The background is a piece of artist canvas which makes a nice substrate to stitch on. I layered the canvas with wool yarn, metallic yarn, gold and silver lame', tulle, torn pieces of silk and linen. After I arranged the fibers I put one large piece of neutral (ivory) and several torn pieces of torn bronze/brown organza over the entire piece and free motion stitched up and down (in a bark-like pattern) to hold all the fibers in place beneath the organza.Then.... you guessed it. I melted away the organza with the heat gun - being care to leave parts of the organza as well as to strategically reveal the fibers underneath.
The leaves I made using an artificial leaf as a base to which I added dryer sheets which I painted with metallic Lumiere paints and free motion embroidered to the top and trimmed around the edges.
When it was time to stitch the leaves down, I played around with the arrangement (two maple, one oak), finding I needed one or two small leaves to balance the piece out. I painted two more leaves and pinned them down. I applied a closed, tiny zig zag stitch around the edges of each leaf, leaving some of the leaves hanging over the side to create an organic edge.
I sewed two loops to the top and found a nice twig which I cut, sanded and stained for the piece to hang on.
This was such a fun piece to work on (even though I was tearing my hair out at times). I love creating backgrounds and everybody knows leaves are my "muse."
Things I learned while working on this piece:
Always save all of the failures (I made four backgrounds before I ended up with this one and the backgrounds that failed are great to use for other things - they are in my "box.")
Always make two of everything (this is something I do now as it saves me a lot of time when making things for my Etsy shop and for gifts.)
DON'T let Lumiere stay on your skin (or in your hair!) for more than 8 hours....
And, enjoy the process. Don't stress. If things don't work out just throw it in the box (NOT the trash) and start again!~