thoughts

New Year — New Journey

It’s a new year! I have a new company name! It is now eclectic clothI have been honing my art brand and it has graduated into a more fun design style. Textile collage displaying various themes from love and spirit to pure whimsy fits my all over the place way of creating much better than my previous scheme. 

Procrastination will take a back seat this year. Well, that’s the intention anyway. I also intend to make posting on my little art journal blog a priority.

I am ending my posting hiatus by continuing my exploration into color and featuring some monochromatic studies in the form of various textile pieces. 

This first piece is a study in white. White symbolizes purity and innocence and is considered a cool color due to it’s relation to snow and ice. There are many shades of white. Snow, pearl, cream, antique white just to name a few. Even beige is actually a shade of white. I have attempted to display some of the soft and beautiful versatility of white in the art quilt below.

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wish in white

I named the quilt wish in white because it’s a big bowl of ice cream and I don’t eat much dairy anymore — I miss vanilla ice cream so much. It is 11 1/2″ x 13 1/2.”

bags

Clutch Bags

Here are two patchwork collage clutch bags. These started out as art quilts. I love quilting fabric collage. The texture it renders is simply delicious. I love the way the purples play with and enhance the deep reds. Both of the bags have a soft structure and are just so unique.

techniques and elements project

Art Quilts 11-13

These next three quilts have some fun embellishments.

I love the resin trapped pressed flowers on “preserved beauties.” Sequins are not something that I intend to use often but they give “wandering ginkgo” it’s brightness. The shisha mirrors add some dimensional whimsy to “goddess of thought.”

11) “preserved beauties”

“preserved beauties”
paper, printing/painting using found objects, resin

Tea bag paper
Cotton fabric
Felt batting
Gesso – white
Dynaflow – chartreuseteal
Polyester thread – copper
Golden Gel Medium (Gloss)
Ice Resin trapped pressed flowers
Flex Shaft Drill
Foam brush
Found objects – foam comb, gridded foam pad, wood dowel (from a broken foam paint brush)

I painted the tea bag paper and sealed it with the gel medium to create the quilt top. The found objects were lightly dipped in the gesso and I painted on some abstract designs. Using the drill, holes were made in the resin to allow for stitching. I added the felt batting and hand stitched the flowers onto the quilt top. Added the cotton backing and assembled the quilt sandwich.

Tips:  When working with Ice Resin, be sure not to stir it quickly. Too many bubbles will form. Also, take all safety precautions if using a Flex Shaft Drill. I use industrial grade leather gloves and protective eyewear.

12) “wandering gingko”

“wandering gingko”
resists, rubbings, sequins

Muslin
Cotton fabric
Felt batting
Gingko rubbing plate
Paintstiks
Watercolor paint – yellow
Paint brush
Canvas scrap
Polyester thread – copper
Floral stencil
Sequins
Beads
Blue painter’s tape
Glue gun

The rubbing plate was taped down and I taped the muslin down over the top of it. I lightly but firmly rubbed the paintstik over the muslin. The area around the gingko design was painted yellow in order to bring out the leaf shapes. The floral stencil was held down over the canvas scrap and I put hot glue in the empty spaces of the stencil to create a resist. The stencil was removed and watercolor paint was spread around the hardened glue. Free motion stitching was added to outline the floral shape on the scrap. I cut around the stitching to create the motif.  The quilt top was put on top of the batting and I hand stitched the motif, sequins and beads on. The backing was added.

Tip:  When working with a glue resist and stencil, try to work quickly. The glue dried with the stencil on top and I wasn’t able to achieve a detailed resist because I had to tug at the stencil to remove it. Some pieces of hardened glue pulled away from the canvas therby allowing some of the paint to seep into areas that would have otherwise been covered up.

13) goddess of thought”

“goddess of thought”
shisha mirrors, stamping, stenciling

Batik fabric
Cotton fabric
Collage stencil
Abstract stencil
Rubber stamps
Gesso – white
Staz-On Ink Pad – black
Foam make-up wedge
Shisha mirrors
Polyester thread – purple

I stamped and stenciled the quilt top in a frivolous yet balanced kind of way then added the batting and hand stitched the shisha mirrors on it. The backing was added and the quilt sandwich was assembled.

