Yesterday and today I modified the flames template to my satisfaction. The original simulation looked fine, but when I went to lay it out on the phoenix fabric, the proportions were wrong. The phoenixes weren’t clearly visible – no matter how I laid out the templates, I was getting half-phoenixes instead of full ones.
I also did a simulation or two of a surface-designed black flame, but didn’t like the results – it lacked the depth and resonance of the black phoenixes. It also wasn’t as symbolic – I like the idea of dead, ghostly phoenixes (maybe the Angel of Death?) flying through a darkened landscape.
So I took some more photos of the fabric, went into Photoshop, and carefully developed a life-sized mockup, making sure the virtual phoenixes were the same size as the fabric ones. I then tweaked the template until I was satisfied, printed it out, and compared it again to the real fabric so I could be sure the layout was perfect.
Then I traced the shapes onto a clear plastic template:
And set the template onto the fabric, to make sure I had the layout Exactly Right:
And then I decided the small flame was too big in the original layout, and proceeded to fiddle with it some more:
Now the dark flame looks more like a shadow of the light flame, and I like it better, symbolically speaking. (“Death’s shadow looms over us all.”) It’s also compositionally better. I will try laying out on actual fabric today.
I’m still not ready to cut into and fuse the fabric yet, though. I’m still feeling nervous about the actual cutting, since I get only one chance to do it right. And I don’t feel emotionally settled on the design. So I’ll give myself another day or two, or however long it takes, to get myself settled, and get up the nerve to cut.
(I did test the fusible web – Misty Fuse Ultraviolet, as that seems to be the most recommended for finely woven fabrics. It does have some impact on the “hand” of the fabric, but nothing I can’t live with, and you all were right – it does leave the fabric wonderfully flat, great for a wall hanging.)
Still working on a title for this piece. My working title is Phoenix: Reborn in Fire, but I’m not 100% satisfied with it. (I want to save the title Phoenix Rising for the bigger piece, whatever that is, or I’d use that.) It needs to convey the idea of death, rebirth, fire, and phoenixes. Suggestions welcome!