Sunday, September 3, 2017

Using journal pages as inspiration for textiles

You may remember a while back when I mentioned that some of my journal pages might make interesting textiles. For some recent challenges that is exactly what I have done.

 Several years ago I did this journal page during a Wild Art online class. I loved it so much I have since used it as inspiration for more work.

This was my latest journal page using that same technique of multi colored leaves collaged to a background. This lead me to the following textile page for a Music inspired challenge with my textile group.

I used a fusible web on the back of fabric to make the leaves then ironed them onto my background. The birds were done the same way. They were a sample I did earlier in the year for my silk screen class. I  then added the dark stitching for definition. None of the three designs are identical but they are similar in style.

The next page was one I did recently about what feed my soul and it fit the Music challenge of my textile group so I did a page based on it.

This one was almost a direct copy of my original design. I love the way it turned out, again I used fabric fusing for the words and background. There is more machine embroidery on this one and some hand stitching for the music.

 The final challenge piece I did was for the theme "doors". I used a photo transfer of a door and used fabric for the architecture. The columns were painted on Evolon and cut out. I did the flowers using ribbon embroidery.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Doing my own thing

I am continuing with the Colour me positive challenge but doing it my own way. I always seem to get stuck for ideas if I use someone else's quotes so I usually choose my own quote for inspiration. Sometimes I pick my own theme too.

 Week 27 - the one you love. This week I was pressed for time so I kept it super simple.

 Week 28 - Glitter. I was looking at my colored pencils on my desk and thought I hadn't used them for a while so they became the inspiration for this week's page. I used 'Ice Stickles' for my glitter. At least that way it stays on the page and not on me.

 Week 29 - This weeks prompt was not for me so I did this quote that has been on my pin up board for a while. Sometimes I come across a quote that speaks to me and I save it so I can put it on a page. I wanted to add some mixed media tags so I made them and used my die cutting machine to cut out hearts and butterflies for a papercraft style page.

 Week 30 - I love this quote by Walt Disney. When I used my pencils a couple of weeks ago I forgot how nice it is to use them.  I wanted to do more coloring so this week I made a coloring page then colored it in.

This is the page I drew. If you want to download it for yourself just click on the image to make it larger and right click then save the picture to your computer. You can then print it out onto any type of paper you want and color it your own way. 

 Week 31 - No prompt this week so I drew some of the items that were on my sketching table. I usually sketch while watching tv with my husband in the evening. I collaged on the hearts and flowers for added interest. It was a fun page to do. I am still surprised that I can draw things that I thought would have been impossible ten years ago. Practice really does make you a better artist.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Fibres West

In July I went to a week long art retreat called Fibres West. It was a fantastic way to mix with other like minded creative people who also love textile art as much as I do. 

It was held at an agricultural college that is actually a working farm. It is a lovely setting and a great place for taking a long walk but it was freezing cold in the middle of winter. 
 My class was using water soluble fabrics to make thread only pictures taught by a wonderful Canadian, Amanda Mccavour. The first few days we did a lot of samples and experiments, then the last three days I did my final project.

 The leaves on the right were originally the same size as the other samples but I had the machine tension too tight so as I stitched it got smaller and smaller. It was a lesson learned.

 Next we trapped pieces of paper or fabric in the layers of stitching. I was tired of square samples by now so wanted to try a bit of drawing with the machine. I did daisies. The blue bits in the petals is mulberry paper and the centers are Japanese paper supplied by our tutor. I later colored the white centers with watercolors because I put it on a white background.
 Another experiment we did was to use shading to make an image appear three dimensional. I enjoyed this lesson and will develop the technique more in the future.

 Amanda does wonderful installations, sometimes using many multiples (4000!) of one shape. She showed us how to do one of her favorite designs that is based on the spirograph. It may look simple but it was very hard to stay on track. I did end up with a bowl shape but it will take a lot more practice to get the stitching even.  

 My final project was to be a bird cage and I decided I wanted to add a couple of birds. This picture shows the sheer fabrics I added before I stitched the birds. I didn't want the black cage to show through them so that is why I added fabric.

