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Wearable Art, Part III -- Embellishments
By Kathleen Brown, Of My Hands

As excerpted from The Finishing Touch, By Kathleen Brown

My most creative embellishing comes out of necessity! You all know what I mean -- a point does not come out true on the star in your pieced section, a seam wobbles where you wanted it to be smooth . . .  So,  to hide these imperfections, I usually stick an embellishment of some sort on top of the "beauty-mark."  Many a person has asked me how I ever thought of such a clever embellishment idea, and my response is usually, "The fabric told me what to do." And indeed, it has! Your fabric will tell you too -- just be attentive.

It's always a trick to know when to stop embellishing. Once you get started and are feeling comfortable with the process, it's usually about time to stop. I find that if I work within the framework of a theme, my embellishments will not get too carried away -- over-done. A theme limits me. Such a limitation carries out the general theme of a piece: carousel horses, the beach, a garden, butterflies, etc.

Always take a young child with you to garage sales and other places you might be in the market for embellishment treasures. No one can resist the smile of a six-year-old. And these children can be quite the barterers.

Another aspect of embellishing that  I've come to appreciate is that the embellishments need to be a part of the total piece -- they need to work their way into the whole design, be a part of the finished piece of art. If a button is simply plopped into and open space and not connected with the other parts of the design, it doesn't work for me. However, if I can integrate that button into the design with some swirly ribbon-work or sequins and beads, then it becomes a part of the total design, not an afterthought. Repetition is also an important element of the design process, I like to repeat shapes, perhaps in a variety of sizes and colors. Sometimes, I'll repeat the shape found within a favorite fabric as a quilting line or as a pieced square.

Repeating Heart Design

A nosegay of silk embroidered flowers     Ribbons wind their way through beads and charms

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