Tip:  Shisha mirrors scratch easily. Be careful to not let your fingernails scrape them.

techniques and elements project

Art Quilts 8-10

Continuing to adhere to the project list — three more abstract notions in the form of mini art quilts:

8) broken record

“broken record”
masking, mica, monoprinting

Muslin
Cotton fabric
Felt batting
Mica splitting
Sheet music scraps
CD
Lumiere – pearl turquiose
Golden Fluid Acrylic – ultramarine blue
Golden Gel Medium (Matte)
Cotton embroidery thread – turquoise
Cotton thread – variegated
Glass sheet
Blue Painter’s Tape
Paint brush
Clay shaping tool
Water in a spray bottle

I taped the CD (folded the tape unto itself and put it under the CD) to the top of a glass sheet to create a mask. I spread out the paint on the sheet and placed the muslin on top of it to creat a monoprint. After carefully removing the fabric, I then removed the CD, painted it and laid it on top of the circular white spaces that the mask left on the muslin; cut out and glued the music scraps to the painted CD spaces using the matte medium as glue. Some water accidently spilled on the quilt top and made a tiny discoloration on the dark blue background so I decided to spray on a little more water. Hence the batik look of the background. The quilt top was placed onto the felt batting. I made holes in the mica using a very sharp, pointy clay tool to allow for stitching. I hand stitched the mica onto the quilt top and then carefully machine stitched the quilt top and batting to the cotton fabric backing.

Tips:  Mica is fragile. Be sure and use a light hand when working with it. It’s a great material for protecting delicate papers.

9) blowsy scraps

“blowsy scraps”
natural dyeing, over-dyeing, painting

Muslin
Painted canvas scraps
Cotton black and white fabric
Felt batting
505 Spray and Fix (fabric adhesive)
Burdock Root
Coffee grounds
Acrylic paint – yellow, black
Plastic container
Toothbrush
Foam brush
Polyester thread – copper
White vinegar
Water

I prepped the muslin for dyeing with vinegar and water, boiled the burdock root in water and drained it to get a deep rich coloring. I dipped the muslin and simmered it for over an hour. Well, the results were less than stellar. It was much too pale. No more burdock for me. I should have used blueberries or red cabbage. To reach some type of acceptable hue, I put the fabric back in the pot, added some coffee grounds and let it sit on a very low simmer for an hour. After rinsing, a nice soft beige was achieved. The over-dye job was more successful. I put some diluted yellow paint in a plastic container and scrunched the black and white fabric down in it. I made sure to leave a little of the original fabric undipped to show the contrast. I flicked some black dots on top of the already painted canvas scraps using a toothbrush, to meet the “painting” requirement on the list. Placed the pieces of over-dyed fabric with it’s 505 sprayed, haphazardly arranged canvas scraps on the muslin background. Added some free motion stitching and assembled the quilt.

Tips:  Use perseverance when dyeing with natural materials. It can be difficult to get a rich, vibrant coloring. Also, be scrap happy. Save small scraps. They come in handy for a myriad of projects.

10) floating lotus

“floating lotus”
painting fusible web, paint mediums, paintstiks

Muslin
Cotton fabric
Felt batting
Golden Fabric Medium
Golden Fluid Acrylic – phthalo blue (green shade)
Painstiks
Stencils – lotus, abstract design
Stencil brush
Fusible web
Lumiere – pewter
Polyester thread – copper
Piece of cut foam sponge

The fluid acrylic was mixed with a small dollop fabric paint medium then spread on top of the muslin leaving some of the fabric’s original white color visible. After it dried I stenciled on the lotus and abstract shapes using paintstiks a stencil brush. I had previously painted a scrap of fusible web and cut out some abstract shapes. The shapes were ironed onto the quilt top, the top was added to the felt and backing.

