In this Part 4 of the series about making the spring landscape, Mossy Glen, I share photos and commentary about how I created the sweeping forsythia bush that arches above the hillside. Part 1 is all about stitching a moss-like texture, Part 2 gives a glimpse at how I made the cherry trees and Part 3 is about how I incorporated stone walls into the scene.
Mossy Glen is the springtime scene in a series of seasonal landscapes that capture the wonder and magic of the natural world, both real and imagined. Mossy Glen, Frosty Morning and Harvest Time are available as jigsaw puzzles and note cards in my shop here.
Before we escape into Mossy Glen’s land of innocence, I want to acknowledge what’s happening in the real world. The shocking and merciless attack on Ukraine by the Russian military is just too horrible to ignore. At times like this, I find it helpful to channel my distress into art. In this case, I already had images to work with. All I had to do was rearrange the photos and present them in context. So, this past week, on International Women’s Day, I posted the following image in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. The response on Facebook and Instagram was immediate and heartfelt, so I’m sharing it here as well. The group of portraits, featuring a Ukrainian in a traditional folk costume in the center, are some of the 48 women from around the world in my 2016 piece, Cover Up, which you can see and read about here.
One of the first signs of spring around here, besides snowdrops and daffodils are the telltale splashes of yellow forsythia bushes. They’re only noticeable for a few weeks, before leafing out and blending in with every other nondescript mass of leggy branches along the roadside. When forsythia are in full blossom, though, they are an important marker of the changing season.
Once I decided to make a forsythia bush, I had to figure out how to construct the different parts. The wire branches would be straightforward, but the flowers needed a new approach. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to replicate them perfectly, so I thought of ways to give the impression of delicate blossoms.
After experimenting with different threads and yarns and finding the flowers too droopy and clumsy, I tried silk ribbon. The petals perked right up and held their shape!
The process of forming the flowers was quite fussy. It’s much easier to show than tell how, so here’s a Stitch Minute video to give you the basics.
The silk ribbon I used is from Silk Road Fibers. They have a ton of different colors.
I filled the wire branches with about 100 flowers and buds.
Then I wrapped brown embroidery floss around the branches, covering the messy wire stems.
The stems were still a bit bumpy, so I wrapped more layers with 2 or 3 strands of floss, until they were smooth like this.
Stay tuned for more posts about making Mossy Glen. Other parts in the series will focus on the leaves, embroidered embellishments and the wee folk characters.
Mossy Glen (overview)
Part 1 (moss)
Part 2 (cherry trees)
Part 3 (stone walls)
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You are amazing! I like the description of figuring out what to use for the forsythia. The doll heads are wonderful! I could look at them for a long time. You do such a good job of creating a personality on them too.
I’m always amazed at the tiny size and detail of your work. Just stunning!
Thank you, Sally! Lenora Kirby
I am looking forward to your exhibit in Maine this summer!
Forsythia is one of my favorite harbingers of spring and you’ve captured it beautifully.
Just plain wonderful, especially on this dreary day!
Hi Salley, Maybe you can make a sequel to your first political movie, in which the already existing half naked Putin falls of his “high” horse…. Just a thought. Love, Maria Ps You keep amazing me with your work!!!
your work always amazes me.
You continue to amaze me! Such a wonderful, talented artist.
Hello Salley! I am from Ukraine, Kherson city. And I used Google translate, so sorry if there are inaccuracies in my letter, but I hope I can get my thoughts across to you. My name is Irina. I am 48 years old and I am the mother of a 7 year old boy. What is happening in my country is so crazy and terrible that it cannot be described in any words. I cry every time I receive words of support that fly to me from across the ocean and receive bomb explosions that fly to my homeland from neighbors. Now my city is occupied and we shudder when we see from the window of our apartment passing cars of our invaders, armored and equipped with weapons. Horror in the eyes of a child! It makes a lot of things rethink and reevaluate. I am here to thank you for not keeping silent, for not staying away from our trouble. Every bright word, every prayer, every kind thought is so valuable in this darkness of real events! Take care of yourself and your loved ones, enjoy the peaceful sky, measured life, the opportunity to plan tomorrow. It turned out that happiness is infinitely simple. With great respect, Irina
Thank you so much, Irina. I am very touched that you’ve taken the time to write, considering the horrible situation you find yourself in. I pray that you and your family stay safe and make it through this ordeal unharmed.