January 23, 2017

Results from a Two hour Screen-printing Demo

Last week, I gave a screen-printing and surface design demonstration at the Elverhoj Musuem in Solvang. It was a lot of fun to share some of the techniques I use to color cloth. I generally don't have a preconceived plan. I just let the fabric evolve. Most of the time, it turns out well. Sometimes, it needs more layering. Occasionally, it turn out ugly and you just have to cut it into smaller pieces.

I had a very interested crowd and they had great questions and suggestions. The two hours flew by and only one piece of fabric was fully developed. I let the fabrics batch for 24 hours, added more dye and batched for another 24 hours. I promised to post the before and after photos of the fabric, so here they are along with a brief description of what was used.

Before: Vinyl shelf liner shapes were stuck to a silk screen. Thickened dyes were used to print onto denim fabric.

After: More thick and thin dyes were added. This will become a shopping bag.

Before: Thickened dye was used with a thermofax screen.

After: Thickened gold dye was added.

Before: Thin orange dye was used to stamp the circles. Thin fuchsia dye was sprayed into the center of each circle.
After: I filled the white area with thick green dye.

Before: This started as a drop cloth. I used thick blue dye to screen-print a design made with blue tape stuck to the screen. It turned out pretty ugly.

After: I added more thick gold dye. It's still ugly but I think there is still hope for it.

This is the only piece that was completely finished in one pass. I used sponges to spread thin dye and thick black dye to stamp the ovals.

Of course, I didn't get as much done as I hoped to, so more dyeing was done the next day at home. Thin dye was poured and blended onto white denim. This will become a shopping bag.

This piece was dyed at home. The writing was done on white denim with black dye in a squirt bottle. I splashed fuchsia dye on the background and sprayed with water to blur and blend everything. As it turns out, I like the back of the fabric better. I'm currently making a shopping bag with this fabric. I'll post it when it's finished.

This piece was dyed at home. Blue dye was poured onto the denim fabric. Thickened wasabi and purple dyes were spread around. This will become a shopping bag.

There will be one more demonstration at the Elverhoj Museum on January 28th at 2:00 pm. This one will show you how to Make Stamps. Our exhibit will be hanging until February 5th.

December 10, 2016

Knit and Tink

My knitting skills aren’t great, but they are improving. It appears that I have a lot of patience because I just keep knitting, no matter how much tinking I have to do.

I’m using a gorgeous yarn from Shalimar for this wrap. It’s a merino, cashmere, silk blend and it’s very soft and warm. I love the way it looks, but it’s taking a long time and I’m getting a bit tired of doing the same thing.

My knitty friend said she always has a few projects going so she could choose what she felt like working on. Great idea . . . it’s the way I create artwork, so why not knitting. I jumped on that bandwagon and off I went.

This cowl is a made from Capra DK, from Knit Picks. It’s a beautiful marino and cashmere blend. It’s pretty chilly during my husband’s morning bike ride to work. This cowl will keep him nice and warm and it’ll be easy to store in his bike pack.

Years ago, I collected novelty yarns to use as embellishments in my art quilts. That phase didn’t last long and I barely used the yarn collection. My knitty friend suggested cutting it up and tying it back together to form new art yarn. Wow, that sounded like an interesting idea. I sorted through my bin for yarns that I thought might work together and chose fifteen different yarns. I cut and tied, knitted a sample, deleted several eyelash yarns, and knitted another sample. After a few versions, I think I have a good assortment that will make beautiful art yarn.

 The balls are beautiful!

I need tie enough yarn for a shawl.

Here's a wonderful Della Q circular needle case from Etsy. I love the numbers on the needle slots and it has plenty of space for cables, It also has a zippered pouch on the outside for markers, scissors, etc.

November 14, 2016

What are you passionate about?

We recently remodeled our kitchen and dining room. Some people think that sounds like fun, but in reality, it was a lot of stress and work. I wanted everything, but had to stay within a budget and the two are often at odds. I have to say that we really did a great job, we came in under budget (gasp) and the kitchen is both beautiful and functional.

