Halloween’s fast approaching and I decided to do something fun and new for a Halloween decoration: a quilted art piece of Frankenstein’s monster’s shadowy face. It’s been a bit slow going, as I had a hell of a weekend (I had a terrible cold and someone above me left a tap on, for my bathroom had water dripping through the walls in the wee hours of the morning), but I plan to have it done this weekend.
First, let me just say that I am aware of the fact that the creature wasn’t green. In the book he was a yellowish green. In early stage adaptations, his skin was pale blue. I chose to go with the more modern interpretation where his skin is green (this is, admittedly, partly because I plan to bring it to work and didn’t feel like having to explain to everyone that his skin is supposed to be yellow … also, I had some really awesome green solids in my fabric stash).
Second, yes, I am calling him Frank even though he doesn’t have a name. Victor Frankenstein was his creator. But, everyone thinks he’s Frankenstein, so I compromised and called him Frank, reasoning that if I built a hoard of monsters to take over the word, I would probably call at least one of them a derivative of my last name.
If you want more info about the creature and the book by Mary Shelley, Wikipedia seems to be on top of things. Or, you could just read the book (full disclosure: I haven’t, and don’t intend to, but I hear it’s a very good read).
Anyway, back to my project: I knew exactly what I wanted to do and decided to just wing it and see if I can figure things out on my own. I started by cutting up pieces of the fabric of choice: random triangular pieces of various greens and a few wonky strips of a weird yellow-green I seem to have mysteriously acquired (it is not a colour I would ever choose to add to my collection). The idea was to have a random, scrappy green construction with a few random strips of the yellowy fabric and a bit of stitching detail using my sewing machines stitch that looks like stereotypical surgical sutures. Making this TOOK FOREVER. Or, at least if felt like forever as I’m used to working with bigger pieces in a defined pattern.
I added a bit of stitching (not too much, as I only wanted to represent some of the stitching the creature would have).
I found, merged, and adjusted a few silhouettes of his face, printed them, and cut out the stencil. I then traced the stencil onto the back of fusible webbing, which I had already fused to some black fabric. The face silhouettes I was drawn to were based on the creature depicted by Boris Karloff in the classic film.
I used an exacto knife to cut out the fabric/webbing, which was sometimes a bit difficult, but I didn’t stress too much about it being “perfect”.
Then, I ironed the black fabric onto the scrappy green piece.
I’m now in the process of using a tight zigzag stitch to trace the shapes. In retrospect, I wish I had just hand stitched with a simple blanket stitch or used the surgical suture stitch, but I thought that the zigzag stitch would be faster. It might be, but it’s going to be a pain when doing the smaller bits and I don’t love the look. Regardless, I think it will look pretty cool when it’s done and it’s not bad for something I made up with very little prior experience in doing pieces like this.
I’ll post pictures when it’s done.