Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Crayons on Fabric

I am thinking of trying some new techniques with fabric. Trying out some different painting and mark making on fabric and papers for some art quilts. Before I run headlong into it though, I wanted to test some of the products.

 I can only test what I have at home and I am not buying anymore unless I find I really love them or use them a lot.

The picture above shows the crayons that I have. Caran D'Ache Neocolor 2, which are water soluble crayons, Crayola Fabric crayons, Faber-Castell crayons and Shiva Paintstiks.

I have used the Shiva Paintstiks very successfully on quilts before and 10 years later they still look just as good as when I first used them. But I put them into the test anyway. The only drawback to Shiva Paintstiks is that they are oil paint in a stick form and if you get any on the floor or clothes it is there forever. They form a skin on the top and you have to cut the skin away to use them again and that's where little bits of paint can end up in the most unexpected places.

Here is my fabric with the crayons drawn on.

Crayons before washing

1. The top two red marks are the Shiva Paintstiks.

2. Underneath that I brushed the Neocolor 2 with water.

3. Then I brushed Neocolor 2 with textile medium.

4. Then Neocolor 2 ironed.

5. The Crayola Fabric crayons are recommended for synthetic fabrics but I thought they would be ok on cotton too.

6. The Faber-Castell crayons are ordinary craft crayons.

The last two (5 and 6) I painted textile medium on the bottom half to see if it made a difference.

I dunked them in cold water and gave a little rub as well. Then I dried and ironed them.

Crayons after washing.

1. The Paintstiks were hardly changed which was pretty good because you are supposed to heat set them with an iron first and I forgot to do that.

2. The Neocolor 2 with water was fine but a little duller and lost a bit of colour.

3. The Neocolor 2 with textile medium didn't lose any colour and was quite vibrant.

4. The Neocolor 2 that was just ironed, washed out a lot. They are water soluble crayons so I guess they are not supposed to be used without water or textile medium.

5. The Crayola Fabric Crayons were much more vibrant with the textile medium applied.

6. The Faber-Castell crayons that are not even fabric crayons were still ok when I used textile medium with them.

I thought that was the end of my testing, but I happened to see a post on Facebook where someone was recommending crayons on Fabric and said that they are fine on fabric if you heat set them with an iron.
I hadn't tried heat setting with an iron so I quickly did another little test.

Heat set Crayons

Heat set Crayons after washing.

The Crayola Fabric Crayons fared the best. But once again the Neocolor 2 are water-soluble and so are not supposed to be used without water or textile medium.

I am not sure how much I will use crayons on fabric but at least I know how to use them the most effectively now.

A few years ago, I did a test using Inktense pencils on Fabric and I found that they worked the best with textile medium. By the way, that Inktense post from 2012 is my most read post ever.

Bye for now,

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Palette Republic app

Oops, I made a mistake in my last post! I have corrected it now though. The app I have been using in my course to get the colours in the photo is called Palette Republic and is available on iPhones and Android. I had called it Moment by mistake. The Moment app has easily adjusted setting for poor light etc. and is for taking photos

I can't believe that I made such a huge mistake. When I look back at my photos I realise that I had wrongly named them and so that is where the error stemmed from.

How did I discover my mistake?
My husband has installed a security camera at our front door and so he has been using my phone to work out how I can get movement alerts etc to the app on my phone. As he handed me back my phone this morning, he asked ' What is that Palette Republic app on your phone'.

As soon as he said it, I knew I had made a mistake and couldn't wait to get onto my blog and correct it.

Here are a couple more photos from the Palette Republic app.

Sorry for the confusion, I suppose it has also stemmed from me trying to fit too much into my days. Some of the online courses are finished now, so I can settle down and concentrate on getting some of my work done.

Here is a little collage I made with my gelli printed and painted papers. Our front yard was full of these little toadstools this year. I took a lot of photos.

This is the photo that used as a reference.

It is a very realistic version of the photo and I want to get away from doing such realism. I would rather try to be more abstract and arty. The more I study art, I think that creating realism is a learned skill but why create it when there is a perfectly good photo of the same thing already!

That's my plan, anyway.
Bye for now,

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Inspired by Nature-Vignettes

I have been enjoying the on-line course Inspired by Nature. We have been encouraged to walk around our neighbourhood and our own gardens and collect any leaves, flowers or seed pods that we find on the ground.

It is Autumn here in Australia and so there are beautiful red, yellow and orange leaves everywhere. It is really magical and I often wonder what other walkers think when they see me taking photos of the trees.

When we come back with our leaf collections, we are encouraged to make some simple vignettes with them, photograph them and add them to our sketch books.

Here are some of the vignettes that I made. Tara Axford, our tutor suggested that we use the Moment app to take photos of our Vignettes but it is only available on iPhones. It has very easily adjustable features especially if trying to take a photo at night or in poor light.

