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.