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, August 31, 2016
Monday, August 29, 2016
I hope you have been inspired, excited or just entertained!
Just a couple of other thoughts and examples of some backgrounds that didn't make a whole post.
1) Use untraditional fabric
Here is a small piece I did that has a background of purple velvet. (Good thing I didn't paint on it! YIKES!!)
A couple of years ago I was creating pieces in the theme of Earth. I chose to depict 4 amazing natural wonders. One of those was the Giant Sequoias in California. We had taken some trips while in California and I LOVE the way the trees look in a morning mist. THAT is want I wanted to show. The tall giants peacefully standing in the forest, the trees in the distance fading into a mere shadow. In the distance they turn into a more gray scale background. But how to do that was the question...to make them distant and fading yet discernable.
I had previously printed a photo onto silk organza and loved the ethereal effect. If I printed the trees in black and white on the silk organza it just might work!
It took a couple of prints to cover the space I needed. Here is how it turned out. In the close-up you can see the photo on silk organza.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
In this technique, the background peeking through can be either the star or just in a supporting role.
The concept is to have a background fabric and put the main pieces on it where only part of it shows through. So it's not really pieced or appliqued....it is just...well...peeking through!
Here is an example of the peek-a-boo being a very supporting character. After a long road trip I had gathered a LOT of various kinds of maps (one of the many things I collect!) and wanted to make a piece about road trips, maps, etc. I used the maps with a wonderunder transfer thingie. (Sorry for the technical language there. LOL) The maps became a single piece of fabric.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Again...no step 1 and step 2. But then your imaginations can go crazy!!!
In the "wholecloth" painted background it can either blend in as part of your whole piece or simply provide the appropriate feeling to the real stars of the piece.
Here is an example of a painted wholecloth background that is meant to blend in as a supporting actor in this piece. It started a one of my photographs and it needed a definite all over background.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
This background is built out of strips sewn together. These strips can be pieced or raw edge appliqued.
Pick out your Fabric Strips!
Or...make them! I've done both
Stitch them together
Difficult instructions...I know. This is where you decide what kind of stitching you want to do...
Background is ready!!
Here is a piece I did with a stripped background. The topic piece is a gel medium transfer from the original entertainment section in a 1946 New York paper advertising war time movies. The strips are both commercial red and cammo fabrics and my own hand dyed fabrics. This one I piece strips together and then cut them up to use as the background. I also "wrote" with my sewing machine the names of people I know who served and are serving in the military.
Monday, August 15, 2016
Using a commercial synthetic organza to create an interesting background.....AFTER it is zapped with my trusty heat gun! Not QUITE setting it on FIRE...at least that is not the plan! Although I have
create a few hot messes with it in the early days!
Choose the Organza
This bit is for a background in which I need a part of the ocean just before it breaks on the beach. Just as it is slightly kissing the tops of the reef just out from the surf. I also wanted it to have a shimmer to it because it is a bright sunny day at the beach and I wanted the sun sparkle to be there as well as the whitish bits of the beginning surf. So I also chose another synthetic organza of a shimmery blue. For the background of this bit, I picked out a hand dyed very pale bluish-green. So the whitecaps are not stark white.
For zapping you must have a synthetic fabric (in this case organza).Otherwise it won't melt.
Stitch the Fabrics Together
(this could be an optional step depending on the look you want)
I like to stitch it first as this can help to create the spaces of little or no melting. On this piece I just stitched around the organic shapes in the fabric.
Unfortunately, I was having so much fun, I forgot to take a photo of this stitching step. However, I think from the following photos you can see how I stitched it together.
Let the ZAPPING begin!!
NOTE: You really need to do this on a heat resistant surface. Heat guns can get really hot and despite the name of this group...we don't ALWAYS want to set stuff on fire! For this short session and since I had a backing fabric, I just did it on my ironing board.
I start with my heat gun about 8" away from my fabric and slowly bring it closer until it begins to melt. Then I move it over the fabric, closer and farther away as I go, until I get just the right melting
for the effect I'm looking for.
Here is the zapped organza for this piece.
Now you have a very interesting piece with texture and depth. You can use this for a whole background or, like I'm doing with this particular piece, for part of a larger background.
Here is this part of the developing background as it stands today.
Friday, August 12, 2016
Don't know about you guys but I have many dropcloths...all at different stages of "creation"
Also there are a couple of them which have been retired, having reached their ultimate "look". These have been years and years in the making. Many dye sessions, painting, stamping, just to mention how a few of the many many layers were developed. Difficult to describe just when that is done...you will just know it when you see it. I knew I wanted to save them because they would have a home in an art piece someday!
