Have been playing with some screen printing and it seems there is always a shape or figure I want to use but do not have. My go to guru and wonderful teacher, Ginny Eckley, was having a workshop on how to make your own screens, so I signed up. Her suggestion was before coming to the workshop to send her some ideas that I could play with and use to make my own screens. I had some new shibori resist patterns and thought they would make some lovely screens. So I sent them off to her to get things started.
On the first day some of us had screens ready to be made and some of us were still finalizing designs. By day two we were all pretty much ready to go While waiting for our screens to be developed we did avail ourselves of Ginny’s library of screens to practice our printing techniques.
Above are the tests I made with my screen designs. The top picture is on paper and the bottom picture is on fabric. I do like my screens and am ready to start using them for my own projects.
Making your own screen for printing is not for the timid. The most time consuming is the preparation of the design and the transparency from which the screen is made. Once those are good to go you’re ready to develop the screen. Screen developing also has room for problems but if the design is good, you’re way more than halfway there.
The last of my workshops at the Quilt Festival was Advanced Ice Dyeing with Cindy Lohbeck. In the basics workshop we were able to work with fat quarters. This time we were given yard lengths to dye. That’s a lot of fabric to manipulate. At the end of the workshop we were given the option to substitute a few fat quarters for the last yard of fabric and I took her up on that one (my fingers were getting tired!).
Once again, all the fabric was batched together and only 3 colors were used for dyeing. The colors I chose for this project were chartreuse, teal and boysenberry. The first 4 samples are full yard pieces. The last is a fat quarter.
As you can see, more practice is needed. This should not be a problem as the process is addictive.
Hard to believe it has been 3 months since my last post. We survived ‘Harvey’ pretty much unscathed. Lots of anxious moments but no real damage. Unfortunately, many of our fellow Houstonians were not so lucky. Spent lots of time getting ready for the annual Houston Handweavers sale. Made more shibori indigo napkins and small lavendar sachets. Also prepared some wonderful cards and bookmarks using my eco print papers. added some wonderful silk eco print scarves to the inventory.
But now the International Quilt Festival has come and gone and this year I took 3 workshops (not sure if I’m prepared to do that again, driving back and forth each day during the worst traffic times takes its toll!).
Monday I always seem to start with a workshop by Glennis Dolce(Shibori Girl). This year we began with a couple of the basic stitches.
I sampled a stitch that I had not used in my work before (the overhand stitch – just above the shell). I like the feathery look. Will try to incorporate in a future project.
There were 2 very interesting things Glennis incorporated into the workshop this year. One was providing us with some very different fabrics to experiment with. The first photo below shows a silk organza which I used for the arashi technique. Due to the nature of organza I didn’t expect it to do well in a vat situation. It surprised me. Because of its stiffness the fabric scrunched very definitively and created extreme white spaces but it also dyed deeply. The second photo below is scrim. Once again I was surprised. Due to the extreme openness of the fabric I would have expected a much lighter effect. These 2 fabrics will be on my to do list for future experimentation.
The next thing I tried was a vintage linen napkin. The kind with the designs all over them. This one had some flowers in the border so I added a small butterfly. After dipping in the vat, I realized this napkin needed no enhancement. Just dyeing it in the indigo gave it new life. The fabric was amazing; it had been washed so many times it felt like heavy silk.
The second very interesting thing in the workshop was Glennis’s collection of vintage Japanese stencils. I played with several of those and decided that rather than the way I was transferring my patterns to fabric using a stencil would be more efficient and cleaner. I transferred a few designs onto some sample fabric to stitch and also made my own stencil. Have stencil making items on order and look forward to receiving them.
That pretty much wraps up my first workshop (and, of course, I look forward to next year with Glennis). Will be writing about the next two soon.
I can’t believe how fast time is flying by this summer. Suddenly, every chore that should have been taken care of over the past several years is perking up and saying ‘do me, do me’! So, slowly, they are getting done but I can’t leave my preferred activities behind.
I found a bag of leaves that I had dried last fall. Decided they needed to be seen. They were printed on Crepe de Chine (as well as silk habotai) with a bit of iron to augment the coloring. Crepe de Chine has become my favorite silk for printing. I tried silk charmuese but it was just too shiny for my taste.
A month or so ago I found myself rummaging through some donated yarns and discovered some yarn that is typically used by rug weavers. Always on the lookout for unique yarns to use for my braids, I decided this yarn looked like a keeper. Not only does it have an interesting texture but it is also soft around the neck (very important). Have some more of this, slightly different patterning, and will be making another braid with it.
