Friday, 4 May 2018

How to hatch a Swallowtail.

 
Hello everyone, I thought it might be a good idea to show you the processes that go into one of my pieces. One of the questions I get asked most when I'm out and about with my hatchlings is 'how long do they take ?'  

So here goes.....  Making a Liberty Swallowtail.

Each butterfly begins with a drawing, either from a specimen, book illustration, photograph or a combination of all three. I create a line drawing which simplifies the wing patterns .
 
The next stage is to break the patterns down into colour layers, these can be any number but usually about three or four. These are then traced onto bondaweb. I then select the fabrics that best match the colours of the particular species.
 

Each of these layers are then applied to individual fabrics and cut out. I use a very sharp pair of scissors. On the Swallowtail the black layer is fairly complex, this can take well over an hour.

The layers are then fused together and placed on a background of silk with another one of interfacing. This creates a stable base for embroidery.




I can then begin to stitch, looking very closely at my original source material, I satin stitch the edges of each wing part.

Next I cover each piece with a voile or organza and stitch the veins on the wings.
Using my very sharp scissors I then cut away parts of this layer to reveal what's underneath.



This creates iridescence and depth.

 
I then apply more free motion embroidery to add interest, it's this stage where the piece can come to life. The separate wings are stitched together to complete the butterfly's shape.

Hand stitching tiny beads and sequins adds texture. I then felt a body from pure wool, referring to photos, sewing bead eyes and antennae of hemp string.
And he's finished.
 
To answer that familiar question, about three and a half hours, without the sketching stage.
 


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