Thursday, September 2, 2021

Time for a catch-up

 Many years ago, I created the pattern for a small zipper bag.  It has been most useful over the years.  It's proven an excellent way to test techniques,  but I often have no need to keep the samples.  It uses left over quilted fabric pieces, and can also be used with bits and pieces of older quilted pieces that I have decided to trash.  Instead of throwing them out, I cut them up  to make the basic bag.  For many years I worked craft shows and art shows, and found that these bags had  a ready audience, and served as "bread and butter" pieces that often paid enough to cover my booth rental.  I've probably made a couple of hundred over the years. More recently I've been selling them in the gift shop of a local art gallery.

Often, while sitting in my booth at shows, I take along some hand work, to use as a conversation piece with potential customers.  The very first bag I ever made would go along to hold my tools.  Frequently, some customers would ask for a bag exactly like this first one. As the fabric and design for each bag is one of a kind, I was never able to provide.  Besides, the very first one was special, and I wanted to keep it special for myself.  

This first bag started as a "ghost" print made during a printing session with friends, and started with some very pale yellow marks, on a white background.  During the recent printing marathon that I described in a recent post another pale yellow print on yellow was created.  I decided to see if I could actually re-create that first bag.
I didn't want it to be exactly like the first one, so only stamped two dragon flies on each side rather than the three.  I also knew that if I were to bead it, and sell it, I wouldn't have any profit, as I would have had to purchase at least two different types of beads.  So, no beads.  First I darkened areas of the fabric with Distress ink ( colour--Faded Burlap),  Then I spritzed it with Walnut ink.  Finally I stamped on the dragon Flies.  I think the result was worth the effort.  I made three of them, and one is now for sale at the Gift Shop.

I have made many of them over the years, using many, many different techniques.  I use them to hold the tools of the many techniques I practice.  Below you can see the original along with one made with Shibori  Fabric, one  of needle felted commercial felt, and one a hand dye.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

"Secrets" finished

 The techniques used in making this piece were detailed in my last post.  But it is now finished, and I have entered it in the All Members' Show at Gwen Fox Gallery starting next Tuesday.  I am pleased with this piece, even knowing its flaws.

This is the first finished of the 30 pieces I started last month.  Two more are in progress, but will take awhile because of the very detailed FMQ'g.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

The second layer

This week I've taken three of the pieces started last week, and planned out what additions I'll make in future.

This piece I decided that the changes will be made after it's machine quilted.  Then I will give it a layer of very diluted clear Gesso.  When that is dry, I will add a layer of Asemic writing.  It is quite small about 18" by 12",and will be finished as a very small hanging.

 To the second piece(below) I added a row of rubber stamping and then four lines, painted on by hand.  I used ultramarine blue acrylic paint with the addition of textile medium.  (I had to take this and the following pictures quickly this morning and didn't have time for squaring up, as I imagine is obvious. Sorry about that.) This piece was a previously LWI dyed cotton, to which I had attempted to improve, at some time in the past, by adding a leaf print  in one corner.  So firstly, I added another leaf print, from the same bush, in the opposite corner.  I had a Devil of a time mixing the same, or close, colour of paint for that. My next problem was in selecting a thread for machine quilting, and finally ended up going to my silk bin for Superior Kimono Silk, in a light gold colour.  This is the largest of the pieces, and I fully expect that it will be trimmed down, so hesitate to give a size, but figure that it started at about 26" by 40".

Then I wanted to try two new Thermofax screens, so found a plain piece of white cotton for the first one, a jumble of alphabet letters. Disaster!  The paint was too thin and crept under the screen, producing blobs.  I had created a mask of freezer paper for the hashtag, and that worked well, but the concept, of intergenerational miscommunication just didn't work out as I had hoped.  I have no idea what might become of this.  I will never display it, but it may work, cut up, for collaging.

The last piece is a pre-dyed piece, on which I used the other Thermofax screen, just works for me. I was immediately pleased, and plan to simply machine quilt it, and finish it as a hanging.
So next is the actual machine quilting, which will be free motion for the three pieces.  And then, I'll choose three more.  What fun!

