Glad you could join me for another Gwen Lafleur Studios Artist Tribe project featuring Fall, my favorite time of year, and StencilGirl® Products stencils designed by Gwen and Seth Apter. I'm sharing a panoply of nature and found treasures from my stash in a FallScape inspired by Roxanne Evans Stout. I'm using a bulletin board mounted in a vintage frame to display my temporary collage. And I have to say, it's really freeing to work this way; knowing that you can switch items in and out it of a composition on a whim takes away all the pressure of creating a perfect piece.
A complete or impressive collection of things; a splendid display; and according to Webster, a display of all appropriate appurtenances.
There's just something about the word panoply that fascinates me. (And really, who couldn't love a word associated with “appropriate appurtenances”?) The feel of the word on my lips as they parse out the syllables and the visions of the eclectic collections the word evokes makes me a very happy woman. Recently, I’ve been inspired by Roxanne Evans Stout’s beautiful Tablescapes on Instagram which to me represent beautiful and serene panoplies of nature. As a collector of natural and eclectic things, I am intuitively drawn to Roxanne's collections and wanted to create one of my own. But believe it or not, I couldn't find even a singe open square foot of space in my whole house to display another collection, (please remember, this blog is a no judgment zone). So I decided to hang a fall themed panoply instead on a bulletin board.
I purchased this luscious 8x10' antique frame at Broomfield about 20 years ago and have long thought that it would make a sweet little bulletin board. I used a craft knife to cut a piece of cork and replaced the back of the frame with it. I really should have done this years ago.
I shopped my stash and found a forgotten bag full of rusted bits and bottle caps, (how I ever could have forgotten these I'll never know...). Nothing says fall like a bag full of rust, (except maybe apple pies pumpkin spice lattes). I knew I had to find a way to use them.
I've been in a hunter/scavenger mode lately, picking up autumn treasures whenever my husband, Jim and I went on our walks in the woods. At first I came home with an acorn or two in my pockets then moved up to filling Jim’s pockets too. It wasn’t long before I realized that I needed to bring a bag with us on our outings. Some of these treasures would get worked into my fall panoply too.
But before bringing my nature's bounty indoors, I gave them all a quick scrub and a rinse to take off the loose dirt. Then I laid them out in a large pan lined with foil and baked them at 200 degrees for 2 hours. Rest assured, there will be no unwanted, freeloading houseguests at the McDowell home this fall.
Then I got to thinking, every bulletin board needs a few good thumb tacks... So I dusted off my glue gun, (I hadn’t used it in years) and started glueing acorns and rusty bits to bottle caps and then bottle caps to large thumb tacks.
At this point I wasn’t really sure how I was going to pull things together. But inspiration hit when I found a few pieces of canvas that I had printed a while back with Gwen’s Decorative Folk Flower and Decorative 6 Petal Flower Stencils and decided it was a great opportunity for some embroidery and slow stitching.
My stitching style is freeform using unplanned, intuitive stitches. (Honestly, I'm not even sure if some of them qualify as real stitches.) But for the most part, I used basic stitches for the first pass and then, as you'll see in some of the pics below, I went back and added a second layer of thread using various techniques.
I started with just a simple running stitch around the outside of the flower using white embroidery floss. But I couldn't leave it there. So I began emboidering the outlines of the leaves with a simple satin stitch. Every so often I picked up one of the stitches and wrapped it to create some dimension and texture. Then I took a few stitches around an acorn to anchor it to the center of the flower and then simply wove my thread in-between the stitches on all four corners to tighten up the thread and lock the acorn in place. This was the first time I’d ever tried to anchor a 3D object without a hole in it. As I was totally winging it, I was thrilled at how it turned out. Then I added a few simple French Knots....
I wove a piece of thread in a basket weave pattern through the satin stitched leaves at the base of the acorn. This added more color and texture.
I wrapped and knotted the green stitching at each end with a finer piece of maroon Pearl Cotton thread to create even more texture.
Did I mention that I love French knots? I placed them around a piece of bark to mimic moss.
I gathered some vintage wallpaper for the background and discovered a silhouette that I had made from an exclusive Seth Apter StencilClub stencil. I had made it with vintage wallpaper scraps for another project but wasn’t able to use it because it was facing in the wrong direction. Happily, it was facing in the right direction for this project.
I started doodling on the acorns with a white Signo pen and discovered that one of the rusty tacks would make a great eye, especially with Gwen's Folk Flower Screen Stencil adding interest underneath it. I used another piece of rusty metal as a headpiece. The word Ruska was hand written and added to complete the collage. (Ruska is a Finnish noun meaning "the process of tree leaves turning various shades of red, yellow, purple, and brown in the autumn: the time of fall foliage." ) (I'm kind of a word hoarder on Pinterest... and you can connect with me there too. )
Here’s my finished, (for now anyway) Fall Panoply Collage. I'm thinking that I'll change it out for the holidays. And when I do, I'll find a permanent place for my stenciled and stitched fall canvas.
Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to hang out with me for awhile. Hope I've inspired you to look around, find some things and make a bulletin board panoply for your own.
Hugs until next time,