Thursday, 17 February 2022

The Koi Wall Hanging

Bethanne Nemesh' Breaking Boundaries online workshop is starting this weekend. I have been working on the koi wall hanging which is the 5th project in the pre-recorded workshop in preparation for this class.

It looked fairly straightforward just looking at it, but as I watched the video I realised that there was a bit more to it. Nothing too difficult but it demanded a fair amount of concentration and thinking things through. I followed Bethanne's basic layout...this is how I learn best just following along thinking the steps described through. There are of course a million different ways of doing this but I just did not trust myself to pull off my own design. Even the fabric selection was challenging...

This was not easy as I had something a bit special in mind for this. My youngest daughter who is a potter had brought me fabric from Japan when she did a residency there about 2 years ago. No surprises, she chose some blues but also that oddly earth coloured fabric which just looks like the clay she uses at times. I really did think about what I wanted to portray for this wall hanging and thought about a murky pond at dusk with that odd light that you get just before darkness sets in. Like in Bethanne's wall hanging I put the sun (which is Shibori silk that came with the kit from Bethanne) on the side shining over a little bit to the other side and then put the darker pieces around it. The Japanese fabric was different. It was only 15in wide and I did only have a fairly limited amount so had to think this through carefully. Probably the first time I used the carpet as my design wall...
The individual curves were easy to do, particularly now as I have done that many of it. What was new was the curves continuing from one border into the adjacent one. Watched that video intently and promptly cut my sun to smitheeriens...did not match at all. No idea how that had happened, so with the last piece of Shibori silk I cut a new curve and hoped for the best. Was relieved when that worked and encountered no other problem with that. After the first border was done, the second border then matched some of the seams of the first border. Oh, what fun on a curve! As I had done this before for one of my other pieces I felt slightly confident with that.
Then came the koi...Bethanne uses needleturn applique which is machine stitched to the background. Never had done this before, so gave that a go. The first fin of the fish that I tried was a complete disaster and unusable (the Dupioni silk, also from the kit, frayed like crazy and I did not manage the points at all). Again, only had a limited amount of the silk as well as the fusible paper product that came with the kit. Made a few more mistakes but managed to get one koi done.

 Apart from one bulky area I did very well on this, mind you, took me ages as I was going super slow on everything for fear of stuffing it up. Very impressed with my efforts and must say I quite like the look of needleturn applique. Gives you a very fine finish. 
I now have a little bit of silk left and have ordered more fusible paper product in the hope of finishing another koi. We shall see...overall really happy with how this turned out. There are a few things that turned out a bit different than I had imagined but that was to be expected.

What a great learning experience this was...while I was doing this and following along the video I was already thinking about how I could use this method for a project of my own. I have this digital fabric lying around that would make a very interesting background. Need to think some more on this. Apparently Bethanne has another project up her sleeve which we will hear about on Saturday. Can't wait!


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Sorry you had problems with the Dupioni. Sounds like your kit came with recommended stabilizer, which I would have thought would have minimized (if not fully prevent) the unraveling. Needleturn applique' is my FAV, but then for many years all I did was make Hawaiian quilts and some traditional applique' quilts.


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