Multiple Technique Practice Piece
This may be the year I don’t get any projects done, just some studio organization and some practice. I followed Melanie McNeil’s suggestion about inventorying books — between art and textile books, I have 300! (It took me about 3 days so I haven’t inventoried the other things she suggested, yet.) I emailed the list to myself, and that way, if my house ever burns down or flies away in a hurricane, I have the list for insurance. I could have just saved the ISBN number, but I went ahead with author, title, and topic. It’s interesting to see that I have lots of books on technique, and very few on individual artists or museum collections. I am determined to work through some of those technique books!
That said, the surface design methods I tried here, mostly came from inspiring blog posts and magazine articles.
First I took a bunch of old linen napkins, and did some free motion quilting across them, trying out different types of thread, including a 12-weight cotton, and a size 50 silk. (Inspiration for this part — Doreen at Treadlemusic, for example this post. She is the master, but I can practice.)
I had sort of a plan to outline some shapes with quilting, and then go back and paint them with small areas of color. Some of the napkins had damask spots, and I was hoping to highlight how the threads float and change direction in this weave. This section below I wanted to look like strings of beads.
I have seen a few mentions lately of acrylic inks and how well they work on fabric. However I mis-remembered the product name and bought alcohol inks instead.
I decided to get a little more bang for my design buck, by masking off part of the fabric with leaves and flowers. (I am pretty sure I got this idea from Joanna at The Snarky Quilter, but I can’t find exactly which post planted the idea in my mind. Possibly this one.)
(Looking at this photo, I can see that it would be pretty to have a big white-work quilt with a few leaves and flowers painted in with watercolor pencils. Another time.)
First I just dropped the ink onto the cloth, but the ink didn’t spread like I had hoped, so then I mixed some with the extender and sprayed. Especially on the damask linens, which have dimension from long floating threads, I sprayed from low angles. One thread could have one color on top and different colors on each of the sides. I also dropped the ink cleaner in spots to see if I would get watered effects, which I did, but not very noticeably.
The inks didn’t affect the hand of the linen much at all, it is still supple.
The overall effect was some a nice pastel background, with a series of unfortunate drips. So the next day I went back into it with liquid acrylic paints and textile medium, to try to make the drips less obvious.
This did not salvage the whole piece, and some of the paints really stiffened up the surface to an unacceptable degree. BUT that does not really matter. Because it is practice. And because along the way I took lots of photos, and I can run them through Photoshop®. That way I have a lot of the fun of surface design without any of the mess.
What do you see in that image?
So those are the experiments on side one — next up: more experiments on the reverse.