The second panel I purchased for the Guild SALA Exhibition, Aviarius, was a seagull. I really liked the background fabric on which it is printed.
I had several ideas for this panel, but when I visited Victor Harbor with friends in late December and we sat for a while on the top of the Bluff I knew that was where I wanted to place the seagull.
I set about reproducing the back of the seat, using thread left over from the Ahwahnee table topper I made four years ago. There was quite a lot left so I thought I was safe, but inevitably I ran out and was fortunately able to match it exactly while staying near Hampton Court recently.
The seagull went in using stem stitch, in stranded cotton - white and a range of greys and a touch of black.
I then tried to outline the main parts of the scene. it wasn't easy to get the perspective and distance. I needed to enlarge some parts of the scene - to give greater definition to elements like the islands.
I thought the dark green conifer would be easy to embroider. I did vary the dark green thread, and both the shape and the stitch were easy enough, but it was still a little bit solid.
I expected the grass behind the chair to be easy - tiny seed stitches upright, rather than at different angles - but getting the colour right was a challenge. it took me several attempts to get a green that resembled the yellowy-green heading to brown of Australian grass in Summer.
While the background fabric was what suggested the landscape, I still needed to find a way of ensuring we saw water. I did this by straight blue lines.
Finally I needle-felted some clouds and outlined the seagull in black - the definition had been a bit lost against the island behind.
I blocked the finished piece overnight
I had been giving thought to what I would do with this piece. The shape suggested a zip bag.
I bought a zip, found some blue cotton backing fabric and some oilcloth in my stash. Voila - a bag for keeping suntan cream, mosquito repellant and possibly a hat for the beach.
I printed the photograph on to a post-card sized fabric square as a label..
Once dry, I stitched this to the back - adding a line of feather stitch to cover the fold line I had failed to iron away.
The SALA Exhibition is not until August, so I will need to put this away until then. I've learned quite a lot from this and my other SALA pieces, most of it relating to story, While this seagull piece is a landscape, it is a landscape with association - a narrative. I enjoy playing with different ways of telling stories - and of formatting images to create narrative. These exhibition pieces have allowed me to explore this at some length.