Connie D Dunn

This area is about Fiber Art and Arts & Crafts, follow the links below to find your way around. Also, check out our Blog.

What is the difference in Fiber Art and Arts & Crafts? Not a lot in my mind. Yet, when I make something like a purse with embroidery, I consider it more Arts & Crafts than Fiber Art. Check out my Fiber Art pieces.

“I could probably make fiber art creations about anything, but Goddess Stories is definitely a passion of mine. Understanding their story and telling it all in a picture or quilt,” Connie says.

Thus, there are some Goddess Books and even 12 Journals with original Fiber Art prints on the covers and interiors of some of the books.

Why Fiber Art, you might ask? Well, I learned to embroidery when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I’m feeling pretty old, as I admit this, but back then, during the hottest part of the day, being allowed to sit in the living room with an air cooler (predecessor of air conditioning), which was basically a fan that blew out over water. Thus, a water cooler is just blowing a misty breeze into the room. These sat in the window; and tended to make the walls and ceiling mold. I remember my mom scrubbing the wall with bleach. Then, the room was painted and looking fresh only to have it mold again.

At any rate, living in Texas meant living with the heat, so being able to be inside during the hottest part of the day was okay. And that’s when I learned to embroidery. I mostly embroidered cross-stitch designs on linen tea towels (kitchen towels). Linen is not a great fabric for absorbing water, so I have never used these towels – they are tucked away in a cedar chest somewhere!

The above photo is of a purse with an inset pocket with a rabbit on it. I often use linen to create my embroidered pieces. Linen with its looser weave makes it easier to embroider. Cotton fabrics are woven tighter, making it harder to pull the embroidery thread through the fabric. You can use most any fabric when you embroider, the difference always comes down to the weave. With a sharp point and a needle with an eye big enough to accommodate the thread (embroidery thread usually comes with six strands), you can use all six threads or separate the fibers and use only the amount needed to achieve the affect you want your embroidery to have.

Here’s an overview of the purse, which was made from several pieces of Fat Quarters. Fat Quarters are a good way to mix and match without spending a lot of money. Fat Quarters are usually anywhere from $1 to $5, depending on the fabric. Remnants also may give you some options. This mostly is a game of luck, when looking for remnants of a particular cloth. The bag is embellished with an embroidered rabbit that has been bound in one of the fabrics used for the main part of the bag. You can make your pieces to match the colors in your bag, as well. That depends on which you worked on first. I tend to embroidery a bunch of designs and then select the one I feel is the best fit for the project.

In this case, I had both purple and red in the rabbit design, and the purse was made out of purple print and red print fabrics. Embroidery is fairly easy. You can learn a few stitches and use only those on the entire piece or find some new exotic stitches and practice them while you are embroidering your design.

Designs can be the difficult part for newbies. Here are some of my suggestions. If you have a computer with a drawing program, many of these have some stock pictures. Look through your drawing program for simple designs. For example, an outline of a rabbit is all one needs to create a similar embroidery in this example. If you need more help, check out my embroidery book: Embroidery Rocks My World.

Using multiple types of art, including applique, buttons, stones, felting, etc. turns your art into multi-media pieces.

The picture above is a mini-picture of a picture I am planning to create. It incIudes cheesecloth and felt appliques, embroidery and felting. The felting is at the bottom of the picture. Felting uses roving wool or fibers that have not been spun into thread or yarn. Using felting needles and a foam slab underneath, you can connect these fibers to your cloth, which is usually wool felt. This is a dry felting method. Wet felting takes the raw fibers and creates your own felt; it requires different techniques.

I often do a small sample picture prior to making a full-size picture. It helps you look at composition, mode of creating, and other parts of the picture. Thi larger, finished project may look totally different due to what you learned from making the mini-picture. For example in the above example, I will likely do the houses differently in the larger picture. While I may still use some felting on the picture, it will be used differently, such as create more of the background and make these more look like rooms within a house rather than what is shown here.