Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Warning: Construction site (AKA Detailed to Death)

Well...

Rome wasn't built in a day and this butterfly isn't going to be either.


Figuring out the pattern and deciding on a design seems like the easy part now that I've launched into the actual construction of this...

Ahem...bugger.

Remember my inspiration was this butterfly brooch exhibited by Tiffany in 1901 at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY...


I chose to make the butterfly just a tad bigger than last we talked so I decided to couch slightly heavier wire to support the beaded wings, a 30 gauge wire instead of the 33 gauge I used for the lace flowers.

I fused together a gray metallic silk organza and an ivory silk organza and used them as my base fabric.


For the pattern, I printed the butterfly onto acid-free tissue paper by taping the tissue to a piece of copy paper and running it through my printer. Because the organza is transparent, I was able to sandwich the pattern behind the fused organza and stretch it all in the hoop together. Since the piece is going to be so heavily beaded, I don't think the tissue will show and might even give the piece a bit more stability...we'll see.

Now came the decision of what to overcast the wire with? I had already colored my white, paper-coated wire with acid-free silver paint but I had lots of metal threads to choose from when it came to selecting one to use for couching.

Metal threads can be tricky. They are normally made by wrapping a metal around some type of core and, as you stitch, it's possible that the metal can strip away from the core giving you a raggy looking thread. That problem is usually helped by using a bigger needle with a wider eye...but pulling the metal thread through a metal organza could potentially compound the problem.

So I did a little test strip on the edge of my piece trying out all of the threads you see below...

[from left to right: YLI fine metallic, Kreinik cable, Kreinik cord, DMC metal, Soie d'Alger silk, and Kreinik #4 very fine braid]

I had pretty much convinced myself that I would use the non-metal, silk thread to avoid the metal issue altogether...but once I stitched with it, and compared it to the others...it was really lost on the piece.


I also wanted to see how each metal thread handled being stitched through the metal organza and how they looked compared with all the beads I would be using...

I really didn't like the YLI (it's a very fine thread but it stripped really easily when being couched over such a small wire)...the Kreinik silver cord was my favorite for stitchability, look and color but I actually thought the overall effect was too fine in comparison to the beading. I needed something chunkier. Next up was the Kreinik cable...and I felt this was just a bit too coarse and chunky for what I wanted. The DMC metallic held up nicely and didn't strip as much as others but I also thought it didn't pack enough punch. The silk thread was too fine and didn't show up for the party...and the last thread to the right, was a green Kreinik #4 very fine braid (I didn't have silver). Actually, I ended up liking the way this one handled the most...it didn't strip easily and it bent over the wire nicely. Only problem is I don't have any of it...so I'm off to find some today.

I do think that any of these threads would work under different conditions, I was just interested in finding the right thread for this job. And this little test strip really helped me to narrow down my choices. I also like having the beads stitched down on the piece as well...When I start beading, this reference will help a lot when I make the decision of where to use which bead.



And so my friends, just as a real butterfly, has to crawl before it can fly...I too am crawling along...trying to find the right materials and use them in the right way so I get the effect of a piece of jewelry.



All of these brooches would translate nicely into embroidery, wouldn't they? In some ways, jewelers and embroiderers are trying to accomplish a similar task. The task of creating a rendering of a real object in nature while working under the constraints of our materials on hand, whether those materials be platinum and diamonds, or threads and beads...

While I've been struggling, I remembered that Jim had given me two jeweled butterflies for two different anniversaries over the years. Jim hasn't purchased many pieces of jewelry for me but he has bought me these two small pins...

Isn't that interesting?


And I haven't worn them in some time...almost forgotten them really. When I went to search my jewel box this morning, I couldn't believe that one of them had pink stones too...just like the Tiffany brooch I'm emulating in this piece.

Just one more way of connecting me and my life to this piece of needlework.

And to this butterfly...the bugger.

Wish me luck!

28 comments:

Wendy said...

This is going to be stunning when finished! I can hardly wait each day so I can come here and see what you have added.....I love butterflies and cannot wait to see this one come to life! Thanks for sharing the process with us.....

Teresa said...

Good luck, can't wait to see your butterfly take flight.
Teresa's Heartfelt Stitches

Nancy said...

Thanks for sharing the process, I am continually amazed!

Gerry Krueger said...

Love the beads also... I have a terrible time with metallic threads... will have to try some of those...

