Friday, May 28, 2010

Spring Bouquet - Nellie

Spring Bouquet (13"x 17")

silk flower petals and leaves
antique lace, yarn, batik fabric,
silk organza, tulle,
soft plastic cover from a sample book
oil stick pastels

My interpretation of Libby's photo is limited to the end of one branch.
Those blossoms were "virtually picked and arranged" in one of my favorite vases ... a water globe.
I had arranged stems of azalea blossoms in the globe for reference.  For those who are not familiar with this type of vase, the stems of the flowers are inserted into holes of a black rubber base.  The globe is filled with water, then the arranged flowers are lowered into the water and rubber base is sealed around the glass opening.  There's always an air bubble that gets trapped when the vase is turned upright.  I included the heavy cotton ecru lace with the intention of making oil stick rubbings on fabric to duplicate the look of the shadows in Libby's photo.

I couldn't believe the luck of already having the perfect piece of green batik with the look of shadows in my stash of fabrics.
A piece of black cotton sateen was backed with a fusible and cut out for the rubber base, then fused into place. 

I drew and cut a template for the globe on freezer paper, then ironed the waxy side onto a piece of white silk organza.  After it was positioned, I stitched around the outside edge of the paper template, then trimmed the excess organza outside the line of stitches.
Now it was time to replicate that air bubble with another piece of organza.  This was a scrap leftover from someones curtain making.  Again, a freezer paper template was ironed onto the organza.  It was pinned into position and I machine stitched around the outside of the template and then trimmed away the excess.
Next was the fun of sorting through all my dismembered silk flowers to find the appropriate petals for the cherry blossoms.
They were reshaped and glued into clusters.  The blossoms were built up by adding one petal at a time.  After a drop of glue was added a pin was inserted to hold the petal in position.
A couple of evenings were spent making flowers while I watched "Dancing With the Stars" and "American Idol".  The completed blossoms were arranged "in" the globe. I included silk leaves that were shaded with oil stick pastels.
Light blue tulle was layered on top.  I machine quilted around all the petals of one blossom, just as I had for these flowers in a quilt made a number of years ago.
It looked awful.  I think the problem was the scale of the cherry blossoms is smaller than those in "Hollyhocks".  I removed those stitches.  Then while considering what to do about quilting the blossoms, I machine quilted veins and around the leaves.  I liked the look of the petals not being quilted.  However, something had to hold them to the surface besides the  fragile tulle netting.  There was a piece of thick clear soft plastic I had saved from the cover of a fabric sample book lying on the table.  In desperation I placed it over the flowers on my quilt.  That is exactly what was needed.
A bit of fabric glue holds each blossom in place.  I used a Teflon coated foot for my machine to stitch the plastic to the fabric background (a sheet of tissue paper placed on top would keep a regular machine foot from sticking to plastic).  I also lengthened the stitch so I could trim close to the seam and the stitching would hold the perforated plastic in place.    A piece of fine shiny iridescent yarn was couched next to the edge for a neat finish.

I could hardly believe how the fabric flowers appeared so much like those immersed in the real globe vase.  They appear to be magnified by water.  Plus, the surface of the plastic reflects light just like the glass vase.
The shadows cast by the cherry trees immediately brought lace patterns to mind.  This is the same antique lace that drapes one of the doll figures in my March interpretation, "Waiting". It serves to form a foundation on which the vase is displayed.
Patterns in the batik background are shaded with oil stick pastels to suggest the shapes of the trees in the background of the photo.  The edge is finished with couched yarns.  I like the result of my novel solution for the globe, but doubt that plastic sheets will become a commonly used material for future projects.


  1. After seeing your amazing Prairie Performance I just knew this one would be a great one for you. Really like how everyone is making these photos uniquely their own. The batik fabric and plastic (!) work perfectly here. Well done Nellie!!

  2. Amazingly ingenuous as well as beautiful! This must have wonderful depth and intriguing texture when it's seen in reality. A lovely piece, Nellie.

  3. I was sure when you finished so quickly and used the silk flowers that you must have just thrown something together. Shame on me for doubting you! This lives up to my expectations of your work!

  4. I knew this one was yours as soon as I saw it. I've never seen one of those vases, but it looks to me like you've captured it perfectly in fabric! Everything just works perfectly together.

  5. I think one of the hardest things to do is glass and you have been able to do it perfectly! Loved hearing about the process and the trial and errors that occured along the way.

    This piece is totally you and I love the water globe bouquets, one which will be temporary while the other will last forever! Bravo.

  6. Quite a process but really great results. I am with Barbara on this one-you can enjoy this for a long time.

  7. It's very cool to see that the miscellaneous flower petals can take another approach (from your PP style) & come out so well. This is a very purposeful piece and one of my favorites. Nicely done, Nellie!

  8. Another amazing effort, Nellie. You continue to knock my socks off.

  9. Most excellent! The cherry blossoms look amazingly real. The antique lace works well to ground the vase. Yup, pretty darn cool!

  10. Where did you get the globe vase??? I would love to buy it, please email me at thank you and good job on your work!!!!


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