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.
The next Quilt Festival workshop was Ice Dyeing Basics with Cindy Lohbeck. It was a half day workshop (afternoon) so I decided to go in early and do what little shopping I had planned in the morning.
I had always wanted to try ice dyeing and had seen several tutorials on You Tube, etc. but decided that I wanted a hands on experience to get me going. Well, I was in for a big surprise. Cindy doesn’t approach ice dyeing like any of the tutorials I had seen. I do like her technique much better and it makes more sense than the other approaches. My first attempts aren’t bad but I do have a bit of practicing to do before I’m really pleased with my results. Cindy had us working up our samples on fat quarters. It’s a good size to play with. Some of my samples are below.
All the samples were batched together and only three colors were used for the batch. The colors were clear yellow, red and blue. The next workshop was Advanced Ice Dyeing. Will post soon.
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.
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!
International Quilt Festival Houston 2016 is about to begin. The workshops started yesterday and I braved getting up at 5:30 so I could get to my first workshop on time.
Glennis Dolce didn’t disappoint, as usual. We were supplied with 3 packets of folded silk (along with instructions on how to fold our own fabtic). We were also supplied with some dissolving thread and instructed to draw and then sew our designs on each packet of silk. Once that was done, we were given some silk dye (which doesn’t require heat setting) and a couple of pipettes. Thus armed, we began to paint our designs. After the painting was done, we dissolved our stitching and opened up our “masterpieces”.
I am very fond of my “firstborn”. Glynnis only let us use 2 colors for our first piece.
My second piece was a bit overwhelming to me. I had intended for small sections of black but the black dye has a mind of its own.
My very favorite was my final sample. I like the colors as well as the resulting shape.
Next workshop is in a couple of days. It is with the very wonderful and talented Ginny Eckley. Looking forward to it (even if its another 5:30 morning!)
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.
It’s been way too long since my last post but I do have a couple of interesting botanical prints to write about.
One of the more difficult fabrics to offer up interesting prints is chiffon. The fabric is such an open weave that the most one can hope for is some interesting (and it usually happens) color. This time, however, a small piece of silk chiffon fooled me.
The hamelia leaves as well as the sweet gum did themselves proud. The annatto seeds provided a bit of color. The very vague and disappointing print is a grapefruit leaf. Otherwise, very nice result.
The other piece is one that I had promised to publish a couple of weeks ago. It is the scarf that was covered by the iron blanket I wrote about. It is a beauty. Don’t know that I can part with this one. The oak leaves and the onion skins are a perfect complement to the red of the madder root.
Even though it’s a crazy time of year, I felt the need to do some printing. Above I used some eucalyptus, hamelia (hummingbird bush)leaves, and a bit of sweet gum.
Here I used sweet gum, maple, rose leaves, a couple of sprinkles of tumeric, oak and sumac berries. There was so much tannin the overall look is brown.
My favorite is this one. The scarf is covered with rose leaves, hamelia leaves large and small, some sweet gum and madder root.
I’m very happy I ‘felt the need’ to do these as the supply I had at 18 Hands Gallery was almost depleted. I took these and a couple more I had forgotten before down there today. I am very thrilled there are so many people interested in (and buying) my work. Next year I’ll try doing fewer scarves and do more table runners, pillow covers, etc. And of course, I’ll be doing a lot more indigo shibori.
It’s been a good year. I’m looking forward to even bigger and better things next year.