Sunday, January 30, 2011

Class with Jane Dunnewold--Improvisational Screen Printing

I just returned from a three-day class with Jane Dunnewold. I feel very fortunate to have been able to take this class. Not only is Jane an EXTREMELY talented fiber artist but she is truly one of the best teachers I have even encountered. (I taught high school for 28 years, so I know a good teacher when I see one!) She had a way of making every student in her class feel special. I can't begin to explain how much I took from this class.

Remember when you look at these pictures that this class was not designed to produce finished products. It was a class designed to teach different techniques of improvisational screen printing. That was very freeing in that it allowed us to experiment and "play" without the pressure of producing something with all the elements of good design. We weren't afraid to try out the "what if" scenario even if we thought it might fail.

We covered lots and lots of ways to use a screen to print images onto fabric. We transferred images using watercolor crayons. The image was colored onto the screen and a gel medium was used to bind the color to the fabric. This is one of mine. As much as I love the color I can get, I don't think I would use this method for my type of work; because the gel medium changes the hand of the fabric too much.
This next one is another one of mine. We printed the image until the color was pretty much exhausted (which in this case was three prints). My first print is on the bottom, the second in the middle, and the last on top. Generally, I found that the second print was the best. This one reminded me of the Kandinsky paintings I like so much.
This example belongs to another student in the class. I really liked the way she placed the images on the fabric. 
We also used flour paste on the screens. We covered the screen with flour paste, let it dry, and etched lines into it. We discovered that we could etch lines from the back AND the front of the screen, which opened the door to writing text without it coming out backwards. We were all amazed at the quality of line we could get with the flour paste. 

Here, Jane is etching a design into the dried flour paste using a wooden skewer. 
This is a little experiment I did. We were urged to put the flour on in a thin, even layer. I wondered what would happen if I put on a thick layer and used the holes, chips, and cracks in the flour as a design element. I was totally prepared for failure--and I thought it WAS a failure until another student added one of her designs over the top. That is when I saw the potential in something SO simple. (The black design was made with the really thick flour paste screen. The tan was my friend's design.)
You can see Jane's flour paste etching on the table. We used tempera paints for the class, so we didn't have to worry about the paint drying in the screens. During the class we discovered that the brand of tempera paints we used (Sargent Art/Art-Time) was somewhat permanent. Jane heat set her design, washed it out, put it in the dryer, and found there was very little loss of line or color. She seemed very surprised (and excited) about that discovery.

I've heard it said that, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." Well, I found out that you CAN teach THIS old dog new tricks! Another thing I took away from this class is that I need to spend less time trying absolutely every new technique I can find and more time actually making some pieces that USE the techniques I have learned.
I have several more methods and pictures to share, so check back soon.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Snow Dyed Pieces--At Least the Snow is Good for Something!

I decided to do a little more snow dyeing this week when I was snowed in. I have found that it is a lot of trouble, but I love the results.
For the piece above, I loosely twisted the fabric when I put it in the bottom of my plastic tub. 
This one got a loose accordian fold. 
This is a closeup of the accordian folded piece. 
The piece above was just wadded and bunched up. 
Closeup of the wadded/bunched fabric. 
I grabbed the center of this fabric and twisted it around and around. 
Close up. I can't explain the color variation of my pictures. Actually, all the fabrics are a reddish purple (not quite as much red as some of these pictures show. 
The picture above shows a progression--the bottom left is the shibori piece I did for www.andthenwesetitonfire. I really didn't like it, so I thought I'd try some other things. The top left is the same fabric as on the bottom left that has been bleach discharged then snow dyed. The piece on the right is the same fabric as the bottom left, but it has been snow dyed. These colors show up pretty much as they truly are.
It takes a lot of time and supplies for snow dyeing. I have numerous containers for the dye mixing and clean water. I have my dye, dust mask, measuring cups/spoons, gloves, etc. I used a pastry brush for mixing the dye powder in the water. It really worked well to break up the clumps of dye powder. This time I added urea to the water I mixed the dye with. The color did turn out a little darker, but I don't know if that had anything to do with it. 
This is what I call the "snow-cone phase" of snow dyeing. I squirted the dye (two different blues, magenta, and yellow) over the snow covered fabric. I let it sit (in my laundry room) for about four hours. The container was too heavy for me to lift, so I had to scoop the dyed snow out with a pitcher. All in all, it was a very messy project. Would I do it again...probably!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Need Your Opinion

I'm hoping you all can help me with this next project. I'm trying to decide what border/background to put on my painted, beaded, and thread painted moth project. I'd appreciate your input and suggestions for a border/background that works with this piece. For each of these pictures, I have tacked my moth project onto a different piece of fabric on my design wall.

