Monday, November 17, 2014

Bonsai Trunk

For today’s post I’m writing about how I made the tree trunk for the Bonsai fiber art piece that I show above. As I mentioned before, I made this from a watercolor painting I had done. My favorite part of the tree is its' trunk.  In particular, I love the twisted appearance of it, and I thought I captured that in the painting.   I wanted to make sure I got that same look in the fiber version of this, so I decided to make the trunk by painting it, the same way I did in the watercolor painting.

I used an ivory raw silk fabric for the trunk.

raw silk fabric

I cut out the trunk shape and marked the darkest areas with a Frixion pen. I wanted to start painting with my lighter values, so I mixed a pale yellow and pale mauve shade and started applying to the trunk. I used my watercolor painting as a guide for the placement of the colors. After painting the light values I put in mid-values and then dark values. I mixed the inks with aloe vera gel to give them more viscosity and prevent bleeding. After the dark values were in I came back and added some aqua blue for highlights on the trunk in a couple locations.

ink painting

watercolor painting

To set the paint I pressed the fabric. Then I hand appliquéd the trunk to the background fabric. I marked the outlines of the trunk on the orange background fabric so I would get the placement correct. I used a needle-turn appliqué technique with silk thread. I found it difficult to needle-turn the raw silk because it frays more than cotton. But I did the best I could and persevered! I had several branch openings to stitch down and some of these edges did not look great, but I knew I was going to add foliage to that area and those edges would be covered. It worked out and I was pleased with the look of it after it was done.

trunk stitched down

My next steps were adding the table and pot that the plant is in. I will describe those steps in an upcoming post. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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