Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Painted Cards

Hand (dye) painted fabric card 4.5”X 6.5
'Fox In the Hen House'
Artist: Eileen Gidman

When perusing the 60 cards I dye painted and stitched this winter, this one is a definite favourite. A story is implied which I think is particularly appealing.

To start, approximately a meter length of damp soda soaked cotton lawn fabric was painted with Procion dyes. Colours were chosen with the thought of fall landscapes in mind and the dyes ranged from yellow to red with a medium blue used for the sky as a complementary contrast to the orange. The fabric was cured and washed out in the usual way. To stabilize the fabric for free-motion stitching a heavy-weight interfacing was ironed onto the back.

4.5 X 6.5” rectangles were cut, the sewing machine readied with black thread and pictures stitched with whatever images came to mind. Having a sketch to refer to as I stitch is helpful. This same fall colour scheme was used in a variety of stitched images as in the sample of a bricked fence and wrought iron gate.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Second Dyeing

Hand (dye) Painted Panels
Artist: Eileen Gidman

A Second Dyeing

Do your hand (dye) painted projects sometimes turn out less than you expected? Don’t settle for mediocre. Consider this a time for experimentation which can result in pieces beyond what you have ever done. When I first washed out these two pieces I was less than enthusiastic. The background was a faded violet and the bird was a pale yellow.

After all the work that has already gone into a hand painted piece, you may think you don't want to invest more time in re dyeing but I have found it has always been worth the effort. Overdyeing adds another layer and can produce vibrancy of colour and depth in layering. By layering I mean you can leave some of the original colour showing.

After re soda soaking and drying this fabric, I applied a deeper blue-violet to the background. I had painted the Meadow Larks truer to form the first time but decided to add more yellow the second time. On one piece I made clouds leaving some of the first dyed sky showing. On the other piece I painted dye over the whole sky. What vibrancy the yellow against the blueviolet has now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Drawing on top of Loosely Dyed Background

Direct Painting with Procion Fibre-Reactive Dyes
One extremely fun, messy and expressive technique is to begin with splattering dye onto soda-soaked fabric. In order for there to be enough soda to activate the dye for the next step, wash the fabric after curing it in plastic overnight and then resoak the fabric in a soda ash solution. Dry it in preparation for the next step. Mix the colour dye you want for sketching and thicken it with sodium alginate. Place the dye in a bottle with a nib and use this tool to draw in details. Use the pattern of the splatters in creating a design. Here an analogous colour theme was used: yellow-green; yellow; yellow orange; and orange.  Cure and wash as usual for fiber reactive dyes. Can't you picture stitching in additional details?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

'Sketches from Italy'
Hand (dye) painted panel on cotton
Artist: Eileen Gidman

Sketching - How to get more of it in our lives.

One winter I kept a small 5 X 7" ringed sketchbook with me and because it was there, I filled it. It was fun to take advantage of little bits of time to sketch whatever happened to be around. The subject doesn't always matter but the ongoing practice definitely hones drawing skills.

At other times I have challenged myself by buying a sketchbook with a moderate amount of pages, say 25 and have given myself a certain length of time to fill it. This works as there is a finite time and a finite amount of sketches. I have tried the sketch a day idea and although I like the thought of it, it wasn't practical for me.

When travelling I often have a sketchbook and this panel is the result of sketches from a trip to Europe. There is a cohesiveness of imagery and by choosing a similar colour combination throughout, the panel's unity is also maintained. Try and find a way for yourself that inspires you to sketch.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Alternate Fabrics

Artist: Eileen Gidman
Description: Hand (dye) painted on Rayon
Title: Crows (sold)

Cotton is the fabric I dye on at least 90 percent of the time but rayon has it’s advantages too. This crow panel is painted on rayon fabric. In my experience, the dye stays true to what I first paint, therefore very vibrant colours can be attained. The drape of rayon is especially appealing and sews well into clothing.
Sometimes though in wall hangings, I interface the rayon with a lightweight iron on interfacing in order to maintain a square alignment. Interfacing made for knits has worked particularly well.

Linen and natural cottons have there own properties and painting swatches of your favorite natural fiber fabrics with the same colours of thickened dyes to compare with each other is a valuable experiment.