In this Part 3 of the series about making the spring landscape, Mossy Glen, I share photos and commentary about how I incorporated stone walls into the scene. Part 1 is all about making moss and Part 2 gives a glimpse at how I made the cherry trees.
Why did I use real stones instead of making them with felt, as I did for Frosty Morning, (which you can see here)? I’ve asked myself the same question and have no clear answer, besides a feeling that real stones somehow balanced out and matched the realness of the wooden doorways.
I first time I used real stones in my artwork was in 1995 for the picture book, Mary had a Little Lamb. I can remember sitting on the beach, sifting through the sand for small flat stones to use in the garden scene. When it came time to glue them to the background fabric, I was a nervous wreck, afraid of dropping glue in the wrong place by mistake and ruining all my work.
This time, I found more stones than sand to sift through at the beach.
I came home with a varied selection of stones, ranging in size from 1/2″ to 1 1/4″. They needed to be thin so they wouldn’t be too heavy and flat on the back so the glue would have a surface to adhere to.
As I played around with their arrangement, I decided to add a mossy felt section to the composition, which I embellished with silk ribbon. This ribbon is made by Silk Road Fibers.
One downside of using glue is that once you’ve cemented something in place, that’s where it stays. I’d rather have the flexibility to move parts around, so I glued stones to individual pieces of felt. That way, I could make adjustments as I built the wall. It’s a lot easier to rip out a bunch of stitches than move a glued object.
Aleene’s makes a variety of fabric embellishing adhesives that all work well. Do I use hot glue? No, because it’s stringy, messy, shoddy looking and I don’t trust its holding capabilities.
Once the stones and their felt backings were sewn in place, I covered the felt and filled in the cracks with a gazillion french knots, making a carpet of moss.
As with the moss in other parts of the Mossy Glen (that you can see here), I combined different shades of green embroidery floss to give it a naturalistic appearance.
As I stitched french knots around the stones, I realized that the mossy wall was too plain and would look better with something growing in front of it.
So, I formed a vine out of wire, silk ribbon and embroidery floss. Even though I documented the process with photos, it’s hard to remember exactly how I made it. All I know is that the silk ribbon loopy leaves came first and then I covered the wire and ribbon with embroidery floss. In my head, can hear my mother’s voice saying that the floss covered a multitude of sins.
I sewed the vine in place in the spaces between the stones.
I expanded the Mossy Glen neighborhood to include another stony bank with 2 more doorways.
This time, I glued the stones directly to the background fabric because I was more confident about their placement.
When I stitched around the stones, I left some room between the knots, so the blue green felt showed through. Again, I thought the hillside was too plain, so I stitched a few plants with silk ribbon.
As I embellished around the stones, I periodically checked the positioning of the moss covered wooden doorways, to make sure that they fit OK.
Here’s a photo showing the back of the hillside, with a green felt strip along the top edge. It’s kind of like piping without a cord filler inside.
I added the green strip along the top of the mound to create a space for blades of grass. In contrast to the myriad of greens, I used bright warm colors to stitch the grass.
Stay tuned for more posts about making Mossy Glen. Other parts in the series will focus on the forsythia bush, leaves, embroidered embellishments and the wee folk characters.
Mossy Glen (overview)
Part 1 (moss)
Part 2 (cherry trees)
Part 4 (forsythia)
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