Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's those eyes!!!..

Inspired by a fellow blogger's amazing photographs of owls, I found myself wanting to create my own owl out of fabric. I know it was the eyes, in those photographs, that grabbed my attention...so intense and colorful! The great thing about fabric is that one has so many choices of colors, textures and patterns but at the same time all those choices make it difficult to decide which ones will help create the look you want. I can spend a lot of time looking at fabrics and I do..but sooner or later you've got to decide. Below is a sampling of some of the fabrics that I chose...I knew I wanted to focus on creating a full frontal look and zero in on those big yellow-orange eyes! I found a few magazine photos to help me with proportion and detail. The blue you are seeing behind the sketch is a large sheet of Styrofoam that I purchased and attached to my sewing room wall. It is about 2 inches thick and allows me to use large straight pins to hold all my fabric choices in place.


A quick sketch and I'm now into the part of the process I really can't explain...a sort of trial and error, if you will, on what works and what doesn't! I cut out a piece of a fabric, tack it onto my sketch and stand back to see if it does what I want. If it looks good it stays if not .. I try again and again!!


When I think I have every piece where I want it I then use some fabric glue to help hold the pieces together, prior to sewing.I never hesitate to purchase fabrics that have realistic pictures on them, as I find I can cut out a section and make it work within my design. Do you remember seeing the Bengal Tiger fabric peeking out at you in the first picture? I found that if I cut out the chins of the Bengal Tigers they made a wonderful ruffle around the owl's neck. You might want to click on the photo to enlarge.

I also used some of the tiger stripes to create the breast area on the owl. The white dots you are seeing are actually the round tips of the straight pins that are still holding the pieces together.


Upon completion of the body, I use clear thread to sew my owl together and then I placed it on a dark background before adding my branches and greenery. Each leaf was cut out and attached, via thread, to the background. I added some berries and aged leaves for contrasting color.

The last thing I do before I start to quilt the background is called free motion quilting. I add closely stitched colored threads to parts of the branches where I want to darken shadows. It's kind of like painting with thread. I then sew/quilt the fabrics and batting together and create my border. For now, I 've hung this little guy in our front room..a room we pass by.. but don't use very much..lol!! Why, you ask?? Well, I REALLY needed to take a break from those big round staring eyes...you know, the eyes that captured my attention in the first place and lured me to create my interpretation of an owl! My next project, I think, will be much more serene and calming....no eyes!! ;-)

24 comments:

Gail said...

WOW! I have to say it again, WOW! This is stunning and so creative. You not only take fantastic pictures but you sketch and sew!!!!!! A amazingly beautiful work of art.

Eve said...

Wow...dittos...Tina! This is fantastic...I didn't know you could do that as well as being an ace photographer and Birder!!
Maybe you should have the next one looking the other way!! hahaha!
Happy New Year girl. I'm looking forward to seeing another year of Tina's Bird Yarns!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Tina, I can't believe it... I had no idea you could quilt.... WOW--you have blown me away!!!! The Owl is gorgeous. You have done a marvelous job with him. The fabrics you chose is perfect....

Thanks for much for sharing!!!! I love it...

Happy New Year.
Hugs,
Betsy

Chris Petrak said...

I am impressed - we have a lot of quilters in our area and some excellent fabric artists - your owl stands with the best. - If you have a chance, google Deidre Shearer, one of the premier fabric artists - mostly portraits. She lives just around the corner

JKoenig said...

Stunning....Absolutely Stunning! You have captured the texture of the feathers so beautifully, as well as the eyes. Plus you undoubtedly have lots of patience. I have enjoyed sewing and embroidery almost all my life and really appreciate your imagination and creativity.

Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Tina: Wow, I knew you were a talented photographer but this project just blew me away. Thanks for sharing this neat owl with us. I'm so glad I met you through your blog and so glad you visit mine. Have a great New Year.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Tina,I can only imagine the number of hours that went into this piece.It is extraordinary,a real treasure.
Blessings,Ruth

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

That is just amazing!
Happy New Year!

George said...

I'm very impressed with your artistry. I didn't realize that you were much more than a great photographer. The owl is absolutely fantastic!

T and S said...

That's such a beautiful creation Tina. Congrats.

And a happy new year to you...Thomas

Chris said...

Wow very impressive work Tina... I'm stunned! You are very talented and do a great job!

Kelly said...

Wow!! This is crazy cool.....you are so talented to be able to create something so lifelike from fabric. Being able to draw is one thing, but the transformation is incredible. You must love it! Wishing you all the best in the coming new year!

jalynn01 said...

I consider myself artsy crafty, but wow! What a marvelous talent you have here with the quilting of the owl.(you put me to shame) I have never gotten into this particular art, but I am glad you did and shared your beautiful creation. As everyone said... Wow!! everything about it is perfection. Happy New Year Tina and keep sharing your amazing talents and photos.
Blessings
Jalynn

The Early Birder said...

WHOW..that is attention to detail Tina..super, fantastic. FAB.

NCmountainwoman said...

What an impressive work of art. I love it!

Neal said...

Wow..that is really neat! My mom would have been proud of you. She was always messing with something like that. Even watching TV she would be playing around with a pattern or working on something to do with quilting.

Happy New Year my friend!!!!!

Bonnie said...

What a great job on that owl. Those eyes are amazing.

Bill S. said...

What a beautiful painting of a beautiful bird. You are very talented. Thanks for sharing.

troutbirder said...

Stunning Tina. Just plain stunning.

HANNIBAL said...

Amazing! You have an incredible talent! Wow!

Philip said...

Happy New Year Tina !! I can say your talent does not stop at photography I am impressed with you needle work too a multitasking artist indeed well done all the best for the new year

dAwN said...

Tina..What a beautiful work of art!
you chose the fabrics brilliantly!

Andy said...

Very very nice!

KaHolly said...

AND YOU'RE A QUILTER, TOO! (Actually, YOU are a quilt artist). Looks like I've come to the right place. I look forward to perusing your archives!! This owl is incredible. Stunning. I enjoyed reading through your process. ~karen

would like to hear your thoughts..