Monday, 14 November 2016


Is this an environmental statement????'s not! 

 I chose this title for my blog, because it is essentially what the textile art technique;  contemporary reverse applique, involves.  Lot's & lots of cutting back. 

 I'll show you what I mean soon, but first... what is 'contemporary reverse applique' & is it the same as 'reverse applique'?

Traditional reverse applique is the technique used by the Cuna people of South America to make their stunningly distinctive Molas.   I don't own a Mola myself, so cant insert an photo of the real thing to show you (google if you're interested), but the image above is my one & only attempt at trying the traditional technique.

In this case, three layers of fabric are layered on top of each other. A guideline is drawn onto the uppermost layer & then gradually parts of that top layer are cut away, needle-turned  & stitched neatly down.  The next layer is then cut & stitched in place the same way.  As you can see...I ...(embarrassed cough here)...never completed this sample, because it is sooooooooo hard doing all that needle-turning! Argh!!

CONTEMPORARY reverse applique differs in that a sewing machine is used to stitch a design through the whole 'sandwich' of fabric layers, & as each is cut away to the desired point, the edges are left raw & frayed.

Here's how I do it;

I create an outline for a design.

I make a few decisions about what colours/textures I want in each part of the design & then I choose fabrics that suit.

I work out which layer in the 'sandwich' each coloured fabric is going to be placed & note that decision on my design, so that I have a reminder!!

I trace the design onto my uppermost fabric.

I stitch that design through the layers using a sewing machine.

I cut back... reveal the first layer.

I cut back to reveal the second layer.

I cut back to reveal the third layer.

Finally, I cut back to reveal the base layer. (Aren't you glad I only have a few layers in this demonstration!!)

I add a little hand make it more interesting.

I add a few beads to give it a bit of oomph.

And finally, I do a little more tweeking until I'm happy with the outcome.

This is the basic process I use for ALL my contemporary reverse applique artworks.  It is very time consuming, has a high degree of risk (scissors are sharp & pointy & sometimes take off more than they should!!), but I love it...especially the cutting back.  To me it is like being a child unwrapping a gift at Christmas...magic!

This blog will share with you, not only my adventures creating art using this technique, but also my adventures exploring art in general.  Choosing to be an artist, means choosing to constantly learn, observe, adapt & explore further.

I hope you enjoy sharing the experience with me.

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