Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tropical Folk Art Part 1 - The Inspiration and Getting Started

I remember in first grade the teacher leading our class outside to sit under a huge, beautiful banyan tree.  We all had paper and crayons and the assignment was to draw the tree.  At the time I was the proud owner of the extra large box of crayons.  I don't know if it was the 64 pack but I remember it was much larger than the standard issue 8 pack.  I can still see the finished drawing in my memory.  I used every color in the box for both the the tree trunk and the leaves.  

This memory is the inspiration for this small wall hanging.  I started by selecting a background and border fabric from my husband's hand dyed fabric stash.  I selected a vibrant, rich tree trunk fabric.  Then came the fun part!  Just as I did when I was 6 years old and used every crayon, I cut a small piece of every single color of fabric my husband hand dyed in 2014.

Appliquing this project by traditional methods would have involved a ton of prep work and lots of stitching time.  Plus, the fussiness of traditional methods would not have yielded the light-hearted, spontaneous feel I was trying to capture.  I'm hoping the Tropical Folk Art technique is going to give me the whimsical feel of a six year old's drawing.  

I rough sketched the tree and some leaves just to make sure the scale was pleasing.  I then traced the tree trunk shape onto freezer paper and cut it out.  

I then pinned the freezer paper shape to the front of the tree trunk fabric and cut around the freezer paper adding a FAT 1/4 inch.  

I then peeled off the freezer paper.
 This is the only template I plan to use for the entire project.  Yay!  Honestly, if I was not worried about scale I would have free cut the tree trunk 👍
Tomorrow's installment is stitching the tree!
Until then - best stitches from Mercy in sunny and warm Miami


  1. Mercy, thank you for showing your technique here. And I didn't know your husband dyed the fabrics. That is so neat. I look forward to seeing the result, the picture looks cute.

  2. What a fun project! Thanks for sharing your process. Will watch for tomorrow's post :)