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Thursday, July 23, 2015


I think I should explain a few things.  Visual things. And I have one picture to help with that.

Actually, my 3rd round picture is a collage of two images, so I am going to use both of those images separately for discussion purposes.

What are you seeing here?  Do you notice a freaky similarity between the garment under the coat and the beadwork design on the coat?  Very similar, but not precisely the same?

The process I have been exploring for my dense bead embroidery on fabric involves stabilizing the area I want to bead.  Usually, bead embroidery is done on stiff interfacing, like Lacy's Stiff Stuff, Nicole's Bead Backing, or simple Pellon. But I want my clothing to be supple and comfortable, so I really don't want to wear pellon. Bead embroidery can also be done on leather, but I don't really want to make (or wear) leather clothing either. And yet, I need to keep the garment fabric from puckering, bagging, and sagging from my thread tension and the weight of the beads.

My solution to the problem is to applique fabric to the garment where I want to bead embroider.  This stiffens the fabric to be embroidered in three ways.  First, I adhere the applique fabric to fusible web. The web has a little stiffness, and keeps the cut edges from unraveling.  Second I fuse the applique fabric to my garment, and the applied layer of fabric adds another layer of stiffness.  Then I machine stitch all the applique edges, adding one final bit of structure and support.

SO... what you are seeing in this image, is a small piece of the print Lycra I used as applique, made into a swimsuit, next to the final beadwork.  As you might also be able to see, I have adapted the print to my purposes.  I have scaled down the imagery to work on my coat, by cutting the design apart and re-assembling it in the size I need to suit my lapels.  I have eliminated the gold and black from the print, in the interest of it NOT looking like gaudy swimwear, and to create believability as casual and formal wear. I have softened the vibrant colors through bead choices, and with my permanent magic markers, keeping the essence of the fabric colors intact, but adapting hues and values to my own purposes.  Plus I have used only some of the imagery in the fabric, and selected out other parts.  I kept some components almost exactly as they were, particularly the philodendron leaves, but scaled them all down at their edges, as the beadwork "gains weight" when I bead the outline.

Then, there is the other image.  Which I think will be left small.

Sadly, that is me.  Not my beautiful model/photographer.  I suppose there is something to be said for truth.  Two truths are, I unexpectedly ran out of photography funding, and I have a 62 year old body. Not exactly an image my aesthetic might have dictated, but such is life, and truth is a good thing.

Fortunately, my next image, should I miraculously advance to round 4, does not involve a model. I could not bring myself to have stitched together that bathing suit for naught tho...  And I do think the jacket might make a good Minnesotan beach coverup, even worn over thighs you might prefer to see only in shadow.

I want to offer a huge thank you to my photographer friend Pam who both took these photos and who let me use her beautiful pool! Sometimes, you just have to smile, and march down the path, wherever your own Safari takes you.