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, April 30, 2014

Pounded Fabric - The Magic

Now for the results! After the fabric is completely dry, iron it and it is ready to use. (Several days in "real life") Here is the black Kona with the metallic paints I did for this demonstration.

Pounded Fabric right out of the plastic bag when totally dry.

Whole piece of Pounded Fabric after ironing

Close-up of Pounded Fabric

I also did a purple hand-dyed piece I wanted to show as another example. But this is an example of what happens if the fabric is too dry.  It IS a painted piece of fabric and definitely usable...but the fabric was too dry to assist in the capillary action between enough water and the paints. Those beautiful little feathery veins are very few. Oh it WILL get used for sure.  So as with so many surfacing techniques, all is not lost.  There are always alternatives!! And some accidents are quite wonderful. Even if you don't get the pounded fabric right the first time, you have not wasted anything!

Here is a piece I recently completed entitled "Deep Space."  The background fabric for this is a piece of black Kona pounded with different metallic paints. This is why I don't have any black pounded fabric left. It was just too perfect for this theme!!

Deep Space

I also used some pounded fabric on two pieces in my recent "Pecans" series. I love using pounded fabrics in a collection of surface designed pieces because the look is so different.

In "Emergence" I used some blue/green pounded fabric in the textile portion of this piece.


Emergence (detail)

And in "Winter Harvest" in this series, I used another piece of the blue/green pounded fabric and a couple of bits of the black Kona/metallic pounded fabric.

Winter Harvest

Winter Harvest (detail)

I hope you have enjoyed this technique and will give it a try next time you have some leftover paint (or just feel like making some of this beautiful fabric). The combinations of fabric and paint are so many!! You can also vary the amount of paint used for a more subtle look. Most of all....Have fun!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pounded Fabric - The Process

OK...do you have all your tools ready?  Here we go!  I've chosen a black Kona fabric and some metallic paints. I've done this process before and love the results. I just used up the last piece so I'm out to make some more for future projects. I'm also doing a piece of purple hand dyed to show you some things as well.

Step One

Wet the fabric you will be using. It should be thoroughly wet then wring it out enough that it doesn't drip and isn't soaking wet. Don't get it too dry or the capillary process won't work as well.  So....somewhere between not dripping wet and not totally wrung out to the just damp stage.

Step Two

Place the wet fabric in the plastic bag.  Roll down the sides a bit to make it easy to get to the fabric. It should be placed loosely in the bag...not a tight little ball.

Step Three

Pour out your paints on whatever palette you prefer. You can keep them separate or mix them. They will become a bit mixed anyway when you pound them.

Step Four

Take your paint brush and wet it. Then moosh it into some of the paint.  Then begin to literally pound it into the fabric. You will want to turn the fabric and be sure it gets to most or all of the surface. Keep in mind, this really is a wet process. You don't really want the straight undiluted paint on the fabric. The water is what creates the beautiful effects.

Step Five

Loosely tie the top of the bag and place it in a warm place to dry out. I put mine in my supply/batching closet. This process can take several days.  It is best if you just forget about it for several days. If it is very slow in drying out, you might want to loosen the tied top a good bit.  It needs to get totally dry but not in a hurry. The magic happens during a slow, several days drying time.

Tune in tomorrow to see the results and an example of a piece used in an art quilt.

My friend, Wil, who showed me this technique is joining me to show you some of her results as well. I hope we can inspire you to recycle your paints and perhaps some leftover fabrics into a beautiful example of this surfacing technique!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pounded Fabric - The Preparation

Several times I have posted pieces of my art in which I used pounded fabric for the background. Each time I have received many questions as to just what pounded fabric is.  Well....here is the low down on how to do it!!  It is a simple process but with wonderful results.

You only need 4 items to start.

Fabric - You can use hand dyed or commercial fabrics. This is a great opportunity to use some pieces that are not quite your "favorites"!

A plastic bag - like the kind you get at the grocery store when you check out

Paint Brush - use old ones you can get at garage sales. Don't spend much on these as you will see...they won't be adequate for painting anything else when we are done. I get mine in packs of 3 at the dollar store.

Acrylic Paints - this is a great technique to have ready after you are finished painting something and don't want to waste the leftover paints!

