Portfolio of older work

Monday, August 30, 2010

Disaster on the Bridge: Expect delays

Remember this picture?  It is the July/August picture for Interpret This! 

I was really excited about the picture.  I could see it done in a lino print, a silkscreen, or a batik or faux batik. I spent some time thinking about it and decided to try the faux batik technique of pool dyeing.  So, first I drew a picture, simplifying the architectural elements, and took it to Staples to make it bigger.  The finished pattern is 28" x 35".  I think going big was my first mistake.

I traced the picture onto duponti silk.  I then stretched the silk on my PVC quilt frame.  Once on the frame I traced the lines again but this time with a glue gel to act as a resist.  I left it to dry for a day and then started dyeing the different sections with dyes I had thickened.  It was the first time I had tried this technique and I was a bit concerned to see if it would work.  I colored a few sections and then washed the silk to see if the resist worked and the dye dyed.  It worked!!  I drew the resist lines again and finished dyeing the piece.  At this point, I thought the quilt was going to be a success.

The next step I took was to flour paste resist it.  Again I stretched the silk on the PVC frame and covered it with the flour paste.  A couple of days later when it was completely dry, I took the silk off the frame and cracked the flour paste.  Once cracked I restretched the silk (are you counting how many times I put that silk on and off the frame?) and painted the entire top with a dye paste.  Again, I waited a day for the dye paste to dry.  Then I removed as much of the flour and dye paste as possible, soaked the silk in some water to loosen the rest, then washed it in the washer with synthropol.

Hmmm....  good news and bad.  It had some lovely cracks.  It also had some really ugly spots.  Sometimes they were right beside each other.  See what I mean?   A lovely crack and then a smudgey thing

My heart was sick but I thought I would go ahead with the quilting and see what it looked like.  Okay, time to choose a batting.  Here I really made a huge mistake!  Silk is very soft and shapeless--especially if it has been washed repeatedly like this one had.  Did I choose a nice sturdy batting that would give it shape and form and let me  push it through the sewing machine?  NO.  I chose a cotton-bamboo batting that is wonderful for baby quilts.  What was I thinking???  Next mistake was choosing silk for the back fabric also.  Once basted together I tried quilting it.  No way could I push that limp pile of fabric through my machine!

Okay, now the story gets ugly.  Did I immediately give up, take out the stitching, take out the basteing, change the batting, and try again.  NO.  I kept trying to make it work.  (some of us are slow) Finally  I gave up.  Okay, now my choices were: 1) take out all that stitching without ruining the silk (yeah right), 2) add a layer by putting a firmer batting on the back and a new material for the new back (and lose that silk from the back?),  or 3) maybe putting some water soluable stabilizer on the back so I could continue quilting and then just wash the stabilizer off.  Yeah. that was the ticket (said lazy, cheap me).

Okay, maybe one problem solved but up jumps a worse problem.  The stitching is skipping, snarling, doing ugly things on the back.  So much for saving the back of the quilt!  I changed needles, changed thread, cleaned the machine, changed needles, changed thread, cleaned the machine again. Stitching got better but never totally got better.

The Bridge is officially a UFO.  Neatly folded and hidden away until I forget the nightmares it has given and decide to try again.

Detail of the windows.

Friday, August 27, 2010

One Friday Favorite

One.  Only one favorite this week.  And that is because it was posted last Friday! I am sure there were tons more wonderful posts out there this week that I would have loved if I had had time to visit the sites.  But I work at a University and next Monday is the first day of the Fall semester.  This week work has been early days and late nights.  By the time I get home, I just veg in front of the TV till I have enough energy to go to bed.  LOL

Anyway, I always appreciate reading Judi Hurwitt's Approachable Art blog and in this post we got a two-fer (is that how you spell it when you get 2 for the price of 1?).  First she talks about her experiments with Citra-Solv Concentrate and a new paper product called Sheer Heaven.  Now, I warn you, this is all paper collage and not fabric.  In fact she tried the transfer technique on fabric and called it a complete faillure.  But I found the technique interesting and, like Judi, thinks it calls for more experimenting on fabric. 

Here is a picture of some hand dyed fabric with some Citra-Solv transfers of leaf skeletons I made.  I think my next step will be to print colored leafs on organza that I will place over it.  I am hoping for a bit of a shadow effect.

