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Archive for the ‘Materials’ Category

One of the things I’ve often found to be a great remedy for artistic blockage is fabric painting and dyeing. Painting more so than dyeing, truth to tell. Having completely depleted my hand-painted fabric supply over the past few months, I decided to have a go at some skies and oceans.

Normally I paint outside, with the mess factor weighing in heavily as  a reason. February in Newfoundland is not exactly….. warm, however, so I set up the studio for some inside work and turned up the heat a wee tad to speed drying.

prep

I painted this lot on corrugated plastic sheets, which are light-weight, resilient, waterproof, flat and easily stored. These are 48″ square, which is a comfortable size for working with indoors in a small studio. When I’m not painting on them, I use them as design walls and pin pieces in progress to them.

As you can see, I had a successful day. This is only some of what was accomplished. I painted about eight metres of fabric, all told.

night skies
Night ocean and sky, drying.

sky
Summer sky, drying.

during
My studio, waiting for the paint to dry!

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If you are in the St. John’s (Newfoundland) area, a crafty sort and like a good deal, be sure to drop by Devon House (Duckworth Street) tomorrow morning. The Annual Seconds Sale is on and there’s plenty to see!

lots and lots of yarn some spools o' yarn

Single ply more yarn

purples and blues pinks and oranges

There’s about one hundred pounds of this stuff, dyed in marvellous colours. I’ve had to sit firmly on my hands all evening.
Bags of linen Beautiful linen
There’s about fifty pounds of this stuff, dyed in marvellous colours.
tapestry yarn Assorted stuff, including needlepoint frames

Lots of tapestry wool, needlepoint frames and kits of all sorts.

Some seconds of pottery Reproduction pottery - Ferryland historic reproductions

pottery1

Plenty of pottery, some reproductions of historic pieces!

sewing machine sewing machine label

An old sewing machine, in very nice condition….

And all sorts of other neat items:
candles Books

Fabric, assorted
All fabric is $1/m and yarns are $1/skein. Pottery is variable, but still very cheap. Books are $1 each. Magazines are $0.25

There was a lot of everything. The Sale starts at 9am tomorrow morning and runs until noon. Admission is free. We take debit/Visa/MC. Everything must go!

a quickr pickr post

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Turned

Anyone in the St. John’s (Newfoundland, Canada) area, take note! The annual Craft Council Seconds Sale is taking place on Saturday. (The photos in this post were taken at the sale few years ago.)

The official ad reads:

April 14, 2007 Sat. 9:00 – 12:00

  • FIELDS OF FABRIC ENDS!
  • YAFFLES OF YARN!
  • HARD-TO-FIND CRAFT SUPPLIES
  • A TREASURE TROVE OF CRAFT BOOKS & MAGAZINES
  • DISCONTINUED LINES – GET ‘EM WHILE THEY LAST!
  • PRODUCTION SECONDS – SLIGHT IMPERFECTIONS ONLY….

AND MUCH MORE!!

All proceeds go towards the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Awards Program.

Beach-fired

The Craft Council is also collecting goods for the Seconds Sale (if you have anything, email me pronto to arrange pick-up!).
Please send along:

FABRIC ENDS, YARNS
CRAFT BOOKS & MAGAZINES
CRAFT SUPPLIES
DISCONTINUED LINES
PRODUCTION SECONDS

This is a good opportunity to clear out your studio and contribute the to Craft Council Awards Program. Drop off or mail donations to Devon House. Contact Kelly at 753-2749 or info@craftcouncil.nf.ca if you have any questions. Pick up can be arranged within the city and surrounding area.

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Some time ago I promised to try out the effect of pyrotechnics on textiles. My intention was to grab a few samples of my work and set them ablaze. Since then, I’ve wussed out repeatedly on burning up things I’ve made. I couldn’t even come up with a “hit list” of designated ignition targets. It has become apparent to me, however, that I really ought to just bite the bullet and do this as the information/satisfaction/notoriety would be worth it in the end.

