Last week, my experiments with boiled wool finally paid off. I especially liked the sewing machine creatures, and decided I wanted to do more of them. On ancient cave paintings, there are some animal herds:
Why not a herd of sewing machines? So I collected more images of machines...
..including Willcox and Gibbs machines:
Willcox & Gibbs are the most beautiful, elegant little machines - my favorite, certainly. These machines sewed well, and some continue to do so today! I also looked at my own photo collection:
I took the photos (above) in a small shop in Belfast, years ago.
The Willcox & Gibbs on the right was in an antique store in North Carolina. The Singer machine on the left is one I own. I got it out for new photographs, trying for some different angles:
I needed legs, too - the cast iron base of the machine tables:
Then a few days playing with Photoshop, and I had my creatures:
Meanwhile, I had run out of the old thread that gave me those dark black lines. So I tested a few more spools. This time, I covered the white wool with a piece of a brown jacket that hadn't given me great results in the original test. I put them on to boil... and forgot about them! The pot had almost boiled dry when I got back. The results were great!
From left: new spools (and a strip of black wool) being tested; the results; the results compared with the original test of the brown jacket. By boiling the wool longer, I got a much darker, richer color - oh boy!!
So - I laid out the back and front sides of another white wool jacket, took a picture, and created a jpeg with the jacket-shape and the machines, all pre-colored with the reddish-brown from the latest test. Then tried every combination possible:
....>sigh<.....none of them worked. OK, back away from the herd, Diane. How about we just do one? a single sleeve creature?
Yes, this WILL work. So...time to go back to the source, look at more cave paintings:
Aboriginal X-ray paintings show the insides of animals - how about X-ray sewing machines???? I Googled vintage sewing machine mechanisms, machine diagrams, inner workings of sewing machines...and finally hit the jackpot with patent print sewing machines:
Back to Photoshop, and I now had a new herd of machines:
With my large format printer, I can print 18" high images right on the freezer paper, then use an xacto knife to cut out the shapes (with brown paper underneath for the dark sections):
And let's try that other jacket - 100% wool. but a slightly rougher weave. I cut it open, and ran a test to make sure it worked:
OK, arranged all the machines on the new shape:
(doing a little happy dance here)
Of course, it took several more tries actually moving the freezer paper on the cloth, re-photographing and photoshopping, but - after going upside down, and moving the sections slightly apart - this...