The second half of her post shows off some silk she has dyed.  It is yummy!  I haven't had time to do much in the way of dyeing but I did finally receive some used sari silks I had ordered over E-bay.  Here are some pictures.  I am not sure that I will do with it yet, but my brain is working on it.  I am open to suggestions!

I also have some pictures to show you where I have tried some of Wen Redmond's techniques for turning photos into images ready for thermofax silkscreen (one of last Friday's Favorites).  I will have to clean the image up quite a bit.  From Wen's comments I think they are too busy to make good silkscreen prints.

 Here is the photo

And here are two different photoshopped black and white images.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Favorites

It's been a good week for me.  I hope it has been for you too!  I am pleased with the slow progress on the Center of the Universe piece and my IT piece is finally moving.  I might even get it done in time for the reveal.  As by-products of my IT piece I have several pieces of beautiful hand dyed fabric begging to be turned into art.  And, (and this is a biggie) I have started clearing out my art storage so I can actually find things (like the floor).  Well, on to my favorites for this week.

I have thought about starting a blog where I and a couple of friends test out surface design and quilting techniques from books, DVDs, and magazine articles and report our results.  You know, were the instructions easy to understand? did I get similar results?  how hard was the process?  that kind of thing.  I thought that would be a real service to readers and would be lots of fun for me.  So, imagine my excitement when I saw that The Quilt Rat did that for a recent DVD she purchased on painting on fabric.  Okay, that DVD is now on my wish list.

Wen Redmond gives some great tips for how to prepare pictures for thermofax.  I have some images I want to send off for silk screens and found the tips very helpful.  I also have a funny story about Wen.  My daughter, Ellen, was visiting her in-laws in NH.  I had suggested that while she was there they go and see the League of New Hampshire Crafts Fair.  I knew about it from seeing it on Wen's blog.  I even sent Ellen the link from Wen's blog for the Fair.  Well, Ellen went to the Fair and excitedly emailed later to tell me she saw an amazing artist whose work reminded me of the type of work I do. She gave me the website for the artist because she knew I would want to check out the artist's work.  Yep, it was Wen Redmond!  Ellen has good taste!

A new blog for me to visit popped up on my radar this week.  Sew Much Art posted about setting monthly art goals and doing an evaluation at the end of the month.  Have you ever had one of those "DUH!" moments?  Such a simple suggestion but of course what a great idea.  I often let other things interfere with my art or I wander around side alleys instead of pursuing larger goals.  So, I will try this and see if it helps.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Center of the Universe

Remember the slow cloth I am working on?  The one where my daughter and I discussed who is the center of the universe?  I still am not ready to show you the entire thing but here is a piece of it.  I am liking it more all the time.

The piece has a lot of lace on it.  I was asked to replace the hand crocheted lace off the edge of my ward's sacrament table cloth.  The lace did have lots of holes but also lots of long stretches that were in pretty good shape.  I saved the lace for use later.  It is now later.  LOL  I love having it as a part of my universe showing the links between all of us.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monoprinting on Geletin

I don't think I have shown you my monoprints that I made with Beth and Rosalita.  On the whole, I was not excited until I pulled out my organza.  I love organza!  Please notice that I made two to three prints from each print.

1. First I use a sponge roller to spread the paint on the gelatin plate and then I put a resist down on top.  If it is something like string then I make my first print with the sting in place.  If the resist is bubble wrap then I press it down for a imprint and then remove it.

2.  Second, I place the fabric on the gelatin plate and rub with my hands to print the fabric.

3.  If the resist is still on the gelatin plate, I carefully remove it and make a second print of the gelatin plate on the fabric. This time you get an inverse image.  Instead of blank spaces where the resist was, you get a paint print where it was.

4.  Last, I try and print the resist item itself.  The bubble wrap or other objects that were removed have paint on them which you can print on the fabric.  The string can be laid on the cloth, covered with paper, and rubbed for a print.

All of the above give different effects but can look interesting together since they are related.  Here are mine.

Notice the gelatin plate cracked but we just slide the two pieces together and kept printing.  I like the look the crack gives.  Just more interest to the print!

Bubble wrap--here is an example of printing both the gelatin plate and then the bubble wrap itself.
Some of these cracks are from the gelatin plate but most are from folds in the fabric when I printed.  I like it!

This is an onion bag and a print on top of a print. Do you see on the right purple print where the crack in the gelatin plate has now filled with paint so instead of printing a gap, it prints a heavier line of paint?  I like it!  You might also notice on the purple print on the left that there was a string accidentally left on the plate and it got printed as a resist.

