Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Coral art quilt

I've been working on a series, which is mainly water themed, using fabric, felt, and hand and machine sewing, etc.  I don't really consider these quilts in the true sense of the word since I don't plan to have a batting and backing fabric. I also plan to permanently mount them to canvas.

I thought I'd taken photos of the patchwork backgrounds but I couldn't find any, so I guess I forgot and will include some in a future post. I attached rectangles of fabric to a base fabric (it's either light canvas or heavy muslin). All of the fabric edges are exposed, and I just used a straight stitch to attach them, following the fabric edges.  I made about four of these patchwork backgrounds. One has coral made of red felted wool and is finished, photo posted below.  One will have a tree in winter with detailed branches, another will have koi fish, and the third has a coral stamped image on it.

For the finished coral piece, I did add batting and a backing fabric so the free-motion stitching would stand out.  I just did a wandering free-motion horizontal line with a very shiny blue/purple iridescent thread.  I then added the seaweed/plants using two colors of blue sheer polyester that I had.  I then hand stitched the coral on using a long blanket stitch.  I am glad I hand stitched the red coral since it really makes it more dimensional.  It took a long time though, and was hard on my hands with all the fabric layers I had to go through.   I then wrapped the "quilt" around a  14" x 14" canvas and stapled it to the back.  I really like the way it turned out.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Painterly painting class

I decided to take a two day Painterly painting class at the Art Students League of Denver.  Students could use oil or acrylic, but I was the only one using acrylics.

It's been a long time since I've done any representational/figurative painting, but when I did it in the past I had a very tight style and wanted to loosen up.

I didn't create any finished pieces but started a few.  I did get some practice and the teacher Ken Valastro helped a lot with direction on improving my composition.  His demo was amazing, he created this lovely rainy NYC street scene with lots of people, just with broad strokes and color changes.  The people had no real features, but you could sense where they were looking and if they were interacting with the person next to them.

Here is the first piece I started.  There are a lot of things I would do differently if I were to do it again, but it's not a bad first effort.

I did a second one, and the only reason it looked semi-decent is Ken did some painting on it.  I am not posting it here since all the good parts were his.

Here is my last one. I think it's a good start and will continue working on it.  My people are turning out pretty well.  I still feel like I paint very tight and need to loosen up. I am thinking about doing practice paintings with loose brush stokes as a warm up exercise when I go to my studio. That way, I will be painting more often and experimenting with painting loose.

I don't think these are a bad start considering it's probably been over 8 years since I've done a representational painting.

Monday, February 17, 2014

layered fabric and paper collage

I decided to try my hand at some layered fabric and paper collages.  I've been re-reading Cas Holmes book. She typically uses wall paper paste to glue down the layers, but said watered down PVA would work so that is what I used. I think she is more experimental with her layers. I really planned out my layers and what-goes-where. 

I am not happy with the wrinkliness (is that a word? there are too many wrinkles) of some of the materials. This is probably due to the wateriness of the glue. I felt I may have been better off with using matte medium (my current favorite adhesive with paper), but still like the way they look. Some of these I could have just sewn, but not all of them.

Coral is cut from red painted kraft paper that I had in my stash. There is Setacolor sunprinted fabric, dyed linen, gelli print on map, blue tissue paper and some shiny mylar bits (the yellow parts).

Red fabric with some gold paint smears, foam stamped coral on gold fabric, Gelli print, and dyed silk. Wrinkle wrinkle. I can probably pull up the fabrics at the top and just stitch them down.

Coral foam stamped sheer overlaid on blue dyed shibori, red silk (?). wood block stamp print, and lace.

Setacolor sunprinted fabric, painted cotton trim, Setacolor painted mesh on top of metallic painted deli paper, coral foam stamp on blue sheer.

I plan to do some machine and hand stitching on them as well. They will be cut down a little and mounted to 10" x 10" canvas.

4/7/2014: To see some of these pieces finished and mounted, please see this post.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Stamping on fabric

For a show coming up in the summer, I decided to make some layered fabric collages (similar to what Cas Holmes does), and wanted a coral/underwater theme for some of them.

I cut a coral stamp from sticky back foam and attached it to a metal plate to make stamping easier.

I also wanted to use this wood block I had bought at the Pasedena flea market last month.

Here are my fabrics. Stamping is kind of like fabric dyeing for me.  I start with a couple of pieces of fabric, then just start looking for more and more fabric to use. Clockwise from left is a sheer polyester, the blue and gold sheer with gold trim is from a cute Indian inspired dress my niece outgrew, gold fabric, shibori dyed cotton, Setacolor painted fabric (bottom center) and patterned commercial fabric (center).

I may go and touch up some of the coral with a brush.

Here are the wood cut prints, clockwise from top left, bluish sheer with sequins, commercial print, Indian light blue sheer, hand-dyed fabric, Setacolor painted poly organza (center bottom), blue faux-silk (bottom left), sheer poly, and Setacolor painted cotton/poly blend (center).