Fusing the tissue was inspiration...be sure to let us know the outcome....Hugs Ger///

FlowerLady said...

I can hardly wait to see this finished. It is going to be stunning.

FlowerLady

Daphne said...

I LOVE the details and how we are able to walk through this process with you! Thanks so much for sharing- it is just Beautiful!!!!!

Hélène H said...

Good-luck Susan ! Just caught up on your blog, and your Tiffany piece is wonderful !

You are so right there is something in common between jewellery and embroidery/needle work. Be careful, next thing you know you will be wanting to see what you can do with a hammer and torch (and I'm sure you'll have great fun) ! :o)

With love.

shawkl said...

Susan,
If you want to audition two more...I have some Sulky and Clover silver that you could give a try. I also have crystals and other bling components that I'd be happy to include for you. Just drop me a line if you'd like them.
Kathy
www.shawkl.com

Judy S. said...

Keep those details coming, Susan! It's fun reading about your latest creation; it's going to be quite amazing. I agree metallic thread is tough to work with. Isn't it strange how you can have lots of supplies, but not just the perfect one you need?

shirley said...

I often encounter the same problem...lots of threads, but not "just the one"
...which is why we all have so much stuff.
Your work is amazing, and I can hardly wait to watch the progress of the wonderful piece of work.

Cari said...

Oh my gosh....amazing. I learn so much from reading your blog!! It's so very interesting. This Tiffany piece will be magnificent!! I'm so glad you are sharing this journey.

Patty C. said...

This is going to be gorgeous !!

Vicky~ stichr ~ said...

the patience you have for all this....that's why i don't do it.
but it's why i love you.
{i would have glopped [spell check says that word don't exist..hah] a whole mess'a glue on a chunk of cardboard, tossed beads at it from somewhere nearby, waited 6 days for it to dry......}

Miriam said...

Thank you for sharing all the detailed steps you are taking as you transform fabric, threads and beads into a beautiful butterfly.
Truly inspirational!!

Queen Bee's Musings said...

So amazing love watching you create. Best wishes in this.

Marjolein said...

You said you fused together a gray metallic silk organza and an ivory silk organza. Did you use Bondaweb?

Susan Elliott said...

To Marjolein,

I used Mistyfuse to bond the two organza pieces together. Not sure if you have that in NZ but I find it is lighter than most other fusible webs I have tried...

Marjolein said...

Thank you for your reply. I want to make the wings of a stumpwork dragonfly and I feel one piece of organza isn't firm enough.

lifemyway said...

Wow...the detail you put into your work is astounding. Cheers! This will truly be a beautiful piece when you are finished.

Momma Bear said...

Big, non-snagging-smooth-stitching, luck!
I love watching the process you go through to get to where your going. it spurs me on to bigger, better,. I get to thinking sometimes WWSD? :)

Nicki Lee said...

I had to laugh when I saw your headline and was wondering "now what is she up to?" OMG! Has anyone ever told you that you are a mad woman?LOL! You dedication to creating such beautiful works of art is incredible - I can't wait to see this butterfly in flight!

Createology said...

Susan even your process of preparing the stitched piece is amazing and should be a treasured heirloom. In all things it is the preparation that creates the masterpiece results and you are proving that to be very valid. Butterflies are the bearers of 10,000 happinesses...

Ingrid Mida said...

I love watching this project come together. It gives a real sense of how much work it is to create something of beauty.
I too love butterflies. I have a small butterfly brooch that my dad gave to my mom from many years ago.
Have a lovely weekend Susan.

Saturday Sequins said...

Oh, I love the idea of printing a design onto tissue paper. That's just brilliant. I'd been drawing directly onto fabric with white pencils, but it doesn't always turn out the way I want and fades quickly.

What a fantastic project! Just gorgeous. :)

SimplyMe said...

Wow!!!! I am awestruck by your skill. Amazing work!!!just beautiful, can hardly wait to see the finished butterfly.

Claudine brodeuse de perles said...

Magnifiques tenues ! Merci. Quant au papillon, j'ai hâte de voir la suite ! Il va être magnifique ! Bisous et très bon week-end

Rachel said...

It's always the last little details that cause the trouble, isn't it!

Shantti said...

oooh remembering those I made few years ago! I love butterfly :)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shantti/2291303172/in/set-1440700

wish you a lot of pleasure at your work :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails