Wednesday, February 27, 2013

First attempt at Nuno felting

Earlier this month I had bought a bag of silk scraps and wanted to try Nuno felting (combining wool roving with silk fabric).

I kind of "winged it" and so the results are not spectacular.  First, I decided to cut silk circles. I did not think the wool roving would be able to penetrate two layers of silk.  I wanted the background to be wrinkled, so I pinned the fabric with wrinkles, outlined around my circles and then cut the background fabric.  (I took the pins out before putting the wool roving down).

I did not find a background fabric in the bag of scraps that would work, so I used Colorhue dyes to dye a piece of white silk orange.  I dried it with a hairdryer, rinsed it with water and a little soap multiple times, and dried it with the hairdryer again. Colorhue dyes are supposed to "instant set" but I must not have gotten all the extra dye out. As you can see, my mainly white circles in the top photo become orange after wet felting (see photo wayyy below).

I put wool roving around the circles,a fairly heavy application. I did a light application of roving over the background as I am looking for that bubbly fabric I have seen with nuno felting.

 The piece is on bubble wrap. I put a piece of tulle mesh over the piece, and I used some soapy water to wet the fibers. I rubbed gently with my fingers, then used my plastic roller to help with the felting

I wrapped it around a pool noodle and rolled and rolled and rolled.  Seriously, and rolled and rolled and rolled. Multiple directions, many times.

The wool around the circles seems felted but it is not penetrating through the silk. I think the silk is too thick a weave to allow the wool to get through. Also, I did not put any wool roving on the backside and that may have helped.

To try to save this piece, I gently rinsed some of the soap out. I am going to let it dry, then I am going to attack it with my felting machine. If I can get the wool fibers to embed in the silk, I may re-wet it and try to full it and get the wrinkly bubbly fabric I am hoping for.

I will try this again, but next time will use silk organza and wool roving on both sides. And maybe watch some more YouTube videos (I watched one when I knew it was not working right and would have at least done roving on both sides had I watched it before jumping in). If anyone has advice, please let me know.

Black and White Heart Assemblage

Taking up where I left off here, I finally glued down all the parts and pieces and stamped "you have my" on the left side. I may add some white accents, maybe dry brush some white on the textured frame.

Monday, February 25, 2013

More collages in progress

Since I had pulled out a lot of different papers from my stash to work on some collages last week, I thought I'd start some more so I would have less paper to put away.

My plan was to use more of the bleached photos as well, but I didn't end up including any of them.  All of these are just the first layer, I plan to add more to them later on.

I had experimented with two water soluble pencils on gessoed mat board recently. On this one, I used General's Scribe all pencil.  When squirted with water the writing ran a bit, but did not dissolve entirely.  I liked the affect. I put a wash of Golden's Nickel Azo Gold mixed with glazing medium on top. I plan to add a darker brown as I think it is too yellow orange.  Then I attached a piece of Citrasolv paper (National Geographic magazines coated with Citrasolv on each page in a well ventilated room or outside, let it rest for 10 to 20 minutes, then tear out the pages and let them dry. I would recommend googling some better directions if you are interested in doing this). I like that the dark image looks like a roof and I plan to draw in a house in the center.

On this one, the writing is with a General's Sketch and wash pencil. I did not like it as much, when sprayed with water, the text dissolved so much it almost disappeared, and it made the whole page gray. I attached some painted tissue paper at the top and bottom. This one needs a lot of work as it is a hot mess. I think if I did a green glaze over the text it would look a lot better.

These next two are just different papers collaged to watercolor paper.  From top left, clockwise: stamped colored cardstock, painted brown paper bag, scrap paper that protected my work surface for a long time, Citrasolv paper, painted Tyvek with some stamped tissue paper and painted textured wall paper on top.

From top left, clockwise: Citrasolv paper (turquoise) with scrap from the purple/blue bleached photo I used in a collage last week (this is the back side of the photo, the photo ink smeared on the back side when I was bleaching it), painted Tyvek, large painted piece is scrap wallpaper that protected my work surface, and at the bottom is textured painted wallpaper.

I think these are great starts!

Kitchen remodel

 It's been a crazy couple of weeks, as we have been getting our kitchen remodeled.

