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.

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!



  1. This will be so cool! I have seen a lot of your work and still didn't know that you have done all this to it! I will be looking out for your tips and pointers.
    Sandy in the UK
    (Sandy in Bracknell)

  2. This looks very interesting. eek! I can imagine the hesitation to slather on paint to a half done piece of art. Looking forward to September.

  3. I never used acrylic after quilting, so this is a tecnique I'm curious about, especially seeing the results.

  4. Nice works here - the piece at the top is just amazing!

  5. Nice works here - the piece at the top is just amazing!


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