The lull before the storm – ice dyeing in preparation

1 01 2017

2016 has not been my favourite year.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been some amazing highlights and I cherish those, but the negative has far outweighed the positive and in true Murphy’s style: if it could go wrong, it did; if it could break, it did; if someone had the power to let you down or worse, they did; but I am not going to dwell on what is past and what can not be changed.

I have never chosen a word for the year before, but for 2017, I am focussing on consolidation.  I want to bed down all the half finished from 2016 and build the platform for the next few years.  As such I have spent the time between Christmas and New Year building a plan.  I have even taken the unprecedented step of getting some help.  I don’t generally do New Years resolutions and this year is no different, but I am going to work with the resources of The Business Bakery and work in three lots of 100 day goals for this year.  I am telling you this because it is supposed to help keep me accountable if I tell people what I am doing.  So, here I go.  If you want to find out more about the structure, go here:

http://www.thebusinessbakery.com.au/100-day-goal/

I have a lot of work to do to get everything back on an even keel, but I am nothing if not resilient.  I am not going to share the content of the goals until they are close to realised, but I can share the steps along the way.  To keep me sane this week amongst all the admin and as one of the micro actions I need to take, I have ice dyed some fabric.

Ice dyeing in Australia in 30+ degree heat produces very different results to when it is done in the middle of winter or in snow.  This is because of the chemistry of the dyes and mordants.  So, the traditional outputs of ice or snow dyeing is usually soft, gentle colours.  In this heat, despite the dye being carried through the fabric by the melting ice, the dye has high temperatures to ‘batch’ in, so the colour is still strong and vibrant.  (If you want to understand this and learn how to dye, check out my Almost Alchemy dyeing class:  http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/p/9122334/online-class—almost-alchemy—dyeing-for-the-traditional-and-art-quilter—2017.html).

So, in some ways ice dyeing in heat does not give you very different results to other dyeing techniques due to the hot batching.  What you do get though is unpredictable randomness and I am a big fan of unpredictable randomness.  I have folded some of these pieces, shibori style, and others I have just scrunched, but the random effect is perfect as the first layer of fabric for a couple of projects I will work on this month.  Here are the six fabrics.  They are all fat quarter cotton homespun (muslin in US terms).

ice-6

ice-1

ice-2

ice-3

ice-4

ice-5

I will try to share what I do with these as I go.

Advertisements




12 Days of Christmas 2015 – Day 7 – Focus on Surface Design

12 12 2015

Todays special is a simple one.  I have taken $45 off the Jacquard Screen Printing Kits – they are now only $60, while stock lasts.  Here is the link:  http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/p/9074603/jacquard-screen-printing-kit.html

screen 1 screen 2

I also want let you know that I have opened up bookings on our first online class for a long time. I have upgraded all the technology so it will be full of video, forum, and feedback. You can join at any time, but if you join before 31st December 2015, there is some added bonuses.

Image 5 foiled fabric sml

Dragonfly fabric small

This is your opportunity to do some of the classes I teach in Houston and Birmingham without having to leave your home.  You can click on the flyer to find out more details.  This will be a comprehensive coverage of a broad range of surface design techniques and once you have access to the material it is your forever.  You can keep going back to it at any time.

Stunning Surfaces Art Cloth Online Class 2016

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

 





12 Days of Christmas 2015 – Day 5 – Gelatos are not always Ice Cream

10 12 2015

Well, actually they are never “Ice cream” but we don’t need to split hairs here.  One of my most favourite mixed media products are the full range of Design Memory Craft brand:  Gelatos, Big Brush Pens, Wax Crayons and all the associated supporting products.  Faber Castell have developed the Design Memory Craft brand to seperate out their pure ‘artist’ products from the mixed media range.  The Design Memory Craft stable is fantastic and growing.  Keep an eye out for it.  For the next two days, I have 30% off the full range of products in stock.  Use 12Day5  as your discount code at the checkout.  Here is the link to all the products: http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/c/4536033/1/design-memory-craft-by-faber-castell.html.

