Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More Soy Wax Batik Fabrics

Here are some more images of the soy wax batik fabrics I created in a class last fall.

Square yellow image on this one is the bottom of a plastic berry basket.

I cannot for the life of me remember how I made the little white marks on the piece above!

The one below used the same wide foam brush with notches cut out as one of the fabrics on my previous soy wax batik post. This piece has three layers of color/wax which creates some depth in the imagery.

Below is a quilt that I made using some of the batik. The white sweeps were made using a wide paint brush to apply the soy wax in a random, freeform pattern. Here is a pic of the remaining piece of that fabric:

"Midas Touch"

I hope you have been inspired and will try this technique. I am looking forward to using my fabrics this coming year and creating some fiber art that uses my own fabric designs!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cord Dyeing

A recent project for our textile arts group was using dye cords (Tie Dye Color Cords) to color PFD fabric. The cords are impregnated with dye powder so they are easy to use and less messy than mixing powdered dye. They create interesting designs and are quite versatile and the color is quite vivid. I really enjoy working with this product and will likely do it again. I love using shibori techniques on fabric and the dye cords work well for this.

The green and pink piece was diagonal pleated with cords in between some folds and some cord wrapped around the folded edge which created the X's.

The orange piece above was heavily hand stitched all over and then the threads were gathered tightly and tied together to hold the random pleating. Nice color, but not sure the stitching was worth all the time it took!

This next piece was done in a fairly traditional tie-dye pattern where the fabric is scrunched in a circular way and instead of the traditional rubber-banding it is tied with a dye cord. I also pushed in the top of the little bunches and inserted a small piece of dye cord into that indentation. I love the shapes, halos and random color patterns of this piece.

It is so much fun unfolding the fabric and seeing what the dye cords have done and how the colors blend and spread. This is a fairly easy project with a great surface design result. I believe you can get the dye cords through Dharma. The ones we used are made by Consolidated Thread Mills, Inc. The package says they will dye cotton or rayon fabrics and a package has 6 colors in it. Fun Stuff!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Soy Wax Batik

Last Fall I took a class locally to create some soy wax batik fabrics. It was great fun and I came out with a number of beautiful, usable fabric pieces. I thought I would share them with you. The class was a full day class taught by In Good Company of Hamilton, Montana. They provided a whole lineup of colors of Setacolor paint for us to use (they said Dynaflow and of course Procion Dyes will work as well) and piles of tools for mark making on fabric. We used electric skillets/fry pans to melt the soy wax and put our pieces outside in the parking lot to dry after waxing, adding color to them, waxing again, and adding more color.

I cut my PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric into fat quarters and fat eighths. The pieces can be colored with a base color or you can just start applying the wax. The wax needs to penetrate the fabric rather than just sitting on top so make sure the wax is warm enough. Let the fabric/wax dry. Spritz the fabric with water to moisten it before adding the color with a foam brush. Apply lighter colors first and be aware of how colors will mix and blend when they touch each other on the fabric. Additional layers of wax can be applied, dried, and more color applied to create interesting layering of color and pattern. Know when to stop!

Here are two detail images and then the full piece of fabric:

The circles on the left were made with the back side of a round foam stamp and then I bunched up the fabric with the dried wax on it and added the color which seeped into some of the cracks.

This piece was done with a comb---over and over and over and over.....! It took a lot of time, but when I saw the interesting little teardrop-like shapes the teeth of the comb were making I was motivated to do the whole piece of fabric. Tedious, but worth it!

The "plaid" was done with a wide foam brush that had notches cut out of it. The spirals were made with a coiled wire tool that might have been a whisk and then other circles were made with various circular items of different sizes.

After I got home I proceeded to iron the fabrics between layers of brown grocery bags, then boiled and then washed my fabrics to remove any remaining wax. They retained the color pretty well and are fairly soft so I think I got most of the wax out. They say that the soy wax will not harm your plumbing---I hope that is true!

The advantage of taking the class instead of doing this at home was the virtual rainbow of colors we had to choose from, and seeing what was working or not working for the other participants. We used anything from whisks and potato mashers to foam stamps and intricate metal batik stamps. Many of the mark making tools created surprising results and creating the layers of design and interest was very fun.

Try it---you'll like it!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Time to Create More Art

For the past five years I have been attending monthly creative sessions at a small business in Hamilton, Montana called In Good Company. This business is comprised of four women fiber artists who began their business making and selling hand-dyed fabric and silk ribbon. Then they began offering monthly "TARTS" classes---short for textile arts. Each month we get a small packet of supplies and materials for completing a surface design project of some sort. We take it home, play with it, make something, and bring it the next month to "show and tell" and talk about what we liked and didn't like about the products, process, results, etc.

Not only are these classes educational and the packets creatively stimulating, the gathering of like minded individuals has been an invaluable experience. The shop also sells many of the products, supplies, and literature related to the techniques we experiment with.

Today we were told that these women are planning to end this creative union as of this coming June. Although not totally surprised, I was disappointed. I have used these classes as way to jump start my creativity, expand my knowledge, and try out products and techniques that I might not have attempted on my own without some sort of guidance and having sometimes unique products provided to me in small "trial" size quantities.

I totally understand the decision In Good Company has made and wish them all the best in whatever they do with their creative lives, but we will miss them as an entity and a driving force for art quilting in the Bitterroot/Missoula area.

It is their hope, and mine, that some sort of art quilting activities, interaction, and mutual support will continue to happen in this area whether it be formal (as in a guild or some such thing) or informal. They have nurtured enough fiber artists that there is a strong contingency of us in the area and most are enthusiastic about the medium enough to support something---we just aren't quite sure what yet!

I'd like to see us be able to bring in some national and regional level teachers, have local workshops and "play days", maybe retreats, and possibly continue having a show as In Good Company has done for the past five years.

I'm not sure how this will effect my productivity or my creative energy. I do have my art discussion group which I love, but I have enjoyed the varied levels, styles, and energy of the members of Tarts over the years. Hopefully I will continue to experiment with surface design and play with new and different techniques and products on my own using them to expand my knowledge and continue to have new ideas and work that is fresh and creative.

I will enjoy the next few months and savor the good things I get from Tarts and In Good Company. In July I will find out how well I can do on my own and see if I can keep motivated creatively every month without a new technique or design idea from Tarts to spur me on.

Thank you Jamie, Sue Anne, Susan and Sue for everything you have shared with us. You are inspiring, motivating, supportive, and set an example we are all proud to try to live up to. I hope you are all able to enjoy your freedom from the business end of things and create more art.

Create more art.

Stuffed Turkey Thigh/Legs

Disclaimer: This is a cooking post not an art post!  But I will say that there is an art to boning, stuffing and baking this recipe--and it ...