Friday, July 30, 2021

Changing gears

After the frenzy of  more traditional quilting I spoke of last week, I dove into another frenzy, this time of painting and mono-printing fabric, in preparation for future, more creative, or art-y work.  This is more physically demanding work than I've done is quite awhile, and my husband and I spent some time figuring out how to make it less tiring on me.  So I worked in my studio, instead of out of doors.  This meant transforming the studio from a "dry" studio to a "wet" one.  This was much less demanding that carrying all of my supplies out to the garage and setting up tables, etc. out there.  I could also leave everything in  place over night rather than transporting it all back inside so the car could be garaged, over night. It then allowed me to work slowly over several days, rather than trying to do it all in one. The first day I got about 14 pieces painted, the second about 6, and the third about 10.  In the past I've made  +or - twenty, in a one day marathon, once or twice a year, which would set me up for work, over several months.  

The actual technique changed this time, mainly as a result of the on-line courses I've taken over the past 15 months.  I put much more planning into each piece, and chose to work mainly in sets of two or three pieces related by colour, with future piecing or collage in mind. I also worked with the expectation of adding future surface design, once the basic colouring was completed and dry.  I also chose a few hand dyed pieces, for additional surface work.

Here are some of the results. There is a third piece coloured to go with these two

This was a previously dyed piece that I tried to over print.  Didn't work well.

This is a series of hand-carved stamps that I hope to be able to use in collages.

This is worked with bubble wrap, but I found a large 1" size bubble which ended up looking almost like lips.  The second one is a shadow print, made by printing with the same paint after the first print has been made..

These are painted with the same colours, believe it or not.  

This is a lino-block print made with two different colours mixed on the same palette( red and fuchsia)

A cleanup rag, but I see possibilities in it

And finally, yesterday's work.  as you can see I was looking much more for pastels, that could take future surface work.  But still keeping with at least two of the same colour for future possibilities.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Changing Gears

Not feeling particularly creative lately, so decided to tackle getting rid of the massive stash of fabric I've accumulated over the past 60 years. I've been posting about the process as things moved along, but now I'm moving on to other things. A few years ago, my husband was helpful in cutting many, many fabric scraps into commonly used, size pieces. Recently, I was shocked to discover a box full of 4" pieces of fabric--three large Zip Loc bags packed full! So, over the past month, I've produced 7 smaller, charity quilts, using some of those pieces, and a small box of scraps. There are still enough squares for about 3 quilts, and the scrap pile now fills a laundry basket. Don't know how that happened! Here are some pictures. It was interesting how much creativity was involved. Each of these is about 36" square. The whole process left me very much re-invigorated, and the project this weekend is producing about 24 prints on fabric, with the objective of adding several more layers, and producing 4-5 finished pieces.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

The Orange Quilt

 A couple of times I've mentioned that my next charity quilt will be orange.  This quilt is now sandwiched, ready for machine quilting.  The machine quilting will give me an opportunity to fully test out my walking foot, something I know little about.  This orange came about when I won a set of fat quarters in a raffle at the LQG.  They had been hanging around the studio for several years, before they were cut into 4" squares, when I was culling my commercial fabrics.  These squares were among the last few to be worked into charity quilts.  I think there are enough cut squares for one more quilt after this one.  Anyway, these are the two fabrics I won, the black is mainly pumpkins and the orange is witches, ghosts, and Frankenstein's monster.

I'm quite pleased with the finished result and hope the machine quilting only enhances the fun.  Since I hadn't added any special touches, as I had with the others, I made the border a little fancier.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Re-thinking the problem

The problem of the White on White Quilt has continued to bother me.  I had an idea of how it might be used in some assembled fibre/mixed media project, even if it had to be dyed, but then had a lot of trouble trying to come up with the right sort of  design.  I also found some very obvious black marks on the front of it.  So the quilting was finished, and the result disappointing. I washed and blocked the quilt, got rid of the black marks, but then decided that there was no way it would be useful in any future projects. Rather the design itself could be re-worked, should a project come to mind.  The problem was as described in the last post--a poor choice of batting, leading to very poor  visual discrimination of the various quilted motifs.  But it could still be useful as a utility quilt for a small child.  So to the donation pile it goes, once  some binding is added.

Here is a basic view of the finished quilt that shows how poor the loft is in the quilted motifs. 

This shows a better image, but required special lighting for the effect to be seen

Here are the hand drawn patterns that were used.  I must confess that once I got going, I used these more as suggestions than actual designs to be perfectly followed.  Since I was limited by a 4" width to the rows, the planned Victorian feather design, was very much tamed down, to the extent that may even be lost.  

My next step may be re-doing the Victorian feathers, but with a wider row, producing long strips of FMQ'g to be inserted in larger designs.