Saturday, May 31, 2014

Studio Tour Time

I love to see studios from other fiber artists - so much inspiration and ideas for organizing and utilizing space. To continue with our Fiber Junkies meeting from last week, Denny's studio was wonderful - my head is still spinning over the many rooms and designated areas for storing and organizing. Denny uses every square inch available to her to store supplies, view fabric and in general be inspired. She has some very unique ideas for storage space....

such as the way she hangs special fabric out in  the open for inspiration. Vinyl shelving from a home improvement store and wooden rungs contain a lot of her hand dyes and one of a kind fabrics.
 Her thread collection is impressive and beautifully organized by color...
 as is her fabric. Is there such a thing as too much fabric - not a chance!
 She stores her quilts by hanging them using clip hangers and a rolling rack.
An area for designing and printing and many design walls.
 And her wet space, this was my favorite - to be able to work with dyes and wet materials without a care in the world...spills...not a problem.
 There's a huge sink to take care of that.
 Batting is stored overhead, covered and protected and ready to use when needed.

Denny has a great sewing space and has rigged up a system using bird feeding hangers with clips to hold larger quilts while quilting, how clever is that.
 And bookcases everywhere including one in the bathroom.

Speaking of which, I used the restroom and had a terrible thought - with all the wonderful rooms and twists and turns, will I ever find my way back/ Denny doesn't supply maps.  ( - :
 We had a wonderful outside workspace with plenty of overhead shelter and natural light to see colors perfectly.
and a great view while working - Wow....such a great day.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Screening with fugitive Materials

My previous post talked about making a Denny screen to use with this technique. It took us about an hour to make the screen mixed in with talking, laughing and drinking coffee.
 You can use any kind of fabric to do this; many of us brought fabric that needed "help" - dyed pieces that didn't turn out so well, deconstructive screen printed fabric etc. so most of us were starting with some color. Fabric was places over thin materials that we could use for rubbings. Denny had 3 designated cans for this kind of thing - off to a good start!
 One of the things I loved was a big, stiff lace doilie and some corrugated cardboard.

 Another favorite was the bottom of the plant flat small plants come in (left) and of course our old standby - bubble wrap.
 Another favorite of mine was this black trivit that had circles on it...created a wonderful effect.
There was a wonderful assortment of crayons, oil sticks etc to do the rubbings with. Whatever you use should be water soluble. The Portfolio brand oil sticks were my favorite as they were soft and rubbed onto the fabric easily and added lots of color.
 I started taking pictures of what I used on what to have a record if I wanted to do that again, but I wound up using the oil sticks almost exclusively.
 Kate added more movement (green zig zag lines) to a piece of deconstructive screen printed fabric.
 I added circles to just about everything as I liked the way it looked.
After we marked our fabric, we were ready to seal it. We laid our screen over the top...
so it looked like this.
Using an acrylic medium, colorless extender, or watered down Elmers white glue, we squeeged over the surface of our screen. There are several options to use as a sealer in this part of the process; I liked the acrylic medium the best. Using a screen prevents the marks from moving or blurring. When we lifted the screen up, we had our finished piece (right) which we left to dry.

To dry our pieces, we used an old fashioned clothesline. Wow, does that bring back memories. How many of you had one of these in your yard growing up...I know I did.
A fun day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Denny"s Screens

 I first saw a "Denny Screen" while taking a weeklong workshop along with Denny Webster at John C Campbell in NC. The workshop was Deconstructive Screenprinting where we used screens all day long so it was nice to have a lot on hand. Denny came up with the fabulous idea of converting a window screen into a silk screen. We had our Fiber Junkies meeting on Thurs at Denny's house where she showed us how to make these "wonderful, lightweight, easy to store and inexpensive to make" screens.

First thing is to start with the adjustable window screens you buy at a home improvement store. The screens slide to open wider so you get 2 screens to work with when taken apart.
The clip (upper right picture) comes off easily to separate the screens.
Next you remove the white plastic corner brace from a single screen. This makes it easy to remove the black vinyl cording which holds the screen in place.
 This corner brace comes right off...the screen is still intact.

Remove the vinyl cording which holds the screen in place. It comes out easily and will be used in the next step. Once it is removed you can remove the screen. Don't throw out the screen. If you make art quilts, it's a nice "fabric" to use and gives the feel of a transparent fabric.

 Next you are going to replace the screen with a piece of sheer fabric. What kind of sheer fabric to use?  ...absolutely anything that is sheer. Denny goes to the thrift store for sheer curtains; fabric stores often have a home decor section that sells sheers. It can be any fiber but usually they are a polyester and that seems to work well. Cut the sheer around 1" larger all around than outside of frame. This gives you wiggle room

Using a spine tool (around $3 at home improvement store), lay the vinyl back in the groove to hold fabric in place and run the tool over the vinyl cord. It will sink into the groove on the screen to hold the fabric in place.
 It's best to do this working the sides across from each other (sides 1 & 3) and then doing other opposite sides (2 & 4). Pull the fabric gently but firmly so it's nice and tight with no wrinkles. When finished, you'll have some extra sheer fabric hanging off the edge.
 Use a scissor to cut away excess; cut leaving @ 3/4" of fabric or the width of the screen frame. You can see how the edge of the fabric meets the edge of the screen.

In this next step, you get to use a wild and crazy duct tape to finish the edges. We all brought different ones so our screens wouldn't get mixed up. Tape all 4 edges, bringing the tape to the edge (or beyond) of the screen's outer edge. The tape should cover the raw edge of the sheer, the vinyl cording and a small section of sheer fabric that's the screening area. You do this on both sides of the screen; the tape should line up with each other on the sheer part (you can see through the sheer to see if they line up

You finish by adding a "well" which is an extra piece of tape at the top. You do this on one end only and usually where you begin your pull for screening an image. However, wherever you choose to put it, tape the underneath side as well in the same place, lining up the edges. The well holds the paint you want to pull over the screen. 
    Thanks to Denny for this wonderful and innovative idea. More to come on using these wonderful screens.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Memorial Day

In honor of all the wonderful men and women who serve our country...we thank you. 
My dad was a navy man (first row, far left)
My Uncle John was a navy man also 
and my Uncle Ted was in the army
Have a safe, happy and meaningful Memoral Day...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Winter Tides

I created this piece at one of our PTA Retreats. It still isn't finished, but along the way (and once again getting side-tracked), I realized I had a lot of leftover blocks, enough to make a smaller version. 
I liked the fabrics so much, I decided to do that and also justify the procrastination of finishing this piece. The second version (shown at bottom) is a little smaller by about 1/3.
I decided to do some free motion embroidery, drawing with my thread to create a little interest on the surface. I used Lana thread by Madeira - part wool and part acrylic. I've talked about this thread before, I really love it. You can use it in the top of your machine but need a large eye needle such as a Top Stitch in size 16. It does create a lot of fuzz in the throat plate area so it's good to stop and clean it every so often.

Some of the images were silk screened on but most were machine stitched with Lana thread.
I used 2 different values to give the feel of distance. It was a lot of fun and easier than I thought to just meander and embroider. The images were very "weed-like" so perfection was not in order here.

I machine quilted similar images, some done in a monofilament for just the texture
and some done with a rayon thread, close in color to the embroidered images.
Sometimes a name will hit me right away, sometimes not. When I looked at this I thought of beaches and the gray, bleakness of winter - so Winter Tides.