Tips:  Don’t let unusual color combos scare you. I discovered that I love the uniqueness of blues and dark brown together. Regarding fusible web, if you decide to iron on painted fusible, don’t leave the iron sitting on it too long. I did that and it darkened the paint and took away the original glittery look of the paint.

techniques and elements project

Art Quilts 2-4

Quilt number 1, 3D applique quilt do more was actually made before I decided to use a combination of three methods on one piece. I’m going to use it as the cover for the first of two art quilt journals. Here is a link with some background information on how this project metamorphosed.

Project art quilt samplers 2-4:

2) enso love

“enso love”
applique, batting, block printing

Warm n’ Natural low loft batting
Lumiere – pearl turquoise
Golden Fluid Acrylic – black
Open Circle Brushstroke wood block
Cotton fabric scraps
Cotton thread – black
Foam paint brush
Foam make-up wedge

The quilt top is painted batting stamped with a wood block dabbed with acrylic paint. Three little rectangle scrap appliques were unevenly placed to give a sense of movement. It’s actually only two layers, batting and backing so I’m not sure if it’s technically a quilt. I cheated a little there.

Tips:  When using a wood block with a fast drying acrylic paint, push down firmly on the block but only hold it down for a few seconds so that it doesn’t get stuck to the surface. The paint should be cleaned off of the block as soon as possible using a mild soap and warm water.

3)water lily moon

“water lily moon”
burning, clay, collagraphy

Lutradur
Dynaflow – chartreuse, teal
Gesso – white
Felt batting
Modena Soft Air Dry Polymer Clay
Rubber moon face mold
Cardboard
Elmer’s glue
Golden Polymer Medium (Gloss)
Cotton thread – variegated
Heat gun
Walnut Hollow Versa Tool

The quilt top is lutradur and was painted with a light wash of colors. Placed on top of a gesso filled collagraphy plate. After it dried, I put the Lutradur on a sheet of glass and cut out the triangular shapes around the lily using the Versa Tool. Placed it on top of the felt batting and free motion stitched along the faint lines of the design created with the plate. If I had used thicker cardboard, the glued down shapes would have produced a more prominent design and it would have been easier to trace with the stitching — or perhaps if I had added some rich color to the gesso, that may have made a difference as well.

The heat gun created the lacy holes in the Lutradur and the felt. I held it about 8-12 inches away from the fabric and kept it moving in a circular random type motion. I assembled the quilt before hand stitching the clay moon face on the top. In retrospect, I should have added the clay piece before adding the backing. All hand stitched embellishment work should be done before the quilt sandwich is assembled so that the stitches are hidden under the backing unless the preference is for the stitching to actually show.

Tips:  When using any heat tool or any mediums, use proper ventilation and/or a mask as a safety precaution. Use all safety measures at all times. I don’t recommend using the heat tools that I used for this piece on cotton — it will just burn. Synthetic materials work best for me. About Modena Air Dry Polymer Clay — it is fantastic to work with! Just make sure there are no little dust particles around your work area. The clay seems to be attracted to dusties.

4)alien pear

“alien pear”
devore, drawing w/pen & ink, embellishments

Cotton fabric
Devore’
Micron pen 01
Felt batting
Pearl Cotton embroidery floss #5 – red
Glass beads
Cotton thread – black
Polyester thread – red

I traced the pear design onto the fabric. Made little surrounding circles with the Devore to create holes so the black felt batting would show. Removed the Devore melted fabric with a wet toothbrush. Ironed the quilt top until it was dry. Placed the top over the batting and doodled on some accenting pen work. I added embellishments by stitching on some beadwork and embroidering a few x’s on the stem. The backing fabric was added.

Tips:  Use a lightbox to trace a design onto the fabric if the fabric is not sheer enough to see through or if you would rather not draw on your own. I used the sun by placing the fabric up on the window and tracing for most of the pear. It was not easy. I might invest in a lightbox. Also, if using Devore, follow the directions to the letter.

thoughts

Back To Business

Okay. So my home sale hiatus is officially over. No excuses. I have resumed creating–making bags and things, refreshing my soldering skills, etc. I also applied to a local show. I haven’t heard back from them but I’m hopeful that no news is good news.