In Picture 1 the background is a bleach discharged shibori piece I just finished. Should I include this much background if I choose this arrangement? Off center, centered, leave it where it is, cut down on the border????
 In Picture 2, I have used the fabric just as a border.
In Picture 3, I used a "striped" shibori fabric. The question again is whether to use the fabric as a background or just a border and which placement looks best. 
Picture 4 is the same "striped" shibori used only as a border. 
Picture 5 is a copper batik border. (The copper color is a little more toned down than it looks here. The true color isn't as orange as it is coming off.)
Picture 6 is a black border. 
Picture 7 is the copper batik border with a sinemay ribbon on top. I like the texture the sinemay ribbon adds to the piece. What do you think?
Picture 8 is the copper batik with the sinemay ribbon used as a border. 
Picture 9 is the "striped" shibori with the sinemay ribbon added. 
Picture 10 is the "striped" shibori with the sinemay ribbon (again used as a border). I'm really not crazy about covering up this much of the shibori piece if I use it only as a border.
Picture 11 is the black fabric with the sinemay ribbon as a background. 
Do you like any of these? Any suggestions of something else to try? Comments on design? I'd really appreciate any comments/suggestions/opinions you all can give me. (I know, I know...just do it! Chalk this up to my curiousity.) I can't wait to hear from you.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Discharge with Bleach--New Projects

I decided to do a bit more discharge shibori before I put all my supplies away. First, is my favorite piece. I loosely rolled my black fabric onto a piece of nylon string (on the diagonal). Then I scrunched it up as tight as I could and tied the string together to keep its shape. (I ended up having to do this twice; the first time, only half of the fabric had discharged.) I think it looks like some kind of animal skin.
This piece was wrapped around a pole on the diagonal and then nylon string was wrapped around the fabric on the pole.
This is what the pieces looked like before bleach discharging. I do know that this fabric is 100% cotton by Blank Textiles.
This fabric content is unknown. I bought it at a yard sale. I think this piece looks sort of like bones or connective tissue of some kind. I loosely twisted this fabric and secured it with a rubber band. This piece is about 18" X 18".
This piece is larger--approximately 18" X 36". I folded it in half, wrapped it on a pole, and secured it with a jute string. The right half was the inside half. This picture doesn't show the subtle markings on the right side very well. You might be able to see them better if you click on this picture, then click on the picture again. 
Now, I just have to decide how to use them.

I also discharged a piece I had dyed earlier. I really don't like either piece. I'll just have to find some other technique to use on these fabrics to be able to use them. The fabric on the right is what I started with. The fabric on the left is what it looked like after discharging it. (I'm not a big pink/rose/light red fan.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Dyeing/Bird Pictures of the Day

Okay, you are all probably sick of hearing people "talk" about snow dyeing, but... I've never done any before. I thought I'd give it a shot; I'm glad I did. Here are the two pieces I did yesterday.
I took hold of the middle of this fabric and twisted it--making a spiral--before I put the snow on top. 
I just rumpled and scrunched this fabric a bit before I put the snow on it. I put both of these pieces in the plastic container shown below. When I look at this piece I am reminded of my trip to Yellowstone. I remember one of the geyser pools that had the most unusual, beautiful color. The bottom right quarter of this piece looks like that pool.
I drizzled the dyes I had left over from my day of trying shibori earlier in the week. I used an orangy yellow, sun yellow, red, and turquoise. I had more turquoise dye than anything else, so I was surprised that the pieces didn't have more green and blue in them.
This is what it looked like right before I dumped it out. As you can see, the turquoise is very prominent. Doesn't it look like a luscious snow cone?

