Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mr. Love, by Gladys Love

Finally!!!  When this theme was announced I immediately knew what I was going to do.  You would think that would make it easy to be on time right?  Not so.  Life got in the way and even though I was consistently trying to sneak in moments with my project, it wasn't till this very minute that I stitched on the buttons and called it done.

This portrait was inked in a class at Empty Spools in Asilomar, California, with Lura Schwarz-Smith.  I did several in the four days, but this was the best.  I also discovered that inking wasn't the way I wanted to go about doing portraits.  But here I was with this little sample that Lura referred to as "Mr. Love". 

This is the photograph I worked from.  It was taken by his sister at a family gathering in evening light.  I liked the way his hair looks blue! But,  I feel I failed to capture him perfectly.....his chin isn't just right, but I decided I would finish it by stitching all over it in the style of Hollis Chatelain and many others.  

This turned out to be a great experiment for a larger project (the one I started in a class with Esterita Austin but have yet to finish).  
This is starting to look like an exercise in name-dropping, but it's not meant that way....I have a lot of unfinished projects and have decided 2014 is the year to not take classes and to finish a lot of what I've started and use what I've learned!  Wish me luck!  

But back to the decision to thread-paint my portrait of Mr. Love, who is indeed my husband.  

I asked Karrie, who has taken a class with Hollis Chatelain, whether she quilts the faces she does with the backing on or if she puts a backing on afterwards and re-outlines.  Karrie said she does it with the backing on.  This was my first try at this kind of thing and I thought the back would be a mess since I was new at it. So rather than putting a backing on it, I layered it with batting and a stabilizer to stitch on, planning to put backing on when it was ready to finish.  

I LOVED doing the stitching.  It is absolutely amazing how much difference the color of the thread and one little thread line in the wrong place can make.  I learned a lot with this exercise.  Mostly that it looks pretty neat on the back and I should have had backing fabric on there.  I didn't, and when I pressed it, one part of the stabilizer melted and messed up my iron.  So it's a little messy on the back.  But I liked how it looked enough that I put borders on it to make it 12 x 12 and left the back showing.  Not an entry for any competition, but a great learning project and teaching tool!  Here is what the back stitching looks like.  

The red border is a scrap of work shirt fabric and the buttons are from old work shirts.  I could only find three but would have liked five on there!  

Now, to focus on the next challenge with a shortened time frame (for me).