Collage looks easy because it seems like a jumble of stuff put together randomly without rhyme or reason but making the various elements make sense is a process. It is a fun process though. Fabric collage is an especially good time for me because I get to dabble and play with all of that beautifully designed cloth with little fear of making a mistake. And if I feel I have made a mistake, it’s okay because fabric art is fixable using an old standby called “mixed-media.” A  little (or a lot) of gesso and some paint is all it takes to start anew. Thank goodness for paint.

design

Collage

Collage is the assemblage of different forms creating a new whole.”

Collage has such an enchanting and vast history so I will only nibble at very limited edges in this post.

It started out as paper art in the Orient, way, way back in the day–the 12th century. Paper was held as sacred. Poems were embellished with flowers and other motifs from nature. Decorated text. Although it has evolved immensely, and is now a practice used by artists all over the world, it has held on to it’s roots. Collagists still decorate text and anything else that comes to mind. Not until the twentieth century was it considered a valid fine art method. Artists bringing painting, sculpture and assemblage to the collage party weren’t taken seriously at first but persistence has it’s rewards. The freedom of expression and spontaneity that collage offers revolutionized the way folks looks at art. Artists began collecting and using all kinds of stuff in their pieces. The limitlessness was tempting and many creatives gave in. There were of course many artists who were opposed to the abandonment of conformity but many were thrilled by it and their art displays a special passion. If I had lived back then I would have been one of the giddy ones. Anything can be used in a collage and that thought brings me sheer joy.

Fabric is my primary medium of choice. Occasionally adding found objects, paper, paint and anything else the piece calls for takes me on interesting adventures. One of the reasons for starting this blog is so that I will hopefully be forced into art discipline. Either I make stuff or my blog withers away. Blog withering is not acceptable. Experimentation and getting away from comfort zones leads to learning, growing and ultimately meeting goals. I intend to do much experimenting.

redyellowpurple

design

Compositional Layouts

Compositional layouts are the standard ways in which elements are organized in a design. They help bring a sense of purpose and organization to a piece. Thank goodness for collage! The basic nature of the method is for it to be ad hoc and you don’t necessarily need to use any of these plans. On the other hand, if you are trying to send a message or convey a specific feeling, experimenting with and learning about composition will be a beneficial part of your art trek.

The following is a list of twelve layouts and their representations:

Horizontal – calm

Vertical – growth

Diagonal – dynamic

Radiating – explosive

Circular – eternal

Triangular – uplifting

Framed – contained

Vanishing – depth

Grid – architectural

Overall – chaotic

Asymmetrical – off balance

Symmetrical – balanced

I used wallpaper scraps and cardstock to make some examples:

welcome

So Happy to Be Blogging Again!

I am starting over in blogville. Since accidentally deleting old artsy notions and philosophical musings (due to my being indecisive and impatient) I have been so anxious to get back to sharing what I know about one of my biggest passions–collage. I will delve into many techniques that will help bring this expressive art to life. My intent is to learn as well as teach.

Collage has several technical definitions but I like how the thesaurus explains it: a mixture of pictures, an abstract composition, found art, photomontage. This is what I attempt to do with fabric. I adore “material.” That’s what my Grandma used to call the sweetly patterned light blue  dotted swiss, the beautifully sheer organdy and all of the other meticulously cared for fabric she owned. The vast variety of textures and colors that make up today’s delightful choices make me swoon. I love it all. From the flimsiest georgette to the heaviest canvas, it all thrills me to the core. Walking into a fabric shop is like finding new money. So when something as liberating as collage is available to be toyed with in relation to the textile realm, I am all in! The general principles and elements of composition and design do come into play with collage in order to help a piece of work make art sense but many times instinct takes over. Doing exercises in order to learn and absorb those principles have helped to bring cohesiveness and order to my work which is sort of a weird concept when talking about collage which most of the time is without any order at all at first glance. I guess the challenge is to produce a sort of jumbled harmony. I like to work fast without much conscious consideration and I want my designs to adhere to that jumbled harmony notion. That is exactly why I have put those pesky rules safely in my subconscious where they silently come to my aid whenever necessary.

heart

My next post will be a brief overview of composition and the principles and elements of design.