While the remodel was happening, my whole life revolved around it. There was a lot of creativity involved but it was a very different type of creativity. When the remodel was done, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had a hard time getting back into my normal creative activities. I was experiencing a major creative block. I tried not to worry about it too much. I started dyeing and screen-printing fabric, yards and yards of beautiful fabric! It worked, one thing led to another and the creative block is a distant memory.

Fiber art, photography, and dyeing are all at the top of my list of passions. Between the three, my creative needs are usually satisfied.  I don’t think my inquisitive nature will allow me to stop experimenting with other mediums though. People that know me well expect a lot of questions. I’ve actually tried to stop being so inquisitive, but it didn’t work (haha). I guess I need to add knowledge to my list of passions.

If you find yourself in a creative slump, figure out what you are passionate about and start doing it. The rest will come.

If you would like to see some of my new work, I’ll be part of a juried exhibit at the Elverhoj Museum in Solvang, CA. The opening reception is November 19th from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. The exhibit will be on display until February 5, 2017.

 Several people have been inquiring about my blog. It made me realize that I missed it and want to give it another go. So, ask any questions you want . . . I understand.

October 27, 2014

Quilted Texture

Texture is a big part of why I quilt and I spend a lot of time (probably too much time) considering how to quilt each piece. As I was quilting this piece, it just really struck me how different the stitching made it look. I had to stop and take photos and want to share them with you. I have known this for a long time, but to look at the before and after, really proves it.

I like the texture that the purple circle add to the background.

 The swirling inside the ovals make them recede and add interest.

I feel like I'm a pretty good quilter, but there is always room for improvement. Sandwiched between a trip to Las Vegas and Spain, I took a 5 day HQ quilting class at the Creation Station with Pam Clarke and Megan Best. It covered a variety of skills ranging from traditional patterns to overall designs, many of which I never would have tried on my own. The scale of most designs were larger than what I was used to. Needless to say, I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone. It was a good experience and a good confidence builder.

October 6, 2014

Final Quilting Decision

I'm about to quilt the final section of the sky and I'm trying to decide what color of thread to use. Yesterday, I thought I was going to use ice blue thread, but today it isn't even a contender. Between the three colors shown, iris (darker purple), blue and amethyst (lighter purple), I'm leaning towards the iris. I think I'd like to darken up this area a bit and the purple would do that and add a little warmth. Which one do you like best?

I can't show you the whole quilt yet because it's going into an exhibit soon, but I bet you can guess what it is. Here's a close up of some of the quilting on my hand dyed fabric. Hope you can see it, the thread color blends pretty well.

I've been using my homemade pinmoor holders a lot and I absolutely love them. They stay in pretty well even through all the shifting, rolling and scrunching that you do while quilting, but they're easy to remove when you pull on the foam. I purchased extra pins and have about 120 now.

October 1, 2014

Fantastic Summer . . .

So many wonderful things have happened in such a short time. It seems like I've been running from one  thing to another with little time in between. Now that I've had a little time to catch up, I'll work backwards through some of my summer adventures.

The most exciting part was a trip to Morocco and Spain! The whole trip began because my husband had to go to Marrakech for business; so we decided to make a vacation out of it. We spent a week in Marrakech at the Palmeraie Palace and then went to Spain for two weeks. It was a fantastic vacation, much better than I ever imagined. The Palmeraie was a beautiful resort on the outskirts of Marrakech. They had everything you could want, great restaurants, spa, pool, shopping and golf. They took credit cards, the food was safe and delicious and they gave us bottled drinking water, remember this is Africa and we had to get Typhoid shots.

Back of the Palmeraie Palace and lake

Palmeraie Palace has the largest golf course in Africa

Ornamental cutouts in the hallways

Great tile work in lobby

Beautiful pool and lush tropical setting

As beautiful as the resort was, it wasn't the reason I was there. It was time to discover the real Marrakech. I hopped in the hotel van that dropped guests at the Medina in the Old City. Wow  . . . now this is different! What an odd mix of ancient customs and modern conveniences.

Donkeys, horses, cars, pedestrians, camels, bicycles and motorcycles all share the road.

