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TitleThe UnderstoryDesigned byKris McDermetHooked byKris McDermetDimensions56" x 48"MaterialsWool, silk, hand dyed yarn, embroidery flossCuts5, 6, and 7Share

I wanted to represent the life of a tree from the underneath side so I started by lying on my back near the trunks of big oak trees and taking photos of branch formations and leaves. There seems so much life going on between birds, bees, bugs, acorns, and growing leaves – not that I could capture them with my phone camera!

I wanted to use my favorite fabrics – wool, silk, yarn from Molly Colegrove, and velvet from Dianne Tobias.  I hoped the different textures would make the large tree trunk more interesting and not so solid brown looking.  Though the undersides of leaves are usually dull in color, this time they would sparkle.  I dyed bulky yarn to braid around each leaf and the trunk.  It was fun to add the birds, acorns, bugs, and spider as I thought it added to the life of the tree and they filled in the blank spaces.  All last summer we had an Oriole couple living in nearby trees to our porch feeding daily at our hummingbird feeder!

I love dyeing and using Charmeuse Silk as it is shinny on one side.  My favorite part was placing the leaves on the sky background and learning about perspective-thanks to my Art Group friends and Karen Kamenetzky who taught me those lessons.  It really did make sense then that the smaller leaves go on top of the tree!

Photo by Al Karevy.

The artist with her rug: