Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Embroidered Constellations

I have always loved learning how to identify constellations and finding out the stories behind them. I had a minor in Ancient Studies in college, and all the old myths have always just really resonated with me... especially when I can look up and see the same groups of stars that the stories were centered around. There's always been something magical about it to me.

My husband also shares this love of constellations, to the extent that when we were getting married, we designed our own constellation wedding rings and had them produced by a seller on etsy.com (Christine Bossler, who was wonderful - I'd highly recommend her). The rings are difficult to photograph because the silver is so reflective, but my ring has Ursa Minor drilled into it, and my husband Russ' ring has Ursa Major.

Recently, we were looking for something new to hang on the wall beside our bed. It had to be something light (because of the risk of earthquakes), so anything framed was out, and we didn't want to go for the dorm-room poster look. In the end, I remembered that I had several old canvases that we could use, and decided to embroider them with different constellations that have significance to us. I decided to start with Ursa minor, and this is what I came up with:

I like that the end result is subtle, and I'm going to make a few more to hang, gallery style, on the wall beside our bed. If you would like to make one, they're super easy to do, and all you will need is a canvas, paint and embroidery floss in colors that you like, a permanent marker, and a needle.

First, paint the canvas (I used one that was 8"x10") with navy blue acrylic paint, and while that paint is still wet, add a dollop of pearl acrylic paint in cornflower blue (find the kind I used here). Use a clean paintbrush to blend it in with the navy. This helps to add some depth and dimension to the color, instead of it being a flat blue. Make sure that you also paint the sides of the canvas for a finished look. Let the paint dry overnight.

Once you are sure that your paint is dry, turn your canvas over. Use your marker to sketch out a mirror image of the constellation that you'd like to use. Make a dot where each star will be on your finished piece, as in the photo below. 

Get your needle and embroidery floss. Thread the needle and tie a knot in your thread, and then embroider french knots where you marked the main stars in your constellation. If you're not sure how to make a french knot, check out this video, which will show you how.

Once your constellation is embroidered, tie a knot in the embroidery floss and cut it. Divide a new piece of embroidery floss in half (so that you have two strands of floss, each with three threads). Thread one of these strands on your needle and make small, random stitches around the canvas to represent other stars in the night sky. Continue making small stitches until you are satisfied with how your piece looks, and you're done!
I hope you are having a wonderful day - and enjoy making your own embroidered constellation canvases!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, wonderful, creative wedding bands!

    Super cool. You'll have to take a photo once you've completed your gallery wall, I'd love to see it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...