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, January 29, 2014

December 2013 final resolution

Mounted on a newly cut stretcher.

I know many were disappointed with the December project. It turned out to be a bad health month for me. Here is the final resolution of the piece. If you want a more detailed process please check out my blog  dated January 17th.

Monday, January 27, 2014

June Sun Printing Party

Thanks for all of the great response about the sun printing fun we'll have in June.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm Lynda from Bloombakecreate.com, a new resident artist here. I've always loved creating, but the surface design bug didn't bite me until three years ago while interviewing a local artist for my hometown newspaper column, Telling Your Story. I was so excited about her work with snow dyeing that when the next snow fell,  I was ready. Since we don't get a lot of snow here, I got to thinking about snow and how it is just ice crystals. Why not just use ice cubes?  I loved how my ice dyed fabric turned out so much that I ended up writing an article on ice dyeing for Quilting Arts magazine in 2011. That's how it all began. I quit writing the column to spend more time on my art.

For June we will be exploring all different options for sun printing.

So far, I have two great artists to help me this month.

Sue Andrus is a textile artist inspired by flowers, gardens and nature. She has had several art quilts and garden photos in special exhibits at the International Quilt Festivals, and other shows. Sue grew up in rural Western New York, and moved to Towanda, Pennsylvania with a degree in horticulture. She worked in the floriculture industry for nearly 30 years while beginning her art business and raising three sons. Not finding just the right colors of fabric in stores, she began painting and dyeing her own fabrics, and now uses them almost exclusively in her art. Sunprinting fabrics with leaves and flowers bring her two main passions together - Gardening and Fabric Art. Sue's many gardens contain plants collected over the years and supply most of the materials used for her sunprinting, as well as inspiring new art pieces. In addition to Art Quilts, she designs and creates gift items including jewelry, fabric covered journals and photo albums, tote bags and more using mostly her sun printed or hand dyed fabrics. You can find Sue at andrusgardensquilts.com.

After more than 20 years as a traditional quilter, LuAnn Kessi began playing with surface design techniques 5 years ago. Her favorite fabric to buy is a bolt of white cotton so she can dye it, paint it, hot wax it, tie it, scrunch it, screen print and lots more.  She turns these newly created fabrics into art quilts.  LuAnn lives on a cattle ranch in Western Oregon and works in her studio, the Thread Shed. Check on  LuAnn's art at luannkessi.blogspot.com.

I'm still looking for someone who uses Inkodye. Also, if you have an interesting spin on sun printing, please feel free to email me at lheines at wowway dot com.

It's going to be a fun and warm (I hope!) month.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

September with Mags Ramsay - working with acrylic paints

'Keesdon Rain'  mixed media on watercolour paper  
I have always painted, drawn and sewn, and many of my quilts are based on the sketches and photographs from my travels both at home and abroad.  I was introduced to using acrylic paints on a mixed media course with Yorkshire artist Katherine Holmes, combining them with watercolour and pastels, attempting to capture the atmosphere of the hills –and the weather. It  got me thinking about how I might capture some of the immediacy of sketches directly in my textile pieces.
Test sample - wild fabrics give interesting results!
So on my return using machine quilting test pieces and failed projects I practiced using acrylic paints in different ways on fabric until I was confident enough to design a quilt ‘(Strindberg Shore’) with acrylic painting at its core.
'August' (Strindberg Shore sample) before and after painting with palette knife

I’ve since used this technique in many quilts and as I taught myself mainly through trial and errors ( lots of those!) I thought I’d share what I’d learnt along the way so hopefully readers   will have the confidence to give it a go.

The 3 main techniques I use are:

1)      applying thick opaque  acrylic paints with palette knife/dry brush  after quilting/ stitching

2)      painting with fluid transparent acrylics  on fabric surfaces primed with gesso

3)      using masking tape stencils to create shibori effects.  
 'Rich as Honesty ' primed with gesso,  ready to paint  
'Nautical Dawn' masking tape shibori effect

Acrylic paints are quick drying which can be a blessing (and a curse!) so I’ll start with an introduction to their properties and tips on their use.  I still need to take a deep breath before I start painting a piece I’ve worked on  for weeks  – once added you can’t take it off
 For each method I’ll describe step by step what fabrics you might use, how to prepare them for painting and some tricks of the trade I’ve picked up along the way.

I know I’ve only scratched the surface in how acrylics  might be used so  do leave a comment if you’ve got a technique you’d like to share under this theme, and lets put together a programme  that demonstrates their versatility. I do hope you'll join me on this adventure in September!


