How to Make A Fabric Picture by Hands
I am a fashion designer and dress maker. Then I use a lot of fabric materials. In my eyes, they are attractive and elegant, so that cannot deal with leftovers in regular ways, then developed my unique way: to make pictures, such as the one on the top.
Art---if you’d like consider my work as one form---can be in everywhere and everybody can become an artist: housewives use vegetables to make figures, gardeners use petals to make patterns, and I use fabrics to make pictures. To create such a picture, generally have two processes: creation and production!
The creation is the design of the project. My works derive from three resources: i) copied from some patterns with careful selection from online or somewhere else, ii) other patterns mixed with my own thoughts, like the one above, which is from the picture beside on the top, or iii) simply my own thoughts, like the one beside on the bottom. The production, as the name implies, is to make the picture out with materials in hand. The key in there is how to create three-dimensional sense. We all know that artists draw on the funtion of lines and colors to produce spacial visual effect, but fabric materials are all ready-made, which means you must use the fixed colors, plus layers, to produce the effect. So, we need good thoughts on it. Let us take an example to make it clear step by step.
Among the four photos below, the first two are fabric pictures that I made, and the last two are the original stone arts.
Step 1. To Make Background Scene
When choose fabric material as the background, I consider the quality and the color. It should be heavy and hard, so that the ingredients can be neatly fixed on. In these two pictures, the background materials are hard man-made leather, then they maintain in a good condition when fixed on other parts by gluing or sewing. But in the one below, the background materials are a light satin with elastic effect. For the first thing, I wanted the silver color, but it turned out to be difficult to add other parts on. As a result, looks not neat. Besides, need to decide the size for a ready-made frame. Of course, you can choose to use more expensive customized frames. Do not pin contents on other materials, such as paper, because it would not be all made with fabric.
Step 2. To Make Flowers
I use two ways to make those flowers: i) cut out ready-made flower patterns from fabric,such as the green one in the picture (I) below; ii) use different fabric to make one piece by piece. For both methods, should be so careful not to touch the edge, to avoid the fabric grains coming out, because it is hard to over-lock sewing such a small piece of pattern. So, it would be better to choose fabrics that do not play rough edges. For the first method, we need appropriate materials with careful cut. For the second method, we need to cut out petals and leaves piece by piece and match colors. In these two pictures, the pink and the yellow were made by cutting pieces, and the green were made by cutting out the ready-made patterns. To make stamens or pistils, if have vivid fabric things, we can use it, just directly pin it on, as the white one in the pink; if do not have such things in hand, then use needle and thread to make them out, as in the picture (II) below.
Step 3. To make birds, bee and tortoise, or other animals, like cat.
Same with making flowers, I use ready-made design on fabrics or create one piece by piece, but in my experience, it is better to make one with pieces for a better visual effect. Take birds as an example. We all know that birds wings are not a whole piece in one, but a bunch of individual feathers together. So, when I make a bird in only one color, such as a white pigeon, I cut out feathers one by one, then pin them together. Well, when make a bird in multi-colors, I can make it by pieces too, but I tend to use another easier way, i.e. make use of the special design on fabric. For instance, the birds I made in the picture are from a flower design of the black and white material in the below picture, in which you can see those white petal lines could be like bird wings at one part. Of course, the whole bird is still divided into pieces, i.e. the eyes, the head, the body, the feet, the wings, and the tail. For its spacial effect, we need to put thoughts on how to join them together: the flying one different from the landed one, the behind wing from the visual angle different from the front one, etc. When making a cat, fur material is needed. And sometimes, we need to use threads to make out things, such as cat beard, hairs, eyebrows, eyes, etc.
Step 4. To Fix All Individuals on The Background
We can use glue, but I choose to sew them on, because it will be safer and no stains. First, need to decide their positions to consist of a complete picture. Then, sew them on piece by piece. The thread length showing on the front should be short to be almost invisible.
Step 5. To Make Words
If necessary by creation or design, we need to produce some words on it, such as ‘QUIET’ and ‘Peace’ in these two. I used threads to embroider them out, but in the top one, I cut out the sparkling part from a piece of fabric, as in the photo below, based on the pattern shape (e.g. the curve part can be an 'a' or an 'o') to create those words, which took a lot time to range them neat. Besides, you may want to put your name on. I sew mine, both in English and in Chinese, on every one that I made.
Briefly, there are those steps, while the details need thinking and practicing, as well as personal understanding. As other artistic forms, this one also present joys, feelings, or emotions. For children, it will be much fun and joy, and also a good chance to help a creative thinking and improve the ability to observe and perceive things. It can be a simple way to express themselves, and the picture itself a meaningful gift.
Below are some works that I made. Hope you enjoy!
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