When I first started seeing Gelatos used overseas, I knew I wanted to get my hands on some to have a play. This was about two and half, three years ago.  I rang around about 20 different art and craft stores and almost universally I got the response:  “you know we are not an ice cream store, right?”  Yes I knew that.  Anyway, I ordered my first set online and fell in love with them.  Now they are everywhere, but I still love them and most people are not demonstrating them very comprehensively so you don’t get to see the full potential of this collection of goodies.  I try to always have the full range available on my website under the Mixed Media category.

I use the gelatos as my principle love and all the others as the support network.  I use them on every surface I can lay my hands on from paper and card to leather and all things inbetween.  I really love them on canvas, fabric and other slightly absorbent surfaces.  Gelatos are a water soluble wax crayons.  So you can use them as a wax, as a water colour, added to anything water based to change the colour such as gel medium or gesso, and dilute with water directly or indirectly such as into a mister.  Once set, they don’t shift so you can paint or embellish over the top of the first layer.  If you are using Gelatos on fabric and think it will need to be washable, you need to use some Textile medium in the mix somewhere.

There are a huge number of video tutorials available for all of these products.  I will share a couple.

This one is super basic, but covers a lot of introductory techniques:

Faber Castell has a page of tutorial videos here:  http://www.fabercastell.com/design-memory-craft-us/video-gallery

I particularly like the ones done by Donna Downey, so check some of those out.  They are all short and sharp and full of content.  Here is one to get started with.

Briefly on the other products in the range, my second favourite are the Big Brush Pens.  They are India Ink and are permanent on pretty much anything.  They are great to stamp with or draw or colour and then use a gelato wash or spray over the top.  The wax crayons are really cool too.  I use them as an encaustic more than anything else.  You all know how much I like to melt things.  This wax is great for melting as an encaustic or a resist.  The mediums are okay too, but the Texture Luxe and Texture Gems are awesome.  Check them out.  I am sure you will enjoy using them all.

 





12 Days of Christmas 2015 – Day 1 – Gelli Printing

6 12 2015

I love Monoprinting. I really do. It is one of THE simplest and most effective ways to get paint onto a surface in an original, unique way. You can print onto any surface that is flat (ish) and will hold paint: from fabric to card and paper; leather, ceramics, cork, wood, canvas, glass, you name it.

I discovered the Gelli Plates when they were first released and have been bringing them into Australia since that time, over four years now. Although I have been monoprinting on home made gelatin beds, glass and acrylic for over twenty years, I think the Gelli plates are the best tool. Once you have one, you never need to replace it and as long as you store it flat and keep it moderately clean, it will last a life time. I have made countless fabrics, either as feature fabrics that I chop up or as backgrounds with the Gelli plate as well as hundreds of sheets of paper and card plus too many canvasses to count.

gelli prints sml

The technique is really three simple steps: apply paint to the plate and roll it out; create a texture in the painted surface; and press your printable item onto the paint.

Here is a video produced by Gelli Arts when the plates were first released. It still shows the process really well.

http://www.gelliarts.com have a great range of technique based videos that you can check out for ideas and projects.

Some time ago, circular Gelli Plates were introduced and I was not sure why we would need them. Then, I got one and of course then needed all three sizes. Here is a large canvas I made with the 6inch circle.
round Gelli canvas

and here is a video, again, by Gelli Arts:

and a video by Gelli Arts using Catalyst Tools:

For this first day of my 12 Days of Christmas, I have a package of two Gelli Plates and three Catalyst tools, reduced by 30%. Click this link to purchase: http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/p/9096299/12-days-gelli-plate-package.html

12 day Gelli

All 12 Days of Christmas specials will be available for approximately 48 hours then they will be gone.





art quilts in the making – it all starts with the backgrounds

5 12 2015

I seldomly have time to take photos when I am teaching. I don’t sit with my IPad or Phone at the ready and often get so absorbed in what I am doing that I get to the end of the day without taking any at all. When I do, I often don’t then do much with them. So I am going to try to rectify that. This post is about a three day class I did in New Zealand at One Tree Point with Kerry from Tulis Textiles.

The venue is fabulous. There is loads of space, inside and out; lots of tables and chairs; a full blown commercial kitchen and an enormous fire place – all of which we used.

