Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New Work

I am working on a landscape using all handpainted fabric. Our Fiber Art Network group had spent an afternoon two months ago painting fabric with transparent Pebeo Setacolor paints. Frankly, I was not that impressed with my own results! But later I started cutting into some of the fabrics after heat setting and was pleased to see a nice landscape taking shape. Then came a sense of pride in the fact that I had 'created' all of the fabrics myself.

Previously I had always used commercial fabrics with perhaps a handpainted fabric for the sky. The top photo was made with all commercial prints and machine appliqued with a zigzag stich. The bottom photo is my new effort with the handpainted fabric. I'm trying to decide whether to use straight or satin stitch, but so far I'm pleased with the progress of the piece. I may change out the two dark plum shapes for some slightly lighter colors, since I think they stand out a bit too much. Time to play, switch things around and live with the design a bit before stiching. I hope to have it done for my next post!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Home Sweet Home!

One of my favorite themes in fabric pictures or crafts is the home. For years I did commisioned fabric house portraits and I was always moved by the strong feelings my clients had for their homes. Several years ago my husband and I visited England and when we returned I made this little three dimensional cottage. It was constructed with matboard covered with appliqued fabric. Around the base I embroidered silk flowers. It is very simple, but looks sweet in a nook on my bookcase.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Printing With Textile Paints

A little over a year ago, a few fiber artist friends and I formed a group called Fiber Art Network. We meet once a month, share our current work, and bring each other up to date on news of any upcoming exhibits or classes. Once in a while, a member offers to conduct a workshop at the meeting. Today Diana led us in printing with gelatin plates. She was inspired by the book Making Monotypes Using a Gelatin Plate by Nancy Marculewicz.
We had prepared plates at home, using cookie sheets or aluminum trays. We determined how much water we would need to fill the tray to about 1/2 inch, than set aside enough unflavored gelatin to equal two tablespoons per cup of water. The water was divided in half, and to the cool half we added the unflavored gelatin, mixing well until it dissolved. The other half of the water was boiled and then added gradually to the gelatin mixture and mixed thoroughly. Finally, the mixture was poured into the tray and any little surface bubbles scooped away with a scrap of paper, then put in the fridge to set.

Because we were working with fabric, we used textile paints. Diana demonstrated different techniques, but basically we used foam brushes to paint on the hardened gelatin, then laid a piece of prewashed white or colored fabric on top, rolled a brayer over it or patted it with our hands, then lifted off the fabric and voila - a wonderful print!!

I'm anxious to experiment more with this process, because I'm finding it exciting to use my own painted and printed fabrics in my fabric applique pictures! But then again, I'll always love finding just the right commercial fabric to depict a vase, a sky or any element in a composition.
So many possibilities!!

Friday, January 5, 2007

Needlearts Challenge!

I belong to the needlearts guild of an arts and crafts society in a nearby town. We'll be having our guild show in May, and one of our members proposed a challenge for us. She purchased a quantity of this beautiful oriental fabric, and those who want to participate bought a yard from her. We are to use as little or as much of that yard as we choose, in addition to other fabrics or embellishments, to make whatever we want. We have some terrific sewers in the group, so there should be some great projects! I'm thinking - wall hanging, ornament, fabric covered box...? What I'm wondering is - will any of our knitters or crocheters take the challenge and what will they do? Should be interesting!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Cat Tale #1

My cat Kristy thinks I'm a soft piece of furniture. Her presence on my lap is so commonplace, I sometimes don't realize she's there until I glance down from my reading or the TV. She also has a habit of climbing on my shoulder while I'm sleeping. I know she's thinking "I want my breakfast!" That scenario inspired this fabric picture. After sketching the idea, I used fused fabrics to build the image, machine stitched the elements, hand quilted the background and accented everything with acrylic paint and colored pencil.

Monday, January 1, 2007

New Year, New Blog!

It wasn't that long ago that I became aware of blogs and what they were. But, when I read my first crafting blog, I knew that this was something I wanted to do! I do love to create works in fabric, but often become bogged down in buying more materials, viewing other people's work and thinking rather than doing. So now I'll have a place to 'show up' with my work, express my thoughts about what I'm working on and, hopefully, get some feedback on the results! Also, I have many creative friends and I'm hoping that they will let me share some of their work with you, too!

With so many disturbing things going on in the world, I find the process of creating something funny, cute, or even beautiful, a welcome diversion! Here's to a creative and happy New Year!