Monday, February 25, 2013

Momigami collage completed

A couple of weeks ago I had progressed my collage using the momigami paper samples to the point where I was ready to stick it down using thinned wallpaper paste on a plastic sheet. After adding some more purple serviette pieces, this was where I had got to.

I followed Cas Holmes' advice in her book, The Found Object in Textile Art, and scraped away some of the paper layers with a blade to reveal the ones underneath.
Next I wanted to add some machine embroidery. First I experimented with a blindingly obvious idea from her book to bond a design already printed on some fabric onto the back of your work and stitch over it. I chose this flower on some curtain fabric.

I bonded it to some calico, on top of which I had bonded a square of green sheeting, a square of patterned furnishing fabric and a strip of shot satin.
I stitched over the design with free machine embroidery as best I could. I started off with cream thread and then swapped to black half-way through.
This was the result on the front using a thicker variegated rayon thread in the bobbin. It's quite good but I think I actually prefer the black thread on the original design on the back!
I then tried a free-hand drawing using a sketch of a branch sticking out of our hedge. I drew the outline in pencil on the back and then stitched over it. This time I had brown thread in the top and bottom.
Here is the front - I really like this. However, I decided to keep experimenting and got out my Inktense pencils to colour in the leaves.
I like this too. I used cheap fusible adhesive to stick the layers of my sample together which comes in a diamond pattern and this has showed through when I applied the pencil. A happy accident that looks quite interesting!
I coloured in the flower just to see if that made it any more interesting. It just shows how versatile the Inktense pencils are, as you can add water to make a wash.
So learning from my experiments I chose to stitch the branch design in a larger size on the back of my collage.
When I turned it over you could hardly see it! Because the background was already busy I didn't think that colouring the leaves in with the ink pencils would help much. However, where the stitches were so small it almost looked like the paper had been perforated so I had the idea to scrape out the centres of each leaf instead.
I took all the layers of paper away so I was back to the calico backing. Because I had used wallpaper paste, which is not that strong I could do this fairly easily and cleanly.

I am pleased with this as it gives an effect that would be difficult to achieve any other way - I was also lucky that I  had stitched over layers of paper, rather than fabric or a mixture. I know that I could cut the fabric away, in the style of reverse applique, but it would have been too fiddly to get into the pointed ends of the leaves cleanly.

The other elements I added were:

  • a leaf printed onto Bondaweb, with a piece of organza bonded over the top and then free-machined with a black and white variegated thread.
  • another version of the branch drawn on the front in gel pen and then a piece of organza bonded over the top part. Note the black around the corner where the iron went over the old till receipt - I wasn't expecting that and it will be interesting to see if it stays or fades.
  • I coloured in some of the flowers in the illustration with ink pencils and added pieces of organza.
  • I stitched some smocking stitch over a square of orange chiffon to echo my earlier 'wasteland daisies' piece
  • I cut some strips off my green serviette stitched in a random grid and partly washed away and noticed to my delight that they looked like ferns so I pasted these down with wallpaper paste. (They would also make good seaweed in a marine type piece!)
  • Finally I pasted down some threads of rayon frayed from the edge of some shiny furnishing fabric

It is maybe a tad busy overall but I have really enjoyed trying out all these different techniques and I have especially enjoyed the ease of combining paper and fabric. I will definitely be doing more.

Final tip - you can keep made up wallpaper paste for months in a well sealed ice cream container - a tip learned from my Mom, who was a primary school teacher and had a tub of paste made up under the kitchen sink for most of my childhood, which she used to mount her kids' artwork into brilliant displays!


  1. Love what you've achieved Jess - the leaves where you've scraped away the centres look particularly effective - def a serendipity moment!

    Karen x

  2. Thanks for your lovely comments, Karen B - I'm glad you like the end result. Jess

  3. Exciting! Time for me too to experiment with paper and fabric together.