Design Decisions in Fiber Art

So it’s been an interesting Saturday, with almost giving up at 1o this morning, thinking I would just submit one piece, rather than trying to show my overall style – which is certainly unique – any maybe too different…. My leaves are done, and my strips are done. I know how I’m going to make the grass and what stones I am going to use. But it’s the actual layout….

I want a stand of bamboo. My original idea, some eight years ago, was to have it free-hanging – strips of bamboo, with some type of hanging system at the very top. Well, I figured if I did the leaves all at the top, I could put a casing behind them for a rod. When I actually had it on the design wall this morning…didn’t really grab me.

Then I tried one of the jungle background fabrics, figuring I could make a background and attach the bamboo on top of it. Well…I ironed, pinned to the wall, added the strips, and then added leaves at the top….and…it was better, but certainly not a grabber. I tried shortening the strips – after all, they were at least 50 inches – nice, tall bamboo. Somewhat better.

I played around with a different leaf arrangement. Nope. Tried more strips beyond the five. Nope. While I like 8 because it’s a Fibonacci number, there was too much bamboo.

Last Sunday I went to my local quilt shop, Quilter’s Market (the BEST store, except for G Street….) with strips in hand to look at some other potential background fabric. I found one that was fairly “jungle-y” and worked with the browns and the greens. I pulled that out, ironed it, and cut it in half – top and bottom. I pinned the strips back on…this time I had them straight, but I had the top angled into the forest….five strips kind of angled downward from left to right….added the leaves in some different arrangements, and voila – I LIKE it! Now it’s more what I had in my mind. I needed to shorten the strips and angle them – while bamboo grows straight, it ain’t perfect.

I need to go buy about another third of a yard for binding. (They were almost at the end of the bolt last week…hmmm…) I’ve been going back and forth about a frame or not. I am thinking a simple binding, as I don’t want to constrain the bamboo with a frame around the jungle, especially as I plan to have leaves out and about the edging. There is a possibility I will need to make more leaves – I have most of what I need, but they are pretty time-consuming. At this point I can see myself making the deadline, especially with another whole weekend available. And I’m pleased…so we’ll see about progress tomorrow. I promise a small picture when it’s a little more together.

This whole process is extremely interesting. I find myself making more and more complex decisions as I learn new techniques and expand what my sewing workhorse (Bernina 1080) and serger (Bernette) will do – or what I will make them do. I will say my serger wasn’t totally happy with my choice of threads (some really fancy light-weight ones) for the edging…but except for re-threading the needle, I was in pretty good shape. I just need to remember to put the serger back into its original sewing condition for hubby to serge the new fabric for the Labor marbling…he’s not real thrilled with having to thread the machine….

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