Well, perhaps not totally a lost art, but one worth experimenting with once in a while. I love reverse applique because whereas most stitchery builds UP surface texture, this technique allows you to dig DOWN INTO the surface. There's a subtle sculptural quality to embroidery, and this is another way to push and pull the surface. A look at the sunset sky tonight on my way to the studio inspired me to cut into my dye-painted tree piece to create a line of color to make a horizon.
I got this far before losing all the light of the afternoon. My lamps help, but just aren't quite enough for lighting my work when working this precisely. It took me about an hour to find a backing cloth, cut it down, baste the pieces, decide to take the plunge and cut into the fabric for the reverse applique, then snip and stitch these 3 lovelies. I can't wait to get back tomorrow and do some more in proper daylight.