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.

Friday, June 27, 2014

What I've Done with Sunprinted Fabrics, by Sue A

Watercolor Garden
For my final post, I wanted to show you what I have done with some of my sunprints.  When I first started sunprinting, I got so addicted to the process that I wanted to print fabric every day that I could get it to work.  I then needed to figure out what I was going to do with my new fabrics.  One of the first pieces I used sunprints in was "Watercolor Garden".  I had pieced the center area, but wanted to make the piece bigger and wondered if I could paint and print fabrics specifically for the borders.  I first drew out the idea with crayons, then painted the fabric to match the drawings, and sunprinted... It worked!!  I did find out that shapes cut from plain paper would work for prints, but the more paint that built up on the paper pieces, the better the prints came out.  After that, I tried using the thin craft foam for my butterflies and hummingbirds. The foam worked much better than the paper. Paper will keep the paint from moving underneath it, instead of letting it move, resulting in softer prints.  In the photo, you might be able to see that I did the side borders earlier in the day from the upper and lower ones.  The later prints came out much sharper due to lower humidity later in the day.  Lots of lessons learned from this project.

Long narrow hanging and a couple 8"x10" pieces.

At the time I began my journey into sunpinring, I was making wall hangings, table runners and more that I sold at art and craft shows. I started using sunprints in small pieces made for framing or other wall pieces.  I even made some guides from bamboo slats to help me to plan my arrangement layouts. I had grids to do standard frame sizes from 3 1/2"x5" to 8"x10", and even bookmark sizes to fill up my fat quarters. I made tons of simple bordered sunprints that could be popped into standard frames, those led to longer and larger hangings with multiple prints. I laminated small prints onto card stock for the bookmarks. 

Tent Display at an Art Show

Making wall pieces for sale gave me a great reason to play with paint and my flowers every day I possibly could. I played with colors I normally don't care for (not everyone likes "my" colors), in addition to a lot of my favorite pinks, blues and greens... The photo, right, shows one of my displays when I was the most prolific at painting, sunprinting and creating. 

I did my last art show in 2008 after my health started declining severely.  I went through a couple years after that where much of my painting ended up being "rocks and mud" colors... What was up with that???  I even went 2 years at a time without doing any sunprinting or fabric painting at all, two different times...  Lost my creativity... Never thought that would EVER happen!!! I also lost my ability to remember even flower names, not to mention my own name?!? Something was really wrong!!  Finally, just this past Winter, I found that I have been bitten at least 3 different times by tiny little deer ticks over the past 10 or more years, which gave me Lyme disease and two other infections they passed on to me... IKKK!!!  Now I know why I've been so sick!  From crawling around, playing in my own gardens...  Will that keep me out of them in the future???  NOT!! I am just a lot more careful now... I spray myself with Geranium oil that repels the nasty little critters and with treatment, am slowly getting back to doing things I love again, like sunprinting...  The sunprinting session shown in the previous post was the first I have put paint to fabric in 2 years...  It felt good to get back to playing again...

OK... Off that tangent and back to the sunprints....  
Summer Rainbow- Private Collection

"Summer Rainbow" was one of the first pieces I did using a larger arrangement of leaves and flowers for the sunprinted center panel.  For this print, I used different types of Ferns, foliage from Cosmos plants (the wispy stuff), Gaillardia flowers, Plumbago flowers, a butterfly and a hummingbird both cut from foam.  The sunprint in this piece began 18" square. More involved prints like this one take a lot longer than most to lay the items on, so the spray bottle is used a lot and I have to move as fast as I can so the paint doesn't start to dry before I want it to.

Right Half Yard Sunprint

Left Half Yard Sunprint
The two half yard pieces above, made me question my sanity one day, and this was before my mind started leaving.... I decided to do two half yard sunprints at one time... It might be hard to see, but the two pieces were originally one full yard of fabric that I painted and then sunprinted at one time...  Talk about having to work fast!!  That was a lot of leaves and flowers to place onto the wet paint in a hurry. And what made it even more interesting was that I had to do it all while in the sun since I had to lay the fabric out on my large table. I have no portable boards that big, and didn't have the sun umbrella then.  I did have all the leaves and flowers close by and ready to go before paint was applied... Then I just went with it!  I believe I put down the leaves and such on the left side first, since the colors are a little less blended from less water spritzing...  Working in the shade, then moving things to the sun is MUCH easier!!  These two pieces are still waiting to see what I will do with them...
Dark colors with Dye-Na-Flow
Black paint over bright Batik

 I've played with deep, dark colors....

I've played with Black paint on Batiks...

Hot Pink and Orange

I've gone crazy with bright, eye popping colors...   I Really NEEDED color therapy that Fall....

I've painted and printed just about every color of the rainbow....Even lime green even before I had Lyme...
A day's work in October 2012...

Amazingly, I sometimes get the best printing days in Fall... there is  more sun with less humidity, and less breezes to blow things away...  It is also cooler to work when it is 70 and not 90 degrees out... (Pardon the dead washing machine in parts by the front door... We ended up with a new one when that one couldn't be fixed.) This is the last time I painted fabric before doing the previous post this past week... Notice the color on the paint boards... It's still there... :)
Sunprint Covered Journals and Photo Albums

...And then I tried to figure out what to do with the finished fabrics...  Here are some of my most recent sunprint covered journals and mini photo albums. After my "creative crash", I stopped being able to come up with much in the line of quilts, so began making book covers... I did plan many of my prints so that I would have the sizes of designs I would need for the book covers. Other fat quarters are done pretty random with no idea of what I'll do with them. I still dream of making art quilts again someday...

I am praying that once I kick the "bugs" out of my brain and everywhere else, that I will be back in the "creative groove" again....  At least now that I know what caused the crash, and I know there is hope of things returning to somewhat normal in the future...   You can check out my blog at AndrusGardensQuilts.com to see what I have or haven't been doing...  My lack of creativity really shows there more than I'd like these days... If interested, you can follow links from my blog to my online shops on ArtFire, where I have fabric, journals, and art quilts for sale.

I hope that my posts this week have given you a little bit of a nudge to go out and play in the sun, or give sunprinting indoors a try!  Whether you have gardens to steal leaves and flowers out of, or you just play with confetti or craft foam shapes or other things, you can have a blast!  


  1. Sue, your work is fabulous, and I love what you have done with your fabrics! I do hope you have a speedy and complete recovery from your Lyme disease so you can continue making beautiful sun paintings!

  2. Thank you for these wonderful posts. Your work is gorgeous and inspiring! I hope your health continues to improve too.

  3. very inspiring in all ways!

  4. Absolutely WONDERFUL! My favorite is the water color garden. I've been going to try sun prints for years. Hope I get to it this year. Your work is an inspiration.

  5. Your pieces are just beautiful!!!! So nice of you to share what you can do with all the beautiful sun printed 'results'!!! Gives inspiration to the rest of us!

  6. Wow! This is just brilliant! Lovely lovely!

  7. A super post and all the pictures are great. Your sun printing turned out beautifully and I am enthusiastically inspired to try it. Thank you :)


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