Sometimes art takes a long time to be created. I drew this bird of paradise twenty years ago while finishing my undergraduate degree. It is soft pastel on Mi-Tientes paper. I still can remember the piles of pastel dust that formed on the easel as I worked. Having a toddler at the time, I was concerned about her safety, and so the pastels went away.
Two months ago, while cleaning in the studio, I came across the original drawing, as well as some photographs I’d taken of it at the time. Since I’ve been working with machine embroidery on photo transfer, I decided to revisit the image.
I printed out the picture onto Avery transfer paper, after flipping it in my paint program so that it was a mirror image. I ironed it onto some white twill that I got at Dharma Trading Company, and backed that with several sheets of interfacing designed for machine embroidery. Here you can see the piece in process.
The piece, stitching complete.
A detail of the stitching. You really can see the bird in the flower in this segment.
I chose to finish this piece differently than the small water tower pieces, and chose some fabric from my stash to sew borders onto the piece. Then I stretched that over a 12” x 14” pre-stretched canvas I bought at Dick Blick. I preferred to use a pre-stretched canvas because the fabric on the piece would be protected from any acids in the stretcher bars. If I used plain stretcher bars I would seal them first.
The finished piece, available in my Etsy shop.
I once told a friend that time is never wasted making something we love. This certainly was true for this piece. Even though I never exhibited the original, it still makes me happy to see it and has inspired several pieces over the years.