...and now for the birds. I just LOVE watching them each day. Every time it snows, the birds flock to my feeder and my birdbath "spa." (I have a heater for my birdbath.) Today, this female cardinal was enjoying the sunflower seeds on the ground.
I'm not sure about all the names of the birds. I think my sister told me this is a titmouse??? I love the little tuft of feathers on his head.
I don't know what kind of bird this is. It looks like a sparrow to me (except for the stripes on its head). 
A blue jay showed up today. I think it is because I put some crackers and popcorn out on the ground. In these pictures, though, he was enjoying the sunflower seeds. I couldn't resist taking a couple of pictures of him--that blue is just so beautiful. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My First Experience in Dyeing/Shibori

Yesterday was a "play day" for me and a friend. We wrapped fabric around poles then dyed it, twisted fabric upon itself and dyed it, rolled and scrunched fabric and dyed it, and I painted fabric with dye. A picture of my day's work is at the bottom of this post.

In this next picture I started with one of the flour-paste resist pieces I did awhile back (See This piece is the bottom piece pictured in the earlier post.) I used the dyes I had mixed and painted onto the fabric with a silicone pastery brush. I used an orangy-yellow, green, and red.
This is how the piece turned out after it was rinsed, laundered, and ironed. I don't know where the green went! Okay, what do you think I should do with it now?
Since I signed up for the technique blog ("And Then We Set It On Fire") I've tried some things that are new for me, and I'm learning a lot.
If you'd like to see pictures of the shibori pieces (and explanations of how it was done), please head on over to the "And Then We Set It On Fire" blog. Shibori is the technique of the month. Click the "And Then We Set It On Fire" icon at the top right of this post.

I'm having SO much fun, and you can too. Try the technique of the month with me.

If you are a reader of my blog, you know that I've had a thing with birds this whole past year. Well, I took some more pics.

I just love cardinals. They seem to like the sunflower seeds I put out in the open "pan."
These little birds were trying out all my new feeders. I think the bird on the snowman's eye looks a little creepy. I think it looks like he is pecking out the snowman's eye. I guess I'm still affected by Hitchcock's "The Birds."
 How do you like my snowman feeder?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My First Shibori Project and Color Discharge Using Bleach

Be sure to click on the "And Then We Set It On Fire" icon to the right to see pictures of my shibori. I'm really pleased with the results (and excited that I finally got a post on the blog)!

While I was working on my shibori pieces, I also did some pieces using bleach in a spray bottle. If you would want to do this, I suggest you do it outside (which I did--even though the temperature was in the 30s). You MUST HAVE good ventilation when working with bleach and anti-chlor. I thought the pieces turned out interesting. I'll be doing more of them.

This is what I started with...some string and two keys strewn onto my fabric.
I used straight bleach sprayed from a spray bottle, and this is what I got... 
After I sprayed the fabric with bleach, I let it sit a little while (until the color was a bit darker than I wanted). Then I removed the objects from the fabric and put the fabric into an anti-chlor solution (for five minutes) to stop the discharge of the dye. I waited a bit too long on this particular piece. I think it turned out a little too light. What I think I'll do with it is overdye it with a color. The anti-chlor solution I used was 1 teaspoon of anti-chlor to 2 1/2 gallons of water. I rinsed the fabric in cold water after the anti-chlor bath. I followed this same procedure for all of these pieces.
This is what turned out when I used "Jet Black" fabric from Blank. The color is a beautiful rusty/reddish brown. The picture doesn't do the color justice. On this piece, I again used the keys, some jute, and three bottle caps. 
On this piece, I sprayed bubble wrap with the bleach. Then I placed the fabric face down on the bubble wrap and lightly pressed the fabric into it with my gloved hands. After that, I put the fabric on the table, added some string and a glove and lightly spritzed the whole piece with the bleach. I let it sit for just a little bit before putting it into the anti-chlor solution. I like the depth in this piece.

I have lots of ideas about things I can use to make more of this unique fabric. It was great fun. Why don't you give it a try?