My friend Viv loves growing flowers but her self-confessed obsession is sunflowers. So when it came to devising a workshop for our sewing group it seemed only natural to chose these cheery blooms as the subject.
Viv wanted to take a non-traditional approach to stitching and so after a few sketches on paper we started to paint directly onto fabric. I had taken some linen, silk dupion and a remnant that was possibly a wool/cotton mix. The latter had an interesting surface texture and it held the paint without bleeding. Rather than use sunflowers, I opted for a close relative, the rudbeckia. I'd been given a card with a beautiful loose illustration and it was perfect for the task.
Once the paint had dried, I defined the petals with a single line of machine embroidery. It seems more in keeping the original pen and ink drawing and I wanted to retain the fluidity of the original drawing by not following the painted outline too closely. I worked French knots in lime green and verigated red embroidery cotton that provided just enough texture and sheen - beads would have been an over-kill given the simplicity of the work.
The colour detail in the centre of the flowers is what draws me. I love the rich orange reds next to the zesty green and off-set by the deep purple at the core.