Crepe de Chine
Been busy this spring focusing on things other than my botanical printing. Have printed a few since the end of last year but some of them ended up looking like I had completely lost my ‘mojo’. The leaves I had dried or frozen just didn’t look like they were coming through for me. There were a few gems, however, that I was very pleased with.
Crepe de Chine
I just started using crepe de chine. I like the softness of print that you can get with silk chiffon but sometimes it is too soft. Crepe de chine still results in soft images but they are a bit bolder.
Also acquired some silk charmeuse. Have printed one and am very pleased. It is still resting before the wash. Will post the results later.
Another wonderful workshop at the 2016 International Quilt Festival. This one was with Houston’s own Ginny Eckley. What a talented artist she is as well as a great teacher. Our topic was ‘Japonisme’: the Japanese influence on art nouveau. This was my first foray into silk painting and silk screening. These things are way outside my comfort zone. I was, however, determined to give them a try and see what happened and what techniques I could, perhaps, transfer to my current endeavors.
Below is my test piece. The goal was to find out what colors worked, the required saturation and their effect on one another.
Below is my second and final piece. I decided to go for minimalism: color and details. Someone in our workshop had done, for her test piece, a sample using dark grays. I liked the look but wanted the colors even lighter. Because my colors are so muted they were difficult to photograph. The upper left corner is a green gray. The lower left corner is gray. The fabric was then washed with a pale yellow. My butterfly had a little too much ink on it but it turned out okay after I added a few bits of yellow and orange to the body.
Not sure these processes are in my future but, who knows, I may be able to combine techniques in a way I hadn’t considered as yet. And the workshop was worth getting up at 5:30!
I was gathering together the items I had selected to be in this year’s sale. When it was time for me to pick out a few of my eco print scarves, I came across one that I kept going back to look at. Many eco printers strive to have perfect prints of each piece of foliage they place on their fabric. Their results are very stunning. I, however, like to have a few identifiable leaves in my work but enjoy the shapes and subtle colors of the other botanicals (not all will produce color or distinct patterns) that are also used on the same piece of fabric. To me, this gives the piece a great deal of depth.
This shows the outline of pine needles to the left and the leaf ribs on the bottom.
More leaf ribs and subtle color.
Leaf shapes everywhere especially a magnificent oak.
A sweet gum drifting in the background.
The more I looked at this scarf the more I knew it was not going to go to the sale. It has moved to my closet where I would be able to select it to wear whenever the muses strike.
P.S. The CHH Annual Sale is November 17 – 19 at the Guild House. Check http://www.weavehouston.org for more details.
The leaves of the hamelia (hummingbird bush) have always been a reliable source of green when printing.
This piece was printed with only the leaves of the hamelia and a few annatto seeds.
Add some eucalyptus and a bit of tannin (with a small assist from a bit of iron) and the hamelia still peaks out with a bit of greeen.
Add a bit more tannin (with an iron assist) and the green is still there.
How can anyone help not love this plant(its also a favorite of bees and hummingbirds).
P.S. Always use a bit of copper when printing hamelia. It helps bring out the greens.
I’ve been spending a great deal of time this summer on my indigo processes; resist methods and dyeing. I do, however, try to sneak in a bit of time for some botanical printing.
There were a couple of batches that I am particularly fond of. The colors and images just seemed to be in harmony.
My favorite leaves for images are oak, pecan and sweet gum. There are other leaves,however, that leave wonderful tints and shadowy hints of their presence. Those are the leaves that give the pieces their overall look.
I will admit not all the leaves are from my area. My sister-in-law does send me small periodic parcels containing a few of the leaves from her area in the Michigan woods. I happily include those in my compositions.
Started testing various types of napkins as well as different stitches for the CHT (Contemporary Handweavers of Texas) conference dinner table napkins. The conference is not until next May but there is lots to do. The more we can get done ahead of time the better.
Tried to use some simple patterns as I didn’t know how much help there would be and what shibori experience there was in the group.
Think we’ll also be doing other natural dyes not just just indigo. That should make for some very colorful table settings.
We’re still checking out napkin sources. I used Dharma for my test. The ones shown here are actually sold as men’s handkerchiefs but are very substantial and easy to work with. I also tried using the Dharma items sold as napkins but they were so thick I had a hard time stitching and even clamping was a problem.
Hope decisions will be made soon. There are a lot of napkins to make.