We had wood cabinets from the 40's or 50's (which had been painted numerous times). They are old enough that one of the drawers was metal for a flour drawer. The counter tops were 3" tiles with wood trim on the front, and a star motif back splash at the sink from some 80's renovation.

There was a opening above the oven, but it wasn't really functional (provided a view of the back hallway) so we had it filled in so we can have more cabinet space. Also there is no coat closet in the house so we are going to put a cabinet for coats on the reverse side of this wall.

After the wood-look laminate floor was gone, we have this lovely blue linoleum underneath. (Remind me to clean up all the papers on the frig, that looks horrible!). The contractor chipped up the linoleum. It had been glued down with tar, so the floor was a bit sticky for a while.

 It's been about three weeks now, and all the cabinets are in, and the new wood-look laminate floor is in.  I got under-cabinet lighting (woohoo!). We are still waiting for the quartz counter tops, which will be another week or so.

Today is the first real day I have had the house to myself in roughly three weeks. I am loving the peace and quiet and I am looking forward to a productive week.

I saved about five or six of the old door fronts as I thought they would make good substrates for paintings or collages. I filled the holes from the knobs with spackle but I am waiting for a warm day to sand them front and back. We got 8" of snow yesterday so now I have to wait for the snow to melt as well, as I want to sand where there is currently snow. I am jonesing to do some snow dyeing, but really want to get some cotton or rayon velvet for this. I just want mottled colors on the velvet, and snow dyeing will do that. I am not concerned with the fractured look that snow dyeing can sometimes provide as the pile on the velvet will hide that. I could do parfait dyeing or low-immersion dyeing instead, but the snow is calling my name.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Another great assemblage find at the thrift store

I went to one of my usual thrift stores yesterday, it's a small place with mainly clothes, but occasionally I find something out of the ordinary.  I found this brass tray that reminds me of a Moorish arch. The shop keeper thought it looked like a keyhole. Either way I was quite content to take it off their hands.  I am going to put it in a wood shadow box.

I want to fill the area behind it with metal bits, trims, etc. Here is a start, but I have a long way to go.

For the center, I want to create a felted landscape. I am using this little sketch from my journal as a reference.

I think I will paint the outer frame red to compliment to the colorful interior. I haven't decided what color to paint behind the metal bits, but like my sketch quite a bit so may keep close to it for colors.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Collages and bleached photos

I made some collages recently to submit to a collage call for entry.

I started by scanning a bunch of rusty bolts and washers on my computer scanner.

I put two images side by side to fit an 8-1/2" x 11" piece of paper, and printed them on a transparency using my inkjet printer.

The transparency that I use makes a cool crinkle texture when misted with water.  I am using Apollo brand, and this pack is over five years old. I don't know if newer transparencies will do this.

I love it.
Many moons ago, I bought a bunch of 8x10 photos from a flea market or garage sale.  They are mainly of nature, some have animals like bighorn sheep, and some are scenic mountain views. There are quite a few really good ones, but most of them are a bit "meh".  When I bought these, I had read a book about altering photographs, and one technique was to use a bleach/water solution to take some of the color out.  I thought I knew which book this came from, but I was wrong, so if anyone knows, please let me know so I can reference it in this post.  Anyway, I did this in the sink, I had one side with the bleach/water mix, and one with plain water to rinse the bleach off. I love the purple blue one, but most of them went to yellow/red. If left in the bleach too long, all the color will disappear.  I hate admitting that I have had these bleached photos in a box for so long, they really are quite cool.

So I decided I'd start with the purple one, and then move onto one of the red/orange ones.

Here are the collage papers I pulled out for the purple one.  I did not end up using all of these. There are citrasolv papers, colored paper towels, alcohol inks on clear Mylar, yellow printed magenta tissue paper with resin on it, painted textured wall paper, painted brown paper bags and rosin paper, etc, etc.  I am dreading putting away all the bits I did not use.

So here I am auditioning my papers, I am using 16" x 20" piece of watercolor paper as my substrate.  I ended up adding a couple more things, and made room for the nut/bolt transparency on the middle right.

I glued the papers down, then I sewed around the edges of each paper to add some texture and stitching. I traced a stencil with a pen in the upper left and lower right, and painted around the lines. 

