Friday, June 04, 2010
Change - May BJP - Finished!
Major changes (which came into full swing during May) are happening in my life. All six of my words for the month are relevant. They are: change, remember, forgive, seek, open and thank. Can you find them in the finished piece below? (You may need to click to enlarge.)
I named the piece Change because that's the most important word of the six. Although I've decided not to delve into the personal changes I'm making in this post, it's not really a secret. If you're interested to read about it, you can check out my journal-blog, Words Paint, which I write under the pseudonym of Peacefulbird.
Obviously, the butterflies are symbolic elements of change and metamorphosis. A once-closed envelope (me) is now open with butterflies flying free. Feathers are another symbol of freedom, flight and good perspective... My husband found these two in our yard. My best guess is that a Northern Flicker gifted some tail feathers to us. The turtles are all about getting there, no matter how long it takes.
I started with the second, luscious, butter-soft, piece of resist-dyed felt made and given to me by Sweetpea. Without thought, I immediately folded and pinned it into an envelope shape. What could go in it? Oh, maybe those flicker feathers I've been saving! Oh, OK, now what paper will I use for the background?
Auditioning papers: This one seems to dark, don't you think?
This one seems too busy.
This one is really too busy; it competes with the pattern on the felt.
This one was my second choice. I like it a lot, but it seems a tad too pale or washed-out looking with the felt.
Here's the one I chose. Doesn't look like much in this picture, but the color has lots of life without being overpowering.
Once that was decided, I started playing around with various beads and elements I might use. I had 4 plastic butterfly-shaped buttons in my stash which looked really nice coming out of the felt envelope and had appropriate relevance to change.
How could I apply my words to these buttons and where could I find two more? Hmmm... gave up on that one and decided to make my own butterflies by sawing them out of copper sheet and metal-stamping the words. Tried that. Too big, and way too visually heavy for the delicacy of a butterfly. OK, well, maybe I could make butterflies out of heavy, water-color paper, write the words on the wings and paint them. Here are the three ideas. You can see why I rejected the copper...
So then I played around with drawing butterflies free-hand. Ummm, I'm not so good at that. However I had a sheet of butterfly stickers that gave me an idea. I peeled off the background part of the sheet and placed it lightly on the water-color paper. Then I used a #2 Micron pen to draw around the inside (where the sticker was), which gave me some nice shapes.
I wrote the words vertically along the edges of the left-hand wings, extending some of the letters to look like the veins. For the right-hand wings, I wrote the words backwards. Ruined a few, but finally got six usable butterflies. Next I painted them with watered-down, transparent acrylic paints.
After painting, they looked like this.
Before cutting out the butterflies, I used an embossing stylus to score along the body on each side so that I could easily fold the wings into flying position.
Next, I had to figure out how to attach them to my piece. Everybody knows how much I don't like glue. So, I needed a way to sew them on the paper and felt. I also needed antennae. A double-layer body might do the trick...
I cut out six little, body shapes from heavy, black paper and made antennae from bent pieces of 28 gauge brass wire. Using PVA (acid-free, bookbinder's glue) and a toothpick applicator, I put a little glue on the back side of the butterfly bodies and along the duplicate body shapes. Then I placed two pre-cut lengths of Nymo thread in the glue, perpendicular to each body and laid the antennae in the glue at the head. When the glue was slightly set, I joined the duplicate body layer to the back of each butterfly. My plan, if the glued layers worked, was to use the four Nymo threads to sew each of the butterflies to my piece. It did work! I hope the picture helps to make sense out of what I just wrote.
I also used 28 gauge brass wire to wrap beads around the feather quills. In a similar manner to the butterflies, I laid two pre-cut Nymo threads along each quill before wrapping, which would allow me to sew the feathers to the paper.
Here's what the back of my piece looks like. You can see where I tied the Nymo threads to secure feathers and butterflies. I used Tyvek (from a mailing envelope) as a backing to prevent the thread from cutting the paper. You can also see where I sewed the felt envelope to the paper using Nymo thread.
Well, there you have it, probably more how-to than anybody needs or wants... but I can't help myself sometimes...
I love this piece and what it represents in my life! Hope you like it too.