 My finished piece turned out the way I wanted it to. I used some patterned plastic bag on the cage. It wasn't as stiff as I would like so later on I did add more stiffening to the piece.

  Our wonderful tutor Amanda is center front wearing the green jumper. I am standing at the back right in a purple jumper trying to keep warm, lol. You can see a lot of the work of the class on the wall behind us. It was a superb class and wonderful week.

 I later added the daisy sample to a journal page to go into my fabric art journal later this year.

 I have used beads to raise my birds off the white background here so it could be displayed recently. That worked well but I am going to stiffen it properly soon so it can be framed and hung proudly in my home. I like the way the shadows are on the background and want to play on that. The possibilities of this technique are endless.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Art journalling is one of my year long projects.

This year I have become very involved with my textile group, teaching and working on the committee side of things so it has kept me busy. I have been creating art but not posting so now that my lessons have finished you can expect a lot more sharing from me.

I have been keeping up with my commitment to the Colour me positive challenge and have created a journal page a week. This year I have been experimenting with a lot of different techniques in my journal and as I look through the 30 pages created so far I can see a definite style is there in each technique. I always seem to do neat, graphic style work with simple backgrounds.

 Week 21- Gratitude. I collaged on deli papers that had been previously printed then I carved some stamps and used them to start this uneven grid style page. The stars, heart in a square and square star are all stamps I made. The rest of the page is drawn and coloured with paint pens. 

Week 22 - Creativity. I used a white wax crayon to draw the houses then filled them with india inks and let them blend together. It was a really fast, fun technique and I love the finished effect. 

 Week 23 - Attitude. I was cleaning up and found some cut outs I did for an older journal so I used them to make this simple page. The background is tissue paper and paint.

 Week 24 - What soothes your soul? For me it has to be music that has the most effect on my moods. There is nothing like putting a great song on really loud and singing along. It always makes a dark day brighter. I cut the words from scrapbooking papers and glued them to a previously painted background.

 Week 25 - This week I used the quote supplied and the extra challenge to create a silhouette. I still struggle when it comes to drawing the side profile.

Week 26 - Learning new things. The prompt this week was very appropriate for me as I spent the week away at a textile art retreat learning new things. I made a simple page about the retreat that was Fibres West. I will shortly do a post about the work we did there.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Miniature Landscape

I am going away in a couple of weeks to a week long Art retreat and workshop called Fibres West. One of the things we were asked to bring is a 15 x 15 cm (6 in square) artwork to donate. The idea is that all the donated items will be made available for sale for $15 during the event. It is a great way to raise funds for the next event and also participants get to take home a piece of art that will be a reminder of their time at the retreat.

I decided to make a miniature version of one of my textile landscapes. I am pleased with the way it turned out and will enjoy seeing someone else take it home. The hardest part of being an artist who gives away or sells work occasionally is parting with the pieces that I really like. When that happens I remind myself that my house is already full of stuff and it is a good feeling to let artworks go to a new home where they will be loved.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Creating with paper

I have been trying to keep up with the Colour me Positive art journal challenge this year and so far its working out well. I haven't been good at posting them here but I have been busy. 

 Week 14 - This page uses that crayon technique we all learned as kids. I used a white wax crayon to do the drawing and blue for the writing then sprayed over them with some dye sprays. I used watercolors to fill in the flowers and leaves. It was a quick page. 

Week 15 - This page was using the peeled paint technique on the word life. First you paint your image with acrylic paint then when it is dry you spread on some Vaseline or Aloe Vera gel in a few areas. You paint over the top with more acrylics, trying not to smear the gel underneath. When it is mostly dry wipe off the excess paint to reveal the color underneath. The word balance was done with crackle paint, something I haven't used for years. I like the way it looks on the page so I will probably use it more often now.

Week 16 - I wanted to do a doodle page so I could just sit and draw with the one good arm. It was fun to do but not something I would do often.

Week 17 - This week I wanted to make a 3D page so I used foil tape to make the blue door and embossed card to make the red door. It was a lot of fun doing something completely different. I am using this journal as a way to experiment with different techniques and ideas.

Week 18 - I had fun making a collage using previously printed papers this week. I think this page would make a great textile piece so you may see a similar design in the future.