That's it!! Tomorrow I'll post the process and on Wednesday, I'll post the results with at least one piece in which I used pounded fabric!  See ya then!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What is up for May? Lutradur!

After a call out last year for people to make suggestions on what to experiment for the upcoming year by Beth  I emailed and shared that I had done a workshop based on Leslie Riley’s book on Lutradur. Beth extended the invitation to be a guest blogger. So for the month of May I am your guest host. And I am bringing along some of my friends who have not used Lutradur in their work before but were game to try. I needed moral support for this venture!

I also got bold and emailed a few people that know a bit more on this subject than I. I have found out that people in the world of blogging, book writing, artists are very sharing people! So they will be popping in with some guest posts.

I want you to know that I am not an expert in the subject but am an experimenter. I love to learn. I am not a writer but I have been doing a lot of writing this month to get ready. So you may find grammatical and spelling mistakes. But you will also find a bunch of trial and errors, lots of pictures and my willingness to have you jump in and email me with your own experiences. I love to hear about what others have found that works or doesn't work.

 To follow along you will need a few things. A sense of adventure, Lutradur and some things that you may already have in the house.

Things to colour with - paints, paint sticks, crayons, ink pads, inks etc.
Things to add colour with - brushes, scrapers, sponges, stamps, stencils, computer, transfer methods.

Things to sew with - machine, threads, needles….

Things to embellish with -wool, fibres, beads etc.

Tools to burn with - a soldering iron, stamping heat gun, your own iron…

 You will be amazed with what you have around the house that you can use this month!

Leslie Riley who wrote the book called “Fabulous Fabric Art with Lutradur” found 27 ways to play with Lutradur in her 2009 book by C&T publishing.

It was this resource and a few other books that I had in my library that I formed two hour workshop I shared with my art group in 2013. And now there is a whole month to explore this fabric! So while my house has been full of creating samples and my sewing desk looks like this…

 your job is to get some Lutradur to play along!

Maybe you have not heard of Lutradur before …what exactly is it? According to the packaging Lutradur is a “Pellon” product which is a 100% nonwoven translucent polyester and was used by furniture companies to cover the underneath of chairs and couches. How and who first discovered to make art with it I am not sure. Do you know?

To purchase it first try your local art store or quilt store. It can be bought in packages by C &T publishing or in yardage. There are different weights to try as well. But to start try any that you can find. It is called Spunbond in the UK and Rainbowspun in Australia. If you cannot find it locally. Try the internet. Google!! That’s what I did!

I know that you can purchase it in North America from...
Leslie Riley’s site http://www.lesleyriley.com/
C & T Publishing http://www.ctpub.com

In the UK…
Spun Art http://spunart.com/  
Kim Thittichai  http://www.nid-noi.com

In Europe… http://www.inekeberlyn.com

And if anyone in the UK, Australia, Europe or somewhere else in the world has a place they can get it please let me know and I will add it to the list. 

So come May 1st I hope you enjoy traveling through my samples and my friends adventures with this interesting fibre…..

Enjoying the adventure and hope you do too!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Shibori and Dye Na Flow

Lynda here again. One of the techniques I wanted try in Cheryl Rezendes' Fabric Surface Design book was using Dye-Na-Flow with folding techniques or shibori. She called the chapter Fold and Color.

I've tried these techniques with Indigo dye, but never with Dye-Na-Flow. So here we go.

I folded the fabric the following three ways: flag, accordian, and jelly roll.

Below is the flag fold. After folding it and securing with rubber bands, I used pipettes to drop three different Dye-Na-Flow colors on the fabric. You can find directions for flag folding and the other folds on the web. Her book has illustrations for these and other folds.

Once I was happy with the colors I let the pieces sit for 24 hours or until they were dry.

Once dry, I opened them up and ironed them for three minutes on the back side of the fabric.

And here are my results.

Flag Fold
Accordion Fold

Jelly Roll Fold

My favorite of the three was the jelly roll. Using Dye-Na-Flow was easy. This would be a fun project for kids using bandanas or tshirts.

I must admit, my Indigo dye pieces were much more impressive. However, this was easy and fast. I will redo this project again with different colors. These came out a bit brighter than I would have liked them.

