Nellie"s Needles

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Flowers in the Prairie

Greetings from the Rocky Mountains! It's hard to comprehend that it's been 4 weeks since I've posted. These flowers and our family life at the cottage, plus getting ready for this trip has taken up a LOT of time.

I had figured to be further along before we left Michigan for 3 weeks in Colorado. However, I'm pleased to have completed the detail layer of lots of flowers for the bottom row.
Here are photos of the five panels in the bottom row. Besides the violets tucked among the stems and undergrowth across the base of all five, White Blue-eyed grass flowers are "growing" at the 8-10" height across them, too.

Below are 3 photos of the first panel in the bottom row.
The first one is of the "underpainting". The second has more materials plus the flowers and leaves laid into position. The third one has a layer of tulle netting added and is quilted with many different threads and the centers of the flowers have been added. Some of the flowers are under the netting while others are sewn on the surface so they're 3-D.

To determine which flowers and their placement I made a tissue overlay drawing. This is a plan I'm following loosely as I create each panel. It gives a visual clue of how the life-sized flowers (and which ones) in the foreground will "grow" up through the rows above that have flowers receding into the distance.
All the flowers in this installation are chosen from a list the gardeners from the hospital had sent. I researched all of them on the internet and printed out descriptions with photos for each one. They're in a reference notebook I've put together for this project.
Above are the materials I use to make the Cone Flowers. Most are made with two layers of petals ... one is layered under the netting for the back side of the flower, the other gets sewn to the top for that 3-D effect.
I've spent a number of evenings in front of the TV disassembling commercial silk florals to fill this box with petals that I cut, reshape and sometimes glue back together to make the flowers for this piece.
All the leaves were stripped off the plastic veining of the above silk florals. They too, get cut up and reshaped to represent the leaves of the flowers in this piece.
Bits of Elvis cut from a collar of a silk blouse given to me by my friend, Helen, are hidden in three of these panels. I know there's a blue piece with musical notes somewhere, but I've camouflaged it so well I can't find it. Do you see the words in this one?
Can you spot the hand playing a ukulele?
When it came time to take these close-up photos I had a difficult time finding Elvis, even though I had an idea where to look. I'm glad he's not obvious to casual observation ... only to those in the know, or those who are ultra-observant.
My husband, the big Elvis fan, couldn't see him in that photo without my pointing to him.

Now I need to put that project out of mind and BE on vacation ... to enjoy the real flowers in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains.
However, I cannot help but to study perspective in every patch I see.


Beverly said...

Nellie, I am pretty much speechless- wow!

Alexandra said...

Oh Nellie, your quilting, and the flowers themselves, are simply astonishing! Beautiful!

Doreen G said...

This is incredible Nellie-so much work has gone into it.
And I saw Elvis but I had to enlarge the photo to find him.

Merry said...

Nellie, you are such a talented lady. Thanks for sharing the details of how your create these panels, I just love them. I think that it is very special that Elvis is hidden away in there.

Heather said...

This piece of work is such a huge task and is going to be breathtaking when it is finished. The flower panels are already stunning and you are a true artist.

Beena said...

All those gorgeous flowers! It is breathtaking! What a beautiful job you've done!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

What an incredible amount of work has gone into this piece already! It is beautiful.

Michele's Quilting Journey said...

Absolutely, stunning! Your talent is turbo-charging in quantum amounts!!!!

Maggie R said...

Nellie I am overwhelmed with this piece. What an undertaking,,,It is absolutely gorgeous...This one should go down in the needlework history book!!!
Hope you are enjoying the rockies.. Spectacular aren't they. I miss them after living on Vancouver Island for a number of years.....

Kayla coo said...

Great work Nellie.x

G'G'ma said...

So that's where Elvis is, and all along I thought he was hiding in Kalamazoo!!

Your work is just amazing. Have you thought about entering some of your work in the ArtPrize contest and show in Grand Rapids this fall?

Hetty said...

I've never see the Mountains. I'm from Holland but your work is.....B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L


arlee said...

A tour de force, Blossom! You have truly made magic with scraps and bits and this is astonishingly beautiful.
i recognize some of the flower bits :}

Allison said...

love that hidden elvis! It took me a while to find it too...but I finally see him!