More Trees!

Leslie Ehrlich © 2009

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I am constantly looking to nature for inspiration. The picture of the pine tree above is one I took on a recent hike in the Red Feathers area of Colorado. The roots are embedded into the stone, running along the crack for further anchoring. Looking at this, I wanted to re-create a version of it (at least the trunk) on a block for a round robin I was working on. I generally utilize various types of thread and stitch the trunk by hand to get the variegated surfaces that I love. On this block, however, I had a lot of territory I wanted to cover so I had to come up with an option. Enter polyester fabric! I remembered that I had oodles and oodles of brown polyester fabric (you know, the old leisure suit kind of stuff) that had been given to me. So, out it came and I played a bit!

First, I drew the general shape of the tree, including the roots.

I drew the branches separately, and then cut out the shapes to prepare for appliquéing them onto the block.

As I appliquéd the fabric down, I manipulated it intermittently to create wrinkles and knots. I also went back after I was done with the outer edges and tucked and tacked various areas to create the dimension that I wanted.

After I had completed the stitching, I added some light touches of “Latte” Adirondack Alcohol Ink within the cracks and wrinkles and on the roots to give the appearance of a knot, etc.

With these steps done, the trunk is complete. I have discovered that this technique works well with faux suede cloth and Dupioni silk as well. Here is a sample of the silk.

For the leaves on this tree, I cut out small, miscellaneous oval shapes of several different types of cotton fabric that I had on hand. The sizes of the pieces were approximately one inch by three inches. This is similar to the method that McKenna Ryan uses in her work. I appliquéd the leaves down, leaving some spaces for the sky and branches to show through.

The next time I try this technique, I think I will cut the trunks larger so I can stuff them with a little bit of polyester or cotton batting and give them more dimension. Or… maybe utilize more of the fabric manipulation to scrunch the fabric!

I hope you enjoyed this adventure--I know I had fun!! Enjoy!

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