Monday, February 23, 2015

A Room Full of Paulys

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Rochester, New York to see family and to work with Pat Pauly. Just before I came, Pat opened a show of her work at the Axom Gallery. I have admired Pat's work for several years but there have never been more than two or three of her pieces in each exhibit. Walking into the Axom Gallery, I was surrounded by her colors, shapes, symbols, and designs. It was a stunning experience! The exhibit is up through March 14th. Get on over there, if at all possible!

The top image is of an entire piece with her mummy bag motif. And here are some wonderful details . At the bottom of the page is another entire piece.

My photography does not do justice to the colors and the techniques. I want to try it ALL. And I am in awe ....

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What is Paper Silk?!

Paper silk is a mysterious material that first showed up in my life when I saw Carol Boyer this past summer at the Quilting By the Lake workshop I attended. She shared some of it with me, and I took it my studio where it became the perfect material to become the sky in this little silk collage above.

Carol offered to show me how she makes paper silk, so a couple of weeks ago I went to visit her in her studio. Basic materials: silk sliver, GAC 900, acrylic paints and inks, nylon net, and plastic sheeting.

To get started, put some plastic sheeting on your work surface. A length of silk sliver is pulled off the rope, then the fibers are separated and placed on top of some nylon netting. More layers of the fibers are added in a different direction, and other materials can be added between silk fiber layers. I added paper, colored threads, feathers, and fabric scraps.

Carol recommended ending with a layer of silk to kept the "sandwich" together. Color can be added by using colored silk fibers, the inks or paints, and by the other materials used.

Carol's piece, with her signature gorgeous colors

Once the fibers, colors, and additions are complete, another layer of nylon netting is placed on top, then the liquid GAC 900 is spread evenly over the whole piece. Once everything is dry, the netting is peeled off top and bottom. You may like the texture made by the netting; Carol told me she sometimes irons it to smooth it out.

Cris' first piece, with the card I used to spread the GAC 900

And here some of my creations. I'm not sure where I'll use them yet, but they might work with my newly printed fabrics.

Thank you so much, Carol, for teaching me how to make a beautiful material and for the out-of-sight soup you served me for lunch!

Here's Carol. Doesn't she look like fun?!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cool Little Workshop - Part Two

 For our next session, Pat and I worked with some silk screens, masks, and stencils on the fabrics we monoprinted a few days before, as well as fresh treated fabric.

I made a simple bird stencil with freezer paper. It was underwhelming when I printed through the stencil but I continued using it to make ghost prints with the paper.

Pat had a couple of screens with a bit of day-old dye left on them, so we unexpectedly did some deconstructed screen printing too. The vertical lines and colors from the screens added a lot! We placed some some newspaper stripes (or "legs," as Pat calls them) and circles ("heads"???) on the fabric as masks. They stuck to the screens throughout out work, until we removed them. (They look pretty cool too with the screened dye. I'm using them in some kind of collage work later.)

Here is one of the screens with dried dye as we started with it, and below is a length of fabric with the lines, masks, and more dye spread on over all. (Yellow on the top; purple on the bottom.)

Monoprinted, deconstructed screen printed, freezer paper masks. The nice brown is from our sludge bucket!
My favorite. Am I channeling Pat???
For you, Beth! The hands-only red print transformed by spreading yellow dye on most of it with a putty knife.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Cool Little Workshop - Part One

This week I had the great good luck to work with Pat Pauly on some surface design techniques on fabric using thickened fiber reactive dyes.
Pat with some her fabric

Lesson 1 was monoprinting. We dropped blobs of dye on a plexiglass sheet then spread the dye around using gloved hands and fingers, plastic spatulas, spoon handles, and whatever looked interesting. Pieces of white fabric (about fat quarter size), pretreated with a soda ash solution (to encourage the dye to bond with the cotton fibers), were dropped onto the dye-cover plexi. Then we used our hands and a couple of different rollers to press the fabric onto the dye. My preference was the standard paint roller.
The pieces we made that day were left to batch without rinsing, so we could continue applying dye next time. One of the very best things I learned from Pat that day was the magic of applying more dye using just a spreader of any type to add color to the "background". This piece below in red was my first monoprinting attempt, using only my hands to spread the dye and then to print with my hand. Wait until you see what happened next!
Cris' monoprint - stage 1

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Want to Follow My Blog by Email?

Some of you have said you couldn't subscribe to my blog by having my posts sent right to your inbox. Sorry for that problem. I think I've fixed that by adding a gadget that allows you to "Follow by Email". Please let me know if that solves it. Keep up with my blog the way these astute and cute followers do!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Back in the Studio

 My stay in the sunny south is over but not forgotten. I'll insert some images later of my travels. For now, I'm so glad to have access to the print making studio at Bluseed in my hometown. I was there last week doing more deconstructed screen printing. Above are a couple of my homemade screens, one an old framing mat and the other cut from thick foamcore, all taped up and with old sheer curtains to stand in for the silk in my better screens. These are freshly covered with thickened fabric dye squeegeed over various objects such as a piece of rubber rug pad, hardened hot glue shapes, pieces of cardboard, and bubble wrap. The hair drier is pointed at them on high to dry the dye before printing.

 The print on the left is my first pull with my clear print paste over a screen with dried indigo dye. The green transferred to my screen from a piece of cardboard that was previously used to pattern anothenr screen. The right-hand print is the second pull. See how the dye is dissolving more with exposure to the print paste.
The next pair of prints used the same screen as above but with some black cherry dye mixed with the print paste. All these were printed on a white cotton sheet. I printed on several pieces of fabric that were not presoaked with soda. I had read on the "... And Then We Set It On Fire" blog that the fiber reactive dyes can be set immediately after printing with a spray of soda ash and water solution on the back before leaving in a warm place to "batch". It worked like a charm.

And I love that my electric mattress pad will batch a whole batch of fabric at once. I just make sure my fabrics are securely wrapped in plastic trash bags. Then I put them to bed between (or under) the sheets, turn the control to High, and go about my business. If they haven't been there long enough at bedtime, I make sure I put the bags of fabric under the mattress pad, turn the heat down (or even off), and use my body heat to continue the process. The outside temperatures hovered right around zero all week, so it worked put perfectly! An electric blanket will be equally effective. A bonus of living in a cold climate.

If you are a fiber artist, you really need to check out "... And Then We Set It On Fire". I have learned so much from the wonderful posts on this blog, including the two tips I used for my printing: making the screens from the old mat and from foamcore and spraying my prints with the soda ash solution.  Another great link is from Kerr Grabowski's website - she posted a nice short video on how deconstructed screen printing is done. I can never explain it well enough. And please let me know if this post was helpful to you!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Findings #6

What a find! A Spoonbill feather on the beach. Have you ever noticed how similar leaves and feathers are?