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, August 23, 2011

Fabulous monoprints from the Netherlands

One of our followers, Suus, from the Netherlands does beautiful and amazing work. I have been following her blog for a while and she has just posted some really exceptional monoprints. Although her blog is in Dutch, she has a translate feature which converts her writings into English or the language of your choice. Please check out these wonderfully executed pieces. Her blog is called Suus Artquilt

Just got an email answer from Suus. She used textile paint to get these great monoprints. Thanks, Suus.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Photo Stamp--Quilter Beth

I had a little time today to try the stamp I cut this week from a picture of my Grandmother. I didn't have a lot of pictures of my Grandma to choose from, so the quality of the original photo isn't the best to start with. This is my first attempt to cut a stamp that has so much detail. I never thought about cutting a stamp from a picture before.

This is the original picture of my Grandma Wink.
This next picture shows (in order from left to right)--the black and white "posterized" photo colored with pencil, the stamped image (on paper), and the carved stamp itself. I used a foam brush to "dab" the paint onto the stamp.
All in all, I don't think it turned out too badly for my very first attempt, and I enjoyed doing it. I have a larger copy of the photo and plan on cutting a larger stamp. I think the details (especially around the eyes) will come out better.

Grandma was a very special lady; and when she passed, I got a box of old quilt blocks that she had sewn together by hand. I'm thinking I might be able to do something with a stamp of Grandma and those blocks. Any ideas?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Round robin final

This piece has made the rounds, and is now heading back to Jenny.

After receiving it from Beth, I used this stamp on it with some DeColourant.

The DeColourant was one that supposedly took color out and replaced it. The color was "Natural Storm Grey" or something like that, but it looks pretty blue to me.

After stamping, I heat set it with my iron. I thought there might be a color change after heating, but there didn't seem to be.

Hope you enjoy, Jenny!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I cut another sharper version of my image and made some prints. The first 3 over 3 is on plain white.

This is done in Probrite (metallic) rust . Much nicer detail. The next one was on hand dyed silk and is sitting on a piece of hand dyed cotton.
I will call this Deja Vu. I really like this one the best. The last is on a piece of hand snow dyed fabric.
This will be called Clouded Mind

And last of all, here are 2 of the surface design Round Robin pieces before they are mailed out.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Surface Design Round Robin Update

It's the first of the month. Do you know where you fabric is???  Karen has posted a great picture and instructions for what she has done to her piece this month.  And, even better, she is used stamps she carved herself --our technique for the month.  Wooooo Hoooooo!

Making a stamp from a photograph

The August technique of the month is making a stamp from a photograph. This is a technique I adapted from a Lyric Kinard DVD on stamp making. The first time I used this technique was to make a stamp of a feather from a photo I had taken of three feathers I used to keep in my car visor. I actually have that stamp at the end of this tutorial. Lately I have been using a certain motif, a picture of a man, in all sorts of work. The man happens to be my brother and it all started when I did a 4 color fabric portrait of him. I am now doing a totally stitched portrait of him along with Judith (quiltordye) who is working on her own motif in stitch. I digress.
I took the photo of my brother and made it greyscale then posterized it in two values. I also tweeked the contrast a bit before posterizing til I got an image I liked.

I took a soft lead pencil (#7) and penciled in, laying down graphite, over the areas that were black. I didn't do the entire background, just a band and all the details inside the face.

I think you can see the shiny graphite around the image. Then I cut the image to the width of my stamp material. I used soft-kut from Dick Blick. It is dead cheap. A 4x6 sheet cost a bit over $1. As you can see from this photo I missed filling the dark patch next to the mouth with graphic. Drats. Then I took the soft-kut and laid the image graphite side down and rubbed the back of the paper as hard as I could with a spoon back to move the graphite from the paper onto the soft-kut.

I thought I took a photo of the soft-kut BEFORE I went over the lines with a permanent ink pen but I guess I didn't. Oh well. When I removed the paper after transferring the graphite onto the soft-kut, I drew "cutting" lines because the graphite is unstable and will rub off easily. I think my paper shifted about and my image was not as crisp as I know it could be. Probably taping the paper to the substrate before rubbing the graphite image would be a good idea. Learn from my mistake. Now it is time to start the cutting process.

