Today is my niece Esther's birthday and I'm celebrating with this portrait inspired by a photo I took of her posing by her graffiti earlier this year.
Esther is a talented artist mainly working in acrylics and one day last winter she went out with some spray paints and produced this self portrait on a rail footbridge near her home.
I started by printing out the photo and tracing her outline, then found this beautiful chiffon fabric in my stash.
I attached bondaweb to the back, cut out the image using the traced outline then ironed it onto a piece of white cotton fabric. Next I used my lightbox to transfer the picture to the chiffon in a pen that disappears when heat is applied. As you can see I carefully positioned the portrait using the printed image to make the most of the flowers and birds.
I stretched the fabric in my large embroidery ring and started to free machine stitch on the lines I had drawn using a fine nylon thread, the sort normally used for invisible hems in manufactured clothes. I chose this thread as it has a softer look than normal black cotton. After I had finished the stitching I decided to cut out a few of the swallows from the spare fabric to iron on around the portrait as they all had bondaweb on the back, making it very easy.
Here's the back of the portrait which I think is just as pretty.
I decided to have a go at making a portrait of Esther's brother Sebastian in the same style. I love how the birds appeared on his face especially as he is keen on travel and has flown the nest several times already in his life.
The machine embroidery in progress on my beloved Bernina.
Like Esther's portrait I added some extra birds flying out, can you just imagine what's going on in his mind, where to next? The photo this was inspired by was taken when he was travelling in Cambodia.