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!! ;-)
weekend with family
11 months ago