Saturday, March 07, 2009

Breaking the Barrier

As much as I wanted to get working on my second azalea mosaic, I found myself resisting taking that first step - choosing the fabric in which to make the first cuts. I had a general idea of how I wanted to proceed, but for this one I'm taking a more freeform approach. I'm not drawing on grid guidelines, I'm not rotary cutting the mosaic squares, I'm not going for a particular end dimension. Basically, I'm winging it, trying to work loose, and thus, out of my comfort zone. Still, I knew once I took the first step, a lot of the anxiety would disappear as I became engrossed in the work.

You have to start somewhere, and the logical place was with the green that would be the "backbone" of the work. I guessed at 1-1/2 inches as the approximate size of the squares, which was the perfect size for the least waste of the Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite fusible I'd be using. I have it in sheets that are approximately 9 x 12 inches. I really like this product for this type of on-the-wall designing because the fusible has a slight tackiness to it that makes it stick temporarily wherever you place it. The light version also does not bleed through on thinner fabrics like batiks and hand-dyes. At least here I was in my comfort zone. I pressed a sheet of fusible to my green and started cutting strips, eyeballing with my Teflon-coated scissors. Then I sub-cut the strips into squares.

Azalea mosaic 1's squares have pointed corners. On this version, I wanted slightly rounded corners, so went back over each square, trimming off the points in a gentle curve.

Then it was time to peel off the paper backings and start arranging the squares on the background. The green hand-dye had plenty of light and dark areas for variety, so I didn't feel the need to work in any other fabrics. I only used a ruler once to check on the angle of the vertical and horizontal rows. I wanted it to be 90 degrees, and I suspected the horizontal row was swinging up a bit at the end. It was, but where the horizontal and vertical rows crossed, it was a perfect 90 degrees. I was impressed. I guess this loosening up stuff works pretty well. And this is where I stopped on Thursday.

Yesterday I was back at it, but the trepidation had returned. That decision making thing that makes me doubt myself. The four quadrants will be filled in with blocks of one color each, but each quadrant will have more than one fabric in it. But first I needed to shift my green "backbone" over to the right so I could make the horizontal rows a little longer. Then I decided the purple quadrant would be the easiest for me to work on, and I had two different purple hand-dyes I wanted to use. I cut light and dark sections out of each so basically had 4 different shades to work with. I realized that now that I knew approximately how large this piece would be, I needed to mark where the edges most likely will fall. The slant of the rows confuses my eye when eyeballing the true horizontal - I'd placed some squares below that line I discovered when I held up a ruler. So I chalked a plumb line so to speak where the bottom and right edges will fall.

I ended the day contemplating how I'll approach the yellow and tangerine sections. I now think that two quadrants of yellow will be far too overpowering, and I doubt that I'll use that sassy yellow and tangerine batik on the left unless I only cut from certain areas. But I think that batik in the upper left is a keeper, although it probably won't be used in that spot..

1 comment:

Pat said...

loving this.....