Super busy the last few days, and I have all-day vendor meetings at work today and Friday that will seriously interfere with creative work. (Get in early, leave late, and all that.) However, I have moved forward somewhat: I finished covering up the edges of the flames, and am now thinking about how to crop the background.
Katharina wrote me off-line and suggested a different way of cropping the background: leave the tails on the phoenixes but crop off the rest, like so:
I like this for all sorts of reasons – the aspect ratio is better, the half-phoenixes suggest movement, and things with something moving out of the frame are visually more dynamic than things that are fully contained. I had thought about this before, but was doing it with only a small fraction of phoenix tail, making it unclear what was moving out of the frame. Thus making it visually distracting. Using the full phoenix tail makes it clear that they are phoenixes.
I tried it with more of the phoenix visible, but didn’t really care for it: it looked cut off in a very rigid way. The tail is a natural division, so splitting the phoenix there seems the best route.
For comparison, here are the two other options again (sorry about the blurry photo with the shorter frame – I’m running short on time so didn’t have the time to re-shoot and reprocess the photos).
Still mulling it over, but inclined to go with the half-phoenixes. (Thanks Katharina for the idea!) Would love to hear your thoughts!
By the way, you may have noticed that I outlined the flames in perle cotton, 2 strands of 5/2 cotton (bought in the embroidery section). This is becaues I tried the chenille and didn’t really like it:
On the right side of the dark flame is chenille; the remainder is perle cotton. I felt that the perle cotton gave a more defined look, and it was also darker, giving more dramatic contrast with the background. Also, the chenille just looked “cheap” to me. Not sure why.
Anyway, that’s the scoop! The next major design decision is the cropping, following which I’ll attach it to the background. Still figuring out how to do that – I could fuse it to the background, which would keep it flat (highly desirable in a wall hanging), but then what do I do with the cut ends at top and bottom? I could embroider over them, I guess, couching a “frame” around the piece. But I’m not sure I want to do that. I could turn them under, another possibility, but not sure how well that would work.
An additional problem is that the navy blue background is silk charmeuse – slippery and very drapey, not exactly what I’d want in a wall hanging. However, it was the best dark blue I could find in silk. I considered using cotton instead, but it seems a pity to put silk in a cotton frame. So now I need to figure out how to firm up the silk charmeuse a bit. I’m seriously thinking of fusing two layers of it together. Must do samples to see if that will work.
Off to work! Must get in early, to greet our vendor team as they arrive. Also have to buy donuts and bagels for the meetings – it’s a moral imperative.