Odd Couple

The Old City is where you want to go for people watching and shopping (haggling) in the souks. If you don't haggle, you will end up paying way too much for everything! The souks (marketplace) isn't for the faint of heart, however, it's an experience than shouldn't be missed. Be prepared to get lost and be prepared to pay a guide to lead you out of the miles of maze like tunnels. At one point during a haggling session for a camel backpack, the Berber salesman stopped and asked me if I was part Berber. Apparently, that was a compliment because I ended up getting the backpack for the price I wanted.

The Medina is quiet during the day but the snake charmers come out at night.

One of the tributaries leading into the Souk.

Storefront in the Souk.

Olive Stall

Dyer's Souk (red dye day)

Natural Dyes, Pigeon poop is used as a discharge agent

Door in the Souk

Changes are happening quickly and you can almost feel the growing pains. We discussed the construction of the New City with a local. He said that it didn't exist until 2000 and now they have high rise apartments and shopping centers. The cost of living has risen considerably and he was having a hard time making ends meet. Needless to say, he didn't like the changes but that's the way most people feel about change everywhere.

My opinion: They could use some traffic lights and rules. Their controlled chaos way of driving leaves a lot to be desired.

June 11, 2014

Gelatin Plate Printing . . . The Results

This shows most of the pieces I printed on my first day with my permanent gelatin plate. None of these pieces were plain white fabric when I started. All of them had some sort of surface design and I didn't like the way any of them looked. The gelatin printing has improved all of them.

The blue trees and frame used to be beige and the mottled green was a solid bright apple green.
It used to be really ugly, now it looks kinda aged.

I ripped three sections of this fabric apart to print it on the gelatin plate. It has had everything you can imagine done to it. It was rusted. stamped, printed, rubbed with oil stick. screen printed, painted and now printed using the gelatin plate. 

I don't love it, but I l do like the light in this piece.

I like this piece but I think it needs more. The bottom layer is dyed but it isn't very interesting. The gelatin print helped it tremendously but it needs at least one more layer and more color.

I love this one. The bottom fabric was painted with Setacolor.

I love this one too. The bottom fabric was painted with Setacolor.

I've tried a few different types of textile paints and so far I like thin, transparent paint best. Please leave comments and let me know what has worked for you. We learn from each other!

June 8, 2014

Permanent Gelatin Printing Plate

I've used gelatin plates for printing in the past but I haven't had a lot of luck with them. It seems like they get warm really fast and needed to be refrigerated often. I didn't even get the process fully figured out before the plate fell apart. I read about somebody (sorry, can't remember who) that used glycerin as a preservative in a gelatin plate and it worked well. The printing plate did not need refrigeration and it did not mold. I saved the information - just in case.

Fast forward . . . Gelli Plates became popular and I became tempted to buy a large one, but then I remembered that I had a recipe for a permanent gelatin plate and I decide to give it a try. I ordered the glycerin from Amazon and searched for the perfect cookie pan. Once the glycerin arrived, it was really fast and easy to make.

Small Gelatin Plate Recipe:
2 TBS Gelatin
1/2 cup Glycerin
1/2 cup Boiling Water

Large Gelatin Plate Recipe:
12 TBS Gelatin
3 cups Glycerin
3 cups Boiling water

1) Mix the gelatin into the glycerin
2) Add the boiling water. Stir until dissolved
3) Pour into the pan and level
4) Let harden at room temperature

Gelatin from grocery store and vegetable glycerin from Amazon

Small Plate: Use a shallow container. Once gelatin is set, flip it over and remove the gelatin. Keep it stored, upside down on the lid so it can be used easily.

Large Plate: Use the Large Recipe or calculate how much gelatin your container needs to fill to the brim. I leave the gelatin in the pan even while printing. Make a cover for the pan to protect the gelatin. If the plate gets damaged, cut it up and put it in a microwavable container, melt it, then pour it back into the pan.

10" x 15" shallow cookie pan, filled to brim with gelatin

DO NOT clean up in your sink or you will clog your pipes. Wipe up the gelatin with paper towels and throw away. Rinse with hot water outside.

I've tested my plate already and it works great. I'll post photos in a couple of days.