Dye-Na-Flow is a great product to quickly add background color to fabric. I also love using it with sun printing. Be sure and stop back by in June when we'll spend the whole month blogging about different ways to sun print.

Do you use Dye-Na-Flow? I'd love to hear your favorite ways to play with it.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

What to do with the fabric - part 3

Colourgradation, warm from yellow to red, and cool, from green to blue. They want to dance, so I thought of a project to combine them. 

 Made a drawing on paperbacked fusible web and started cutting, for hours actually,

but loved the final result:

And lucky me (or did I think it over before I started dyeing :-), there was a second set of fabric that can be combined the opposite way:

A lot of stitching, as the piece is about 3 meters wide, but I like this zen-type of stitching, just following lines!

In this piece, the coloured fabric is really the Prima Donna. I humbly serve by stitching the fabrics together;-). Happy stitching to all of you and be the servant your fabric deserves!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Stash Buster Projects - Part 2

Last August, I came across a blog post by Carol Eaton that got me very excited… you can read the post here.  In it, she showed photos of one of the members of her fiber arts collective, Rosalind Spann.  Rosalind was offering information about her coiled fabric bracelets, and it struck me that this was something I really wanted to try.  What a great way to use up fabric stash and create wonderful, one of a kind accessories!  Alas, Rosalind is not on the internet, so I had to see if I could figure out how to make these using my experience with coiled fabric bowls as a starting point.  I cut a 9 inch length of cord to start.  The big challenge was how to attach the ends the cord together before wrapping with fabric.  I’m still working on perfecting my method, but recently tried adhesive cloth tape, available in the first aid section of my grocery store.  I have also used zig-zag stitching, and a combination of both methods. 
Once I have attached the ends together, I wrap strips of ½” wide fabric around, anchoring with a little glue to start, then finishing up with a little glue when I have wrapped the whole circle and trimmed off the excess fabric. If desired, you can embellish with yarn, ribbon, beads, etc.
In the beginning, that was all I did.  The bracelets were cute, but not very sturdy.  I wasn’t sure what I could do to improve on the design until recently. I just tried using a clear, water based acrylic sealer found at the local building supply store.  The sealer comes in either spray form or in a can you can apply with a brush… I prefer the latter.  The surprise is that once the sealer dried, the bracelets became stiff… much sturdier than before!  And now they are a lot more durable and less likely to be soiled. 

Another variation I tried is to tape together 2 circlets to make a wider bracelet.  Below is a shot of the batch I have finished so far:

I’m having so much fun making these!  I plan to sell them at craft shows so I can make more!
I hope you have enjoyed these posts, and would love to hear about your favorite ways to use up fabric scraps.  Spring is here… time to de-stash and clean out those craft rooms!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stash Buster Projects - Part 1

I’m sure many of you have a similar problem to mine… too much fabric, not enough projects to even begin to put a dent in the pile! I am forever trying to find ways to corral the ever-growing stacks, but the only way I seem to be able to reduce the stash is finding projects that will allow me to use not just large pieces, but those pesky scraps that I just can’t bring myself to discard! A couple of years ago, I read a tutorial by Sherrie Spangler that described how to make really fun scarves, using Sulky Solvy, a water soluble stabilizer, and scraps of fabrics and yarns. Sherrie does a great job of describing the process in several posts on her blog, http://sherriequilt.blogspot.com/. If you visit her blog and search on “scarf” you will find the tutorials that got me started making scarves as a stash buster. Sherrie and I have since met in person, and we marvel that, even though we both use the same process, we each have developed our own personal style, making our scarves very different in appearance!
Here is a photo of one of Sherrie’s scarves:

And below, one of mine:

These are very enjoyable projects that help use up the stash, but warning:  I have added back as much in new purchases as I have decreased the stash making these scarves… they are addictive, but have been a very popular item at the craft shows where I sell!  Another project I have enjoyed making to use up fabric is notepad covers:

