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Tiny Dancer

Well to say that this started off as a simple silk painting is an understatement.

I originally thought of doing a larger silk painting that would really catch the eye of the viewer so I asked my good friend Janet Knight if I could use one of her paintings as inspiration.

Janet gracefully said yes and I was absolutely thrilled so I chose her dancer and then proceeded to create the pattern to draw onto the silk fabric.

Silk painting would have to be one of my absolute favorites to teach and to do it's so relaxing and inspirational and the results are instant.

Janet Knight painting is below

This gorgeous painting was so inspirational to me not that I ever danced or was a ballerina or even attempted to but the lines the movement and the colour choice that Janet chose was exactly what I wanted to do so it really spoke to me. I think to make something meaningful it really has to speak to you and it has taken a lot of years and a lot of practice to actually hear that voice come out of the artwork and tell me that I need to do what I do.

So after creating the pattern I then proceeded to draw it on the silk and of course I had to pin it on to a large frame otherwise it wouldn't paint properly.

Firstly I started drawing outline in the resist I use a water based resist so that it easily washes out and has less chemicals. Once the resist was dry 24 hours later I could then start painting.

I mix my colours to suit what I thought was right for what I wanted to create. Of course I tried and tested in bits and pieces just to see what the colour look like knowing that it fades once dry. Once I got my colours right I knew that all I had to do was add water to the silk dyes to lighten the colours or less water to have darker colours.

Using the painting as a reference I coloured the sections that I had made in my artwork that allowed me to create highlights and lowlights. The water based resist ensured that the paint didn't make a brown yucky mess.

So once the painting was done I needed to let it dry and then I needed to wash out the resist which I did. Once you've done this process then it's a matter of allowing it to dry giving it an iron. Of course me being very careful not to burn it.

So then I had to actually think about what I was going to use as wadding how many layers, backing etc etc.

I decided on two layers of wadding and a backing hoping that that would be enough to keep it stable.

So after hours and hours and hours of stitching and thread painting and filling in the white areas I realised that it wasn't enough and the quilt was extremely wavy and puckered and all sorts of horrible things. So sitting there contemplating what to do not wanting to throw it out not wanting to cut it up I decided that I needed to use a high loft wadding called Dacron and another backing. But to be on the safe side I decided to add another layer of cotton wadding as well just in case.

So now I had a very very high loft quilt that I looked at us and wondered how I was going to quit this on my sit down machine as it needed to be done that way for me to have complete control of where I was stitching.

So I decided to go in between where I had already been pushing down where I was stitching and allowing what had already been stitched to rise. This created a Trapunto look which was exactly what I wanted it to do. I stitched around the dancer again and created some beautiful texture by allowing the fabric to Rise and Fall where the dress she was wearing folded.

Here are some photos of my stitching up close and the finished result.

It was a close call I almost lost myself in it and lost the actual quilt I really thought that I might not be able to fix it as it was extremely wavy and it seems to me that it was almost impossible to fix. But I prove myself wrong and I'm glad I stuck to it because the final result is just stunning. I decided that the Binding would be a blind binding so as not to take away from the actual quilt.

It was literally a Blood Sweat and Tears job and when I finished I was extremely emotional and happy and elated that she turned out so magnificent I hope you enjoy.

Thank you for reading my little story

Cheers Michelle de Groot xxx😀😁💜

1 Comment

cate bloom
cate bloom
Jan 07, 2019

This Ballerina is another beautiful work of art, we all watched you put a lot of hours into her until you were satisfied with result💖🌷🌷

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