Sewphia started as a needlcase kit from a commerical supplier, Beadalot (www.beadalot.com); but many of the original beads in the kit immediately began to fade, and the colors didn't excite me (Pepto-'Dismal' pink and gray-my parents' 1945 bathroom tile!).
Sewphia quickly morphed into full three dimensionality, gained a backing and stuffing, and her stitches went to extreems of texture and luxury with added pearls and beaded ropes.
'What should I DO with her?' came to mind. She needed a beach setting, so I embroidered swirling sands and lots of bead, pearl and natural shell ditritis on a base of black silk dupioni. Methods for building 'piles' of embellishments were fun to invent.*
I built the Shaker-style box from cardboard, covered it in black silk dupion, padded the top and stitched down the beach and Sewphia. A Victorian ephemera transfer made a nice label.
Sewphia has taken three First Place ribbons, a Best of Class, a Special Award for Beading and a Theme Prize. Not bad for a gal who started out with a faded and retiring 'personality'!
* See "Embellish Everything" and "A Little Bit of Beading" workshops to learn these techniques.
Deanna Powell is one of the Embroiderers' Guild of Amercia's (www.ega-usa.org) very best Master Teachers. She's fun, professional, talented and always original.
I was happy to expand my crazy quilt technique while in her class during a week at EGA's 2006 Greater Pacific Region Seminar, at the stunning Asilomar in Pacific Grove. Ocean views and a gentle doe and her faun visiting my deck didn't hurt, either! Gee, sometimes embroidery is tough, but somebody's gotta do it.
Deanna took standard crazy quilting stitches like fern and fly, and executed them with beads. Wow-what fun!
I added gold plated beads, my signature fresh water pearls, a button, a Cigarette Silk photo transfer (I shared one with every student - you know "do you have a piece of gum for every one in class if not spit it out"), Czech glass leaves, hand dyed lace fragments, dragonfly charms to match my silk fabric, and doubled her original pattern. Using more beads and pearls, I also hilighted the woven fabric elements.
In my mind, the 'completed' handbag needed 'just a bit more' embellishing (that's me all over-a few more here, a few more there...) so I finished the flap with brass scrapbooking corners (best $1.19 I ever spent!) and beaded the length of the cord strap.
This one brought two blue and one red ribbon, and lots of flattering comments. Thanks, Deanna!
Back of evening bag.
Detail of front flap. Deanna taught us how to make the beaded basket.
Front view of evening bag. The oval is my embroidered teaching and gallery insignia.