Monday, June 14, 2010

More Fiber Collage Adventures

The Fabric Embellishment experiments continue! These projects all are in quite an extensive book, which I should tell you about. The name is Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond. (Thanks so much, JoAnn!!!) I'll say! It goes way beyond, in my humble opinion. The authors are Ruth Chandler, Liz Kettle, Heather Thomas, and Lauren Vlcek - all apparently incredibly creative souls. I'm working my way through the book, more or less from page one. I am skipping some of the projects that use materials I don't have or can't get easily, but I'll probably go back and do each of them at some point. Some techniques I have tried in the past but even some of those inspire me to try something new. Today I am transferring some inkjet images printed on transparency sheets onto fabric, actually using neither technique recommended quite as described by my "textbook" and instead using some transfer techniques I use often on paper but not on fabric - water on one piece and acrylic matte medium on another. The photo you see above (Pink Lady's Slipper orchids on the Hays Brook Trail) was transferred to muslin after being printed on a transparency (3M brand - not ideal but okay for this) with water as the transfer medium (sprayed onto the transparency image). It is drying at this moment and will be made into another 7 inch square later with some other materials (maybe some paper) for a collage.

The piece at the right was discharge dyed using a Clorox gel pen. It is a somewhat crude method (which is sometimes exactly what I want)  but I like the way it works. I used an old kitchen spatula for my design - just traced around it with the gel pen tip, then added a few embellishments.  It is free-motion stitched with batting and a backing, and it's not quite finished - stay tuned for the rest. (And don't look too closely!)

  This little piece (my favorite, so far) was made for my "printing on ribbon" lesson. Well, I didn't have any ribbon of an appropriate size on hand, so I made ribbons by cutting apart some fabric, although in this case I left most of the square of fabric in one piece until it was printed. Then I cut it apart and placed it on my background. The basic idea is that you print out the text on a piece of paper and then attach the fabric or ribbon over the text with double-sided tape. (Pretty cool, I think.) Send the whole thing through the printer again (keep the original file and don't change anything!!!) and remove your printed pieces. I used some fabric scraps (donated by Amy D. at our play date in December!), a bird I drew and then printed on fabric ages ago, and a National Geographic photo of a crashed plane on its original paper. Free-motion stitching holds it together. By the way, the text is by Brian Andreas from one of his several books. This book is titled Strange Dreams, and I just love his funky little drawings combined with his poems (?). Each page really is like a strange dream - a little odd, leaving you wondering where it came from but knowing there is some truth from your waking life that you can't quite remember. If you want to see more about Brian's wonderful art and books, this site will be a treat. And be sure to buy something! Brian, if you see this I would be greatly honored to hear from you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Lovely Mix

A lovely mix this week of birding, paddling, work, and art-making in the Adirondacks. In spite of the apparent health of the Star Flowers and Canada Mayflowers, it has been very dry (until this weekend). While paddling down the Saranac River with Myra and Tony, we frequently ran aground on the sand bars - usually not even a glimpse of them, especially this early in the season. The water level was at least a foot lower than normal. Lots of birds and other wildlife out there though - A Hooded Merganser mother with 10 scuttling little ones, a Wilson's Snipe at a nest site, several warbler species, a muskrat, huge Snapping Turtle, among others. Wonderful!

In addition to all this outdoor fun, I continued my daily art practice with my fabric embellishment experiments. This piece with the moth was made by printing a digitally-altered moth photo onto an Extravorganza printing sheet, then sewing it onto an altered fern image on rayon, along with other stitches and fabric scraps. The letters were stamped onto twill tape to spell the moth's scientific name - Grammia virgo

I learned how to make a fabric window in this little bird piece - the sheer embroidered fabric was sewn into a 4-piece square and faced with turquoise cotton. Inside the window is a bird and piece of a scientific article on a background made with a CitriSolv-altered page from a National Geographic magazine. (Really fun and interesting to make!)

The waterlily was my "printing on fabric" lesson. I used some stamps I made awhile ago (to print waterlilies in my bathroom) on batik-printed cotton. I like the way it looks but I really prefer the collage pieces. In any case, I plan to make some kind of wall quilt once my experiments are finished. (Well, they'll probably never really be finished... So much to learn.)  

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Renewed Daily Art Practice, at Last

Hard to believe it has been over two weeks since the Art & Garden Party! The weather was perfect that day, the flowers were gorgeous, and a couple of close friends tried the morning drawing lessons. They both claimed they haven't done any drawing since childhood, but they took to it quickly and made a couple of lovely watercolor sketches each - beautiful! Many thanks to the many friends who came and enjoyed the day together. I am grateful to each of you. Perhaps it will be an annual event.

Now I am in Fernville, our Adirondack property, and enjoying all this place has to offer, even though Spring is late to unfold here, and in mid-May the Beech leaves are still softly opening, downy and rosy. In addition to the things I love so much here - the rivers and lakes, wonderful birds (Mourning Warblers, among others, the other day), a lively arts community, and fascinating people  - I have found a life coach who is helping me enormously by getting me on track with my art making and art business. With her encouragement, I am again making time for a daily art practice. For now I am working with a book about fabric embellishments that I received as a gift several months ago. Below is the piece I made with "Tucks" - inserting various bits and pieces in each tuck. I included fabric scraps, photos cut from old natural history encyclopedias, and embroideries cut from sheer fabric. It makes me think of a beach scene.

The next day, my project was "Deconstructed Quilts." Taking small scraps of fabric, the pieces are assembled on a square of fusible web and then ironed to bond them together. For this one, I used some of the off-white embroidered fabric I used for the beachy piece, as well as an old fabric piece made by printing a photo of one of our cabins onto muslin. It has faded somewhat, and I cut it apart to reassemble the pieces with other fabric scraps. Here you see the piece before I did any of the machine embroidery. Four pieces are in progress now, and I am so glad to be learning some new things! Thank you, Jane!!!