Friday, September 15, 2023

Slow stitching to create Ephemera 1

I've spend a lot of time playing this summer. For some projects I followed the instructions closely, while for others, anything goes! Here's one of the latter. 😀 

Experimental embroidered world

In a new workshop with's stitch club, Elnaz Yazdani taught us how to make experimental embroidered worlds. The 3D embroidery is created on a hoop and uses all kinds of non-traditional items. It's one of the few workshops that I watched as soon as it came out and then dove right in. I guess that I was in a creative, whimsical mood! 😊 

Ephemera 1 - oh what fun it was to create 😍

My Ephemera 1 piece is quite different from those of Elnaz. If you're intrigued, you can check out her website, Instagram or the article in Related links below. I think that Ephemera 1 reflects my experience as a quilter and embroiderer. There is a lot of appliqué in the background that is then embellished. 

Another view of Ephemera 1

For the appliqué, I used pieces of fabric, a mesh bag (possibly holding onions), and a piece of non-slip fabric that I know some quilters use under their machine foot to stop it from sliding. Here are a few close-ups.

I started the piece by appliquéing the mesh to the green hand-dyed fabric background. Then, an edge piece of buffalo red & black plaid flannel was wrapped around a black cord. The cord came from an old jacket that could be tightened at the bottom. The clasp to keep it closed is still attached to the end of the cord, at the bottom of the hoop.

To add some height, I twisted three of my niece's hand-woven bracelets and attached them to the piece. I then stitched on some fun buttons which also come from my niece's bracelet making supplies that I inherited this summer. Isn't that a great collaboration? (Thanks Anna!)

Adding couched cord/fabric, twisted bracelets
and lots of buttons

I created a pocket with that piece of non-slipping fabric with a few things in it. At the corner is a fabric-covered piece of foam to add height, with large beads attached to it. I have added a green can tab that is embroidered with perle cotton. Isn't it cute?   
A pocket, beads and an embroidered can tab

On the right side of the piece, an appliquéd fabric is covered with buttons.

The top of the piece needed a little something, so along with a piece of painted fabric and a doggie poop bag roll stuffed with the mesh, I added a piece of nature among all of this manufactured and created stuff. 

Finished off with a little bit of nature among all the stuff

On the left, another fabric appliqué. The can tab has a bead suspended from it.

A bead is suspended from the can tab
through a chain stitched cord.

Here is a side views to see the various heights within the piece.

View from the side

I've now finished Ephemera 1 (except for the label) using the method that our instructor suggested. I did, however, add a piece of felt on the back, before tightening the fabric. 

Finishing the hoop

I had so much fun with this project that I decided to make another one. However, this one is a little more subdued and serene 😊 I still haven't figured out what else I want to add, other than more beads. I'll write a post and give you more details once it's done.

Purple Delight - in progress

What I learned
  • I've been wanting to make an art piece with all kinds of mundane everyday items such as doggy poop bag rolls, can tabs, mesh and other things that we take for granted. This was my chance and I embraced it😍
  • I have a few containers where I keep a lot of this stuff. It was so much fun digging into it to see what I could use and how to showcase them.
  • It would be really cool to do another piece but with all natural elements - I'm still thinking that one through.
  • The second piece is a little more "sophisticated" but I still want to add a few surprises to it. The item on the bottom is the top of a champagne bottle. It's been embroidered and then covered with fabric and beads. Really!!!
  • I'm so happy to be "collaborating" with my niece on this, even if she doesn't know it yet. I have so many of her bracelets that I want to use in my art. I also have a few of my daughter's that I'll be using at some point too.
  • The definition of ephemera: noun - things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time such as "there were papers, letters, old boxes—all sorts of ephemera"
    • items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity. such as "Mickey Mouse ephemera" Google search: meaning of ephemera Dictionary - Definitions from Oxford Languages 

Related links

Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many fun linking parties. Why not check them out? Put your foot downCan I Get A Whoop Whoop?Peacock PartyPatchwork & Appliqué, Off The Wall Friday, Sew & Tell, Slow Sunday Stitching

Project Details

Ephemera 1
Size: 10" hoop
Material: fabric, plastic mesh, plastic roll, can tabs, beads, buttons, embroidery thread, hand-made woven bracelets, stitching on cardboard and paper, tree bark
Techniques: embroidery, couching


  1. Very interesting and a great idea to use your niece's bracelets!

    1. Thanks Pamela. And while digging around, I also found my daughter's bracelets, so there will be more experimenting!

  2. This is a nice idea. I like the eclectic collections of things you have added and the 3d effect. I'll look out for more of purple delight :)

    1. Thanks Janine. I wasn't too sure that to add to the Purple design but I found some lovely semi-precious stones that will look great. Now to figure out where to add them. Thanks for dropping by! Take care.

  3. Hi Andree, well done with using this variety of found objects and making a piece with such cohesion and interest. I love the thrifty aspect of such art as well.

    1. Thanks Jocelyn, I'm really glad that it worked out. It justifies my eclectic collection of "stuff" :-)

  4. These are interesting hoops. I like that you are "collaborating" with your niece. Enjoy the process.

    1. Thanks so much Cathie. I'm really glad that I can use the bracelets - they are gorgeous.


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