You can see how more layers get added in. Here are some skinny saplings sketched in with heavy thread, worked from the back. The balck at the bottom of the picture is silk organza, dyed today, ready to be stitched in for the pond.
Which sounds like "Bringing in the sheaves" but isn't. In which we start putting down trees and leaves (and some pine needles) that will form the background of the finished piece. The deeeep background.
I use silk for sky these days. I used to use various painted cotton fabrics, then sateen which is nicely shiny, but silk has a luminosity that can't be matched. I have several different weights, from sheer organza to nicely slubby noil and even some very heavy, drapey satin weave.
I have to dye the colors I'm looking for, which isn't hard. I have a handful of Colorhue dyes which are very easy to use. They work without chemicals, mix easily, dilute easily and produce brilliant colors. This piece though, I used Inkodye which comes out of the jar a gluey, muddy color that develops in sunlight.
If I wanted some control over results, the Inkodye would drive me crazy. But I like the surprise of the process, and the colors are always interesting.
Alice has sharp knees. And because she grows slowly, they wear away at the pants longer in one place. So I've gotten creative mending her pants, because she doesn't outgrow them fast. She's had pandas, cats, dolphins, and a spiderweb that said "some pig".
When I saw these monsters on a friend's page, I knew Alice needed one.
These have braces too, out of silver thread. Because even monsters need to have nice, straight teeth.
What I forget, and I shouldn't because I used to be there, is that even a person who doesn't follow or believe in fashion still has a very, VERY firm sense of what they want to look like.
Alice brought that home to me last year when she wanted a pair of boots. She who had lived in slip-on black Merrels for four years (she doesn'r grow very fast) wanted something she couldn't even describe very well, but when we went to Target she walked down the aisle, sorting and discarding options until she came to one in particular. And that was the one. Mid-calf, brown suede elf boots, with a zipper up the side. She wore them all through the school year. When the zipper broke this week, we had to replace them.
This year, the choices were heavily skewed towards Ugg equivalent boots, kind of clumpy and way too warm for her, but we found a couple choices she kind of liked, and she walked out with mid-calf, purple suede elf boots that perfectly matched the purple hoodie shirt she wears.
This is just to say that self image is a deeply mysterious thing.
Apparently the last Hurricane (Irene) made an impression on my subconcious.
Last night it rained and rained, I heard it in my dreams, and about 4 am I woke up convinced the river was rising and we should get to higher ground. I peered out windows and saw nothing amiss, but the echo of 4 am haunted me in the morning. I convinced the kids to put things they treasured into the car, in case we had to run for higher ground, or in case I couldn't get back to the house later. So I spent the day with Aerin's bassoon and laptop, Alice's ancient and beloved bunny, and my computer and camera.
In retrospect, I think I must have been listening to the neighbor's noisy gutters coping with the aggressive mist, rather than actual pelting rain all night. A tour of the local rivers showed them high: the Deerfield was well into the floodplain but not in anyone's basement, the Connecticut was over Elwell Island and up to the front porch of the marina on Rt 9, but not creeping across the fields to me they was I'd imagined.
By the end of the day we'd returned the precious things to the house. But it was an interesting exercise.
We have to pick one of these for the year book. I have to admit all my instincts are to go with the b&w one, because it catches her face and intellect, and will print well and hold up over time, but it is up to her, in ways the entire rest of her life is her, and I am working so hard on that.