Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Ice Dyeing

Some of my like-minded friends from Mountain Art Quilters, who love to get down and dirty (messy) gathered at my house for a day of ice dyeing using the microwave. I learned this technique several years back and it was life changing for me.....such beautiful results in 4 minutes. You do need to have a designated microwave which I have in my studio and moved out to the deck for the day.
It was a gorgeous, glorious day and felt so good to be working outside. I did cover everything with plastic to protect some areas and everyone brought dyes they wanted to work with..we were off and running.
It's always a sharing experience with friends, using each other's dyes when we find a color in their stash we don't have and absolutely love. We start with fabric that is wet with a soda ash solution....placed in a large micro-wavable container, 
followed by a layer of ice on top, covering the fabric so none shows and then sprinkling Procion MX dye on top of the ice. It is then covered with Press and Seal or plastic wrap of your choice and nuked for 4 mins. Larger pieces may need another couple of minutes. There is no rule of thumb but I find using 3 colors to be around the right number to create fabric that is interesting and not overdone.
Bubbly is always an added treat and holds a place of honor on the table...
A pretty view from the deck is nice also.....
After rinsing, fabrics were hung outside to many luscious pieces...
It will be exciting to see what they become.
We had some wonderful sharing of work including pieces created as a result of the online workshop with Jane Dunnewold - Eco Printing with a Heat Press.
and this beauty which features an Eco printed fabric...and
this one...all foliage from the garden...I love this technique and am anxious to see what I can come up with. Absolutely such a great day...wonderful friends, food, bubbly and gorgeous fabric...AND NOT to forget the perfect weather...Thank you Mother Nature!
...Til next time.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

PTA....A Fun Day

PTA met at my home last Thursday for a day of fun and inspiration. We were a small group what with all that's going on in the world plus summer family reunions and visits...but with this group, it only takes two to have fun...actually only one and we were six!
A short visit with coffee and goodies...
A hi from Barbara....
and Mary...and it was down to business.
Georgia, along with her buddy Charlotte Warr Anderson run a retreat every year in Montana, each doing their own project and every class member getting to take BOTH workshops. How cool is that?. This year they decided to combine their talents and do one quilt which they designed together. It's amazing but unfortunately I'm not at liberty to share it until they bring it to their workshop for the big reveal...but I can tell you, it's wonderful and I'll be sharing it in the future..a small hint...based on a lot of facts from the above book.
We got to see everyone's Show and Tell, but this is the only one not involved in a show which we could see and post. Linda has a wonderful sense of composition and made a set of 3 of these for over her guest room bed. We did get to see pictures of the room with the art so well together.
This is another small piece she is working on...and no it's not a panel quilt; each block designed by Linda...the story of mama and papa bird building a nest, having youngins, caring for them until they fly away and are gone by winter. Not only does it tell a story but depicts the seasons  also.
and fall...forgot winter is so pretty with the ice covered branches.

Barbara, Georgia and myself are all
involved in a "Black and White" exhibit for members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. It opens later this month and runs until Jan 2022. We all had our pieces to share but can't publish them until the show's opening. They're all so different and creative..more on that show as time grows closer. piece is based on a ruin (above) from the Ring of Kerry in of our favorite trips.
As Mary was sitting there, she snapped a picture of the view from our deck. I hope I never take this for granted.

Til next time...

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

New Silk Screens

I've been making more silk screens this week...always fun! I needed some spooky looking trees for a piece I'm working on. I have a system...I make the screen on a Thermofax, tape off the edges with 2" wide duct tape which is cut in half, print the screen on a file folder and last (and a great design tool for me) is to screen the image onto clear plastic......the kind you get at Joann fabrics people used to cover tables. It's thick enough to have substance but also flexible. 
Both the screen and the plastic with image go in the folder. I also note on the screen "top" which tells me which side is the side to face out. Yes, there are two sides to the film used to make the is more fragile and should face the fabric. The other side has a slightly rougher texture and more durable to screen on top of.
I love the clear plastic with the image on top. You can do this with anything you want to print on top....a stencil, a stamp or just marks with a brush. The clear image allows you to see what's going on underneath and helps with the placement of the image before you actually apply the paint which in many cases is permanent very quickly. I love this design tool and probably use it more than anything else.
I had some tiger lilies and wanted to make an image of them....2 sizes and one with the lily in a bunch of lilies.
I like the one with the background of lilies better...more interesting and still having the one lily dominant.
And the other spooky tree... a little smaller and coming in from the left side...the other larger one came in from the right. You'll see what I mean when I post the quilt these are being used in. call me sentimental but this is a drawing my daughter did when she was 3 years old...I've always loved it and decided it needed to be a screen...I will use it as a background filler with a very subtle colored paint...I love it!
Til next time....