The idea of making these little vignettes is to make us look more closely at them, to take in the colours and textures and make a memory of our walking experience.

We were encouraged to download a colour app on our phones called Palette Republic. I can't remember if the app was free or under $2. The Palette Republic app finds the colours in our photos and you can also print them out if you want.

I am just using the basic beginner colour swatches; if you pay some extra money you can get much more comprehensive colours, but I haven't felt the need to pay for those.

I am enjoying these exercises so much that I have decided to take it further and am trying to draw and label the different leaves and seed pods and maybe colour them as well.
I am in the very beginnings of doing this but I want to be accurate with the leaf shapes, not just draw a generic leaf. This means that I have to know the tree that the leaf comes from!!

This led me to download another app onto my phone. It's called Picture This. This app cost me $29.95. I could use it for free for a week to try it out and I loved it, so paid the money. It is just like the cost of buying a book anyway!

You take a photo in the app and they tell you the common name as well as the proper botanical name and show you other pictures of the same tree, bush or flower and then tell you all the details if that's what you want to know. I usually just want to know the name and move on.

All the photos are stored in the app and it also keeps a summary of the photos and records when you took them. I took a couple of screenshots.

I never would have thought that I would be doing this or even be interested in doing this. Will this lead to anything or is it just a distraction from the current virus lock-downs? Time will tell.

I have so many things on the go that I have to timetable my activities. So, I have to say today I will work on my nature and printing exercises. Tomorrow, I will do some more work on my latest quilt, the next day I will work on quilting my other quilt; and so, it goes on. Honestly, I need another year of lock-down.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Working in a Series-May

At the Waverley Art Quilters we are working in a series. I chose circles as my theme. We can't meet in person so we are working away at home and then emailing our work to the group on the day that we were supposed to meet. It would be easier to have a closed Facebook group but we have some that are against it.

I decided to try a fourth circle quilt and I must admit that I found this one the hardest so far. I started with a pieced black and white background and had a wonderful idea of starting with a big half circle.

I didn't like it at all, maybe it had too much of that yellow green colour?

Luckily, I hadn't ironed any of the pieces down, so it was easy to get rid of that design.

Then I tried a few different combinations and finally settled on the one below.

It sat pinned to my design wall for a few days and I must admit I didn't really love it. That colour combination that I loved so much last month wasn't exciting me anymore. Finally, this morning, on the day we were supposed to reveal our work, I decided to add a couple of black spots near the bottom.

I think it looks better, the extra dark at the bottom seems to ground the piece a bit more.

Here are the first three in the series.

I don't know if I can do another one, my romance with circles seems to be waning! If I do, I will try another colour combination. 

Anyway, that is the idea of working in a series, keep pushing until you can stretch it a bit more. I have read somewhere that if you are struggling with something, it usually means that you are ready to discover something more. That has happened to me more than once. Just when I think I am stuck and things won't work, another idea eventually comes to the fore. Let's hope that it happens this time.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Inspired by Nature

One of the on-line courses I am doing is called Inspired by Nature. It is through Fibre Arts Australia and is run by Tara Axford. There are mostly Australians doing the course but there are also participants from other parts of the world.

This is an all-consuming course with notes and lots of videos and demonstrations for every step. We also have a private Facebook group where people post their photos and ask questions.
This course came at the perfect time for me, I was ready for something different to experiment with and focus on in these trying Covid 19 times.

I started the course a month ago when we were still having sunny days and beautiful autumn leaves. I go on a walk every morning and collect leaves, seed pods and anything that attracts me.

My walk collection

We photograph them and arrange in pleasing shapes and generally try to look at them.

We have to paint papers and gelli plate textures inspired by our finds and landscape.

I couldn't find my artist acrylic paints anywhere and thought that they must have dried out and I got rid of them. So, I went on-line and bought some Jo Sonja paints in landscape colours. I didn't want to spend big money on the more expensive paints in case I don't use them much. I am much more of a fabric than paper person. I also treated myself to some water-soluble crayons.

Jo Sonja paints
Of course, you can guess that I finally found my Golden acrylic paints when I was having a clean up in my specially organised drawers!!

I have taken so many inspirational photos of trees and plants in my area and have found a new love for them.

We have to print some out to make a mood board.

My Mood Board

I have since taken the photos off this board and pasted them into a book that I am making about this course.

I didn't take any photos of my gelli prints; I have done this sort of printing before but in other brighter colours. It was new and interesting to make landscape inspired prints. It seemed like I had more of a purpose than just randomly printing papers.

This led me to think about how I would use the gelli prints on landscape inspired fabrics.

So instead of just trying it out, I got out my only fabric paints, my Sun Dyes and decided to make samples of all the colours.

I painted each colour on its own and then I added a colour on top to see all the combinations I had. I enjoy doing these experiments. It must suit the organised type of person that I am.

Now I am thinking about landscapes, I decided I needed a few more browns etc, so went on line and ordered a few more. We are having some sunny weather this week so I'll make up some more paint samples with the new colours.