Setacolor painted poly-cotton

Light blue sheer with sequins. I stamped on the backside, the front side of the sequins were super glitzy. I don't even know why I own this fabric.

I used Neopaque paints for these.  True Red, and white/turquoise mix (with a touch of Golden Fluid Acrylic in Pthalo Green) I think I need to go make some red prints with the wood block!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I wanted to make some hearts that look like heart milagros, but they are not quite finished.

The first set I took these wood angels (left) and cut the bottom of them to look like fire or a crown. I then glued it to the back of a paper mache heart.

Here is the front side.

And I might well make a handful.

The other set, I used wood appliques and cut them each into two pieces. I cut them with a bit of a curve so they would fit to the top of the heart. I just used a dremel with a circular blade.

Here they are with the wood pieces attached. I used regular gel to attach the two and have a thin piece of paper on the backside to help hold them together.

I've gessoed all of these, but still need to paint them and add gold leaf.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Resin Hearts

I made a bunch of resin hearts this past week. Here is my collection.

I use plastic hearts that come with candy inside as my molds. I cut a hole in the back using my dremel, to pour the resin in. I tinted my resin with red alcohol ink.

The one on the left has broken red glass in it. The one on the right has Christmas tinsel in it.  I had to tap the mold quite a bit to get the resin to go through all the tinsel.

The one on the left has a magnifying lens, clock spring, some kind of gear that I threaded with a wire.  The one on the right has a heart shaped cooking tin.

The one on the left has pink coated wire, the one on the right has plastic star garland.

This one has rusty wire inside. It is hard to see so I took another picture with it back lit. I attached the nails with Epoxy clay, and painted the clay and nails bronze when the clay was dry.

Monday, February 10, 2014

CO Mixed Media Club, February meeting

This Saturday was our February meeting and we did a couple interesting techniques with stencils.

One technique was to put a citrasolv paper or magazine page on top of the stencil, and sand the page to remove some of the paper where the stencil design was.  These four are on citrasolv paper. 

The other technique was to put the citrasolv paper or magazine page on the table, face up, then put the stencil on top, then put packing tape over the surface. Then soak it in water for a few minutes, take it out, and rub all the excess paper off. Paper will remain where there are holes in the stencil. Then pull the tape off of the stencil. The tape pieces should overlap at least a 1/4" to help prevent the tape from ripping when you pull it off.   The big 12" x 12" stencils took a lot of muscle and work to get the tape off.  I definitely recommend trying it with a small stencil first. I struggled with this one for at least a 1/2 hour, but I love my chrysanthemums made from a newspaper with Chinese writing.

Here is Trish's. Her paper pulled away from the stencil, so she has got a nice paper piece as well that she could use in collage.

Here are some packing tape designs of Enid's.
Here are Sabyl's Ginkgo leaves.

Laurie's polka dots.

 Enid's sanded samples. Love the diamonds on the mountain!

 I think this is either Laurie's or Trish's sanded piece.

We also did some painting on Gelli plates, in layers, let the paint dry, then put packing tape on top. The paint is completely removed by the tape. This is Laurie's.

 Here Enid is laying the tape on her Gelli plate.

Some people even started working on a collage. Here is Liz's work in progress. It includes both the sanded papers and a packing tape gelli paint transfer (cut into multiple pieces).

 Here is Gayla's. Love the tear shaped stencil tape.
 Susan's work in progress. I like the face on the tape stencil transfer.

Here are Sabyl's pieces that she made as demos. They are very different. The top on is mainly tape stencil transfers on a painted background.

I really struggled with my large stencil tape piece and it was a real pain to get the tape off the stencil. I will probably think twice before trying that again. The smaller stencils were too bad and I did quite a few. The sanding technique was super easy and quick, so it was a nice break from dealing with the tape.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Snow dyeing fabric

We got 3" of snow last week, and it gave me the itch to snow dye some fabric. The next day we got another 3", so I had plenty of snow to work with!

I love the clearance fabric bin at Joann's.  I picked up some bleached muslin, Kona PFD, black Kona, cotton buckram, etc. from the clearance bin. I washed them, then soaked them in soda ash water. The black Kona, I tied up with rubber bands and put it in a color remover solution. It was then washed, then soaked in soda ash water.

Here are my dye "buckets". The two round pots have two layers of fabric in them, the one on the tray on the right only has one.  I do have strainers/pasta inserts in the pots to prevent the fabric from sitting in the melted snow water. The tray on the right is a broiler tray (for craft use only!) that has a drain pan.

I sprinkled my dye powders on directly, but liquid Procion dyes could be used as well. I typically let the snow melt completely before washing out my fabrics. I let these sit overnight.

 Cotton buckram:
 Buckram Detail:



Bleached Muslin:

Black Kona, color partially removed, then snow dyed.

My Favorite! ROCL Renaissance


I think the orange/blue Kona may need another round!