I used Speedball linoleum cutters, also dead cheap at Dick Blicks, like under $7 for a handle and 5 blades. I also used an Xacto knife to do intricate cuts.

The upper picture is my first cut and the lower photo is after removing a large amount of soft-kut near the chin.
When I used the Xacto knife I used it in a bevel so as to keep the material (soft-kut) as stable as possible. I will show you what I mean using this eraser. I place the knife on a bevel towards the area to be removed, then the next cut is beveled towards the first cut. The excess to be removed easily pops out.

See how the bevel stabilizes the center image?

OK, after removing all the material from the stamp, it's time to print a rough sample image to see what I forgot or what is too high and getting into my image.

I THINK I am done so I ink up the stamp and print.

The paper with the graphite is on the left, the rubber stamp is on the right and my first printing of the image is in the center. I see some high spots (on the forehead) and I take this opportunity to trim away "hairs". You can even see where the high spots have ink on them on the stamp.

This is a close-up of "hairs" on the first print. I also had forgotten a piece near the mouth so I cleaned it up and printed again.

Now I want to mount this stamp onto a rigid substrate so my fingers wont push too hard on the carved areas which are now thinner than the raised areas. This will give me nice stable uniform pressure when printing. I have plans for this stamp. I want to do multiple touching images a'la Andy Warhol so I want my backing to be the exact same size at the stamp to make calibration easier. You'll see what I mean when I make my prints. I used rigid 1" insulation board, rough cut a piece maked it with the stamp on it and made the final cut on my bandsaw (because I have one). A knife or razor will also make a nice cut.

Measuring for a rough cut

marking the exact size of the stamp

Cut perfectly on a bandsaw

Now it's time to attach the stamp to the rigid backing. I used Elmers contact cement. Paint it on, wait a minute or two til dry then placed the stamp on the substrate. See below

And then I mark the side with an arrow so I KNOW which way is up. Ask me how I know!!

I decided to use craft paint with a brayer just to see what it looked like. Interesting images. You could see the brayer marks which is neither good nor bad and the image was NOT crisp. Same reaction. It was a good first try. I now know I will do 3 over 3 - 6 images to make a 12X12" square.

Not really what I was going for but a good start. I am making this for a specific purpose but I have used stamps from photographs many other times as motifs in quilts.Here are a few.

Above is a stamp I made from the photo below. The stamp has that stamp feel as opposed to the yellow image which is a solvent transfer and a pretty sharp image.
This is a stamp from a photo of a feather. I have used this image over and over again. It's one of my faves.

Over the course of the month, I will blog back with my finished piece done with this stamp. I have become obsessed with this image of my brother and I am doing 3 pieces this month alone, all very different.

OK. Now it's the next day and I really couldn't wait to start experimenting. On the first multiple print of the stamp, I had brayer marks which I actually quite liked. Here is the next print, done today, where I brayered the paint onto my glass plate and pressed the stamp into the paint to load.

It has what I refer to as "smack marks" where the paint forms ridges when the stamp is lifted off the paint filled plate. I like!

Next I used a smooth foam brayer (4" foam paint roller) to load the paint onto the stamp. THIS is the color I most associate with my brother because he is a red head.

This method has given me the best definition and smooth color that I was looking for. Wish I had more paint this color. I will give it another go with fabric paint in this color later. Love the look and the format - 4 across.

Now this last one is with the same technique, foam brayer, with the dark brown which I accidentally poured onto the glass plate. It is the format I want to use for the art show 12X12 - 3 over 3.

I will keep adding to this tutorial until August 1st when I paste it into the "Fire" blog.

I can't tell you how much I love making these stamps from images. I have done a friends dog and made a quilt all about her. It is such a wonderful way to pay tribute or just "go" with a motif. I hope you all have a ball.

Beth from Maine