Recently, an online group I belong to was invited to participate in a show in Taiwan. The theme of the show had to do with some aspects of recycling. As a hoarder...I mean COLLECTOR!!...I have lots and lots of bits and pieces of all kinds of things safely tucked away until the creative moment arrives and they are called on to lend their unique qualities to a piece of art. So...recycling??? No problem.
The one thing I KNEW I wanted to do was use one of my treasured dropcloths for the background.
That dropcloth inspired the color choices and sometimes the placement of a lot of my "used" objects.
I didn't want to go too literal and decided on a more abstract piece for this show.
Using a dropcloth background seemed fitting for the theme. And every piece added to the background, from fabric saved from past projects to a thrift store belt, puzzles, washers, plastic grid.....are all used and found and repurposed.
Here is the result...
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
These days I often only use my rotary cutter to cut the batting, facing and sleeve!
As one who prefers free-wheeling, fly by the seat of your pants, moment of inspiration kind of stuff, ripping fabric was a total liberation to me. I love the texture and whimsy it gives to many of my backgrounds.
So put your rulers and rotary cutter aside for just a bit and play with me!!!
RIPPED FABRIC BACKGROUND
Gather your fabrics
For example, I have a container of a ton of all shades of blue which I went through to pick out just the right ones. But sometimes I rip a smaller bit off a huge piece at just the right spot for the look I want. No fabric beyond a 6"X6" square is safe in my studio!
Rip off the size of fabric pieces you need to cover the portion of the background you are working on. Squares and rectangles, smaller to larger.
Arrange on the batting
Place the bits of fabric to create the look you want. Be sure to overlap them enough so that when they are sewn down, the batting won't be visible. I like to work directly on the batting (with the backing under it). When I first did this technique I arranged it on a piece of muslin but it just added another layer of fabric and made some parts 4 layers thick! UGH! I audition many pieces in all different places until I find just the look and balance I want.
This is a piece my granddaughter is working on at this time. She chose to use more rectangular strips than I usually use but hey...it's HER quilt! Still, you can get the idea.
Make it Stay
I usually work directly onto fusible batting which helps a lot but since they are overlapped more in some places that others, I also use a glue stick when I need to be sure a corner or edge stays in place.
I sometimes pin as well but find that a bit cumbersome. Can't tell you how often I have actually quilted a pin into the quilt itself. Ouch!!
Stitch it down
Often I just stitch around the edges of the bits and since they are not usually that large, it is just enough to be exactly what I need. But in the pieces I just completed recently, I did some different quilting stitching because straight lines up and across just wouldn't do. Here are some examples.
You can see in the examples below, that for each piece I chose a few fabrics that tied in with the main color of the main concept of each quilt. So you can also use this technique to highlight the main color theme of the piece.
Monday, August 8, 2016
I'm not going into detail on the process of rusting because so many of you probably know it. But for those of you who have never heard of this process or how to do it...
Here are the basics
Select some fabric
A solid works best (I have always used 100% cotton). But why not try out some commercial fabrics!
Select some rusted metal bits
If you don't have any, you can make them yourself in a few days.
Just put the metal bits you choose in a container and cover with vinegar. Trust me...you will WANT
to do this process outside. It does get a little funky smelling and looking by the end of the process.
HINT: Be sure the metal you choose is rustable. Galvanized for example won't work. Also, coated metals don't work unless you use an acid bath on them first from what I understand. After a couple of days check a piece or two to see if it has reach the level of rusting you desire. Rinse all the bits and you are ready to go. It is best also to let them air dry after rinsing.
Soak your fabric in vinegar and put it in contact with the rusted bits
I've wrapped folded fabric around a rusty pipe, pushed it down into my baby mattress coils, layered it between rusted grids, wadded it up in the bottom of a rusted can, placed it in a rusted cast iron skillet....you get the idea.
Cover it lightly with plastic wrap
Enough so it can get some air (which causes the oxidation) but also so it will help keep the fabric damp. You can also spray it with vinegar if it starts to get dry.
Rinse, let air dry and enjoy the results!
When you have the color you want, take the fabric away from the rusted bits and rinse it well in salt water. Let it air dry and you are ready to find a million ways to use it!
Here are a couple of pieces I had on hand from previous rusting sessions.
I also noticed there are a couple of "rusty" posts coming up in the next months! Keep an eye out for those!
Here is rusted fabrics used in backgrounds of 4 pieces I recently completed. First a collage of the 4 pieces then detail photos of the rusted part. It is an underwater series and I used rusted fabrics for the ocean floor on these 4.
Here is another piece done years ago. You might remember half of it from the month I did last year on Art Quilting and Beyond. This is the whole piece before we halved it. You can see the rusted background better.
One short note for today. Especially if you hand quilt or stitch. The rust on the fabric does make it more difficult to hand stitch through. On a machine, no problem but you can hear a difference when stitiching through the rusted parts.
All for today! See you again on Wednesday!
Kelly L Hendrickson