It seems more difficult to do, yet I think the work is getting a bit better... does that make sense? Here is my March BJP, finished!
Sometimes I look at the finished piece and think it looks like a boat or submarine. Wrong! Actually, it represents a butte in the Grand Canyon, as seen from the South Rim. In March, my husband and I went to AZ and the Canyon for our first real vacation in many years (see pictures here). The foreground objects are things I either found on the ground or bought while we were there.
Although I wrote them on March 1, two weeks before we flew to AZ, all six of the words manifested during our time there. We explored as much as we could of the state, learned a great deal about geology and cactus, built a strong relationship with the desert, reflected on the magnificent beauty at the Canyon, one of the world's greatest natural wonders, danced in our hearts every day, and flew over the Canyon on the way home! I hope that my piece reflects at least a little of the awesome beauty we found there.
If you've been following my BJPs for this year, you know my plan is to incorporate 6 words (chosen improvisationally on the first day of the month) into the piece, along with fabric, felt, beads and decorative papers that I paint with acrylics. The size (not counting the black background) is 7 inches square.
I constructed the butte first, before even knowing what else I wanted to do with the piece. A dear friend (thank you, Elaine!!!) gifted me with a beautiful packet of coordinated fabrics, threads, trims and beads, which looked perfect for the SW. I layered the fabrics, pleating and stitching them, to suggest the various geological layers found in the land formations of the area. I tea-dyed the rickrack and one of the fabrics and used the wrong side of two of the fabrics to get the effect I wanted.
I've struggled (to put it mildly) each month with the words. This month was no exception. At first I was going to write them somehow on the found objects in the foreground at the bottom of the piece. Yikes! I gave myself a headache trying to think of how to put words on these objects in a way that would look like they belonged there.
Finally one day, I got the idea of writing the words in the sky, which at that point was painted blue and aqua (no clouds). After playing around with a few ideas that failed, I tried cutting some cloud shapes out of paper toweling and writing the words in marking pen on them. No cigar. But the basic idea was good. So next I tried rubber stamping the words on paper toweling, cutting out the clouds and then separating the towel layers so that the final clouds were thin and somewhat transparent. Voila! I used matte medium to apply the word-stamped clouds to the background sky.
Once the sky, clouds and butte were set, the last part was easy. Of course... it was the part to be beaded!!! I thought you might like to see some detail pictures and read about how I attached the various objects to the background, which is dark brown wool felt...
I first stitched the arrow head to the felt using Nymo thread (for strength) and then covered the Nymo with embroidery floss (one direction) and with a section of fuzzy trim (in the other direction). The foundation of the trim was a tightly woven thread cord. Every two inches or so there was a "fuzzy flag" of thread. I used it a lot, as you'll see.
The glazed pottery shard was tricky because the edges and point were very sharp. I constructed a bezel by joining the tops of stacks of beads stitched around the shard. My first attempt failed. The white clay of the pottery showed between the stacks and I was worried about the sharp edges cutting the thread. So I took it off, sanded the edges and used colored pencils to color the clay to more-or-less match the beads I used in the bezel. It's not perfect, but looks better actual size than how it looks in the above picture.
The rusty key is attached the same way as the arrow head, first with Nymo for strength, which is then covered with more of the "fuzzy flag" trim.
These ancient pottery rings are also attached with Nymo, which is then topped with "fuzzy flag" trim.
I used beads to attach the rusty metal part, stitched through the existing holes at each end.
These are tube beads made by rolling triangle-shaped pieces of hand-dyed silk organza impregnated with matte medium on knitting needles. The edges of the fabric are sealed by burning, which is what makes the dark lines on the beads. While they are somewhat fragile, they held up well even when I caught the thread on them repeatedly as I sewed the brown background beads in place. I attached the beads by stitching from both of the outside edges a short distance into the bead and then through the bead wall into the felt. Between the tube beads is more of the "fuzzy flag" trim. I snipped one end close to the fuzzy part and sealed the tip with bead tip cement. Then I couched the other end (about an inch of the cording) in place.
I'm relieved to have this one finished and posted. Now I just need to find some time to do April and May, so I can be back on track by June. I hope that the word thing isn't such a struggle... I would give it up, except that I think I'm actually making some progress and I really want to get better at collage with words.
In case you missed them, here are links to my January and February BJP pieces.