Benbecula Bus Embroidery

I started working on this piece in January last year but life got in the way and it lay abandoned in a drawer until September this year. I saw an advert for the Fife Art Exhibition which is open to artists without a formal art qualification who live in Fife so I thought that as this piece was close to being finished I’d get my arse into gear and enter it.

I saw this beautiful Bedford bus – which was used by the Caledonia Macbrayne ferry company – on a trip to Benbecula a few years back. I’m a big fan of ‘Quilting Arts’ magazine and seeing the amazing examples of textile art created using photos I had wanted to try a photo based / realist embroidery for some time. Stage 1 involved printing  out the photo,outlining the main parts of the image then tracing it on to thin paper which i then transferred to fabric using a light box. Then the hard part of the painting began…

I found the painting an enjoyable challenge, trying to find the exact shade, especially making more of the same colour I had created (too light,too dark, not ‘red’ enough…) but once it was finished I was really pleased with how it was looking,those patches of white on the bonnet really bring the image to life, I was so excited to get back into my comfort zone to start the stitching!

I attached the painted fabric to fleece and stitched the main lines of the bus in matching thread.Although this did push sections of the image out I wanted a more 3D effect so I cut slits in the back of the work and burrowed in thin lumps of stuffing, I discover later that this is called trapunto embroidery so that’s another new skill learned through this project! 

So here’s the finished piece hanging in the gallery, the artwork above mine was a red setter made from bark! There was certainly an impressive range of work on display and the exhibition was a great show case for the talented people in Fife. All of the work was for sale and I had mixed emotions about mine being unsold (it was a bargain at £80!) but it will be on display in my living room and I’m proud that a piece of my work had been included in an exhibition. I need to start planning for next year now! 

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