Here is the red one. I love how colorful this is!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Assemblage-Unchain My Heart

I have had this assemblage in the works for a very long time.  The upper portion was figured out at least a year ago, but this week I finally decided what to do with the lower box.I did not take step-by-step photos when I was putting it together this week so I will describe the parts and pieces. The body is an old clock. I took out the clock face and mechanism. The lower portion had a piece of glass with a print of a landscape behind it. It also had a gold eagle at the very top and gold tone curlicues on the sides which I removed. I sanded and painted the body white.

Unchain My Heart.

For the top portion, I re-used the gold tone ring that held the glass cover and clock mechanism. I used Apoxie Clay to attach the filigreed plant stand (wheels removed) to this ring, and used more Apoxie Clay to attach the ring to the wood clock body.  The hand is a plaster cast of my own hand, I had to sand away a lot of the back side to have it fit in the hole.  The heart I made a long while ago. I broke a red glass vase that I got at the thrift store, put the pieces in half of a plastic heart from the craft store (with silicone spray on the inside so the resin would not stick). I made a red resin and poured it in.  It was still very difficult to get the resin out of the mold once it was set. I used a hammer to break the plastic and then it came right out. I made a couple other hearts at the same time, some have red electrical wire in them instead of glass. I plan to make more hearts for another project, so I will do a blog post of it in the future. For the chain, I bought a bunch of watch parts and cuckoo clock chains at a yard sale this summer, so I used the chain on this project.

I used more cuckoo clock chain, new golden tone jump rings (that I sanded and blackened with Novacan Black patina solution), and keys for the lower portion. I also blackened some of the keys as well, to give them an aged appearance.

It was wonderful to complete this piece since it has been on the back burner for so long. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rocky Mountain Sew Expo,unusual fabrics and fibers

This past weekend I went to the Rocky Mountain Sew Expo. One of the things I seem to always buy every time I go, is a bag of silk scraps. There was a new vendor (new, or I just don't remember seeing them there before) that had silk kimono scrap bags as well as kimono scraps by the yard, and clothing made from them as well.  I bought a bag of scraps for $10 and was amazed at the quantity and variety in the bag. Both of the following pictures show all of the fabric in this one bag. The overall dimension of each picture is roughly 36" x 48". (Sorry, I hate ironing, so I won't iron them until I am either using them or putting them away). I think I will have to make an art quilt with them since it is such a nice variety in one colorway, but I am also thinking of possibly nuno felting with them. The booth was Wabi Sabi Wares (they are on Etsy).

My other favorite bargain was wool "pebbles". I have some of my own from felting wool in the wash machine. I felt wool in zippered pillowcases and usually end up with a small quantity of these that are in the pillowcase after the felting process. I call these wool boogers.  Anyway, I got a ziplock sandwich bag full of them for $5.  They will look fabulous in my felted landscapes. This booth was Crawford Designs(.net), but it does not look like these are included in her online shop.

Not a bargain, but I love them. I love curly wool.  If anyone has a good source for dyed curly wool, please let me know. I would love to get a bigger quantity at a lower cost in solid colors, without any of the "mix ins", as I own plenty of mix-ins anyway. I also got some Angelina film at this booth, which I have been wanting to try.  I also found Bo-Nash bonding powder here, which I was having a hard time finding locally.  I believe this booth was Embellishment Village.

Not a bargain, but not something I see very often so I had to buy them. Three packs of dyed silk carrier rods and one package of dyed silk hankies. This booth had scrumptious dyed velvets but I couldn't justify the expense. I think Golden Quilt Company/Golden Fiber Arts may carry some of her items. The booth was Wild Heather Designs (.com).

A lot of the expo is traditional sewing and quilting, but it is well worth it to me, to go and find these lovely unusual items that just can't be found in a regular store. It's amazing that some silk scraps and wool boogers can make my day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Craft Scraps, a shop in Littleton, CO

Last week I was down in Littleton, which is almost an hour from where I live, and I made sure to get over to Craft Scraps.

This is a very dangerous store for me as it has tons of bits and bobs at super reasonable prices. Basically, they buy other crafter's unused supplies and re-sell them in their shop at a major discount. I bought this super cool loopy wool yarn which I dyed in this post for $1.85 a skein. They did have some name brand wool that was $7 a skein so their prices do vary, but there are some great gems. I plan on adding some beading to the felted pieces that I have made in the last few weeks and picked up quite a few small bags of beads there. For the packs I bought, the prices ranged from 35 cents to $1.65.