The purpose of setting my quilts/textile art ablaze is to do the following:

  • check to see how close my work is to passing Health Canada’s standards
  • come to some sort of understands of exactly how flammable my house is, given the number of quilts, wall hangings and piles of fabric therein
  • have a blast torching the heck out of things
  • make the neighbours seriously question their choice of neighbourhood
  • scare the dogs
  • thrill the kid
  • get rid of some old duds of projects that I won’t allow to be sold, yet cannot throw out. At least this way they could serve a purpose.

So I’m accumulating a nice collection of stuff. As soon as I get a clear day with minimal wind, I’ll have a go at it. Thus far it is my intention to burn the following (plus some basic pieces of cotton fabric and cotton batting, some with stabiliser, some without, some with fusible, some without, etc.):

burn-bergs.jpg burn-sunrise.jpg

Here’s your chance. If there’s anything burn-wise and quilt/artquilt-related about which you are curious, let me know and, if possible, I’ll char something for you personally. I’ll post the results, too. I can’t say that I’ll mail you the item afterwards, you understand. I’m not sure what Canada Post would say. But I will happily do such things as test the relative ignition properties of cotton versus wool batting or how quickly flame spreads on cotton versus poly-cotton thread, if you like.

It’ll probably be a week or so before I get to this. I’m thinking that this is another one of those things (like dealing with 220 electrical outlets or changing light bulbs on a ladder balanced halfway up the stairs) that I probably should do when another adult is around to put out flames and provide emergency hospital transport. So it’ll be the weekend, at least.

Taking requests……

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As per Micki’s request in the comments of my last post, here’s a photo of the ugly birch fabric:

Ugly birch fabric

It’s a Northcott Lyndhurst fabric designed by Janet Orfini as a part of the Farmer’s Market series. I found it in the country-kitsch (and I mean that non-derogatorily) section of a local fabric store.

The realm of prints in these sorts of series (i.e. Thimbleberries and other country-style collections) usually don’t appeal to me personally as a theme or colour scheme for a quilt. I’m also not much into farm prints, chickens, cows or scarecrows. The individual textures of all of these things, however, fascinate me mightily.

I can see how other people might like these collections for their intended purposes, though, and have found that the often dull or muted tones of certain fabrics can be extremely useful in landscape quilting. So it’s a section that I frequent, when I’m not painting my own fabric, but not, I suspect, for its most popular use.

Actually, one of the ugliest fabrics I’d ever seen (and we’re talking truly hideous) turned out to have just the right textures (looked like moldy wood) to serve as the background fabric for the tree in this picture:

Whose Woods These Are

You see those spots? Yeah, they look fine for the tree, but as a whole sheet of brown, grey and taupe covered in what I swear resembled mildew, it was entirely unappealing.

This is why I don’t throw out ugly fabrics that happen to be in the colour schemes in which I often work. Thus far, just about every ugly fabric has served a very unique and essential purpose in some piece or other. I’m usually quite dubious at the outset, but it always seems to work out.

The piece below contains three or four almost-ugly fabrics. The trees, in the background, behind the house? Unattractive grey-green that I used as the basis for enhancing with fabric pastels. Some of the rock and grass fabrics were also entirely unappealing, although not truly into the realm of hideous. Sometimes an ugly fabric can be transformed when cut up into smaller pieces. Sometime it takes chopping out or covering over certain blotches or areas. Quite regularly, I over-paint, add details or over-dye fabrics that have the right texture, but need a colour change. Occasionally, as in the trees below, the colour is right, but the texture needs to be created.

Passages

detail of passages

So treasure your uglies, especially if they are in anyway reminiscent of your usual colour schemes or creative habits!

Incidentally, if you haven’t already checked out Micki’s blog, it’s well worth a regular read. Recently she posted about burning the bejeezus out of painted Tyvek, a trick I’ve wanted to try for a while but am holding off on until I can do it outside (bad fumes). Summer’s coming, though!

