Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Textile Art Tips

Background : Today is Tuesday -  Tag day. I belong to a very talented group of artists who weekly produce a small work of art as a tag. We post photos of our tags  on the Tag Tuesday blog.  Currently our theme is alphabet, and we each could decide on our own sub-theme. I chose Australian plants and each of my tags is an experiment with a textile art technique. Here are February's tags and a brief  descriptions of the techniques used. 

Technique 1 :  Heliographic Art (Sun Painting)  as in the photo above - close up of Tag E . When special sun/light sensitive paints are applied to wet fabric where objects have been placed on top, the outlines and shapes of the objects are transferred to the fabric. In this example I placed dried Eucalypt (gum tree) leaves on top  a piece of originally white cotton painted with yellow and orange" Setacolor" transparent paints and left it in the sun for about an hour. I then cut one of the leaves out and appliqued it to a piece of felt, and then stitched it  raised, on to  the sun printed piece. I also printed the letter by cutting our a cardboard E and placing it on the painted fabric. To complete the look of  the real leaves,  I made some random patterns with a permanent marker and softened the effect by dabbing the marks with alcohol ( rubbing alcohol , purchased from the pharmacy) 

Tag E : sun painting 
 Technique 2 : Decolourant  Tag F , Ficus macrophylla ( Moreton Bay Fig) is made from hand yed cotton fabric. I drew the outline of a fig tree with buttress roots onto freezer paper and with a scalpel, cut out the tree and roots to make a stencil. I ironed the stencil onto the fabric and then painted decolourant through the stencil. The result was a "whitened" tree shape. With another  layer of fabric as backing, I stitched around the outline and using a trapunto quilting technique, I cut slits in the back of various sections of the root area, and stuffed some of the roots to make them raised and in the foreground. I also applied black water soluble crayon and marker to create the appearance of shadows and markings on the tree trunk. 
Tag F : decolourant 

Technique 3 : Natural watermark and  Permanent Markers and Alcohol.  Marking with alcohol is probably my favourite textile art technique, first learnt from Sherrill Kahn - drawing with permanent markers and dabbing or dripping with alcohol, as already described.  I use this technique a lot with other textile art techniques. For tag G - Grevillea, I cut a flower stem from a shrub in my garden, and hammered it on to white cotton fabric. This is literal - I flatten the flower and stem with a roller and then, placing a piece of plastic on top of the specimen, I use a hammer to release the colour. The colour and shape of the grevillea stem are transferred to the fabric, a bit like a watermark. For this tag, I then very quickly drew rough outlines in red, green and yellow, brushed it all over with alcohol, ironed it to set, and then a few straight machine stitches to emphasise the flower tendrils give a passable Grevillea impression. 

Tag G : Permanent markers/Alcohol 
Tag D : Fusing Fabric 

Technique 4: Fusing Fabric. If you like working with sheer fabrics, then this is the technique for you. 
It is very simple - layers of organza, fused together by making "marks" with a soldering iron. The Dryandra flower is created from  five  layers of organza, soldered /fused together and free form over stitched , with frayed edges.  The serrated leaves were very quickly made by layering three pieces of organza over a piece of acrylic felt and cutting out the leaves. The centre line was done first to fuse the organza and the felt, by placing a metal ruler down, and running the soldering iron along the edge of the ruler. Warning : Try this only in the open air, or wearing a mask. The fumes can be overwhelming. And be careful a soldering iron can get very hot and you are literally " burning" fabric when you use this technique. But it's fun! 

Hope these explanations might inspire you to experiment, too or at least have a look at Tag Tuesday 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Year of the Snake : Happy Chinese New Year

 Happy Chinese New Year - the first day of the lunar year was last week, but with celebrations continuing  for at least two weeks, we had our family get together last night. We all look forward to the celebrations because they all mean something special to each of us
Chinese New Year = colourful Lion dances

 Chinese New Year = loud music and fun

 Chinese New Year = lucky red packets of money

 Chinese New Year = a special event and dressing up

Chinese New Year = yummy food and lots of it

Chinese New Year = family and friends celebrating together

All the best to my family and friends all over the world during  the Year of the Snake.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

No longer on my work table...

Tumbuna Bottles 
Here are a few pieces which are no longer on my work table - yay,  they are finished!
Tumbuna collage
Tumbuna Bottles: Tumbuna means 'ancestor' in pidgin. I have been wanting to make some dolls inspired by my experiences in Papua New Guinea , so finally finished some last month.  These art dolls are 'guardians of memories' . I have put inside the bottles little trinkets and bits and pieces I brought home from various trips to Papua New Guinea , and  created a personality for each bottle, shaped from my remembered images of respected ancestors in PNG villages.  My plan, of course is to make a series of these bottle art dolls inspired by other travels ... looking forward to creating the Chinese, English, German, Finnish, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotian versions and including little souvenirs from those places in the bottles.
little Tumbuna bottle 
Tags: This year the first 26 weeks of Tag Tuesday are following the alphabet ... I decided to follow my own theme of Australian plants/trees and January's tags are Acacia, Banksia, Callistemon and Dryandra. I have used various techniques including applique, digital print on fabric, machine and hand embroidery and organza fused with a soldering iron.  ( Tag Tuesday is a blog group challenge - a tag each Tuesday)

Stamped Dolls : I purchased a new stamp set from www. impressmenow.com and here are  three of the little dolls I made using the stamp and some of my scraps of hand dyed cotton.

 It's hard to believe that it is already February, but I'm happy to have completed some work already this year. I' m hoping this momentum will last all year...