Friday, April 22, 2011


I recently had the opportunity to participate in an upcoming show at the Biltmore Estate. The Deerpark restaurant on the grounds of the estate has a wonderful space often used for exhibits. This piece was almost finished when I heard about the show and it fit the theme. All I had to do was add a back to it.  I did lots of threadwork using rayon and metallic threads but....
my friend Mary always says "everything is better with beads". Since the back was still open, I could add some beads - might make it prettier. So I searched through my very small stash of beads and as luck would have it, I found 2 different purples and green. It looks like this was meant to be. I used a size 12 quilting needle which fit most of the seed beads, a special beading thread and worked from the back of the piece.
Mary warned me this was addictive, okay - just one more row and then maybe I'll stop....and maybe not.

And then some green beads on the leaves.
Now that the beading is done, time to finish the back. Many of my pieces are "museum wrapped" using wide stretcher bars. These wooden bars are most often used for stretching canvas for paintings. The fabric is brought around to the back and stapled using an electric or heavy duty stapler.
Staples are placed around 1" apart to insure a nice tight wrap. The back needs to be covered to hide everything and give a nice clean finish. You can see how the open back allowed me to do beadwork.I cut a piece of muslin the size of the back plus seam allowances. I usually machine sew a long line of stitching along the fold line. This line of stitching allows me to see "where to turn" under. I also prepare a label and sew it on by machine using a zig-zag stitch before attaching the back to the piece.
I pin like crazy, usually 1 side at a time. And now for the tedious part - I hand sew the back piece to the edge. Sewing on a hard edge like this using a straight needle is difficult and very slow going but I like the results.
To hang, I use an awl and poke small holes through the fabric and into the wood frame, twist in an eye hook and run picture frame wire through the eyes.

And here's the finished piece!


  1. Judy,

    Loved catching up with your FABULOUS new work.
    Go girl!! Hope your show is the best.
    And I love your new haircut.
    I'm getting back into the blog mode--have been out for a few weeks. Stay in touch.
    Ali Kolb

  2. Of course I LOVE the addition of beads.....seriously.....they provide texture and a bit of sparkle/light which helps the eye travel around this fabulous piece!!! See, I told ya.......there's no such thing as 1 bead!!

  3. Judy, love this piece, but then I love all your work. Marilyn

  4. I know WOW is not expressive enough - but WOW!

  5. Absolutely beautiful - wish I could see it in person!