Last are these two that got printed on regular fabric.  Actually when I print the organza I put it down on the plate and then cover it with fabric.  You might be able to compare the prints to find which one belongs to which one.  I printed them on the fabric I had previously dyed with pink.  You can also notice on the top print that I did not clean off one color of paint before rolling on the second--you get a bit of gold under that purple.

The gelatin plate cracked into a dozen pieces by the time we finished.  Not a  problem.  I washed them all off, put them back into a sealed container, and placed in my fridge.  I'll melt it and put it back into a flat pan to reform the next time I want to monoprint.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Favorites

I hope you are having a creative week.  I know that Laura at Periwinkle Art Quilts is dyeing this week.  I love her stuff!  I have primarily been  cleaning up my work space and feeling guilty that I am not working hard on my IT  piece.  Many of the other artists are done already.  Gotta get moving on that!

I was needing a piece to work on by hand so I have started a "slow quilt" piece that I am not quite ready to share yet.  I started it after having a conversation with my adult daughter regarding who is the center of the universe. (Our opinions did not match.  LOL)  This piece is coming along very slowly since it is all done by hand but I am finding it very peaceful to work on.  I'll share more as I progress with it.

Here is my inspiration for the week.

1.  I don't know why I don't care for meander quilting.  I feel even stronger about machine quilting where you push a button and the Longarm cranks out cute little cowboy boots or christmas trees.  But I do love just straight lines...ah.... almost straight lines.  Jacquie at Tallgrass Prairie Studio gives a nice tutorial on how she quilts "organic" straight line on just a regular sewing machine.

2.  Unless you count my attempt at dyeing fabric using bleeding tissue paper, I have not yet made paper fabric.  It was on our list for Beth, Rosalita and me last Saturday but we had so much fun with the deconstructed silk screen that we didn't get to the paper fabric.    Lana's paper cloth piece gives me some inspiration to try it on my own.   She also explains a bit about using copyright free images in making your paper cloth.

3.  The Quilt Rat offers a tutorial on graduated painted fabrics.  You will need to buy popsicles and a store-made cake in order to have the professional tools she uses in her process (mixing sticks and a throw-away container).  LOL  I would think you could really use the dilution process for dyes too.

4.  I love quilts where the blocks are set on-point.  I can only manage setting my blocks on-point by accident or by following someone else's pattern (which I HATE to do). Now I have an easy formula I can apply offered by the editors at Creative Collaboration.   There is even a clever jpg of a chart you can capture, enlarge, and  print.

5.  Last is a tutorial that I just discovered on A Stitch in Dye for "Clamping and dyeing: a basic Itajime primer" I don't know if the tutorial is new or whether I just noticed it for the first time.  I got some clamps and plexiglass shapes for Christmas just to try this type of dyeing.  I have only used them once and was not happy with the results.  I will try it again this weekend using the recipes that Malka uses and see if my results turn out more satisfactorily.

Let me know if you try any of these techniques and what you thought of them.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Play date #2: parfait dye and deconstructed silk screen print

I didn't want to print all my deconstructed silk screen onto white fabric so I parfait (jar) dyed some pieces with various shades of pink and purple before printing them.  The purple is hardly noticeable but the pink is definitely loud and proud.  Here are some results with the deconstructed silk screen print on top.

Next post I will show you the results from the gelatin monoprints I made.  The ones I made on the organza are my favorite.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Play date #2 Deconstructed Silk Screen Results

Two nights before the play date, Thursday night, I made a gallon of Dye Print Paste and a cup of Soda Ash Fixative using Jane Dunnewold's recipe on  page 54 of Art Cloth. 

The night before our play date, Friday, I mixed a teaspoon of chartruese dye into a cup of dye paste and then applied it to the silkscreen.  Under the screen I had put bubble wrap and silk flowers and pieces of cardboard and other stuff that would leave lines and shapes when I spread the dye paste.

Saturday during our play date I mixed a cup of dye print paste with a teaspoon of the fixative.  First we used the print paste without any added dye.  It made fabulous chartruese marks on the cloth.  After a few passes, we added a teaspoon of blue dye to the mixture and pulled some more passes.  The results were even better.  Here are a couple of pictures.

Here are two layers--the same piece as above but with a layer of silk screened organza on top.

