Thursday, July 21, 2016

So How's Your Summer?

I hope you are having a good one! It certainly seems to be flying by quickly. Mine has turned out to be a surprise in that I discovered something about myself. I'm completely enamored with online classes! I love how affordable they are, and how I can complete them at my own pace and in my own time. And I love learning new things. Hopefully I've not overwhelmed myself, but I signed up for several summer courses. This "Go With the Flow" girl is just one example. She's a lesson by Marieke Blokland from the Art Journal Summer School 2016 series of classes. We get two new lessons every week until September.

The lessons are beginner-friendly which is exactly what I need. Far from an art class star in my school days, I never thought I'd be interested in or show any aptitude at all for painting and mixed media. And yet, here I am, enjoying every lesson and doing my best to master the current skill. This lesson was taught by artist Kate Crane and was quite relaxing to complete. 

I've also made several of these paper flowers as wall adornments, using old calendar pages and scrapbook paper. These are the brainchild of Jenniebellie who will be one of the teachers this summer. She also has a YouTube channel on which she demonstrates all sorts of mixed media and journaling projects, including these flowers.

One thing I find about branching out into mixed media journaling in addition to quilting is the explosion of supplies in the workroom. Paper, stitch, painting- they all have their own specialized supplies. Why not combine them all? Well, that is another course, of course! This one is taught by Joanne Sharpe and is based on her latest book shown above. The class is titled Paint, Stitch, Play and explores all kinds of paints and markers on fabric. The muslin booklet, also shown above, will contain a catalog of the various paints I have on hand along with some class projects. One of our first exercises was to make the booklet and to practice free-motion stitch-doodling as shown in the sample below.

So I've stayed quite entertained with practicing all the new products and techniques I'm learning. Summer fun, indeed!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Tons of Tees, Tons of Ideas...

Perhaps my favorite fiber art technique we explored at a recent Fiber Art Bee retreat is discharge dyeing. We accomplished it using a spray solution of 1 part chlorine bleach with two parts water. We worked outdoors on plastic covered tables and had buckets of water handy for immersing the projects to stop the bleaching. This star shirt is one I made after the workshop to wear to the 4th of July parade. I cut assorted sizes of stars from freezer paper and then ironed them in place on the red shirt. I watched the change happen right before my eyes as the areas where I sprayed faded to a dusty pink.

But this shirt is my favorite. I ironed freezer paper hearts around the neckline and a large vase of flowers to the front. A strip of lace trim placed across the bottom created the lacey look there. The fun of this technique is that you don't know just what color you'll get. I like the rusty orange that this black tee turned in the sprayed areas. I ran the pieces through the rinse cycle of the washing machine to remove excess bleach and stop the discharge.

This shirt was one of the samples made by our instructors at the workshop held at Goatfeathers Studio. This black tee turned a khaki color which made the masked shapes quite distinct.

We also discharge dyed pieces of fabric. The die-cut leaves cut from freezer paper created very distinct images. And the piece at the bottom is my experimental piece using the lace as a mask. This one was done on navy cotton. Cotton is the key word here. I tried discharge dyeing a black craft apron, but the apron was made from a blend and the image was indistinct.

Not every piece was a success. I'd read that using cheesecloth as a mask would make a soft imprint. Perhaps I spread it too thin on this piece of brown cotton, but nearly all the brown disappeared and the result was rather unappealing. 

Here are some of our discharge dyed pieces drying on a fence. In addition to bleach spray, we also worked with a bleach pen and bleach crystals. I've got a purple shirt ready to discharge and a couple more black ones. This method is a keeper!