A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mixed Media Technique--July's Technique of the Month

Just a word to welcome Rosalita.
Rosalita was one of the founders of "And Then We Set It On Fire."  In fact, it was Rosalita and Beth who coined the phrase after accidently setting a piece on fire during their early surface design experiments.  She has agreed to be our guest artist for July. Thank you, Rosalita.

Hello All,

Sorry this post is so close to the end of the month of June. I have been busy getting ready for eight shows that I have starting with the first weekend in July.

This technique is one utilizing interfacing, glue, lace, yarns, strings, paint., gesso, etc.

Things you will need.

Fabric (I used muslin, but you can use any fabric like interlining)
PVA glue (you can use Elmer’s Glue)
Tissue paper (I used white)
Acrylic paint
Materials for texture - yarn, beads, etc.

Preparing the Surface

The first step is to prepare the fabric. Using a mixture of  3 ½ pints of water and 2 cups of PVA glue mix solution in a bucket. 

Put the amount of fabric you want to work with in the bucket. I would recommend a half yard to start. Completely immerse your fabric in the glue and water. Squeeze out all liquid. Keep doing this process until your fabric is completely saturated.

Hang out your fabric to dry overnight. Do not smooth out your fabric. The wrinkles will give it more texture.

Once the fabric is dried, it can be rolled up for storage.

When you are ready to do the next step of the project, iron out a piece of fabric the size you want to work with. It will not be totally flat but will leave a nice texture.

You can either cut to size now or leave it a little larger so you can select the placement at a later time.

Layering Surface Texture

Make a thin solution of PVA and water – about one tablespoon of glue to ½ cup of water.

Tear tissue paper into rough strips.

Wet your fabric with the thin glue solution. Lay the tissue paper on the fabric in different directions. Cover with thin glue solution. Continue doing this until the entire fabric has been covered.

Wet your fabric with the glue mixture again. Now you can lay some scrim (cheesecloth) on top of the glue. Cutting the scrim in rough strips. Cut the top of the scrim in two or three slits. Cover  scrim with thin glue mixture. While the scrim is still wet you can take the scrim strips and twist to create movement.

You can repeat this process with lace or other items to add more design and texture. Just remember glue, material, more glue.

When you are satisfied with the look of your piece, let it completely dry.

Stitching Top

Once your piece is completely dry, now you can add any type of stitching you would like. You need enough stitching to hold down the layers you have  placed on the original fabric. I used some yarn which I couched down using my sewing machine using nylon thread.

(Because this is was one of the last steps I wanted to do, I also couched some yarn with silk ribbon tabs.) (See picture)

Applying Gesso

To seal your entire piece for painting, you will apply a coat of gesso.

Put your fabric on a scrap of paper. (DO NOT USE ANYTHING WITH PRINT LIKE A NEWSPAPER)

Using a household paintbrush apply gesso in and around the treads to seal them.

Continue until the whole surface is done.

Allow piece to dry overnight.

Painting Surface

Put your piece on scraps of paper.

Using acrylic paint, squeeze out three colors that work well together. Use a large paintbrush to rewet the surface of your piece with a little water. Pick up a little paint and start in the lower right hand corner. Continue painting until you are pleased with the composition.

The following picture shows a piece done with cadmium red, cadmium yellow and Prussian blue.

My Piece

I stopped this piece at the last application of PVA glue and  because I wanted the color of the muslin to show through. I added an embroidered dragonfly (my sewing machine embroiders). I wanted to try making a  bead crib around a cabochon so added the sun. I also put small rows of beads at the ends of some of the grass like string I put on. The piece was the bound with cotton cloth and mounted on a stretched canvas painted on the sides to match binding. I then put hanging wire on the back.

This was a fun technique and the sky is the limit. Have fun, allow yourself to play.

Complete instructions with more pictures and other techniques can be found in "Stitch, Cloth, Paper and Paint" - Mixed Media Ideas & Inspiration, Angie Hughes, Search Press.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A second bite at the apple

Everyone's skinny little lines have really inspired me!  Aren't there some fabulous works being created?  When I posted my first attempt, I told you that I wanted to try a second piece.  I started out with this fabric that I monoprinted last month.
I added a few navy blue skinny stripes and a red-violet commercial dyed second fabric and got this.  It is 31" by 26".
I am not completely satisfied with it.  It is much more difficult to successfully incorporate two fabrics than I thought.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More Work with Skinny Lines--Quilter Beth

I had a chance to continue work on the two pieces I did using this month's technique from Kathy Loomis. If you look at the original entry, you can see that my plan was to combine the two pieces in some way. I'm working on a series of pieces incorporating bias strip "cages" for my Advanced Independent Study work with Jane Dunnewold. This will be the fourth piece in that series.

I haven't actually cut into the blue piece yet. I made paper copies of the sewn piece. That way, I could cut up the paper copies and "play" with them instead of cutting up the sewn piece. Here are two pictures of my design wall. Right now, I'm playing the "what if" game. If you'd like to see more detail about the process, you can check it out on my blog here.

In this picture, I have pinned blue paper pieces to the orange sewn piece. I have pinned bias strips (in dark navy) over the paper pieces. I thought the piece at the bottom looks a bit heavy, sooo...
I made the change below.
I'm thinking of adding a blue piece to the upper right side (where it looks like there is an "empty" bias strip). What do YOU think?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Turn at Skinny Lines--Quilter Beth

I finally had some time to work on Kathy's technique. I have a whole new respect for the work she does. I did find that I really enjoyed the piecing and will probably do more of it.