Here is a picture of what I bought for about $50 (plus two more skeins of loopy yarn that I dyed). I think the most expensive thing was the gray texture plate at the bottom of the pile for $4.85, but I thought it would make a great rubbing plate for my Shiva paint sticks. 

 Little gems: crackle knobs, and vintage tin.

This is a great place, it is not huge but I probably spent an hour going through all the bins, beads, yarns, etc. This is a mixed media haven.  They do have scrapbook type things too, as wall as fat quarters, etc.  It really is a hodge podge of arty goodness. If you decide to go, don't say I didn't warn you how wonderfully addictive it can be.

(In addition, the guy who was running the shop that day was super helpful. I had disassembled a typewriter a while back and couldn't figure out how to get the keys unattached from the long metal piece attached to each one. I saw they had some for sale and asked how he removed them, and it worked like a dream!)

Mixed Media heart, 2nd Saturday art club, heart and non-heart collages

For the Colorado Mixed Media 2nd Saturday meeting, we worked on the metal heart collages that I posted about previously.  A lot of people in the group talked about using a canvas backwards to frame the heart  (via email before the meeting) so I thought I'd bring one for my collage as well.

When I use a canvas backwards, most of the time I will apply crinkled tissue paper to it to hide the staples and where the canvas material stops. I decided to do this before the meeting to save some time.

When I apply the tissue paper, I start by covering the gap between the canvas and the frame.  I usually use un-crinkled tissue paper for that part. I apply gel medium (I used liquid gel medium, but soft gel or regular gel will work too) to the frame/canvas, put the tissue paper on it, then apply more medium on top.

Then I start crinkling the tissue paper and applying it over the whole back and sides with gel medium.

I keep applying more tissues paper until I feel the staples and seams are hidden, I would say this piece has up to three layers in some places. I used about a sheet and a half of tissue paper.

I used black gesso to cover the tissue paper, but did one strip of white gesso where I plan to overlay some stamped tissue paper.  I did one coat of acrylic paint, mainly black with a little ultramarine mixed in.

While I had my tissue paper out, I stamped a circle stamp onto a tissue paper for my accent strip. It was good to do all this prep ahead of time so I was not spending my time during our group meeting waiting for things to dry.

At our group meet, I demoed applying Ranger Patina inks and alcohol inks to the metal hearts. This is shown in my previous post here.

I wanted to try putting white gesso on the raised parts of the heart, then apply black alcohol ink over the whole thing, and rinse it with water in the hopes that the ink would wash off the gesso. I should have used guache but I forgot to bring it and this did not really work.

I was using Jacquard Pinata Color alcohol inks and assumed there was a  black in the set, but there wasn't. I mixed my own on a disposable plate using red, blue, purple, brown and yellow. It looks pretty black, but leans towards purple. Below, the heart on the left is alcohol ink only. The heart on the right is ink over gesso. (I would have used my Black Staz On refill, but did not have it with me).

The heart on the top is the one that had gesso under the ink. I sanded it and then tried to apply more white gesso on top, but it is just a hot mess. I plan to paint it glossy red.  The heart on the bottom was first covered with alcohol inks, then I applied the Ranger patina (comes in a three pack with a yellow-green, green, and turquoise) just on the raised parts. It turned out great.

Everyone in group played with their metal hearts, but in the end, a lot of the collages did not include them. Here is Gayla (I hope that is spelled correctly) with her collage piece. She was able to use some of my leftover stamped circles.


Here is Sabyl and her piece in progress. She had a field day earlier in the week making hand painted (and super yummy colored) tissue papers which she included in her piece.

 Susan with her work in progress.

 Enid layered hers with some printed clear mylar.
 Let them eat cake! Here is Laurie with her queen piece.

Here is my work in progress. I still have some things to do and need to glue everything down. This heart is the one with the "black" alcohol ink only, which I sanded to remove the ink from the raised surfaces.  I plan to stamp "you have my" on the black circle tissue paper (which I should have done before glueing it to the bumpy tissue paper background, oops!) and add some more details.

We had a great time and it was great to make it to (and teach) the meeting as I have missed quite a few lately. I hope Gayla can make it next month since this is her first meeting.