Monday, May 28, 2012

Playing with Stencils

  In the scrapbooking department of my local Joann's, they have some laser-cut papers that I thought would make great stencils.  So I purchased a few of them on sale and tried to figure out how to make them useful for wet media like thickened dyes.

I probably could have used paint, but in his personal stash of goodies Mr. S had this stuff that he uses to coat the handles of tools so that they have non-slip grips.

I tested some on notebook paper, and it worked!  The rubberized paper completely repelled water.
So I went out on the lawn (which I had mowed earlier that morning) and sprayed the rubber on the stencil.  Of course, now there's something more than the front porch with the plastic buckets and art table covered with plastic sheeting that whips in the wind to upset the neighbors.  I suppose they'll just have to continue to suffer for my art.

I used my new stencil to roll on some thickened dye and it made this piece slightly more interesting, but it's still not exciting.

Being too impatient to use more dyes, I got out my Setacolor fabric paints in purple and fuchsia and rolled some on over the stencil.

And voila!  Much more interesting!

Then I got out a piece from the deconstructed screen printing that was really dull.  I had these sticks that are the same as the stuff that is inside colored pencils, but there's no wood -- they're all color.

I made this pressure plate with cardboard from a cereal box and hot glue.  I was going for a thing like Nienke had here on the Fire blog.    I didn't want to copy her work, but I loved the circular feel of the linocut she used.  

Hmmm... not very interesting.

I got out my stampers -- some I had made and some were purchased -- and I stamped and stenciled on the fabric with more paint.

 I'm not crazy about this piece.  I think that the colors of paint I used fight with the background color and make it look disjointed.  And the circular thing just disappears into the background.

For this one, I used a swirl of purple and golden yellow paints and rolled it on through a stencil.  There's no circular thing happening, but I really like this.  I think the colors are much better together and I could see using this whole or cutting it up and stitching it together with other fabrics.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

AB-liqué Research, Ohhhh Myyyyyy...

I had to do a little research to get it right.  I've detailed my efforts to buff up Poseidon with inks and thread in previous posts and I wanted his abs to match the rest of his physique -- at least the parts not covered up by his clamshell-chariot.

Abdominal muscles
So I went online and searched for some images to use as a guide.

Some of the images were a bit more graphic than I was looking for.

But a couple were just right.

So here is Poseidon with his trident and the clamshell-chariot covering his pertinent parts -- the fresco I took my inspiration from had him riding in the buff (ha!) with waves providing camouflage.  But I didn't want to take a chance on the water draining away and exposing anything that might scare the youngsters.

I'm not thrilled with the way the fused fabric shows the lines from the seams underneath.  Next time, I will be sure to cut away the underneath.  It's not as bad as it looks in this photo.  Does anyone have any suggestions for making it less noticeable?

And for Beth, the backside.  

I'm linking up with Angie's blog -- click here to see other appliqué projects.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival Spring 2012

Amy's Creative Side

It's time for Amy's Spring Bloggers' Quilt Festival!

12.5" by 14"
Acrylic inks on cotton.  Wool batt with cotton threadwork.

I chose this quilt because it still makes me smile.  I made it about a year ago;  it was an experiment.  I had some new acrylic inks and I wanted to see if I could use them to paint fine lines with a tiny brush.

I think it worked!  I left the birds mostly unquilted.  The background was a wash of a couple of different colors of the inks -- they are very rich in pigment and when mixed with water, they have a tendency to spread.  But when used straight out of the jar, they are wonderful for fine detail.  

 This is the finished painting on cotton before I layered it and stitched it.

This is the central bird -- this was taken from a photo I took at the Milwaukee County zoo a couple of years ago when they had an exhibition of birds -- mostly parrots-- from Australia.

I snapped lots of photos and pulled this beauty from those.

This is another ink on fabric drawing from that day at the zoo.  This is my daughter.  I did this with Tsukineko inks -- they're quite different.

Oh, Monday...

I'm still working on Poseidon, so I don't have a lot to show on my design wall.

My friend Beth (who blogs here) often sends me goodies from South Africa where she lives.  This is an amazing bit of batik -- I love the elephants.  It's about 20 inches square and I hate to cut it up.  So I'm trying to decided how to use it.  Maybe as a center of something?

 This is a wonderful little postcard Beth made -- the aloe flower has sparkly beads! And the leaves have spikes!  Just like a real aloe plant!

And these are some things I dyed last week.  I love these Caribbean colors!

Click here to go to Judy's blog to see some other design walls. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Appliqué and Quilting Update Thursday

I've gotten over myself and started stitching Poseidon.   I did a satin stitch around his trident before I layered it. And after I did a little bit of stitching, I realized he needed a bit more muscle definition.  So I got out my Tsukineko inks.

This is the backside -- I've finished the sky and done Poseidon's preliminary stitching.  Click on the picture to examine the stitching.  To see other appliqué projects, click here to go to Angie's blog.  

This is Scout.  He's a loaner -- his family went out of town (to see the eldest girl graduate from college!) and so he's staying with us.  He has settled right in as a studio dog.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

The First Stitch is the Hardest

I've come a long way since I began quilting.  I used to love only the piecing and the shopping -- not necessarily in that order.  Then I learned to love the appliqué and the embellishment.  Somewhere during all of this, I discovered I loved design.  It took a long time before I was comfortable with the quilting part.

I was always afraid I was wrecking my beautiful quilt by quilting it.  So I did just the minimum amount possible to hold the layers together.  Then I learned that I could quilt the devil out of a small quilt.  In fact, it was not only fun, it was easy!

 And from there I went to bigger and bigger quilts.  It's still physically hard to quilt really big quilts -- I have found that I need special "quilt muscles" to move all that fabric and batting through my little machine.  But I can do it.

And I've gotten so much better with practice.  Now I often design my quilts with the quilting in mind.  But, oh, that first stitch.  That first stitch is the the hardest.  Once I've gotten warmed up, I'm okay.  But the little "practice sandwich" just isn't enough to get warmed up.

That first quilt stitch on a layered "real" sandwich is still the most difficult.  So sometimes, I just go around the elements.  Just to get the needle in there.  And some thread.  Then I can move on to the more creative parts.  Just after I get that first stitch in...

There is nothing on my design wall today because it's all under the needle.  The top photo is my current project.  I've finished the first stitches outlining some of the elements -- so it's on to the rest.  The part I love.    Check out Judy's blog (here) for some real design walls.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I'm a Winner and a Calendar Girl!

First up: "When Will We Ever Learn: Gulf Coast Summer 2010," AKA "the Pelican quilt" won a third place ribbon today at the Sun Prairie Quilt Show!  

It's the first one for this quilt.  This quilt was part of a show, "Turning Point," by the Madison Contemporary Fiber Artists at the Overture Center in Madison, Wisconsin, during January through April of 2011.  It was displayed at the NQA Show in Columbus, Ohio and at the AQS Show in Des Moines, Iowa last year.

And I'm a calendar girl!  "Pieceful Tigers" is in  Quilt Art 2013 for the week of May 6, 2013!