I took on this mighty endeavour as a challenge to myself. This encrusted butterfly is something like an unconscious dare, a rumble, a how-far-do-you-think-you-can-take-this kind of throw down.
When I get an idea like a five part, entirely beaded, fully patterned, totally wired, butterfly inspired piece of art, it can work on my mind like a fever.
I think I had worked on the smaller pieces for some time and then one day I decided that I wanted to make something that will bring together all the elements I have learned from the other bugs in my catalogue. From that thought grows an obsession, an itch I have to scratch. I’ll work on this kind of project until it is completed and whether anyone will ever want or need it. If you would like to know how one proceeds with such an endeavour, read on and I will fill you in.
This piece has four segments that make up the wings. It has a long beaded segment in the middle that makes up the body. I started by designing paper templates for the wings. I cut out a felt base using the templates as a guide. Then the wings had to be reinforced by hand-sewing a coloured wire around the perimeter of them. This gives extra strength to the overall structure but also some pliability. I was able to position and shape the wings when they were finished.
I have found it very important to get the structure right at the beginning. It gives you the opportunity to see if the shape and silhouette of the bug will work without any embellishment. You can ask necessary questions like; is it pleasing to the eye? Can it stand on its own? Will it bear the weight of the beading and other materials?
It is also at this point that I will add in any feathers if they are part of the design. I prefer to sew in anything like feathers or material or wire rather than gluing it. I feel glue can come away or break down over time but if you sew something in place it can go on lasting for much longer than you may believe possible when treated with care and attention.
If you tune in tomorrow I will follow up with Part 2 of this piece and how it all came together.