We have to make some little postcards inspired by our photos and here is the first one I made.

Gum-nut postcard
I used painted papers and gelli prints to make it. It's only 6" square.

I am still working through the course and we have a lifetime access to it, so I can do it again after I am finished. I might be better when everything is not so new to me.

We are doing some watercolour in the next section. I did find my old watercolour paints, thank goodness.

I don't know if anything will come of this course for my quilts. I am trying not to plan ahead, just do the course and go with the flow. I do feel very inspired by it though.

On a sadder note, three people that I know have passed away in the last month, two from cancer and one was an accident. Two were in their 60's and one in her early 70's, far too young.

One of the women was my very first patchwork teacher, Di Ford. I did a 10-week beginner class with Di in 1997. I was hooked from the beginning and was always impressed when she remembered my name in the years afterwards.

Here is a photo of a quarter of the first quilt that I made

My first Quilt.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Creative Dyeing Downunder

I have been as busy as ever during our Covid 19 lock down. As well as all my normal sewing I have been doing some on-line courses.
One of them is called Creative Dyeing Downunder with Jacinta Leishman. It is conducted via a closed Facebook group which is working well and is easy for people to upload photos. Jacinta is well- known for doing the dyed silk, wool and threads that are available at the online shop called The Thread Studio.

I wasn't really going to start dyeing threads but the course was pretty cheap and it's so rare to have a class with Jacinta.

The course uses Procion dyes for cotton and Acid dyes for silk and wool. I have plenty of Procion dyes but no acid dyes so I went online and ordered some Landscape acid dyes from Kraftcolour. They have everything you need for any surface design and it came quickly too.

Landscape Acid Dyes
They had many different sets available in various colourways and I found them irresistible, so I probably bought much more than I need!

Here is some silk thread wet and ready to be painted with the silk dyes.

In my other online course, I have been taking photos of all the autumn leaves and trees that are around at the moment so I decided to stick with the theme and paint the threads with autumn colours.

I also got out some cheese waste wool that I must have bought when I did a felting course a couple of years ago and painted some of that as well.

Painting silk thread
I only used an 1/8th of a cup of water with a 1/4 tsp of dye but I had too much dye left over so I cut up some pieces of silk fabric and thought I would try dyeing that as well.

The dyes have to be wrapped in plastic and steamed to fix them, so I got out some small freezer bags to hold the fabrics.

Silk fabric preparation

Silk in plastic bags

Everything has to be in plastic because the acid dyes need to be steam set. I didn't want to use any of my saucepans so I went off the Kmart and bought a cheap electric steamer that I'll just use for dyeing.

Silk steamer
The steamer has a third layer as well but I didn't need the third one this time. I set the timer for 1 hour.

I let it cool and then rinsed it all in a colander that I also bought to use. It was amazing that no colour came running out. So different to all the rinsing that has to be done with Procion dyes.
I love acid dyes!

Here is the silk thread and wool dried.
Silk and wool dyed

Here are the silk fabrics that I dyed.

Silk dyed with acid dyes
I was very happy; there were a couple of tiny spots of undiluted dye on the fabric that weren't noticeable on the threads. When I use it for fabrics, I'll have to make sure that all the dye is completely mixed in the warm water.

I still haven't dyed the cotton threads with the Procion dye, I might get to that next week. I have my other courses to work on as well.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Working in a Series

Even though the Waverley Art Quilters cannot meet at the moment, we have our program for the year so we can work away at home and share with each other via email.

We should be having our meeting tonight, so it's time to reveal what we have done. We were to choose something that we had done in the last 2 years as our inspiration and starting point.

I chose my Marimekko project as my first one in the series.

Series 1, no. 1

For my second in the series, I made the background of black and white stripes and added some more colour to the circles.

Series 1, no.2

For my third one I made the background strips much narrower and changed the colour palette of the circles.

Series 1, no.3

The narrower stripes were much harder to sew and press but I like the effect. I really love the circle colours. I don't think I have used those colours before and they feel so fresh and modern.

I put the little A3 quilts side by side to get a better idea of the series.

Series 1

We only have to do 3 in the first series, although we could continue on if we wanted. I suppose I could do circles all year and my designing skills would really expand if I did. Mmm, I actually have no idea what I would do next if I were to make another.
Would I have to keep doing black and white backgrounds or could I introduce some colour?

My son Cam is out of his 14 days isolation and the police came to the door last Thursday to make sure that he was at home and doing the right thing.

I am keeping busy doing lots of sewing plus I have signed up for 4 online courses and I am madly trying to keep up with them all. I am actually only keeping up with 3 and have left the portrait drawing class for later.

I wonder why I always over commit myself? So, even though all my activities are cancelled and I am missing having my visits with the grandchildren, I am still super busy!!

I'll write more about my online courses in another post.

Bye for now,