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.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Painting Experiments

 When I first  started experimenting with using acrylics, I used failed projects and the samples  I use to test machine quilting  tension.  A layer of gesso and they're already looking interesting !

 Now though I will usually make up some test samples while I'm thinking of projects  using a variety of different fabrics . I use Dream Cotton 'Select' wadding in the sandwich and then machine and hand stitch often  in ripple patterns. In the examples I'm showing here  I applied acrylics (Liquitex firm body) straight from tube with a palette knife but not to the whole piece so that a strip of the original fabric can be seen. It's a bit distracting to look at ( as you can see in the 'studio' shot below) so I've cropped the image in Photoshop and shown the 'before' stage separately.

Fabric 1: A heavy cotton canvas (pattern called 'Tipsy'!) I liked the pattern already printed on it but it was difficult to hand stitch and also to paint and the texture of the canvas showed through when painted.

Fabric 1 Before

Fabric 1 After

Fabric 2 : A vintage black/brown cotton sateen with abstract orange pattern. Easy to stitch and paint and like the result- only concern is the stretch and distortion of sateen when used on a larger scale
Fabric 2 Before

Fabric 2 After

Fabric 3 (top)and 4(bottom): An African damask shibori in orange and blue (still with starch in ) and Kaffe Fassett Roman Glass - an old favourite of mine. Both fabrics easy to stitch. The damask didn't take paint that well (probably because of the starch) and the pattern showing through was too dominant. Its also too gorgeous a fabric to hide under paint! ( which is why I was a bit mean in the size of sample)
The dots and circles of the Roman Glass were not as prominent as I thought they might be - definitely one for consideration
Fabrics 3&4 Before

Fabrics 3&4 After
Fabric 5: African wax fabric mainly of wild large pink and black leaves. These African wax prints really stitch well and are a good surface for painting on. I rather like the vibrant pink and black showing through but perhaps wouldn't want too much of it!
Fabric 5 Before

Fabric 5 After
 A different palette of acrylic colours (greens) would have given a different effect-  the shapes of the stitched ripples also suggest land forms  to me.
You have my permission to play!


  1. It is so fascinating how an 'in your face' fabric turns out to be just the thing when you have over painted.
    Thank you for being so thorough in explaining. I am soaking this in and processing the ideas.
    Sandy (in the UK)

  2. This is indeed mixing media. intriguing. :)

  3. Gesso on your fabrics are looking really good. I especially like the effect on your Fabric 5 piece.


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