Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dye Day Saturday

I don't own the supplies for hand-dyeing fabric. I'm usually content to paint fabric for the colors and textures that I want, but about two times a year I manage to wrangle an invitation to the workshop of one of my friends who do dye their own fabrics. Yesterday a group of us made a day of it at the home of Susan Italo, all 'round talented artist.

Left to right: Susan Italo, Judy Rys, Linda Cassirer, and Mary Norton. All happily playing with dyes and fabrics.Now, here's a picture of "the hard part". After we had applied dye, we had to let it batch for four hours. It just sits there. We aren't supposed to poke it or pick it up to see what's happening. We just wait. We originally had a plan to work on some self-portraits while waiting for the dye to strike, but somehow that turned into eating too much wonderful food, drinking wine, and drowsing until we roused ourselves in order to have some espresso and chocolate trifle.

I'll post a couple of pieces of the fabric I created. Somehow several of us ended up with more white areas than we wanted, but in my case, have paints, will transform white into something else.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Having a Day?

If it's a good one, watching this video will affirm it and if it's a bad one, watching this video will help.

Click through:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Two Weeks???

The fabric with the Presist on it was driving me to distraction! How in the world could I wait two weeks for the paint to cure? Well, I couldn't. The instructions for the Presist say that it can withstand heat and steam so I decided to heat set the Setacolor this afternoon. It was pretty obvious to me that the still-tacky Presist might withstand being ironed, but my iron certainly couldn't withstand the Presist. I laid a paper towel over the fabric and here's what happened:

Little bits of paper towel everywhere, but my iron stayed clean. Next I popped the fabric into some lukewarm water and the Presist pretty much dissolved right away. There were a couple of places I had to rub a bit, but not much. I also noticed there was the slightest bit of blue tinge to the water, so perhaps it would have been wise to wait the full two weeks. Nahhh.

So, here's the fabric to this point, I'll be working with it more. Oh, I tried some discharge paste in one corner and it had no effect, so I'll be adding-on, not taking-away.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And a Couple More Pieces of Fabric

This is the last piece of fabric that I worked on Saturday. I applied Presist with a syringe to a plain piece of PFD cotton. This weekend I will paint it red, then wait a couple weeks, remove the Presist and paint it again with yellow. I'm trying to get a piece of deep red orange fabric with yellow markings. I have been thinking about a piece inspired by Buddhist thangkas - not as much detail as many of them have, but my own version.
Now, this piece of fabric was created by Mary Norton. She doesn't like it, she was going to throw it away. I like it, I took it instead. It inspires several surface design ideas for me, most of them better applied once the piece is quilted. I'll try to get at least the quilting done this week.

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Fiddling Around with Fabric

Found some great black cotton sateen at Baron's Fabrics in Camarillo, California. And doesn't great black fabric just beg to have some discharge paste applied? The top photo was stamped with a little plastic lid (in a couple of places I stamped too enthusiastically and you can actually read the word "Dixie"), then I loaded a syringe with the discharge paste and scribbled and made dots. The second piece is a little journal of the day of surface design, again using the syringe loaded with the discharge paste. I found that as I wrote, little bits of fabric fuzz stuck to the tip of the applicator and made the writing blotchier as I went along. In this case, it didn't really matter because I will cut this fabric up when I use it, but it was a useful lesson.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This Is More Like It

Today, my friends, Linda Cassirer and Mary Norton, and I spent a day playing with various techniques and surface design products. We were each working on entirely different projects, but it was great fun to be experimenting in close proximity and be able to benefit from each other's opinions and suggestions as we pursued our own interests.

The first picture is a piece of fabric painted with Pebeo Setacolor to lay down a foundation for using a resist to create texture and depth in fabric painting:

And the next step, once the paint was dry, was to apply some Presist:

And once the Presist was dry, painting again with another color:The Presist is to be removed to let the original colors show through, but since it is removed with water, the paint will cure for two weeks before taking it off. I'll post that step when it happens.

It sure felt good to be flinging color around today!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Well, this is what happens when you lose your creative mojo. You make nothing for several months and then end up making perhaps the most colorless shirt on the planet! It's almost like an example of "use it or lose it" of the color-joy muscle. After Jim wears it in a wedding next week, I am going to go wild with the surface design. The worst that could result is that he'll never wear it again. In the meantime, I'd better make a committment to do some kind of art every day in order to keep all the color from running out of my life!