Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fiber Junkies - Working with Bleach

Our wonderful Fiber Junkies group met this past week at Gen's home for a day of experimenting and fun. Our good friend and FJ member Denny, gave us a huge supply of powdered bleach; we were anxious to play with this and other bleaching products. 
 This bleach is finely granulated making it easy to pour or sprinkle on a surface.
 First, we wet the fabric with a mister, and laid some resist type object on top. In the above, the leaf was cut out of a sticky back piece of foam and laid down first. The bleach was sprinkled onto the surface.
 This is some plastic webbing that Denny found at a construction site; we've used it often in our deconstructive screening play days. I thought it would work well, but the bleach migrated beyond the boundaries of the web and turned into a mish-mosh.
 We tried using stencils and carefully placing the bleach granules inside the negative space.
 These were successful.
 This was a tree stencil using granules of bleach. Kate had success with it; I didn't but I think next time I would spray the back of the stencil with a temporary adhesive so it makes a tight contact with the fabric. I would do this before I misted the fabric with water.
 Here is a fabric done with a stencil and left to dry....anxious to see how it works when washed.

 We also used a bleach pen to write on fabric. If you use a fresh pen, the bleach will start lightening as you watch!
 Mary tried the bleach pen through a plastic "lace holder" - worked well.
 This was my favorite and an effective way to use stencils for this technique. A drawback in using stencils is that they don't grip the fabric real tight and the bleach can seap underneath making the design lines very blurry. Kate suggested we use a blank silk screen on top of the stencil on top of the fabric and using a squeegee, run a thickened bleach over the screen. I used discharge paste which was thickened with sodium alginate - great results!
 Here is a piece that Val did using stencils and a blank screen, using hand dyes are a bonus as the different colors discharge differently making the image so interesting.
 Here is a piece that I did and my favorite piece of the day. I used the stencils with the silkscreen as well as a burned screen with thickened discharge paste. I'm happy with the results.
 This was a great stencil and happy to find a new way to use it.
 One of Vals screens which she made out of leaves she found outside...
 and a detail.
 Another one of Vals pieces using a hand dyed fabric.
 And Marys shown earlier using a plastic grid - love the results.
Here's my piece using the big tree stencil and powdered bleach. Kate had great success as you can see, mine is nothing resembling a tree - just another mish mosh......oh well....It was a great day with some wonderful and not so wonderful results but all was great fun. I wouldn't expect anything less from this great group of gals.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Fiber Art - The Colors of Nature

Last Wednesday, Kate, Mary and I hung our show at the arboretum. It opened the next day - April 21 and will run through July 12. We have worked with the arboretum before and it's always a great experience.
 First things first, all the quilts were removed from their bags and laid down. Between the 3 of us, we had 83 pieces - many small but we were still so pleased to have them all fit. We were given the entire second floor - lots of space.
 We tried to group them according to color ways which seemed to work out well.
 We all create very differently and our styles are noticeably different but they seem to work so well together.
 Many of the smaller pieces were hung "double decker" giving us more room.
 The arboretum uses a wire system for hanging - very efficient but not always attractive to see all the wires. We were also given the go-ahead to use command strips for smaller pieces, making it much more attractive.
 These were our entry pieces and the first pieces you see when you come up the stairs. Think I mentioned before that we all created the same quilt at retreat last year using different fabrics. Above, Marys is the cranberry with Japanese prints, Kates is the blue and green.
 Mine is the Indigo with splashes of red. We did have extra room and hung another quilt on each end. We felt it important to take advantage of any space we had.
 This has always been one of my favorite quilts of Kates. I call it her Happy quilt.
 Another 2 of Kates, she uses a lot of blues and greens and often a tropical theme which she is very drawn to. Having a house on Folly beach provides great inspiration.
 This is my "I Spy a Rose Garden" a children's pattern for an I Spy quilt made with Moda fabrics.
 This is Mary's and it's a stunner. A friend of hers gave her tons of Japanese fabric she wasn't going to use; Mary has made wonderful use of it. I love this very dramatic piece.
 So here is what you'll see if you stop by the arboretum.
 Our blue section.....
 and purples....
 A mix of all 3 of us....
 Mary's lovely beaded work.
You've just had a preview and there are many more to see. The arboretum is located in Asheville, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway and very easy to find. There is no charge to get into the arboretum, but there is a charge to park for a carload, so hop in your car with 4 of your nearest and dearest friends and head on over.'ll also get to spend the day at the arboretum which is quite beautiful right now.
We can't wait to meet ya!

Monday, April 18, 2016

PTA Community Quilts

PTA met last thursday at my home for the April meeting. We had a busy day planned and I felt like a bit of a taskmaster but it was lots of fun and very productive. 
We started the day with a quick visit, some coffee and wonderful goodies brought by several gals. We then had a quick show and tell to see what everyone was up to. Kate showed us a new piece she finished, started last year at retreat. Kate, Mary and I all did the same pattern in different color ways. We have a show opening this week at the NC Arboretum and will have these 3 quilts as an introduction to the show (more to follow on our show).
 The 3 of us having been finishing up pieces for the show - featured above a piece by Kate....
 and Mary's latest - "Full Moon".
Cathy showed us a quilt she finally finished after it spending years and years on her design wall - a lap quilt made with blues and yellows - my favorite color combo!
 And Mary Berry's latest and GORGEOUS quilt, all hand done...a masterpiece!
 and a detail!
 After lunch, we headed into my studio where we worked on pre-cut kits. The same pattern used for each one, just so cute and easy to do.
 We had 3 machines going along with 2 ironing stations and a big design wall for laying out the blocks.
 Dort became our official "block designer" as she is so good with color, stepping back to get a good feel...
 and Georgia stepping forward to hold a spot on the design wall for the blocks she had just finished!
 I think we pieced together around 5 tops and more kits brought home. This (above) was my least favorite while in the scrap stage...just didn't seem like it would work but quickly became my favorite. I love the pop of orange and the plaid..who would-a guessed!
 and this - another colorful one. We also had some pastel ones - perfect for a child.
Cathy told us her husband doesn't believe she knows how to here's proof. All in a days work and a fun day it was.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Day with the Monkey

Meet my granddaughter....she's 3 1/2.
 She's adorable. She's very busy.... AND She loves my studio.
 She loves making messes with stuff. I have a big design wall and a while back, decided to make some felt shapes. She now has the biggest flannel board ever.
 She also likes to go hunting in my cabinets and drawers. She found these - a Halloween purchase. I thought they would be great for deconsructive screen printing. Audrey thought they would be perfect on the design wall...hmmmm and where to put the little daisy flowers in her hand...
right next to each house and tree......Silly Nana!!!!
And her favorite is the 2 drawers filled with "stuff" I use for deconstructive screen printing. What a fun mess to jump in and swirl around...and she can't hurt anything. As a matter of fact, sometimes getting it messed up makes it more interesting in the printing process.
So...did we have fun.....? YES....did we make a mess?... YES and do I miss that little monkey...?  A BIG YES....but I can't say I'm not pooped by the end of the week and ready to get back to some serious sewing!