And here is a close-up.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Playdate #2 Pounded metal and CitraSolv

Saturday was the second play date for Rosalita, Beth, and me.  We started out with Beth teaching us some of her jewelry making skills.  She loaned me her little anvil so I could pound on metal. 

Here is a large bead that I have captured with the techniques I learned from Beth and the video I featured a couple of Friday's ago.  It certainly is not done well enough for a piece of jewelry but I think it will look great on a quilt (not as blurry in person).
Beth also showed us how to transfer pictures to fabric using CitraSolv and told us her local connection for where to buy it--Belfast Coop.  Wooo Hooo!  I had wanted to try it but hadn't found the product locally yet.  This is a picture of trees I took, copied, and rubbed with CitraSolv onto hand dyed sea mist green fabric.

Here are Beth's instructions.
1.  Copy the desired picture using a carbon-based copier.
2.  Place the copied picture face down on a piece of fabric and hold tightly in place.
3.  Wet the back of the picture with CitraSolv using a cotton ball or somethig similar.
4.  Rub the back with a spoon or something similar.
5.  Lift up an edge to see if the picture transfered evenly or if you need to rub some more.
6.  Lift up picture when you are satisfied with the transfer.
7.  Let air dry then iron to set.
8.  The same picture can be used multiple time for increasingly lighter shadows.
9.  A note from my experience--don't use the Citrasolv on top of a plastic tablecloth (Tablecloth will melt)
Next couple of blogs will have the process and results for our deconstructed silk screen and gelatin monoprint.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Favorites

Before I tell you about my inspirations for this week, let me talk about my experiment from last week's favorite.  I tried rusting some hinges--well, material using the hinges. I put the hinges in a large plastic bag in my broiler pan.  I laid the material folded in four over the hinges.  Then I poured a mixture of water/vinegar over the material and sprinkled some salt on the material over the hinges. Then I zipped it up to keep it wet and waited for 24 hours.
Here is the results-all 4 layers.  The black is from where the wet material is laid over the pan.  Not quite what I wanted but interesting enough to use.  I think I might dye the white background before quilting.  What do you think of a pale turquoise?

Okay, for this week's inspiration. 

Sarah Ann Smith, author of Thread Work Unraveled, shares some of the hints she gives in her class in Arizona.  This post instructs you to knot and bury your threads.  If you search her blog you will find a lovely tutorial for how to do that using a couple of easy methods.

Elizabeth Barton is one of my favorite artists.  I like her style alot!  In this blog she shares her inspiration for a quilt and the design steps and thoughts she went through as she edited her design.  That  type of stuff (what I should be thinking about as I am designing) is so much what I need to learn as I grow!  It was nice of Elizabeth to share.

Quilter Beth tried two different recipes for a flour paste resist and shows us her results. I have yet to try it but I love the piece she did where she wrote in the resist. I defintely want to try that and will use the heavier paste that Beth recommends.

Sujata Shah at The Roots Connection has pieced a wonderful free pieced quilt and tells you how to sew wonky blocks together without resorting to a straight ruler and 90 degree corners.  I love the Gee-Bend feel of this type of quilt!

Pat Bishop tells us the recipe she used to dye the lucious damask linens.  She makes it sound so easy. That is my type of dyeing!  I don't call myself the accidental dyer for nothing.  Tee Hee

After bribing Riley, Bea's grand daughter from The Dog in the Hole Studio, I magically won "Art Cloth" that Bea gave away to celebrate her 1,000th blog.  It arrived today looking like this.  Doesn't that look like a celebration?

Already I am inspired!  I followed the recipe on page 54 and made a gallon of dye print paste and a cup of soda ash fixative.  Boy, am I ready for my silkscreen printing date with Bea and Rosalita on Saturday!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Two more destined for Mile of Art

 Rocks on the Beach
(same beach as the feathers)
This was my first experiment of wire wrapping rocks with instructions from the website listed in Friday Favorites.  I need to get better but I like the effect!  If you are wondering, the edging is a really cool very thin copper wire ribbon.  I wish I had bought more of it!  I still need to design a copper hanger for the piece.

Sunny Day
(Here is was before I added some finishing touches)
My local Walmart had a bag of odds and ends of silk flowers--you know, the ones that had come detached from the sprays of flowers.  The whole bag only cost $1.00.  My kind of bargain.  This is my first incorporation of some of the flowers into a quilted piece.