One of the hardest things I have to do in my life as a fiber artist is say “good-bye” to my work when it is sold. I work hard to create works that delight me and sing to my soul. There is a piece of me in each work of art…my imagination at the very least. There is a sadness behind my eyes when I carefully package my work and take it to the post office. Sometimes after I have paid postage I have actually picked the package back up as if to take it back home with me. That is why I take tons of photos of every little thing I make. I keep them in albums (I am starting on a third) and look through them from time to time to remember the work I have done as well as remind myself of the work that is still in there waiting to be expressed.
The Dandelion Gala is on its way to Australia along with a Majestic Dragonfly Pendant. Deep Breath. I love this piece. And there will never be another just like it. It was part of my Snappy Couture Gala line that I love so much. Farewell sweet Dandelion.
The Dandelion Gala
My heart is now wrapped up in a framed piece I hope to be listing later today and another Gala necklace dedicated to Spring.
I am celebrating the lovely and so often rejected Dandelion in a way that will not lead anyone to spray their lawns with caustic substances, stab at it with sharp tools or yank on it with gloved fingers. A beautiful Gala for the sadly abhorred blossom. I worked on this over the 5 days we spent in a cabin in March for our birthdays and anniversary. I began with the nearly dozen layer golden flower and tatted the different leaves and flowers together as much as possible. The larger than life Dandelion is shuttle tatted with a variety of glass beading worked into the layers. The shimmer and sparkle is wonderful.
The flower alone took several hours to complete. Beads must be strung on the cordonnet in advance and pulled into the tatting as I work. So it is knot, loop, knot, bead, knot….and so on. The knots, loops, and beads of each layer are counted in advance and graphed on paper. A time consuming process but enjoyable and so worth the time.
The leaf design was made especially for this piece. I used the holly design that I have made before for other fiber art works as seen on this barrette. http://www.etsy.com/listing/68380804
I made the stem twist tighter, the beginning narrower and end wide and added lockstitches at the edges to make the stitiches turn in. I was trying to give the leaves the rounded but jagged look of true dandelion leaves. I used references from the internet to redesign the leaf pattern. Several attempts were made before I was happy with the effect.
I used two weights of leaf green cordonnet to make the leaves and changed the core thread to give more dimension. I wanted the larger leaf to stand out more and used a dark gold thread at the core which leaves little flecks of color through the leaf adding brightness and congruency. The two smaller leaves have an evergreen core thread making them recede a little and deepen in color slightly. Finally, when I worked the outside chain, it was reversed so the edges curl up. I like that effect. It feels fresh and natural to me.
This is a photo of my work station beside my chair in the cabin. It was so nice to have all of my stuff out for days and not have to worry about curious kitties dragging things off! You can see my thread balls, beads, tons of shuttles, needles, hooks, embroidery scissors and a few comfort things like chapstick and Udder Cream hand lotion which keeps my worn hands soft but does not stain threads and fabric. The blue cup is for snipped thread ends. I get very bothered by loose ends…imagine that!
After the main flower and leaves are tatted together I began to make ” Teeny Tats”, tiny one ring flowers that I named when I began making notecards. http://www.etsy.com/listing/71546370
I could have stopped with just the Dandelion and its leaves but I wanted purple to set off the gold and the Teeny Tats are an adorable way to add color without detracting from the design. I had to decide how many and where to position the Teenies. So, laying the motif flat I move the little flowers around. I placed the richer colors and heavier weight threads closer to the Dandelion and faded them out to the very finest and lightest Teenies at the edges. I took a photo of where they are to be placed so I can remove them while I work but still have a reference saving me time. In the end I did not use all of them and the remainder go into a small round box to be used on other projects. Each Teenie was hand sewn into the work using its own ends. A glass bead was sewn into each center for sparkle. For pricing, I add 3 minutes for each Teenie plus the amount of time it took to sew them into the design.
I was tickled pink with the way this work evolved. Originally I was making a Spring Gala but the Dandelion is so large and such a focal point that I thought it was appropriate that the Gala be just for this Dandelion. It’s own formal affair. I brought the motif home and added Sterling links and white organdy ribbon with a fantastic shimmer. A two inch chain extender is at the clasp so it can fit any size neck. the “V” shape of the design makes this statement necklace a natural fit.
The Dandelion Gala Statement necklace is now listed in my Etsy shop for sale. It is part of my Snappy Couture line, a glamorous collection of statement jewelry that is one of a kind.
I could use a break for sure. With battling my asthma, the demise of the Blue Heron and the doldrums of dealing with that and the repeated wicked weather we keep having…I am ready. Get me out of here.
My Hubbs birthday is the 13th…our anniversary the 12th and my birthday is the 23rd…so we wrap all of March up into a big celebration. For him, me and us. Last year we gambled in West Virginia, went antiquing, and visited art galleries. The year before we booked a swanky hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, ate at a cool diner, walked around the city and watched movies and enjoyed a special dinner out. Frog legs. Big mistake.
This year its a cabin in Keystone State Park. A modern cabin which, to us, is like luxury camping considering we normally hike and “rough it”. No people, no technology, (no blogging), just the two of us hanging around. We truly do enjoy each other, especially in the great outdoors. We plan to hike, and visit the nearby city for a meal or two. But mostly he will read and I will tat. Although he may sharpen knives and try to start a fire from sticks. He loves to do that.
I am excited to start working on a new Couture piece since I will be indoors without a fire so I can wash my hands and there will be no smoke. I am thinking Dandelions. I made one for myself yesterday and I forgot how much I love the flower and the tatting pattern I have designed. I am thinking…glittery with sprawling leaves. A big fat flower. I need to expand my normal dandelion pattern. Here is a Mini Dandelion on a box. I loooove the color but I have a heavier thread in several shades of gold.
So I am thinking I will need to make several in different sizes and different shades with teeny flowers in a contrast color to give the bouquet depth. Maybe blue although I am partial to berries and purples with gold. We shall see.