Introducing co-workers and a special project

For the October month with the theme Stitch resist Shibori, six people will join me to explore new possibilities:

Yvonne followed the 28 ways to fold your fabric in Novembre and came up with a brilliant piece of work:

The second one was a cylindrical piece of plastic packaging with diamond shapes scored on it,
I tied the fabric round it using cotton thread following the scored lines.

And Marsha explored some great shibori too: http://marshaleith.wordpress.com/?s=shibori 

I am really looking forward to our online-co-working-project, we will start in june, and show our results in October, as we are with seven of us, each day of the week a new way of stitching for shibori.

Another project I would like to share with you, experimental textile lovers: a dutch editor is having a 'call for entry' for two international book projects.  Everyone who wants to have the chance of getting their work of art published in one of the future books of Textile-link can easily upload images in their own archive on www.textile-link.com. The uploaded images will form the basis for inspiring textile books which will be published by Textile-link in the coming years. The basic idea behind Textile-link is to publish extraordinary books together, to inspire, share knowledge and enjoy it all. www.textile-link.com

I love the books in this series, as they are so very inspiring and pretty designed lay-out. Highly recommended, no costs involved, and easy, you just have to upload your own best pictures for publication and she will make a choice of all the entries. With full credits to the artist ofcourse.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Introducing Mags Ramsay, guest artist on the fire blog

Strindberg Shore 
I met Mags Ramsay's work several years ago and have been following her blog since.
I equally love her Seascapes, Plants, Doors and Indigo series and her painted landscapes. They tell me wonderful stories of landscapes around us seen, enjoyed, reinterpreted in different mediums.
Gythion Glow - Detail

So I was very happy and excited when Mags offered to be guest artist on the fire blog for September showing us her technique on painting with acrylics on fabric. 
Her technique of using heavy acrylics and applying them AFTER quilting has been published in Quiltwow, a quarterly internet magazine and in the European monthly: Patchwork Professional but not in the US, as far as I know.
Mags has also offered to help me with my month, "Hand Stitched", sharing her experiences with us.
Nautical Dawn
She explains her background as following:
For many years I have used the watercolour sketches and photographs from travels around the world and closer to home as the source of inspiration for mixed media and art quilts. I describe my style as semi-abstracted landscape and I attempt to distill a sense of place into my artwork.
I grew up surrounded by fabric (my mother was an embroiderer) and I have always sewn, painted and drawn, studying art to ‘A’ level. I was encouraged to apply to art college but my strong interest in the environment and ability in science led to my choice of studying biology and biotechnology at University. A botanist by profession, I have built my career in science while continuing to develop my artistic skills. 
Rich as Honesty
I enjoy the process and problem-solving aspects of making art and my aim is to capture the excitement of drawing and sketches, interpreting them  in a textile piece directly , either ‘painting’ in fabric  or by  constructing pieced and densely quilted pieces overpainted with acrylic paints. I use fabrics (including African, Japanese, hand dyed indigo) in new and unexpected ways and honour and ‘repurpose’ old textiles such as antique quilts.  Hand and machine stitching are important means of mark-making and altering the surface.
Mags will write an intro to her month, September, telling more about her plans.

Monday, January 20, 2014

One more for the road...

I have one more "dyed in the wool" dyeing enthuiast come aboard for the deconstructed Silk Screening. She even has her own dyeing studio. Woo Hoo

Let her tell you:

My name is Judy Schneider and I do not have a blog, but I write comments under the name of Judy from Northport.
I consider myself a dyer rather than a quilter, mostly because I love dyeing and don't love quilting as much.  
You might ask what I do with my fabric - well, mostly I hug it.  

I have taken a number of classes at ProChem and other places.  I am registered in Ann Johnston's class on layering at QBL this July.

I do have some experience with dsp, having studied the process with Rayna.  I found it to be really rewarding and mysteriously beautiful in its results.

I am excited to welcome Judy and see her take on DSP.

Friday, January 17, 2014

December helpers!!

I just received two emails from Nienke Smit and Marjolijn van Wijk who are interested in helping with the Deconstructed Silk Screening. These are two accomplished quilt artists so I am very chuffed. Nienke has been in a number of magazines this year and at least 2 books and Marjolijn has also been in a number of magazines and wrote four books about doll making.  She has one of her pieces in an international installation now as well.. I am thrilled they will both be helping me.
Followers can also create along with us and send in the photos of their work

Thursday, January 16, 2014

July Helper Update

 Laura McGrath is going to be a "helper" in July, and here is a brief intro:

Hi all!  I was one of the original artists on the Fire blog back when it started in January 2011.  My current fabric obsessions include creating arashi shibori, batik using beeswax (the old-fashioned way), and working through some low water immersion techniques when the weather isn't too cold.  Since I still work full-time, I have to cram all my fun surface design stuff into the weekend.  I've participated in one round robin before, and it was a great experience, and I just know this one will be fun, too.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

May with Jo Vandermey and Adventures with Lutrdur

Jo’s Intro.