This is a fairly simple project, but a great way to use up small pieces of fabric.  The above example is using 2 pieces of hand dyed fabrics, but you could also piece together or fuse smaller scraps to create the cover.  I used double sided fusible stabilizer to create the structure, then a heavy zig-zag stitch around the edges.  The notepad is a standard 5” x 8” lined tablet available at office supply stores.  There is a pocket on the inside of each cover – one to slip the notepad into, the other for notes and/or pen.  I have one I made several years ago that I use a lot, and it’s still going strong!  These are great gift items, and they help use up some of that fabric!  For more complete instructions, check here for the tutorial by Beth Wheeler!
I will be posting about another great stash buster tomorrow, so don’t forget to check it out!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Review: Sewing Pottery by Machine by Barbara Warholic

 Many years ago, I aspired to become a potter.  Alas, after trying out the process in Junior College, I decided I was not cut out for it – the clay was very hard on my thin skin, and it was an exceptionally messy medium!  But I have always loved the graceful shapes of pots, bowls and vases that are typical of clay and ceramic creations.  Fast forward 46 years to 2012 – I had become an avid reader of blogs, particularly those written by my fellow fiber artists.  Sometime in the fall of 2012, I found a wonderful tutorial written by Sherrie Spangler on her blog, which helped me get started making coiled fabric bowls.  At first it was just a ‘stash buster’ project – a way to use up my ever growing collection of fabrics, and offer a new product at the craft fairs where I sell.  But over time, it has become a real avocation for me!  I love the process as well as the finished product, and that is always a plus for me.
Last summer, I found a book at a fabric store I was visiting, called “It’s a Wrap II” by Susan Breier, and that set me on a path to learn more about how to create various shapes along with embellishing and finishing techniques. 
Recently, I came across “Sewing Pottery by Machine” by Barbara Warholic, and it really got my interest, because she teaches techniques for creating shapes that combine two bowls to create a pot or vase, even pitchers!  I immediately ordered the book, and read it through as soon as it came in the mail. 
I decided to try her methods making a vase-shaped pot, and set about to see if I could follow her directions.  I will not go into detail here, as I do not want to divulge her secrets, but I will tell you that her directions are easy to follow… however, I did find a couple of steps to be a little more difficult than I anticipated.  The process involves constructing the bottom of the structure, then the top, and making both components the same diameter so as to join them.  I followed her directions for the top, making the number of rows she indicated at the angles she listed in the directions, and ended up with a top portion that was about an inch wider than the bottom.  I ended up ripping out several rows in order to make both diameters match, so the vase came out shorter than I had planned.  The last step, stitching the two components together, is a little cumbersome, but I can’t envision an alternate method, so I used some trusty tools to help me stitch it together.  Here is my finished pot:

Lessons learned:   Make the match of the top and bottom diameters your priority over  following the directions to the letter.  Once I ripped out the rows back to the diameter on the top that matched the bottom, the project progressed without a hitch.

Conclusion:  I can highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn how to make fabric pots.  There are other books on the shelf that teach bowl and basket making techniques, and I can recommend trying one of those for basic shapes, but “Sewing Pottery by Machine” is an excellent guide for advanced  shapes.  I found my copy used on-line, but have also seen it in fabric shops. Published 2011 by Martingale & Company.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Shadow Printing

Lynda here again. I was introduced to shadow printing in Lynn Krawczyk's new book, Intentional Printing. She explains that shadow printing is a great teacher for those of us who are learning to layer images. This technique creates sort of an ombre effect.

Start with a piece of fabric - I started with this white on white that already had a pattern on it.

Print over the complete piece.

Then go back and print again, but not on the top third of the fabric.

Then print again over the bottom third until you are happy with it.

I found this process really freeing. There is something about over printing - not worrying about smudges.  I really liked that piece, but I thought I'd try it with some paint cloths that have been waiting in the wings for me to play with.

This time I got out my whip with blue screen printing ink.

 However when I was finished I didn't think the blue had enough contrast so I added red.

Let's try the other paint cloth.

With this one I added white screen printing ink with one of my "new" potato mashers.

And a closeup

That was so much fun! I really like the look. I'll definitely be playing with this technique in future projects. What about you? Have you tried this?

See you next Friday with a technique from Fabric Surface Design by Cheryl Rezendes.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What to do with the fabric - part 2

Remember the striped fabric I made in February?

I thought it might make a nice Kaleido-block to play with:

Now that it is one interesting piece, but  I am still thinking what it wants me to do next. Will leave it on my designwall for a while until new inspiration will come!