“Teatime for Poppies”

As a textile illustrator, I am forever seeking new fibers and materials to enhance my work. Learning new techniques allows discovery of fun textures in the process. In “Teatime For Poppies,” the main character, a skunk, appeared to me in meditation.

You can see the original artwork HERE.

Meditation is the inspiration for ALL of my artwork. It’s THE essential step in my creative process and why I’ve written a book about it.

After the meditation, I create a rough sketch. Next, I gather images to better understand the anatomy of the animal, and I sit with the various fibers and textures. It’s a wonderful meditative experience to be among ribbons, beads, lace, doilies, fabrics and threads. As I’m sitting in silence, thoughts often float to me. “Use your grandmother’s teacup.” Oh how marvelous, what a splendid idea. My meditation showed me the skunk in a field of poppies, adding a teacup to honor my Nana, allows me to really engage my heart energy.

Working like a painter, I create the background first and work toward the foreground. For this illustration I splashed watercolors over an antique table cloth. I thought this would be the direction I would take, however I changed my mind along the way as I began to add more texture to create a field of flowers. Its important to follow your intuition and listen to your inner voice.

Although I don’t normally create each object separately, this experiment was a learning lesson for future projects. The ability to lift, move, pin and make adjustments is an added bonus.

The fabric collage of the skunk was created by stitching over tear away stabilizer, (please see my blog “Let’s Talk Stabilizers.”) The tail was felted using blended fibers of wool and silk. Please refer to my step-by-step fabric collage blogs.

The teacup was thread painted over tear away stabilizer. See my 1 hour recorded demonstration of Thread Painting to learn more.

I created the large poppies stitching on my BERNINA 770 QE with the Punching Tool attachment. No sewing, threads or stitching were used, it was entirely embellished over a piece of muslin.

This technique can also be done by hand using a needle felting tool. Scraps of fabric, ribbons, lace and fibers came together to form the large blooms.

I will be adding a webinar demonstrating this technique in the coming future. Watch this space.

The smaller poppies were created by stitching over water-soluble stabilizer using my Aurifil “Splash of Texture” 12 wt thread collection. This is a great way to add depth, texture and interest to your artwork. 

See my 1 hour recorded demonstration “A Splash of Texture,” to learn more.

“Splash of Texture” 12 wt thread collection.  https://calicohorses.com/fabric-collection/aurifil-threads/

Ribbons of various sizes were stitched onto the background using my Aurifil CalicoHorses 50 wt thread collection. Dyed silk ribbons add luster and interesting shades as they twist and turn reflecting highlights and shadows found in nature.

I prefer to shop from ColourStreams as they have the finest quality and assortment of colors.

Once the artwork is complete, it’s time to decide whether to lightly free-motion quilt, and sleeve it… or have it professionally framed. It’s been my experience that most of my clients prefer it framed.

Always remember “the journey is the destination,” as we are constantly learning through life experiences. You may begin a project thinking you have it all figured out, and out of the blue, WHAM,  inspiration lands at your doorstep and you are off and running in a new direction. 

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