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Sari yarn

I picked up some sari silk yarn today at the local wool store, Wool Trends. It’s fabulous stuff and should prove eminently useful as I work through some of my next projects (another couple of books, a series of boxes and some bowls and vases). I have great hopes for it!

As an aside, Wool Trends is one of those fabulous shops that is crammed with all sorts of fibres.

One that caught my attention, apart from the sari silk, was Seasilk, a seaweed fibres and silk composite. I almost bought some and may yet go back for it (I just need a definitive purpose for it, as it was expensive). Have a look at the colours. They truly are as vibrant as they appear in the photos and the feel of the stuff….. it’s like flexible pussy-willows that drape like they were a part of your skin. Amazing stuff. All I need is a use for some….

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paints.jpg

Ah, I love having an chance to play with some new products. Recently I wandered through Kent Hardware store (Kent are the spawn of Irving, a New Brunswick company) and discovered that they are ceasing to carry the Pebeo line of art supplies. The remainder of the paints were seriously discounted (I paid $1.30 CDN for a $7 bottle) and included some of the silver glitter finish and the expandable paints. Score!

The silver glitter finish isn’t bad at all. It’s basically glitter in some sort of acrylic medium suitable for use on fabric. You can paint it on already painted and dried fabric and the base dries clear. You can also mix it in with the other acrylic-based paints. Opaque paints will obscure the glitter a good bit (unless the glitter happens to be on top of the paint), but the transparent paints mix well with it and the transparency of the paint allows the glitter to shine through, although the sparkle is somewhat diminished.

The glitter hold on well during a wash (I didn’t machine dry it) and is fine after being ironed with a pressing cloth (ironing the fabric from the back would likely achieve the same effect). It seems to rub off a bit when you rub it hard, so it’d probably be better for things that got minimal abrasion and washing.

The sparkle of this isn’t overpowering, also, so it’d be reasonable to use moderately in landscape quilts (snow in moonlight, for instance, or water shimmering). Heat setting makes a definite difference to how well the glitter adheres, btw.

The expandable paint was also rather niffy. I’d read about it a bit in Quilting Arts (issue 24, winter 2006 – Linda Schmidt) and was therefore rather keen to add it to my repertoire of techniques and tools. Finding it on sale was an added bonus!

I tried it several different ways. Firstly, painted on parchment paper rather thickly, allowed to dry, ironed and then peeled off. This gives me the option of creating pieces that could be sewn or glued as layers in a work. The resulting pieces were rather brittle, however, so care needs to be used in peeling them off and handling them. They painted nicely, though:

rocks1.jpg

The expandable paint was wonderfully easy to work with, although I think a squeeze bottle with a fine applicator tip would be excellent for very detailed work. As it expands in all directions after heating, you need to start with rather fine lines for such things as tree branches:

tree.jpg

But I like the effect. It’s white and dries white, so tinting it before using is helpful. After it has dried and then been heated, you can rather easily paint right over it as I did with the tree above. A keeper as far as materials go!

Finally, I ‘ve been playing with the Sprinklettes (not a girl group from the fifties), purchased at Michaels.
glitter.jpg

Basically, it’s iridescent glitter that can be mixed with paint and used on fabric. You can also stick it on with fabric glue. I’ve only played with this a little, but I have found the following:

  • it needs to be mixed with its adhesive, not just sprinkled on top
  • if just sprinkled on top, much of it will wash or rub off
  • a fine coat of thinned fabric glue over top of it really helps to keep it on
  • it mixes well with fabric paints, especially transparent ones
  • it’s quite visually powerful and easily overdone
  • it is attracted to everything via static electricity
  • it gets everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Places that will astonish and thrill your husband kind of everywhere.

Here’s what colours come in the bottle:glitter_bottom.jpg

Now that I’ve got the sparklies out of my system (and underwear), I’m off to do some preliminary sketches for another series.

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