Thursday, January 26, 2012

Design decisions

The fiber art in our gallery is one-of-a-kind.  Thought goes into creating each piece.  Eileen Doughty shared the decision process that went into making the silk paper earrings that won a jurors' recognition in our show this month.

Eileen said, "I was very pleased to receive jurors' recognition for my silk paper earrings, along with Janet and Ann.  Though my earrings are obviously smaller and less complex, the process still requires many steps and many artistic decisions. Like all of our gallery's fiber art, these are definitely not mass-produced.

"Like Janet, I learned to make silk paper from the master - Robin Russo.  I buy her dyed tussah in a variety of hues.  I choose which colors to combine into a paper, and add embellishments such as specialty threads or dried flower petals.
silk paper
"Deciding to make a set of earrings for our "Wondrous, Lustrous Silk" show, I chose a paper I'd made previously, in dark orange and blue (complementary colors), embellished with a shiny blue thread and copper gilding chips. Next I had to think about what the finished object would look like.  I opted for a 3D shape: cones.  And to make it twice as fun, two stacked cones.  Cutting scrap typing paper into sample cones let me play a bit in order to decide how big to make them,  and how much of a bell opening to have.  When satisfied with my test, I used that paper as pattern for cutting into the silk paper.  The next decision was where on the silk paper to cut, in order to make the most of the variations in its color and embellishment.

"Looking at the silk cut-outs, I thought it needed just a little more interest, and decided to free-motion machine stitch copper thread on the bottom edges.  The cones were stitched closed by hand, and strung on a fine wire with some beads to space them and allow them some movement.  One copper bead is added at the top.  The ear wires are copper, to mesh with the color scheme."

Eileen uses silk paper for other jewelry, such as the necklaces shown below:
Silk Squares

peach necklace

Eileen concludes, "Next time you see some hand-made fiber art, take a moment to think about all the steps and decisions that went into making it.  We love what we make and we hope it shows!"

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