Sophie Standing Workshop: March 2019: Kookaburra

18 03 2019

I had the privilege of attending another 4-day workshop with textile artist, Sophie Standing. Last time (2017) we did a shell; this time, it was a kookaburra. I enjoyed the kookaburra more, as we could inject quite a lot of personality into its face (especially the eye) and body. Although some people used some pretty ‘out there’ fabrics, I always intended my kookaburra to be fairly realistic in its colours. So I chose fabrics that emulated its natural colours, as far as possible.

We all had quite a bit of prep to do before the workshop—in my case, that meant painting the background (leaves, flowers, branches, and a background wash over the blue duck fabric I used [note to anyone else doing something similar: check if the fabric is waterproof/water resistant! Mine was, so I had a hard time getting the background wash to take hold; the branches etc. I did with acrylics with a dry brush and no water in the mix, and they worked out much better). This was a residential workshop, so we could work as much as we wanted outside class time too. We stayed at Avalon Homestead about 5km outside Toodyay, Western Australia, which has two purpose-built crafting rooms, and 16 en suite bedrooms. Three yummy meals a day were part of the workshop fee too.

The photos below (click on an individual photo to see the detail) are just a selection of the ones I took showing the progress of my kookaburra—the full set is in this Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157707423447255

The original photo of the kookaburra (permission was obtained from the photographer to use it)

The original photo of the kookaburra (permission was obtained from the photographer to use it)

My initial fabric choices; these changed a bit over the four days

My initial fabric choices; these changed a bit over the four days

Initial cutting, pinning, and placing fabric onto the background and drawing

Initial cutting, pinning, and placing fabric onto the background and drawing

We started stitching the beak by the end of Day 1

We started stitching the beak by the end of Day 1

Stitching the eye was the first task on Day 2

Stitching the eye was the first task on Day 2

Next came the head feathers and shading detail

Next came the head feathers and shading detail

Stitched tail feathers

Stitched tail feathers

Bird is all stitched, but the line between dark and light on the body was too harsh so I added large cream flowers to soften it

Bird is all stitched, but the line between dark and light on the body was too harsh so I added large cream flowers to soften it

The claws were fun to do, and, to place the bird properly on the branch, I did quite a lot of black stitching on the branch to blend the joins

The claws were fun to do, and, to place the bird properly on the branch, I did quite a lot of black stitching on the branch to blend the joins

The kookaburra is finished! Notice that the yellow flower fabric on the neck is now gone. I added a small cream and apricot Liberty print to cover it and stitched over it to blend it in. The shiny blue fabric was some lycra I picked up in the dance fabrics section

The kookaburra is finished! Notice that the yellow flower fabric on the neck is now gone. I added a small cream and apricot Liberty print to cover it and stitched over it to blend it in. The shiny blue fabric was some lycra I picked up in the dance fabrics section

I stitched the outlines and central veins of the painted leaves, the flowers, and the small branches

I stitched the outlines and central veins of the painted leaves, the flowers, and the small branches

End of Day 4. A flock of kookaburras!

End of Day 4. A flock of kookaburras!

I had a bit of time left on Day 4, so decided to try stitching a large eye. I chose a cat's eye and used about 20 different coloured threads to create this eye, which is about 2 inches high and 3 inches wide.

I had a bit of time left on Day 4, so decided to try stitching a large eye. I chose a cat’s eye and used about 20 different coloured threads to create this eye, which is about 2 inches high and 3 inches wide.

I had heaps of fun doing this class, and it reinforced how much I like thread painting. I really should do more of it.


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