I spent several hours fiddling with the design yesterday and today, tweaking the proportions of the flames and the placement of the phoenixes until it felt Just Right. Then I cut and fused the fabric:
I’m thinking I like the cropped background better, as it keeps the emphasis on the flames (and doesn’t have those weird cut-off phoenixes at the top.) I think it’s also a stronger visual design.
I like the result a lot, but it doesn’t feel finished to me yet. The raw edges are visible, and while they aren’t raveling or anything, I feel it looks unprofessional to have raw edges showing in a piece, unless it’s an intentional and meaningful part of the design. In this piece, it isn’t, so I’m going to have to think of a way to cover the edges. I think either embroidery or gold paint – but you can bet I’ll test this out on samples before touching the actual piece!
But on the whole, I’m pleased, and I feel like I’ve done a good day’s work.