention here.  book cover

My discovery came about as a result of buying a book from The Book Depository called ‘Three Dimensional Embroidery‘ by Janet Edmonds.

It’s a fabulous book packed with the most inspiring illustrations imaginable and great ideas for creating all manner of things with different types of fabrics.  Chapter 5 is all about using ‘manipulated methods’, distorting fabric to create form and texture, and includes a beautiful photograph of what looks like decaying seed pods.   The caption says they were made from fine-weight Tyvek but, although I loved what I was seeing, it didn’t mean a thing to me!  This changed a couple of days later when I was visiting Illustration from bookCrafty Notions in Newark and, lo and behold, there on a shelf near the felting supplies, I spotted a bag of Tyvek…fate or what?  It seems I was meant to try this stuff out!

So, for the uninitiated, what is Tyvek?  Manufactured by DuPont, it’s an extremely durable, man-made fabric, available in different weights.  Being light-weight but very tough, breathable and water-resistant, one of its most popular applications is in the construction industry.  Other uses include industrial packaging, signage and protective workwear.  Its characteristics make it an ideal choice for crafting as it can be coloured using fabric paints, acrylic paint or felt pens.  It can also be die-cut, laminated, embossed, printed onto and stitched, but the real fun begins when you apply heat to it.  This will cause the fabric to shrink and bubble and, if you apply sufficient concentrated heat,  holes will appear creating a beautiful, lacy effect.  I found you can produce some fabulous distressed effects using a heat gun, clothes iron or soldering iron (I didn’t have the latter so I simply held a piece of wire in my pliers and heated it over a gas ring!).

Anyway the result is shown below…my take on the Tyvek seed pods.  The first image was taken after holding the pod over a gas ring, supported on a spatter guard.  The second photo shows the pods after I used the ‘Papermania’ heat tool on them and then added more holes with my home-made soldering iron (hot wire) and added gold metallic thread across some of the larger openings.  My mind is racing with ideas for more ‘manipulated’ projects and I am wondering if I can find a way of combining Tyvek with felting….watch this space!

Tyvek seed pod

My version of the Tyvek seed pod

Stage two saw more holes and the addition of gold metallic thread across some of the larger openings on the green pod.

Stage two saw more holes and the addition of gold metallic thread across some of the larger openings on the green pod.