March 3, 2008

Bulbous Iris

The excitement continues to build! This morning in a sheltered spot in the garden I found the first dwarf bulbuos iris bloom. Unlike the larger summer blooming bearded irises, which grow from a rhizome, these grow from fall-planted bulbs, and naturalize readily. The flowers are very complex and beautiful, and have a slight but delightful fragrance.

Later in the spring the Dutch irises will bloom. These sprout from larger bulbs and are taller. I used one of these flowers as the center image in a small quilt. I started with the photograph, which I enhanced, turned to grayscale, and printed on a transparency sheet. I used the transparency like a photo negative in making a cyanotype on cotton, which I then hand embroidered. The borders are cottons and raw silk, and it is enhanced with hand beading.
Here's a detail shot of "Dutch Iris":
I liked this one so much I did a variation on it. This time I also inverted the image, so that the flower printed white, and the background blue. Again, I defined it with hand embroidery. The border fabrics are silk and a vintage nubby cotton, and there is hand beading.
Here's a detail from "Dutch Bulbous Iris":

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