I don’t remember how I found the “…and then they set it on fire” blog but when I saw the title I thought this group must be the spot to hang out! So for the past few years I have followed what everyone has been doing and playing with some of the techniques posted.

I describe myself as a “sewinggeek” because I love everything to do with sewing and I like science fiction too! I dabble in photography, love to read, spend time with my family, laugh at the antics of my pets and travel when we can.

Although my DD says I have tried just about every craft known, in truth there are a few that I have not got to yet. I have been sewing and doing needlework since a child. Some of my fondest memories are playing with the button box and pieces of fabric while my mom sewed at her Singer… For many years I sewed clothes for my kids, doll clothes, items for school bazaars, costumes for school plays and made several quilts.

I still love traditional quilting but branched into fiber art though the support and encouragement of a couple of friends who did pottery, spinning and weaving. We were “the find it finish it group” having dinner and to work on something creative. The support given by my friends to expand into something that was my own design combined with finding out about “art quilting” has opened my world to explore.

I had a small show at my local museum where I was guest artist of the month with my friend and potter Lisa Skog. She makes the most wonderful Raku Pottery. She designed some tiles for me and I make an art quilt and incorporated the tiles into the piece. Since then I joined in a group project of the Burlington

Fibre Arts group and we won jurors choice in the Tales Tales Exhibit that was held in 2013. It was quite an honour.

Meanwhile I feel that this is the year to dedicate myself to creating. So I volunteered to facilitate the month of May and explore the topic of Lutradur.

Beth asked me to ask a few friends to join me in sharing the techniques… So far I have asked a friend that I have got to know as on line. Elle who lives in Manitoba, Canada has a great blog! This past year I have enjoyed her adventures in mixed media and re doing some of the rooms in her house. I have asked her to share some information on herself and she wrote the following.

 “I'm a junior senior citizen who discovered, make that claimed, my 

artistic gene rather late in my natural life but early in my blogging life.  

I started as a traditional quilter.  Then I discovered mixed media!   I 

wanted to understand and try all the various techniques!  Now I want to 

expand my expertise and develop my own artistic vision based on my first 

luv, fabric.

I can be found daily in the Coop and Saucer Playroom and most days on my 

blog,  ellendacoop .”

 I have a couple of other friends who will join in too and will introduce them as the time comes. I don’t claim to be an expert but hope to present some interesting techniques to use Lutradur in your art quilting and mixed media work. I look forward to you joining me, Elle, and all those who would like to play along or just watch as we explore what is Lutradur and what can you do with it…… and we may even set it on fire!

Introduction to Lutradur workshop and how I plan to do the month. 

How I got Interested in Lutradur

As a relatively new in the art quilt or mixed media world, sometimes I find it hard to focus on a particular area or technique because there are just so many cool things to do with fabric and supplies. We all collect magazines, books, DVDs on all kinds of techniques. We collect fabric, pens, paint, stamps and more. But sometimes we don’t get to using it.

Last year I agreed I would do a workshop for my fiber art group. I was intrigued with what could you actually do with Lutradur and why would you want to…. This forced me to actually do the work and experiment. I work best with deadlines.

I had Leslie Riley’s DVD from Interweave Press 

and her book Fabulous Fabric Art With Lutradur ( C &T publishing c. 2009 ISBN 978-1-57120-554-4)

 I also had some other information that I had seen on the web. With the supplies that I had on hand or could easily get I decided to do as many of the 27 techniques to do with Lutradur. I made a sample book with the things I tried. I did learn what I like to do and what techniques I didn’t like to do. And there are
a few that I would like to work with more. And some I didn’t have much luck with.

So what is Lutradur?

Lutradur is a 100% nonwoven translucent polyester from the “Pellon” corporation. It was originally created for furniture manufactures’ to cover the bottom underside of couches and chairs. The open lacy structures will absorb paint, ink, image transfers and more. Its polyester nature will shrink and lace with heat from a heat gun but also will flatten with a low temp iron.
It comes in a 70 gm and 100 gm weight in white and 70 gm weight in grey. It can be bought by the yard or in a mixed package with 5 sheets of each of the two weights in white. Not only can Lutradur be colored but it can be sewn with ease, embellished like fabric and constructed into shapes. According to the book Leslie suggests there are at least 27 ways to use Lutradur. But if you combine
techniques and use your knowledge you already have I am sure you could come up with more than 27 ways!
Here is a picture of my table as I was making small samples for my tests…

And here is one of my favorite ways to use Lutradur…

This is a printed picture of my grandfather and great aunt on the family farm. The picture was printed on a piece of muslin and a piece of Lutradur through my printer. It is hard to tell by the picture but when you stand back there is a bit of a 3-d effect. The rest of the hanging is the scene extended in fabric around the picture.

