As soon as I had done the continuous line drawings - drawing (mostly) without looking - of the weathered oyster shells and mermaids purses I collected from the beach at Eastbourne I could see that they would make great stitched designs, and had potential for incorporating into my Narrative Thread work for Diversity.
I want to put them on rusted fabric, as the colours are so sympathetic with the subjects, but I have had problems stitching into rusted fabric in the past; my 'prima donna' top end sewing machine refuses point blank to stitch through it, with the message STOP FOR SAFETY REASONS. Personally I think it is getting over dramatic, but there's no arguing with it. My workhorse semi-professional machine behaves a little better, but you can tell it's not really happy. I've tried various combinations of fine needles and different threads, but I think the oxidised metal clogs up the weave and makes tension very difficult to control.
So I've decided to stitch first and rust later. The samples are testing out different combinations of quilt sandwich and a variety of background treatments.
I'm pretty happy with the 'drawing', each slightly different but quite recognisable. I wanted to densely stitch the background so that the images gained dimension,
and I've tried conventional quilt sandwiches with white cotton, hand and machine stitched, linen with felt and linen with felted blanket.
I though this was going to be too heavy, but once the the stiffness of the quilted background might be a good thing. I think I'm going to leave the edges raw, so it's important how the backing and wadding reacts to the rust too.
Next step layer them up with rusty finds and tea a wait and see what happens!