Monday, April 28, 2008

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet . . .

No, it's not Superman, it's my life whizzing by . . .

This is a journal I made from the last lesson--Lesson 5--in Sue's class. It just amazes me how quickly these classes go; it seems like they just get started, and suddenly 5 or 6 weeks have zipped by. I'm going to miss this class a lot--it was a great group of people and really fun projects.

Btw, those are fabric beads on the twine that I made a long time ago just for fun, and now I finally get to use them in a project. Hooray!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Full Plates

The house is filled with the aroma of the corned beef and cabbage that my sweetie has been cooking all afternoon, so it's difficult to write without analogies of food popping into my head. In particular, I'm struck by how--as is typical for me--my artistic plate is full of yummy, satisfying projects. Here are some of the things I've been working on since my last post:

I'm taking Ellen Lindner's online class, Instant Art Quilts. We begin with a high-contrast fabric and chop it up and arrange the pieces. The pic on the left is the fabric I dyed for the class; the pic on the left is the arrangement, which awaits next week's lesson on accents. This was so quick and easy, and so much fun, that I've dyed more fabric and started another "instant art quilt."

I'm also taking another of Marjie McWilliams classes at Quilt U: Shibori Dyeing. Last week we worked on "Arashi" dyeing, which apparently means "storm" in Japanese. and here are the results. The pic to the left is dyed silk velvet, and on the right is habotai.

This week we're working on "Suji" dyeing, which is all about pleating and folding. The results are below. The first piece is cotton, the second is a chiffon scarf, and the third is a piece of silk that I had previously stamped with thickened blue dye. Today, I folded it and overdyed it with a light red and a deep yellow.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Are We Having Fun Yet?

So, I've been lurking on the Complex Cloth Yahoo group for quite some time now, and I was happy when a newbie asked about doing a round robin. Since I knew there was at least one other newbie in the group, I happily jumped in and signed up, too. This would be fun, right?

As soon as the fabric came in the mail, I started to panic. It was lovely, and I just knew I was going to screw it up. For days, I stopped and stared at it every time I walked past my craft room. What should I do with it? Overdye it? Discharge it? I was adding the first layer of embellishment, so I didn't really consider paint or Shiva paintsticks.

Should I try a potato dextrin resist? I had been wanting to experiment with this, so I tried it out on my own fabric first. I really like the way it looked, but I was worried that 1) I didn't have enough dextrin to cover an entire yard; 2) the dye wouldn't show up well in the end; or 3) I would screw it up.

Then I decided to overdye it. What color? Yellow would make lots of greens out of the blues. Red would turn the whole thing purples, and sometimes I can get some ugly purples. Another shade of blue might not do much; and, what if I screwed it up?

Then I decided that I would put a resist on the fabric and paint dye onto it. Same color questions. More thinking, more panicking about screwing it up.

Finally, I decided that I would use bleach and a stamp to discharge it. But was this enough? Did that count as a complete layer, or would I need to discharge it and then, say, overdye it? I looked at past round robin photos and, sure enough, some people had simply discharged for their layer.

Ok, now that I knew what I was going to do, I wanted to practice on my own fabric first (come on everyone, say it with me: "So that I didn't screw it up . . . ") . I've mostly discharged with Softscrub with Bleach, but I wanted a thorough bleaching effect, so I mixed bleach and water 1/2 & 1/2, poured some on a paper towel on a plate, dipped my stamp in, and stamped away. It worked fabulously. I laid out the yard of RR fabric, dipped my stamp in, and immediately dribbled bleach on the fabric. The first stamp had too much bleach on it, so the print blobbed out.

I was, of course, panicking fully by now, but it was too late to call the plan off. I continued to stamp, washed the fabric, and quickly mailed it off to the next person on the list.

I'm a wreck. I THINK this is supposed to be fun, so I'm wondering when that part kicks in . . .

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another Journal

Here's the latest journal I've completed for Sue's class.

It's actually a sketchbook, complete with pockets for pencils and other cool stuff and drawing paper.

The first page is a piece of cardstock that I printed from some scans I made a while back. I had carved a sunflower stamp and printed the image with acrylics, then painted over that with watercolors. I scan or copy just about everything I do these days because I've discovered I can reuse this stuff forever. Then I used drawing paper for the other pages, and finished with a piece of fairly lightweight cardboard to give it some stability for drawing.

I'm almost finished with the next journal. I ran across some silk I had quilted a while back and it was perfect for a journal cover. I LOVE this class because it's fun, but also because I'm using up some of the fabric, papers, embellishments, etc. that have been languishing in my craft room for forever.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Almost Caught Up!

I finally finished taking pics of the fabric and posting them all to my Etsy site. Whew, I'm tired! And I can smell the computer sizzling . . .

I'm also almost finished with two more journals from Sue's class--just a final touch or two to add on this one:

And some embellishments (pockets, tags, etc.) on the leaf journal.

Of course, being "caught up" only means I can check one or two things off the to-do list; now to tackle the other 30 or 40 items on the list . . .

Monday, April 7, 2008

You Know Something's Wrong . . .

when you're more tired at the end of a weekend than when the weekend started. Aren't we supposed to rest and recuperate on the weekends? Oh well, onward and upward . . .

I'll be taking another online class beginning at the end of April--Instant Art Quilts--with Ellen Lindner. I decided to take this class because I have some beautiful hand-dyes and I think they would be perfect in quilts like this.

Other people are apparently thinking the same thing, because some of the class members were looking for hand-dyes with high value-contrast. I hadn't taken pictures of mine, so I decided to do that and post them for sale on my Etsy site.

I thought I would just whip through this, get the postings & pics up, and move on to all the other things I had to do. WRONG! This actually took 1/2 a day. it doesn't help that my computer is 4 years old and slow as a snail. Anway, it's done, for now, at least until the next marathon photo and posting session :-) I'm posting a couple of the pics here; you can see more on Etsy, if you're interested.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Like Sand Through the Hourglass . . .

Remember that old lead-in to Days of Our Lives (is it still the same? or has it been updated?) where the sand is slipping steadily away through the hourglass . . . Where did March go? For that matter, where did the first 1/4 of 2008 go???

As usual I have more projects than time. I'm still taking online classes; the most recent is Sue Bleiweiss's Journal Making for the Fiber Artist. I've been making journals for a while; in fact, in some ways this entire textile journey started with journal-making, so it's fun to come full circle. But taking a class is great because I learn some new techniques, gain confidence, can share my work with others, and feel like I'm on a deadline (typically, the only way I can actually get things done!).

I love that journal-making incorporates so many of the materials I've been learning about and working with the last year: fabric, paper, paints, tags, yarns. In fact, before it's over I may be able to figure out how to use a lot of the "stuff" that's been piling up in my craft room.