So in the month of May please join in with some of my friends and I in a virtual workshop. I will have the resources I found and some places where you can get some supplies if you want to follow along. I will act as your “virtual facilitator” where I will introduce some techniques and show you what I and my friends have tried. Then I hope you will join in and show us what you have created. We will brainstorm together and see if we can come up with more ways to use Lutradur!

 So get ready in May to colour, paint, stamp, print, sew, bead and maybe even set it on fire!

Jo Vandermey


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More info on Deconstructed Silk Screens in December

I have received a lot of emails from folks a bit uncertain as to what deconstructed Silk Screening is so I am linking to a tutorial. This is kind of an intense tutorial but taking it step by step will not seem so overwhelming.

If you are a dyer, you will really only need to get the THICK SH and make a simple silk screen which you can easily do out of an old picture frame. So no fear!! The actual work will be done in the summer for my 3 helpers and the followers can have their work posted during December. 

If you are interested, just leave a comment.

Monday, January 13, 2014


So far we have gotten many responses from readers who want to actively participate as one of the 3 "helpers" who will work along with the resident artist. If you have interest in any of the months, please contact the resident artist of that month or me using the contact form at http://sewsewart.blogspot.com/.

We have also have had three people come aboard as guest artists who will be showcasing their own techniques in their own month - more about this later. Followers who want to just work along with the month's technique can also have their work included. You don't have to be an official "helper". Please remember we need an email address to get back to you and the Contact form on http://sewsewart.blogspot.com/ is totally safe for sending messages.

From the responses we are receiving, there is a LOT of excitement about the new format. I KNOW personally that February with Judith DeMilo Brown will be an unforgettable month!

So just a reminder that there is still time to join in on all the fun and joining can happen anytime during the year. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Kelly Hendrickson and "Texture is the spice of life"

Creating Texture with Fabric and Mixed Media

"Texture is the spice of art" just like variety is the spice of life.  In the month of August we are going to look at different ways of adding texture to our art.  We will, of course, be using fabrics and stitching for texture.  And we will also play with paint, molding paste and other things to incorporate into our work.  

How about grabbing one of those UFOs hanging around (or am I the only one who has those things????) and starting to transform it into something textured? Or perhaps a piece you have even completed but it just isn't quite what you had hoped for? "Ugly Duckling" fabrics are great for this technique as well because with some of the options....you don't see the original fabric at all!!

I will also be introducing you to three of my artist friends who use texture very well in their art. They will be using the same techniques but, knowing them, they will take it off the charts! AND I'm hoping many of you will take on the challenge of adding texture to your art works and come  play with us!"

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Shibori days

Remember the 30days/ways to fold and dye your fabric in November? Let's do it for another month, with another shibori technique, stitch for example.

In Octobre 2014, I will be hosting this Shibori theme.
If you feel for it, please join me on our new discovery tour. Send me an email at verfvirus@gmail.com and I will introduce you to the Fire Community!

To wet your appetite, some pictures of last summer:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Beth Berman and Deconstructed Silk Screens

No time for yawning here. We will be going over all aspects of deconstructed silk screens including how to move from a small square silk screen to larger screens, making small screens connect and how to eliminate "white" if white spots bug you. I guarantee you will learn at least one new thing or I'll eat my squeegee -smile.
Another new feature will be using a deconstructed screen to print a 72" silk scarf with one fold (printed folded) and what exactly can you do with this amazing fabric when you are done?  This is where you my potential 3 helpers and other followers come in. Contact me either through a comment below or on my contact form so you can be introduced to the FIRE community. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hand Stitched

I love hand stitched quilts. They bear the unmistakable marks of the quilter, unique and special. 

My aim this month is first briefly to share with you my hand stitch experiences: several years of practice and the resulting work – the meaning behind the quilted surface – and than I would like to try to explore and compare new attitudes in hand quilting and introduce other approaches besides my own. 

So, if somebody is working on hand stitched quilts and would be ready to share her ideas and her practical experiences, please contact me. I’m especially interested in the following questions: Why did you choose specifically hand stitch contrary to machine quilting? Did you use special stitches – your personal experiences: workload, difficulty, effects, results and conclusions.