Week 19 - Another mixed media page. I used embossing and paper piecing to make the background and clock. I did get a little carried away with the spattering but it is hard to stop once you get going.

Week 20 - I wanted to use silhouettes this week so I created a background for them using the insides of business envelopes glued to the page. I used the window for the quote and then used ink to stamp the circles for a grungy look. I used stamps for the flowers but also added drawing with a Pitt pen to add extra stems and grass. It is quite a messy page compared to the majority of my work which tends to be fairly neat. I love trying different styles because it stops artist block creeping in.

Several of these journal pages would be great inspiration for textiles. I can imagine week 14, 18 and 20 as fabric images and maybe some of my earlier pages too. That is one of the reasons I keep journalling, I can work out ideas on paper and use them to plan future textile works.

Everything you do has the potential for further exploration. If you are suffering a little artist's block I suggest you go back through your own work and pick a piece that you can see another idea in. Go ahead and develop your new piece using the old one to inspire you. It may be the technique you used, the colors or how they sit next to each other, the image or the composition. It may even be a piece that you think needs improvement and you want to redo it. Go ahead and get creating.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Making a silk screen with vinyl

A shoulder injury has kept me away from the computer for a while but now I hope it is on the mend. Recently I read an article in an old Quilting Arts magazine about making silk screens using fusible vinyl. It looked interesting and I had some iron-on vinyl so I gave it a go. It was so much fun that now I have made many more screens and some of the prints I did were used in the previous post. Here is a video how to I made explaining how I do it. 

The video can also be seen larger on YouTube here: 
There are more detailed instructions in the video.

Some of the designs I have made and used
 Step 1. Start with some iron-on vinyl or fusible vinyl. I have two brands here in Australia, Legacy and Thermoweb that I bought at Spotlight fabric store. You also need the screen fabric. You can use silk but any sheer polyester will do. You can't use nylon because it will melt when you iron it. The iron needs to be on the polyester setting to make the glue stick properly.

A large pattern screen, about 15 ins square from strips of vinyl
2. Draw your design on the paper side of the fusible. You do not reverse the design. Cut out your design and stick the vinyl to your fabric. I did several different types of designs but my favorites are the geometric patterns because I think I will use them more often.

I did some gold printing over some rough fabric painting.
This is the one that got dropped when the purple was still wet, oops!
 3. When you have the vinyl placed onto the fabric, iron it on. Don't start with your iron too hot or you could melt your vinyl. That is it. Now you are ready to use the silk screen. Sometimes I put duct tape around the edge of the screen to make it easier for me to handle but that is not necessary.

4. I tried a lot of different paints and screen inks. As long as it is thick and smooth anything will work. I even used tube acrylic paint when I printed onto paper and it worked well. An old credit card worked well for spreading the paint.

  Some card designs I printed as shown in the video.

A close up of the image where I used puff paint for the screen printing.

 This is the lily that was printed with So Soft paints by Decoart. You can see all the bubbles have gone when it dried.

 Printed using Lumiere paints. I will add machine stitching to this one and make it into a journal page later in the year.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

2017 fabric art journal

I have started making pages for my next fabric art journal. I am going to see what it is like to hand stitch the journal together so I am making the pages bigger than normal. They are about 32 x 31cm (12.5 x 12 inches) large. At the end of the year when I put it together I will make a video as an alternative to the machine stitched journals.

 This is the first page I made. I used a technique from Maggie Grey's Textile Translations book to make the leaf design. Then I did a textile collage using scraps of fabric and other things from my stash. I kept adding bits until I felt it looked good and stitched it down. The plums are from an old cross stitch that I stiffened then cut up. The shiny bit is fusible film (angelina).

 This page has a silk screen printed focal image. I made the silk screen and printed it on white fabric. When it was dry I used fabric paint to add color then finished it off with hand embroidery. I made another collage using odds and ends I had.

This final page is another silk screen printed image and this time I painted it with shiny Lumiere paints. I added machine stitching details on the owl and the background. No hand stitching this time.

I made the silk screens using fusible vinyl. I learned the technique from a Quilting Arts magazine. I will share it with you next post.