Last night Jim and I opened a bottle of wine and had a little rose celebration in my house.
You see, you guys don't know it but I've been dreaming and planning and gathering materials with the hopes that one day I could try to make miniature millinery flowers...
And yesterday the stars aligned, the materials were all present and my little mini roses worked!!
I have a bit of tweeking to do of course but generally I believe the method is possible and a great beginning to my rose bower on Mrs. Rose's block.
I borrowed concepts from traditional millinery flower making books. The first I found was from Lacis and was printed in 1984. The methods were for large scale flowers but I felt like I could translate them if I could just figure out the tools.
I tried with using a very thin interfacing for making flowers when I made these Alstroemeria for my Daughter's Valentine piece, when I made these poinsettias, and when I made these Black-eyed Susans for our motif swap at the Crazy Adventure in Connecticut. These methods worked OK but the interfacing added bulk to the flower and interfered with the petals holding their shape over time.
Then in April 2011, Allie took us on a field trip to M&S Schmalberg, a milliner in the garment district in NYC. They have beautiful flowers...it makes you happy just to go there and it's cheaper than therapy!
Here's Allie standing below the banner quilt that she made for them because she loves them so much.
At Schmalberg, I learned how traditional millinery flowers were made. Allie uses many of them in her award-winning quilts so I purchased a few organza petals which I used in my Breakfast at Tiffany's block and in the cherry blossoms on my Hearts and Hands for Sendai block. They worked great, the only constraint being that the smallest flower I could purchase from them was one inch large. I can't believe I'm saying one inch is large but in some scenarios, it is!
These little guys I made yesterday range from 3/8" to 1/2" and I think smaller is even possible.
My trip to Schmalberg gave me insight into millinery flower production which I was able to tuck away for future reference.
Future reference ended up being yesterday.
I roughed up a petal pattern in three different sizes using the three different silk paint samples from yesterday. I cut them out and then used an iron and heated various small tools I had to shape the petals.
I couldn't believe how well it worked.
Increasingly I've been working in three dimensions and felt somewhat constrained by stumpwork and ribbon embroidery methods. Though I still love both, they have their limitations in scale and design.
Painting my own silk will allow me a lot more flexibility in color choices and sculpting the silk will allow me to make flowers in multiple shapes and sizes to better reflect what occurs in nature.
I still have many more hurdles that I haven't figured out...for instance, those roses need sepals and stems...and I haven't figured out how I'm going to do the rosebush canes, how to do thorns, leaves, etc.
But it's a beginning. And a pretty rosy one at that.