Saturday, 5 September 2015

Elements - Fire and Ice

I really enjoyed all the design and development that went into the creation of my Elements entry. I have been working a lot this year on the addition of hand stitch to my work. I really love the textures that I can add and the act of holding the work in my hands as I stitch brings its own pleasures.
Photographs of the surface and edges of ice fields have always fascinated me. The colours, the layers and the textures so enticing!

In Iceland the juxtaposition of volcanic activity and ice means that flame and sparks sit alongside the layers, representing hundreds of years of laid down snow. I wanted to create a quilt to represent the ice and overlay the fire. 
I spent a lot of time sampling the ice field. Trying a range of different fabrics that I could manipulate and stitch effectively.

Silk, linen and cotton. Strips flipped and stitched and in some cases soft pleated as I stitched began to create a background to work on.

A second version, thinner layers more manipulation and different colours

Using large stitches in irregular form created a more interesting set of textures, incorporating scrim added more interest, scrim can also be distressed by pulling it into holes which was effective.

Now I I was ready to produce the ice background. I cut the quilt backing and the wadding and then stitched each section by stitch and flip, creating the folds, tucks and creases before stitching each layer as too stitching. The hand stitching wasn't added until all the layers had been machine stitched.
My biggest issues were in how to represent the "fire". I tried all sorts, initially I didn't rate any of them!

At first I tried rectangular blocks in the appropriate colours which I planned to mount on top of the "ice" but it's far too heavy and it obscures the stitching I have spent so long creating!

Then I tried a flame shaped addition, this doesn't work either!

Cutting flame shaped pieced that I could apply. I liked the shapes but again this obscured the stitched background so I needed to go back to the drawing board again.

By using sheer fabrics for the flames I could show more of the stitching beneath.

This is what I ended up with. I am very pleased with the ice background and I like the fact that I can still see this through the sheer flames.