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