Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prairie Lilacs
The completed painted textile piece. Will my friends Dave and Lorraine recognize this as the house at the end of the block? The house colour has changed but the piece retains the nostalgic look of the heritage lilacs surrounding a home that is of a style from the past. Can you imagine walking in that door to the fresh aroma of baking bread?
Following up on the previous post, this pieces was batched 'cured' two days before rinsing in cold water then it was washed in a synthaprol wash. Very little difference in colour was noted from the painted fabric to the washed fabric. That is what we fabric dyers strive for!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Direct Painting using a Two Step Technique

After soda soaking and  drying the white mercerized cotton fabric, I draw on a design using thickened black dye in a bottle with a nib. Considering the design element of line, when sketching my image, I put a more detail in certain areas. 
After batching (wrapping the fabric in plastic and placing in a warm place) overnight, I am ready to apply the colour using thickened dyes. The two step process allows for the black line to dry and thus stay sharp when the other colours are placed up to it.
Four or five Styrofoam plates (reusable) are used for colour mixing. At this stage I apply the dye with brushes. A 1/2 inch flat brush is a favourite. In this fabric panel, I painted the lilac blossoms and some of the leaves with a sponge allowing for a lacier look The dark colours of the leaves were placed on first, then the medium values and then the lights. The reason being that with dyes light colours can go over the dark colours without changing the outcome but dark colours layered onto light colours will not go to dark. The colour may change a bit to a medium value but because the thickening agent acts like a resist any dye layered above the first layer has a difficult time penetrating to the fabric.
I chose a split complement colour scheme with violet on one side of the colour wheel and yellows and greens making up most of the painting from across the colour wheel. Subsequently the red of the house was changed to a buttery yellow. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Featherweight Singer Sewing machines. They are so cute but alas I don't have one. In order to work up this painted fabric (with dyes) panel, I relied on a photo I took of my fellow quilter, Elma's machine. This was 2 years ago and she likely wondered if I would ever get anything done with it. This image is more precise than a lot of what I paint and I knew I would need to have accurate measurements. For this I graphed the 5X7" photo into a 1 1/2 times sized sketch.

Black is a challenging dye to use. Heat is something that I have been giving considerable consideration in the curing process of the procion fiber reactive dyes. Recentl,y I purchased a heating pad and my plastic wrapped painted pieces sit on it on low for at least 4 hours. Results have been very true colours from the painting to being washed. A HUGE yea! A few more times will confirm this is indeed what created such great results. I'll keep you posted.

Borders of 4 1/2" curved blocks are being considered here in the photo. I auditioned two inner borders to bring out the gold details of the machine. To match the gold I went to a yellow slightly greyed with black and then for a complementary colour I tried a slightly greyed violet in a similiar value (light and dark) as the gold. Both colour considerations took away from the antique look I was striving for. This exercise was valuable though as it got me thinking of future sewing machine paintings that could include coloured sewing notions so that borders can be matched to them. Too much fun!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Making textile cards

 My husband took this photo as he thought it looked as if the artist was just called away as I am sure I was by you know who!
Love, love, love free motion stitching on these 4 1/2" X 6 1/2" handpainted (with dye) fabrics. There is freedom in working on small works of art. The process hones my skills in identifying the important lines to add in stitching to depict what I see in each piece. SIMPLIFY!
Do I have an idea before I start painting the fabric? Well... sometimes yes and sometimes I am only thinking of lying down colour combinations. After the dyed fabric is washed and ironed I use the view finder you can see in the left of the photo to find a pleasing start to a composition. Then heavy interfacing is ironed onto the back of the selected fabric.
This next step can take some time and having several pieces ready at once allows me options in choosing one that I can readily see what I want to add to it in stitching. Other pieces may take days of looking at. The idea for the kite flyer came from my fellow art quilter Sharon Durden.  Thank you Sharon.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Canmore Quilt Show & Eagle Festival

The Canmore Quilt show was fantastic. The Merchant Mall housed the tea section too so the Vendors were well supplied with goodies!

There are magnificent vistas from every direction in Canmore. No wonder the Canmore Quilt Guild is so inspired. The same weekend as the Quilt show was the Eagle Festival. Birders gathered in the town center to view Golden eagles catching the wind currents above the mountains. Birds are a special interest of mine as you can see from the Blue Jay fabric painted piece.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Someone said to me today "Red! Oh there is something about red." I agree. The cooler days are starting to turn the virginia creepers scarlet. This vine is a personal favorite of mine and I have painted it both in watercolour and in dyes on cotton which this picture is.

I will be selling my dye painted cottons, next weekend Oct 15 & 16 in Canmore, Alberta at the Canmore Quilt Guild's Show.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Eileen Gidman's Art Cloth Display Panel

All material here is 100% cotton and is painted individually by the artist, Eileen Gidman. The dye used is Procion Fiber reactive dye and the result is a washable colourfast work of art ready for framing, embellishing, or sewing into a variety of items including clothing and quilts.

Eileen sells her work at Quilt Shows in the Kootenays, at The Last Stitch, Kaslo, BC or you can contact the artist at

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sketching in Italy

In preparing for the demos I will be giving at the Nelson, Kootenay Quilters guild Show Oct 1 & 2, I came across my sketchbook with drawings from my trip to Italy. This is the dye painted art cloth I did from those sketches. It reminded me how much I liked this style of several boxes within one panel. It refreshes my memory of the trip!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New Fabric Line

Can you think of a name for this front fabric? If you have an idea send me an email at with fabric name in the subject line.

Front fabric: I am handpainting with procion fiber reactive dyes in a wet on wet technique onto 100% cotton. So far with the lively grey I have tried purple, red and tourquoise-all stunning. The mingling of colours happens over time as the fabric batches/cures resulting in a creative surprise! The companion pieces are dyed using a low immersion technique.

These fat quarters will be for sale for the very first time at the Kootenay Quilters guild Quilt Show on Oct 1 and 2, 2011 at the Prestige Inn in Nelson.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The hand painted (with dye) fabric pieces can be made into wearable art which is what Joan Cavers did in this beautiful asymmetrical vest. Vogue pattern 8713.

Note the front and back details of the vest. Joan used a 3 companion pieces of painted cotton fabric by Eileen Gidman's to insert into this silk vest.

Friday, August 26, 2011

quilted painted fabric

I bravely cut up one of my painted fabric pieces to use in a Ricky Timms Pattern. With a bit of rearranging of the strips so that the image was not in reverse, the image came out perfectly. To finish the piece I sandwiched batting between the top and backing, then stitched around each square of the painted fabric. My thought was to recess the painting from the other fabric strips. Today I am bordering it in black and binding it in black. I was thrilled to find the perfect backing material, a print with the mottled teal and black at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago.
This wallhanging will be on display in my vendors booth at the Nelson Quilt Show, Oct 1 & 2. The show is at the Prestige Inn in Nelson, B.C., Canada.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Cactus Wallhanging

Dotty Smalley, member of Roadrunner Quilters of Yuma, Arizona completed this wallhanging using a painted fabric piece of Eileen Gidman's.

I love to adobe wall window peekthrough to the desert scene. The repeat of the Ocotilla's from the background of the painted piece to the three appliqued branches is a fantastic design element.

Dotty will be entering this wall hanging in the Arizona State show. this year.

Poppy Wallhanging

Carola, the owner or Carola's Quilt Shop ( in Gibson's, B.C., Canada completed this wall hanging, using one of Eileen Gidman's painted fabric pieces.

The asymmetrical design is awesome.