I had tried her technique a little while back. This is what that one looks like.
I hadn't, at that point, read (or had forgotten) her tip about using a lighter color for the strips to avoid show through. As you can see, I have some black showing through my white background. I need the black and white for this piece, though, and am going to have to use it. Any suggestions about what I can do to save this piece? It needs to have a white background and black lines; otherwise I'd have used a black background with white lines and wouldn't have a problem! I'm wondering if there is some sort of quilting or embellishment I could do to "hide" or disguise the show through.

After this, I worked on two more pieces--one I consider large and one small. For the large piece, I started with an orange piece of fabric approximately a yard by the width of the fabric. I had previously cut a little off of one side of the fabric--thus the ragged edge in the process pictures. This finished, squared up piece measures 24" X 39".

This is the finished "large" piece (after squaring it up). Under it, I have included some process pictures.
Here are some of the pictures I took as I was making this piece.

Here are a couple of close up shots.

Here is the smaller piece. I made it to "go with" the larger piece. I started with a piece of blue fabric 18 1/2" X 21". This finished (not squared up) piece measures approximately 16" X 18".
I was surprised how this one turned out. I didn't use a ruler at any time, and I didn't try to keep the lines straight. I didn't consciously cut the piece into uniform-sized segments. I did find that cutting at 90 degree angles was MUCH easier for me than cutting on the diagonal.

I haven't decided, yet, how I will "join" the two, but this is a drawing I made in Inspire Pro before I made either of these pieces. Keep in mind, this is just a rough drawing. I definitely would have an odd number of blue "cages," rather than the eight in this drawing, if I do decide to do something along this line. I also think I'd use a very dark navy blue fabric for the "cages" rather than the black I have used here.
I photographed the two pieces together to see if I liked the combination. I like the play of the diagonals against the more uniform "grid" of the blue piece. I like the contrast of the dense piecing of the blue piece against the less dense piecing of the orange piece.
I haven't decides whether I like the horizontal layout of the piece better than the vertical layout. In most of my pieces, I tend toward the horizontal--not sure why.

I owe Kathy a big thanks. She has been (and still is) an inspiration to me. She has provided me with encouragement all along my path to becoming an artist. Thank you Kathy; thank you!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Another fine line piece

My quiltfriend Marijke (no blog) was inspired by Kathy´s tutorial too and made this pretty piece. It measures 56 x 47 cm:

I love the way it turned out as well as the surprising colour-combination!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fine line piecing from Japan

I am so pleased that you're tackling this technique and having good results!

I thought you might like to see some of the little compositions made with fine lines when I taught this technique in Japan two years ago.  Some of the students had brought hand-dyed fabric with prominent patterns, but not as assertive as the surface designs you folks are using.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My turn at skinny little lines

I have been waiting for months for Kathy's month to be our guest artist.  I have been a fan of her blog and work for a long time and really wanted to try her technique.  This weekend I was home and my husband was out with the boy scouts so the timing was perfect to make a small, tiny, skinny lines creation.

Here is the fabric that I started out with.  It is a two-sided batik.  I dyed cotton with thickened dye--one side with red and one side with blue.  Of course, the color bled through but one side is still more red and the other side is still a bit more blue. The beginning size was 21" by 17".

Here is the hand-dyed green cotton that I used for the lines.  I like complimentary color combinations and the shade of green is light enough that there is a nice value difference.

I read Kathy's directions.  I cut the green into 1/2 strips on the bias.  I stitched a single line along one side of the batik and two lines along another to help me put the fabric back together.  Of course I used the two different colors of thread so I could tell the front from the back.  Then I sliced, stitched the strip, and sewed the pieces back together.  Too bad I forgot to look for the stitching lines to make sure I had the front side and correct edge.  LOL  You know what they say, there are no mistakes, only design opportunities.

Here are some more process pictures.

Here is the finished piece before and after I squared it.  The finish size is 17 3/4 inch by 13 3/4".  What do you think?

Lessons Learned:
  1. This is a small piece and took forever.  Kathy, you must be a saint with lots and lots of patience to create your large quilts using this technique!
  2. I used a straight edge to cut the green strips but cut the material without a straight edge---meaning the slices were not completely straight.  I like the results but I expect it would have been easier to sew back together if the lines had been perfectly straight.  Kathy, what do you do?
  3. The finished piece had to be steamed to get it to lay straight.  It was a small piece so it did not represent too big of a problem but I could see where it could get out of hand quickly in a larger piece.  Is that a problem for you, Kathy?
  4. Overall, it was tons of fun and I am going to try in again on this monoprint made last month. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

First Steps with Strips

I had this monoprint that I overdyed with a flour resist pushed through a stencil.  I like the colors, but it doesn't really stand on its own.  I took some of my vast stash of turquoise and cut thin and not-so-thin strips.

I know, Kathy's (very good) instructions said to use  skinny strips, but I had to try it both ways -- more on this decision below.

I also took some bits of the Caribbean-colored hand-dyes I did recently.  I found that ironing them open made them easier to stitch.

I started inserting the strips.  The orange/blue stripe was a mistake.  I decided to go with it, but it's my least favorite part of this whole thing.  

This is my "finished" piece (for today anyway) -- I think that the thinnest strips look the best.  They're not any more difficult to sew and they don't look clunky like the thicker strips.  And I still don't like the orange/blue stripe.  I'm thinking that this is one of those things that may never be finished -- as long as there is enough fabric to cut and sew back together.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Piecing lines

Reading Kathy´s blogpost, I felt the urge to try it asap... as I have so many nice fabrics which I didn´t touch until now.
Like this breakdown print cloth, already in my closet for 2 years now... not knowing what to do with it. This was the perfect opportunity. Let the pictures speak for themselves:

... or perhaps this way up?

That was great fun. I am thinking of sewing the other 5 pieces I have from the same screen, the same way and join them to one big piece afterwards. I could take it one level higher by sewing more lines and make the lines even smaller. We´ll see how that works out. Thank you Kathy for your inspiration and clear description!