Of course any other new approaches are welcome. It would be great to show a big variety of hand stitch techniques. It doesn't have to be limited to quilts - it's just my medium - other forms of stitched objects, especially 3D ones, would only enrich the posts.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Here Comes The Sun Printing

Oh, do I love the sun and one of my favorite surface design techniques is sun printing.

For the month of June we will be exploring the different ways to play with the sun and our fabrics.

We'll have several guest bloggers share their sun printing techniques, I'll be sharing my favorites, and I'd love for you to play along with us and share your sun printing experience.

If you'd like to be part of the sun printing tribe, please email me at lheines at wowway dot com with your ideas for a guest post.

It's going to be a sunny creative month!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Round Robin anyone?

Round Robin Fabric - 2009

How many of you have participated in a “Round Robin” project?  I have been involved with two, and they were a very interesting way to collaborate with others in creating a unique piece of fabric using various Surface Design techniques.  The downside is that, even though each group only had about 6 members, it took about 6 months for the fabrics to make the rounds and return back to the originator.
So, I thought instead of doing a Round Robin in the usual way, I would do something slightly different:  a self-challenge to use at least six Surface Design techniques!  Sound like fun?  Well, let’s see what happens, okay?    I will be using a piece of cotton, probably bleached muslin or Kona cloth. It will be laundered to remove all sizing, brighteners and impurities to prepare it for dyeing.  I will post about each technique as I use it, and will let you see the fabric as I progress through the various techniques.  I hope you will join me during the month of July, 2014!
I will post about each technique as I use it, and will let you see the fabric as I progress through the various techniques.  I reserve the right to determine the order in which I apply each technique – some are best left until the end, such as foiling, and some are better to start with, such as dyeing.

What I would love is to have you join me in this challenge, and I would love to get e-mails from you showing me your results!  I will be happy to post them on the blog if you are comfortable with that, so all our viewers can see.  You can e-mail me at tiedyejudy @ yahoo dot com (convert it to the format needed first) to let me know if you are going to join this project.  If you want to use the same techniques that I do, that is fine.  Or if you want to do your own Round Robin selecting your own set of techniques, that works too!  Not sure how to do a particular technique?  I invite you to delve into our archives and search on the technique, or post a comment asking for assistance, and I’ll do my best to create a mini-tutorial.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Help me! I'm Dyeing!

Nienke introduced Beth to Ann Johnston's DVD, Color by Accident.  Beth got all excited and told me it was worth a semester in college. So I watched it.  She was right!  I had no idea how little I knew about dyeing!  Now I know why Nancy Crow recommended Ann's Color by Accident when a student at the Barn asked Nancy for a recommendation.  I immediately bought the pure 14 colors from Prochem and started trying Ann's dyeing techniques.

In fact, I was so inspired by the Color by Accident DVD that I am going to be a Guest Artist for February.  I am going to be sharing some of what I learned so far and trying more of Ann's techniques. Two of my friends and past Resident Artists on the Fire blog, Beth Schnellenberger and Laura McGrath, are joining me.  

I hope you will join us too!  If you love Ann Johnston and want to dye with us in February, contact me at Quiltordye@ftml.net and we'll make plans!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Exciting News for 2014

This year on the FIRE blog we are welcoming our followers to participate in our monthly techniques creating an opportunity for our readers to participate more actively. This participation would mean contributing in some form - exercises, own examples, ideas, outlooks, etc. to each months technique. We will open up the topic of the month as we present our chosen themes throughout January  Our readers will have time to consider each technique and register with the one responsible for the chosen month’s post. This will add excitement and provide a way for followers to showcase their own approaches to each technique.

As you  join with a monthly technique in January, we will use the opportunity to introduce you to our blog followers and present a bio of you and your work.

In addition to  sharing  in a month with a resident artist, we are also opening the door to 6 new Guest Artists. Each Guest Artist would head up their own month with a technique that they would like to present. You will also have the benefit of having three other artists work along with you making it a fun and interactive month.

Starting tomorrow, we will have each resident artist give a brief description of their month and you are invited to join her.

Tomorrow Judith will talk about her month, her plans and a possible guest interview!!! I think everyone is going to be excited about February and each motnh will have an exciting line up of techniques and plenty of opportunities to join in.

Remember, if you want to host your own month, please don't be shy. Either comment below or contact me on my contact form by clicking on the link below.

The best way to contact me is by either leaving a comment or using the Contact Form at the bottom of this page  <- click link