The class was a three day class where we explored a huge range of surface design techniques with paint, foils, photo transfers, paper lamination, and so much more. We also looked at a range of what I call meltables: tyvek, lutradur, angelina, kunin felt etc. It was a lovely three days with the nicest people. I had a great time and ate way too much. I only seem to have taken photos on one day, but here are some photos of that days work.  You can click on them to make them bigger.

one tree 7  one tree 6  one tree 5  one tree 4

one tree 3  one tree 2  one tree 1  one tree 8





Alter Fabric with Transparent Paints

18 01 2015

Creating or altering fabric with paint allows you to tailor your feature fabrics or backgrounds to exactly what you want for your project. It is also incredibly quick, easy and fun.

Paints come in many forms. Different brands will be described and marketed in different ways and it can be confusing to know which product is optimal for which technique. The reality is that most of them are interchangeable and there is no single product that has a single use. What can be the greatest separation between types of paints is viscosity and transparency. Some paints, like Lumiere, Golden and Liquitex are thick and generally opaque. Some paints like Dye Na Flow and Pebeo Seteo Transparent are very liquid or runny and generally more transparent. It is these more liquid paints I want to show you this week.

I use Dye Na Flow.  Of all the fabric paints and inks I have used, I find this paint effects the hand of the fabric the least.  It is the closest surface to a dye I have found in a paint.  Paint does not become part of the fibre like dye does, so will always sit on the surface in some way.  Fabric paint is generally a form of acrylic paint, made up of the pigment (colour) and a bonding agent/carrier.  Dye Na Flow are very saturated in pigment and can easily be diluted with water to make softer colours and a softer hand.

Transparent Paints will go on any surface, but are best on fabrics. As they have a light hand, these paints are terrific on silks and other sheer fabrics as well as all natural and most synthetic fabrics.

Transparent paints can be painted, sponged and stenciled directly onto the fabric like any paint.  However transparent paints make fabulous watercolour, washed backgrounds, can be altered with salt or alcohol solution and can sun print.  Because these paints are transparent, they can be seen through so you can use the paint to change the colour of something but keep the pattern or detail.

Here is an example.

?????????? plus paint ?????????? gives you ??????????

Any transparent paint can be used for sun printing.  When you use paint like Dye Na Flow, it is richly saturated but very fluid.  To sun print with these paints, you dilute them with water, paint the diluted paint onto a wet surface and then lay items on the wet paint to create patterns.  The faster the paint can dry, the crisper the image will be, so this works best on a hot sunny day, but the truth is sun printing can occur on rainy overcast days too.  The piece photographed below was made with Dye Na Flow paint, salt and a plastic mask in the shape of a tree.

????????????????????

Here are instructions on this technique and a colour wash effect:  sun salt and screens

Dye Na Flow comes in 30 colours, all of which are able to be mixed to make new colours.

dye na flow colour chart

you can find them on my website here:  http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/c/195292/1/dye-na-flow.html

Here is an example of a project where I painted the background with Dye Na Flow.

from this                      bird on the wire 1

to this                           bird on the wire 3

Give these paints a go.  They are exceptionally versatile and easy to use.





Painted Fabric transformed?

6 10 2014

In a couple of weeks, while I am teaching in Houston, I am have been invited to take part in the Open Studios programme.  I am doing two, two hour sessions.  One is on developing dimension, depth, movement etc with painted fabric backgrounds and the second is about creating and using monoprinted fabric in your projects.  I decided that I need some new samples.  I started with the first session, so have painted up half a dozen fat quarters of homespun with Dye Na Flow paint.  Now I am working into turning them into something.  The focus is, of course, the painted backgrounds, but it is about how they set a great framework for art quilts and other projects.

Here is the fabric I started with:

bird on the wire 1

I then auditioned some fabrics to go with it.  I started with a black fabric that I had gelli printed with golds and copper Lumiere Paint, added some rich, rust, hand dyed velvet and slate silk georgette.

bird on the wire 2

I stitched the power poles onto the background surface, put some gold/orange novelty yarn into the bobbin to ‘couch’ the electrical wires, created a focal point bird silhouette on the ground and three, ephemeral, transparent birds flying in the top right corner.  Basic quilting carries the eye along the line of the power poles.

bird on the wire 3

I am tempted to put two more silk georgette birds in the top left, but am resisting that for now.