Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fabrics for Printing

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a wonderful field trip with some girlfriends to a fabric outlet in South Carolina. I would describe the store as organized chaos AND incredible fun. It was loaded with bargains, some good stuff, some not so good, some things on bolts and lots in bins, where you had to dig for fabric. You've heard of "dumpster diving". This is it's first cousin and probably the most fun part! It was exciting to dig and dig and find the perfect piece, bring it to be measured and priced to find out it was only $1 Wow! I love experimenting with new fabrics for printing using my Epson inkjet and this was the place to find them. So armed with several bags of bargains, I headed home and on to a new adventure.
I like weird fabrics, prints, lots of texture for printing, there is nothing I won't try.
This picture from our garden was printed on 2 fabrics layered together and run through the printer at the same time.
I used a lace layered over a thin China silk - layering 2 thin fabrics together to run through the printer. I was using 1 thin fabric and so much of the ink was deposited on the paper backing. I tried it and it worked great - two for the price of one!
The print came out really clear and wonderful color
and when I pulled the 2 layers apart, I really loved the results.
So here is what the lace looked like.
and the China silk - like a positive-negative kind of thing.
I found this wonderful textured fabric with tiny little creases. I thought it would add some extra texture to the print. I chose a picture that would lend itself to texture, one with rocks.
Prepared the fabric you see below.
And here is the print. I really liked the additional texture the fabric gave to the print.
The next print used a photo I took and changed into a Sepia print.
I printed on a sheer fabric. It was interesting as the print in the sheer played into the overall look.
The next fabric was a drapery fabric with an interesting and fairly quiet print. I chose a picture, very organic in nature to print on top as I thought it would work with the fabric.
I loved this fabric and was very excited to see how a print would do.
I was disappointed in the results. It's okay but maybe another kind of picture or document would do better. I'm thinking of something with words.
There is still lots more I want to try - will keep you posted.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Crazy for Quilts cont

The Crazy for Quilts exhibit I talked about the other day was truly impressive. Here are more images along with a fun place to eat if you're in Asheville.
Crazy for Pink by Joan Kinffen - great imagery inside each block. The buttons were a nice touch.

24 Elements of a Homestead by Patricia Ann Hobbs used crazy quilting to embellish the rays in the borders.
Ode to Tamar was made by Alison Ann Aller. The hand stitching was beautiful.

Whoooo's There by Christie Eckardt features a very non-traditional and fun border.
After the exhibit it was off to the Early Girl Eatery on Wall Street in Asheville. It's one of my favorite places. The decor is simple and the food different and delicious!
Menus are displayed on blackboards at each end of the room.
We are always a hungry group (clockwise - Cathy, Linda, Jodie, Georgia, Mary and Judy)!
And when you leave, you'll find a huge iron at the end of the street.
A great day!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Crazy for Quilts Exhibit

This past week, I had the opportunity to see an exhibit sponsored by The Alliance for American Quilts and HandMade in America. The exhibit - Crazy for Quilts featured 85 16" square quilts, each highlighting their version of crazy quilting. From the serious to whimsical, from the modern to traditional, each was interesting and wonderful to see. All these wonderful quilts will be auctioned off on Ebay starting October 26 as a fundraiser for The Alliance for American Quilts. Here is a sampling.
Sheila Rauens, one of my favorite fiber artists did this first piece - "Crazy for Ewes".
Amy Munson did "Crazy for Beads" and the beading is amazing. The borders are beaded along the edge, along with the stitching and the inside edge.
"Crazy for Batiks" by Bridget Marie Wideman had old fashioned rick-rack and a great variety of crazy quilt stitches.

Valerie Sue Bothell did "A Crazy Quilt Colonial Lady. Valerie used lots of silky type fabrics such as moire taffeta, typical of older crazy quilts.

"Victorian Rose" by Ruth Ann Mundy had beautiful hand stitching and touches of doilies.
"Velvet Makes me Crazy" by Meg Cox was great fun to look at and great use of novelty print fabrics.
"Quilt Crazy" by Sonja Lee Barrington was one of my favorites. I love wool and using it in a quilt gives it such a rich look.
"Respite" by Suzanne Byrd is one of the more modern crazy quilts featured in this exhibit. It's quite colorful with beautiful decorative machine stitching.

"Crazy Cow Polarity" by Karthryn Wagar Wright was a great piece. I love the intricate piecing of the cow's head.
Each piece was wonderful in its own way and I'm sure very personal to the maker. There was an interesting essay written in conjunction with this exhibit having to do with Crazy Quilts; the part that grabbed me was about how wonderful it would be to know exactly what quiltmakers of 100 years ago were thinking when making their own crazy quilts. As a quilter, I know how my mind wanders during many of the processes. The things that may be of concern or delight me at the moment or just life in general, either way, it's a time of escape - to be with myself and my own thoughts.
I do have more to show so stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rain, rain go away...

I've always loved the rain, a good time for working in the studio, hot tea or cocoa, and just doing great "wintery" type stuff. I look forward to these days but after 6 days worth, I've had enough. The sun has finally made an appearance, the ground is drying out and the plants just a little bit bigger and greener because of it. I took some pictures of the storm as it came in. It really was pretty and a little eerie. The clouds coming in over the mountains looked a bit ominous. We are on top of a hill which makes it a bit scary, sometimes feels like the house will blow away.

There were some beautiful cloud formations.

And at the end of a storm, a rainbow. Is there anything more magical!
We were lucky, no damage in this area. Atlanta was hit bad. We used to live there and my daughter still does. My heart and prayers go out to everyone there - what they are going through and still have to face.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back from Brasstown

I spent last week at the John Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. It was a lovely week, and a feel for what life was like in simpler times. The school is somewhat isolated, no TV, limited internet access, phones in the office only. It's an odd but nice feeling to know your evenings depend on reading a good book, going back to the studio or visiting Clays Corner store for entertainment. There's also evening entertainment on campus such as their weekly Square/Contra dance. Townspeople are always welcome to these events and come out in full force. I for one, wanted to learn Contra dancing and participated with great enthusiasm. I also discovered muscles I never knew I had and realized how old these bones really are! But, still great fun.
The workshop I taught was based on a technique I developed years ago using image/photo transfer paper - the kind used to transfer pictures to fabric. I was trying to find a way to duplicate the beautiful fall foliage. I tried silk painting, dyes, textile paint and nothing came close to the real thing. I had a pack of image paper and thought if you can do a flat picture, why not a flat leaf. I've taught this workshop many times and always love it. Students made both a table runner and a small wall hanging. All came out beautiful. Here's the class sample. And a detail, you can see how realistic the leaves look. When placed next to the real ones, you can't tell the difference except these don't die!
I like to use leaves that are spotty, bug eaten etc. not so perfect which makes them more interesting.

As always, I'm photographing nature for inspiration. It rained a lot last week and many little pools were stirred up.
I loved the reflection of the tree in the pool below. For all of these photos, I'm thinking of silk screens or manipulation in Photoshop.
This next one was one of my favorites - both the reflection and bubbles intrigued me. I'll be anxious to put this in Photoshop and see what happens.
I love the ripples in this next one.
And this one with a reflection and just a few mossy rocks.
There was a handsome bit of moss on this tree...will see how it layers with another photograph.
And looking up

And looking down

It will be fun to experiment with these.
On another note, I also became friends with the Blacksmith instructor who saved the wrought iron scraps each day from class - such amazing shapes and wonderful for rusting.