Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fiber Junkies - Color Lifting

Hi everyone....Well, it's been a crazy couple of weeks and thanks for hanging in there with me.  I spent last week in Atlanta helping my daughter set up her new classroom in a new school. She was a 3rd grade teacher in the Decatur City School system but moved over to another position - that of an EIP teacher in the same system but a different school. After much organizing and cleaning out, she decided she needed curtains to cover the storage space but more on that later (you can guess who got to make them). That same weekend was my granddaughters 2nd birthday, you won't escape some pictures, but for now..down to business. Being so busy, I totally forgot about our wonderful Fiber Junkies meeting I always love to share.
  So a little late, but here goes. This month we explored color lifting through the use of several products, one of which I had never tried. We used Soft Scrub, a bleach pen, discharge paste and decolourant. Denny was so clever; she made a silk screen out of a piece of fabric that was "Shibori-ed'.  She screened discharge paste onto the fabric and "instant" Shibori.
We used some fun tools for applying the various discharge products. Mary cut away a foam brush which gave an interesting look to the fabric. On right, another foam brush purchased at a home improvement store in the paint department.
 Denny is a character, she always wipes her hands on her bottom which proved to be embarrassing and also ruining lots of pants. Now she wears an apron front AND back and marks it with tape.
 I had never used the decolourant before which I liked but didn't love. It also comes in colors so as you're discharging, you're replacing the discharged area with another color. I personally didn't see the point of this as you could achieve the same thing by using paint through the stencil, pretty results though.
 Kate used pewter color decolourant to produce this pretty result - a little more subtle than straight decolourant or bleach.

Denny lined up the products she used in front of the fabric, a good way to see the results of each. The one on the right used 3 different products. It's a good test when you use the same fabric for each. 
 Mary got some interesting results with her foam brush and stencils.
 Val wore a heavy duty mask. It's important to be very careful when doing so many of these techniques. Good ventilation is a must and using Vals garage provided that.
 This is my version of Shibori using Denny's screen.
During lunch, we shared last months results from our deconstructive screenprinting. These are some of Kates (left) which I loved and we traded a couple of pieces. On the right is my finished piece, washed and ironed - just today, 2 weeks after the fact.

and a few more pieces. I like the one on the right the best and will do something with that someday.
One thing I've always done is to dye a large sample of fabric in both rayon and mercerized cotton when I buy a new dye color. It's a little bit of work but something I refer to over and over. I label it with the dye color and # and then discharge 3 lines to see how this particular color works with a particular product. It's amazing to me how they all discharge so differently. I used bleach, Soft Scrub and discharge paste (it says Thiox on sample, but it's discharge paste by Jacquard)
On another note, the last couple of days have been amazing, like a fall day and my favorite time of year. Enjoy the last days of summer and all the fun things you can do with fabric like rusting, ice dyeing, color lifting - all better done outside.
Til next time ......

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Leaf I

I have quite a collection of fabric from our deconstructive screen printing playdays with Fiber Junkies. I decided I needed to start using it.  
 Like many things, some pieces I love and some not so much. This one I really liked and have several versions of this that would work together.

I thought of using the 3 prints together as a long wall hanging but it was just too busy. 
I then thought of treating each as a separate piece and featuring them together might be more effective. The print was made using leaves and the deconstructive screen printing technique. As busy as it was, I still thought it needed more layering;  I ran the print through my printer to get the imagery of tree branches on top. Also adding some writing and screen printing gave it more interest. 
 I tried different combinations of fabrics to finish the print
 and settled on this which was the best solution - a little softer to focus on the print.
 I always love the opportunity to use gauze (on right); I think this piece needed it to tone it down.
 I painted up some silk organza to use as a binding...
 which makes such a pretty edge.
I mounted it on a pre-stretched canvas which is one of my favorite ways to mount small pieces. This is one of my Haiku pieces (Haiku written on back). Years ago I was in LINT (Ladies in New Textiles) a wonderful fiber group consisting of 12 fiber artists. At one of the meetings, one of the gals had a bowl with pieces of paper - noun or verb on each. We were to pick 3 and then had 10 minutes to write a Haiku incorporating those 3 words. You didn't have time to give it much thought. It was so much fun and it peaked my interest in writing them for my smaller pieces. This one is :

Trees in the shadows
embracing words in the wind
touch the leaves above

Til next time...

