The call went out and everyone who wanted to have a go could choose one of four fabrics.
Out of all the designs, the Rayna Apple shouted out to me; I think it was the lovely lino-print-style flower design, I just love it! So what to do? Lots of ideas rattled around my head for a good long time but I could not narrow down on one that I was happy with. But I knew I wanted to match the fabric up with a wicker gift box that was lying around my room waiting desperately to be used for a project.
Finally the idea come to me – a mixed-media, three-dimensional tree scene that I'm calling 'Under The Rayna Apple Tree'. I wanted to keep true to the nature theme of the fabric so this felt right for my make. Yay! At last!
OK, but how do you make a 3D tree from fabric?
Mmm? Good question!
I thought about it for a bit (picture a quizzical look on my face and a lot of head scratching) then decided that I would use a quilting technique I quite like to do from time to time. I wasn't sure if it would work but I thought I would give it a crack!
I layered up some rectangles of fabric such as the Rayna Apple Fabric itself with calico, a bit of Hessian, some muslin, just oddments of fabric and even a couple of old book pages for good measure. I added a little bit of wadding then added the Rayna Apple Fabric again for the top layer.
Next it was a matter of stitching the layers together with some free-motion quilting. I 'drew' the lines of stitch in a vaguely bark-like fashion for a bit of extra tree texture. I then added several lines of stitch along the top and bottom areas of the trunk and trimmed the fabric to the lines, leaving some tails to turn into roots at the bottom.
When the stitching was finished, I roughly rolled the quilt into the tree trunk but I did not want the trunk to look like a uniform tube. It really needed to be more organic than that so I just used a single holding stitch in the middle of the back to give an uneven tree-like appearance to the quilted tube.
To make the quilt even more tree-like, I slashed a hole into the surface and through the layers to peel it back for the little tree trunk hidey hole. Now you can see way I used so many different layers in the quilt, can't you?
So far, so good! I love it when a plan comes together.
The Rayna Apple Fabric already has its own leaves. Perfect! So I used those leaves already in the surface design and a few from the flower heads too. I just added a craft felt fabric stabiliser to give the leaves a stiffness and cut them out and layered them on bigger leaf shapes cut from fabric, Hessian or book pages. I had some rusted wire in my stash that I thought would make great branches to attach the leaves to the trunk and I threaded each leaf with the wire and curled the ends with pliers.
The wires easily pushed down into the centre of the tree trunk and I added a little bit of Golden Heavy gel to keep them in place.
But before I placed the last branch in the trunk, I made a little swing to go under the Rayna Apple Tree using a wooden lollipop stick and some silver findings and chain. I gave the swing seat a touch of red paint and lightly distressed the silver chains with alcohol inks to give a more worn look to the swing. Then I threaded the swing onto a branch and stuck the branch in place in the tree.
Once the leaves were vaguely in place, I rolled and stitched the tails left on the trunk to make the roots and used more Golden Heavy Gel to stick the tree into place in the wicker basket frame.
That's how my whimsical piece of art / home décor using the lovely Rayna Apple fabric came into being and what fun it was to make. I have hung it on my studio door and I just love the way the swing moves as the door moves.
Everyone has been really busy with their Hillarys Craft Competition makes and you can see them on the Hillarys Pinterest board so do go take a look!
Have you been up to any stitching recently? Are you entering the Hillarys Craft Competition? I would love to know and take a peak at your make. Do drop me a line!
Catch you later Stitch-inators!