I have been looking forward to attempting a more realistic Pheasant for a while now, it was the subject of one of my very early pieces of textile art. You can read this early blog from March 2015 here.
The aim is to create a set of four or five of our the beautiful game birds in the UK. These will most likely include the Red Legged Partridge, the Red Grouse, the Black Grouse, the Woodcock or Snipe .
I have approached this piece with a certain amount of trepidation as pheasants are so highly marked with so many feather patterns across their body.
Carl Bovis, a nature photographer from Somerset has taken many beautiful photographs of pheasants, capturing their iridescence and feather patterns. Carl has been kind enough to let me base pieces on his work. More of his work can be seen on his ever changing blog carlbovisnaturephotography.blogspot.co.uk
I have written in earlier blog posts about how much I have also been inspired by artists in my family both amateur and professional. My Grandfather was a miner, amongst other things during his life. He took himself to evening classes (probably through the WEA – Workers Educational Association) to improve his talent for drawing and painting. Below is one of his pieces of ink on wood made into a tray based on a Cock and Hen pheasant.
Selecting fabrics for a new piece is one of my favourite stages. The colours and textures for this piece were especially inspiring. Male Cock pheasants vary hugely in their colours and feather patterns, some can be quite dull, others unbelievably vivid.
I have lived with this chap at this stage for a number of weeks, afraid to start stitching, in fear of messing up his chest feathers.
Unsure of how heavily I would be stitching him I decided to make him in a hoop rather than on the backing fabric.
I was (probably due to fear) unusually grown up with this piece and prepared samples to test both thread colours and stitch patterns.
Enough was enough and stitching finally started. As usual I started with the eye, which compared to many of my pieces was very small, this came with its own complications, with the fabric catching on the hoop and the needle pressing the tiny piece of fabric into the larger pieces of fabric beneath.
On to the fun part, the head and neck. The jewel like colours of the threads start to build up the feathers.
Using a real pheasant tail feather as reference.
Back and tail complete, legs to be sewn once he is placed on the backing fabric.
Final stitch details will be added when he is on the backing material. My thought is to stitch some grass and possibly heather details around his feet to complete the piece.
I hope to be posting the final stages of this piece over the coming weeks.
Thanks for reading.