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

A New Look

I have been busy working on a piece for an exhibit I'm in, in August....that along with family company has kept me away from my blog...I do apologize for not being more attentive. I did make it down to my space which I share with my pal - Mary Stori in Woolworth Walk Art Gallery.
My side (left) did need a little updating starting with a new system for my silk and rayon hand dyed scarves. My husband had built me a rack a while back which seems to work nicely in this space. I do lose some wall space but make up for it with additional scarf space which are good a trade off.
Downtown Asheville has been very busy and many tourists and shoppers so here's hoping for some nice sales.
I carry some lovely scarves in both rayon and in silk...all are hand dyed or ice dyed, both methods using Procion MX dyes. They make great gifts and easy to tuck into a suitcase to carry home.

I also have some small wall art pieces and lots of different hand made cards featuring Eco printing, machine embroidery and antique quilts.

Please stop by and say hello if you're in the area....Woolworth Walk Gallery has many beautiful artist spaces, something for everyone. It's located on Haywood St. in downtown Asheville, NC. Our space is  located on the bottom level in booth number 235

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Playing and Experimenting

I finally turned on my heat press and started to play........I have to admit I was a bit nervous at first although it's incredibly simple to use..honestly..... an off/on switch, a button for temp and one for time and that's it. I guess the high heat it produces was a bit intimidating. 
I know when I used to make bundles and boil them, many plants did not work so I really didn't know how the heat press would react. I used the leaves I knew worked and then took a walk along the road and just started cutting everything in sight......and...... everything seemed to work.
This first time around, I wanted to try different substrates to see what weights and finishes of paper would be fabric this time. The very top photo is the before and after; left side shows the leaves laid down and on the right, the finished print..these were done on gloss photo paper. I was amazed that the photo paper did so well..above the gloss on the left, on the right -an old unsuccessful print I printed over..still bad!

On the left is Sumac which always prints beautifully, some Smoke plant leaves and cornsilk. On the right, the printed piece. The cornsilk didn't work but it will be a great be shown later.
Top example is foliage laid on Kilimanjaro 140 weight  paper.  In the finished sample below, the flowers did okay, I've seen some great results from other artists....the Rose leaves and Eucalyptus always do well and the Red Bud on top - great!

I had an Arches 300 lb paper which is way overkill but I wanted to try it anyway. I also had a Stonehenge 140 weight which is a great weight for this technique. Top photo is the foliage already printed but not removed from paper ...below is the printed image finished. 
This is an interesting sample (below) ...left is foliage and right is finished. Some leaves were along the road and I had no idea how they would do. The little blobs of color in the upper left came from a wild flower, some ferns and the bottom are from the Smoke plant. For best results, the most printable side is the "moon" side or the underneath side...not the sun side.
You can see the difference in the print. With the Smoke leaf plant, the 2 leaves slanted towards to right were placed with moon side down; the two slanted towards the left were placed with the sun side down. There's a big difference in the quality of the print or the intensity of color I should say. Some might prefer the more subtle look like you see on the left slanted ones.

This was a good print and I like the look of imperfect leaves. I don't know what leaves some of these are but I understand there's an app that can be used by pointing it at the plant and it will tell you what it is. Think that's on my list to get.

There was a lot of blurring on this print and I don't know why. I used a Dick Blick watercolor paper. I don't know the weight, but most are @ 140 lb.

 Some Red Buds, Smoke leaves, and pine needles. I was surprised at the needles and love the the way they printed. The bottom print uses some flowers which I was anxious to try...I'm pleased and I like the clarity of the edges. Hope to get more done this week as my calendar isn't too filled up yet. Will keep you posted.