Friday, July 11, 2014

NC Arboretum Exhibit

On Wednesday, I had the great fun of  hanging our upcoming exhibit at the NC Arboretum in Asheville, NC. with my two  "artist and girl" friends - Kate Weston and Mary Stori. For more information on the arboretum exhibit go to their website -
Since their were 3 of us participating, we were given the entire upper floor - such a beautiful space.
The quilts are nature related to go along with the title of the exhibit - Fiber Art and Nature - 3 perspectives.
We had lots of long walls and a great hanging system to work with.
This is Kate's "Castor Bean" -  one of my favorite pieces.
In one section, we did groupings of just our own work - this is 2 of Mary's pieces- Her "Red Trees" on the left is my other favorite. Much of our work was created using many fabrics we made at our Fiber Junkies meetings
This is a section of my work.....
and Kates.
When we left, the show was nearly finished for opening except for the wires you see hanging down from the hanging system. They will be rolled up and tucked behind each piece.
A grouping of small pieces from Kate and I.
Kate's Sunset quilt....
and another small grouping. Kate's new piece on the right uses Japanese fabrics and a kimona shape.
This is Mary's wall of wool pieces, artist hand dyed fabrics and heavily beaded - beautiful!
Another one of Mary's "fun themed" quilts...
and Kate's "Picket Fences" think I have the name wrong on that but I call it her happy quilt as it is just so happy looking.
I hope you'll stop by if you're in the area. The NC Arboretum is a beautiful place to see in and of itself but the added fun of a great quilt exhibit even better. The exhibit runs from July 10 thru Sept 28.
It was a great day and lots of fun working with Kate and Mary - 2 wonderful fiber artists and even more - wonderful friends.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fall Breezes

I used to be a part of a wonderful fiber group called LINT - it stood for Ladies in New Textiles. There were 12 of us, most of whom were teachers and/or exhibiting artists. We did lots of exhibits as a group - sometimes just new work and many times involving a theme. One of my favorites was the theme on "Transparency" We could interpret it any way we wanted and it was great fun to see how everyone approached it so differently.  I love working with leaves and sheer fabric so I thought it would be a good match.
I created a piece for the show that utilized silk organza as a backdrop (transparency) and image transfer leaves, floating down.
 I started working with photo transfer paper over 15 years ago when I wanted to re-create the beauty of fall foliage. I always used real leaves to copy onto the transfer paper (right) and then onto fabric. I liked using silk as it reflected better. Placing the fabric image next to the real leaf, you couldn't tell the difference except my fabric leaves didn't curl up and die. I also liked to choose leaves with lots of "personality" - holes, browning areas etc. to give them a more realistic look.
It was a challenge to figure out a way to assemble it so the leaves would appear to be floating down.
I used a clear monofilament thread and attached it between the leaf and a mirror image of the same leaf as backing fabric. If the leaf flipped to the back, the thread wouldn't be visible. The leaf would appear to be floating.
My handy husband made a wooden bar to mount the sheer backing fabric onto. It extended out around 1 1/4" - small holes were drilled along the bar and closer to the front to string the monofilament through. Another piece of thin wood was laid on top to cover the monofilament and small holes.
You can see the monofilament up close but from a short distance away, not obvious.
I did a very light colorwash on the organza and transferred images to create a more interesting backdrop. 
This piece will be part of a new exhibit opening at the NC Arboretum featuring the works of Mary Stori, Kate Weston and myself. We are hanging it next week and it runs close to 2 months.  Check my blog "exhibits" for more information. 
   If you're in the area, please drop by and take a look.