Nellie"s Needles

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Waiting In New Orleans

Here is another "doll". She is the result of a challenge. Seven of us each brought a piece of fabric that we thought was interesting or difficult to use. There was a large scale print of green limes, a red machine-made lace, a smudged mis-printed piece, a primary color striped white fabric, a muted red-violet oriental wave print, and I contributed a hand-dyed red wool. We gave ourselves a year to think of a way to use these "somehow". There were no rules imposed. I chose to use mine all in one piece.

"Waiting in New Orleans" - 19"x24" - 2003

She is not a "red hat" lady ... she's a bit too young. I based this piece on a painting I had seen in a Boulder, Colorado gallery. Tom Barnes features "long neck ladies" wearing huge red hats decorated with a single oversized blossom in a water color series. Here is a photo of one of his paintings from the gallery postcard.
"Madam Ste. Ursule" - 32"x32"

I fell in love with his paintings, but certainly could not afford to buy one. I "played" with one for this challenge. There was a role for each of the fabrics ... plus. I chopped up several silk flowers to make the blossom. The background is a flanel with ikat-like white lines shot throughout. Her skin is unbleached muslin and her lips are a red silk brocade. I used oil stick pastels for shading her alabaster skin tone and the blossom.
Even though the red wool was wonderful, I layered wool roving over it to give highlights and shadows to her hat and gloves. The roving was also used to soften and shade the fabric of her dress. Making a glass of wine that looked convincing amazed me. Oil stick pastel is used to give highlights to the glass and reflected colors in the wine.
This is a fabric collage layered under black tulle. The black outlines are a straight stitch with a heavy thread. That stitching is also the quilting for this piece.

I devised a unique framing technique for this wall quilt. A piece of foam core was cut. The inner opening of the foam core mat ends at the outer black line on the border. A thin batting was glued onto the front surface of the foam core with spray adhesive.The quilted piece was bordered in the usual way (note the primary striped white fabric was overpainted with a diluted black and forms the inner border around the piece). The backing fabric was sewn to the quilted and bordered front piece pillowcase style, leaving one end open. The foam core frame was slid inside and the open end slip-stitched shut. I carefully machine couched black chenile yarn at the inside edge of the foam core frame as well as between the striped and dark borders. If the piece were any larger, doing this machine stitching with the foam core inside the piece would be impossible because of the limited space in the harp area of the sewing machine.

Here's a photo of the backside. The hanging device is hand sewn in place. You can see the zig-zag stitches of the two couched seams.
This piece has a permanent hanging space in our living room. It hasn't been entered in any shows because it so closely resembles the painting even though the scale is much smaller and the medium is different. I made it for me.

12 comments:

arlee said...

Nellie, you have outdone yourself with this! It's especially astounding to know that it was done with "rejects" :} Absolutely stunning work! LOVE her!

joyce said...

I am completely blown away by this piece. It shows that there are no ugly or hopeless bits of fabric. Your hanging techniques looks interesting too.

jenclair said...

She's enchanting! Love her expression and the way she's playing with the beads. I can see why you would want to keep this one for yourself.

teodo said...

E' BELLISSIMO! I wrote it in Italian 'cause I think it sounds more beautiful.. ;o)

Beverly said...

This piece is amazing- I absolutely love her. Beyond that, I'm speechless!!

Thanks for sharing the hanging technique, btw--

marisa said...

she's beautiful.The work that I like !

Deborah said...

Just catching up on your posts, and everything for the last few days is amazing. You have so much to teach...I *LOVE* dolls and was so interested in what you did with the Bylo baby. What fun! I'm really going to try the collage technique you describe. What a beautiful piece of work.

Kay said...

This is fascinating (and beautiful, but that goes without saying). I looked at it the other day and just now had time to come back and study it. The use of paint and roving for the shading particularly fascinated me, as did your matting and hanging technique. Thanks for sharing this. That's a cliche, but it really fits here.

Shelina said...

This is such a beautiful piece of artwork you have made, even more amazing that you used reject fabric. Thank you for sharing it, and the techniques you used.

Finn said...

I do love your Lady, Nellie. She is mighty fine as the westerners would say...*VBS* Both elegant and sensual...so glad she lives with you. Hugs, Finn

Jan said...

Nellie, I love her! Thank you so much for sharing your process. She is a beauty.

Sue Spurlock said...

What a great piece to live with! Love the whole thing!