Monday, July 22, 2019

July is a Good Month for Fabric Painting

Painting with Dyes on Cotton Fabric

Working in the heat of the summer is advantageous for the chemical reaction of the dyes with the soda soaked fabric. Warmth enhances the 'colour set' of the dyes. One thing you do have to think about though, especially if you are working on a large piece of fabric is to avoid letting the piece dry out. To minimize this, I work quickly, apply a generous amount of the thickened dye and lightly lay a piece of plastic over areas that I have completed. Moisture helps with the chemical reaction of the dyes and fabric so it is important for the dyes to remain a little damp overnight.

I always remember a hint about fabric painting from my friend Gail. When painting on the fabric, I will dip out a spoonful of the colour of thickened dye I want, onto a plate, along with any other colours I want to mix together. For instance, I might spoon out a dollop of yellow and a smaller amount of blue to mix together for green. Once I've finished painting with that colour, I might set it aside to use later in another area. Here is where the hint comes in. As my paint brush is going from the soda soaked fabric to the dye, the brush may carry soda ash back onto the dye plate. This soda ash will interact with the dye and start lessening it's colour strength. Therefore to limit this, I clean the mixing plates of the remaining dye often. Usually within every 2-3 hours or between finishing one piece of fabric and starting another. 

I share these ideas with you so that if you are ever painting with dyes, you are aware of them and thus have the greatest chance of success. It is mighty disappointing to rinse out a piece you've worked hard on and have it's colours be faded.

112 five by seven inch images

I've been working the last 2 weeks on these 112 images. With these small 5 X 7" pictures, I first drew the image in black dye using a bottle with a nib that I can squeeze out a small stream of black dye with. I took the extra step of rinsing the material after it had 'batched' overnight and then re-soda soaked the fabric. This was time consuming but it saved the chance of the black bleeding with the addition of coloured dyes and it allowed me to paint right over those black lines if I chose to because the black dye was set.

What beautiful gradation of colours hydrangeas have 

I admire the hydrangeas of my neighbour. Each image I painted has a reference to something in my life. I believe most artists work this way.

Border Collies and Black Labs painted with dyes on fabric
I've been painting a dog series in watercolour and so I tried painting some Border Collies and Black Labs onto fabric too.


The next two examples are over painting a low immersion dyed piece of fabric. Previously I had scrunched up a piece of fabric, placed it in a container, added some liquid dyes and poured warm soda ash solution over it. I am not really sure if over-painting on pre-dyed fabric, is going to be a success yet or not. When I start adding details in stitching, I will better be able to assess how this technique works. 
Note: some images are upside down and some sideways as I was working from both sides of the table.

Experimenting: Several small images on this one piece of fabric. 
 I think some of the pieces will require some additional fabrics to be stitched on top so as to show enough variance of values to see the images. It should be a fun challenge.
Experimenting: 12 small images that will be cut up for making textile cards

 More Experimenting

I had a little strip of cloth left over so I thought I would try some figures. In watercolour these are referred to as 'incidental' figures as they add interest to a painting but they are not detailed. I am looking forward to working on some larger textile pieces and these 'incidental' figures might just be what is needed in them.

My next step with all these small images will be to adhere them to heavy weight interfacing, cut them out and add free motion stitching details. They will then be attached to card stock for textile cards. I hope you are enjoying some creative time this summer.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Painting with Dyes for Cards

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman

My personal favorite, of this set of 25 cards that were just recently completed, is this goose in the purple and gold. I really love the purplish tingle to the back.

Textile Card Making

At a meeting this morning, I was asked about the steps required in making the card tops. I was surprised myself how many steps there are. Painting the fabric with thickened dyes is the most time consuming but so much fun. Here are the steps to making the cards:

  1. Paint images with thickened dyes onto cotton, linen, velvet and silk fabrics.
  2. Cure and wash.
  3. Iron on 4 1/2" X 6 1/2" heavy interfacing to the back of each proposed card top.
  4. Cut out leaving an additional 1/4" all around for fringing.
  5. Fringe. (I was fringing them outside yesterday when a big gust of wind came. I was chasing card tops all over the neighbourhood, ha, ha!)
  6. Fold card stock in half. 
  7. Glue textile piece onto card top and lay under weight to dry.
  8. Sign card in case the buyer wishes to place the card in a 5 X 7" frame.
  9. Add a back label that tells what it is made with, the artist (Eileen Gidman) and a red maple leaf to signify it is Canadian made.
  10. Package in clear display bag.
  11. Label that it is original and frameable art.
  12. Add price stickers. 

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman
I left the last 1" or so of thread loose on the fisherman's line. I wanted to put a cap on the figure, but when you are free motion stitching so small, there is little opportunity for maneuvering so it looks more like a straw hat. I kind of like how it turned out though.

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman
How did I get such vividness with this purple? All I can say is perhaps using freshly made up dyes and going over the plum in successive layers. I like adding a little mauve to the leaves to suggest the reflective light on the leaves.

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman
 Fruits of the Creston Valley. Most recently we've been enjoying strawberries and raspberries. Cherries are starting.

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman
Some of the new cards available for sale at Creston Card and Stationery . None of these cards have the hand dyed velvet embellishments like the last set of textile cards I created this spring. These cards are unique with more detail in the painted image. There is still additional black thread sketching adorning them.

Textile Card by Eileen Gidman
More of the new cards available for sale at Creston Card and Stationery .