Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Boro and Sashiko inspired calendar book cover

I became tired of carrying around my calendar and all the things I put in it, which constantly fall out and decided to make myself a cover. One I could patch as it wears out and I could customize it as needed over time.  The following photos show my efforts.

This is the outside cover

The inside of the cover

Front cover over calendar book

I need to add a few things to the inside like a pen holder and slots for business cards and a closure.

I am enjoying using up scraps of fabric. These pieces of fabric were laid out on a piece of denim recovered from jeans. Then embroidered and another piece of denim fabric added to the inside.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Invasive Species and fiber art

Well one thing leads to another. I decided I needed to do a series and needed a theme. A walk along the shores of Lake Ontario with its driftwood pieces made me think about what lives in the lake.  Fish came to mind.  Then I saw something about Invasive Species and decided to do my interpretation of that theme.

How do I incorporate felt, driftwood and the sashiko/boro inspired stitching together to address this theme. One piece of driftwood screamed "I AM A FISH TAIL" to me, and so it is now a fish tail.
This piece is a work in progress. It still needs fins, a back, and to be attached to the wooden tail.

Delving into my inherited fabrics from my mother allowed me to find interesting fabrics that I then embroidered around the patterns using a light gray pearl cotton thread. I did purchase sashiko needles which made my life much easier. This is a detail shot below of the head.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The denim square project

I recently inherited hundreds of denim squares from my mother. She is a quilter and has been downsizing. I was going through this large bin of denim squares cut to the same size using different aspects of the jeans they were cut from.  She spent so much time cutting these squares, paying attention to the different aspects of the cloth she was cutting. They were intended to be made into a denim rag quilt.

My vision for them is different. It is also evolving into an exploration of different sewing techniques - exploring sashiko - a Japanese form of embroidery and boro a Japanese form of mending. This is my latest square.

The Denim squares I am starting with.

Denim squares with hexies - english paper piecing exploration with embroidery

Ruching - scraps of yarn on denim

Sewing lace that is falling apart on the denim squares with perl cotton. Reminds me of a sunflower in a way. 

I have decided to wait until I have a large quantity of squares before I decide what to do with them. Will I make a quilt or a cushion or something else?
 I don't know yet. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Felt in Red.

I have in the past never worked in the color red, but find myself liking this color more and more.

I recently joined the Textile Study Group of New York ( and am working on a piece inspired by a call for 12 x 12 pieces in Red.

I started out thinking leaves, fall etc and prepped a bunch of fabric and items to felt into a background but when I actually got to the studio table and laid out the Red felt, my hands and brain did something altogether different. Funny how that works out.

I ended up with this - almost done piece - with a red background and gold and brown bamboo fibers as well as some yarn sample strands that had been given to me years ago. I beaded around the strands and then did some thread painting.

Using a quilter's chalker the yellow you see is an outline of something I want to add. It's still a work in progress.  I just need a name for it.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Kallitype Class

Last night was my second Kallitype class at the Flower City Art Center with Jon Merritt. The Kallitype process is an Iron-Silver Process and a lot more sensitive than Cyanotype. I thought it would be interesting to compare the processes.

We first create a digital negative using Photoshop. I am not so good at this, so glad I have help.

The digital negative is printed on Pictorico on a special ink jet printer with ink that dries, unlike mine at home. We then coat paper with two chemicals in a dark room and dry the paper with a hair dryer. The paper and digital negative are sandwiched and put in a special UV light box. First try was 5 minutes, second was 3 minutes. 
Then the paper and negative are separated and the paper goes into the darkroom to be developed.
Here is Jon setting up the chemicals for class.
This is my second print in the final water rinse.
And my first print on the drying rack.
They will look much different once they are dry.
More experiments with this next week.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cyanotype experiments continue

Having recently discovered two bins full of denim squares left from my mothers quilting, I decided to try cyanotype on some of them. Eventually to sew a bunch of these together in a blanket/quilt.

Having also discovered several boxes of Lace, I was thinking of seeing what it might look like on the denim. I coated the fabric with the cyanotype chemicals and placed the lace on top. Sandwiching it between two layers of glass that I clamped together and put in the sun for several hours.

Once baked the white denim below pre coating on left, and on right the finished cyanotype.

And the cyanotype with embroidery to change the appearance and add some detail. 
I found that the more fine the lace, the better detail, and the longer I expose to the sun the sharper image. This is another denim square with a vintage lace image.

 This is the same lace used on a piece of 5 x 7 watercolor postcard not coated entirely. A very different look.  The fabric due to its makeup requires it to be soaked in the solution, whereas the paper just needs to be coated with a brush and takes less chemicals to produce an image.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cyanotype on fabric

Cyanotype on Fabric
I am currently taking a cyanotype class at the Flower City Art Center in Rochester NY,  in which I am creating negatives from digital images. Once I have the negative I print it on paper.

You can also create photograms and print them on fabric, not just paper. A photogram is placing objects on coated paper and exposing it via the sun or a special light to leave the imprint of the objects on the fabric or paper.

I ordered some fabric from Dharma Trading that is already prepared for cyanotype and this morning, although it was a somewhat cloudy morning I wanted to give it a try.

First I snipped some leaves from the red maple in my front flower bed and placed it on the fabric which I had put on a piece of white foamcore. Then placed a piece of plexiglass on top and put it in the back yard on the table. Since there was no sunlight I checked it every 15 minutes and after an hour felt it was exposed enough. On a sunny day it could take as little as 5 minutes.

 After removing the glass and the material this is what it looked like. You can see the color of the fabric had changed.

 I then placed it in a pan and ran water over it. I added a dash of hydrogen peroxide which speeds the process up a bit, and then gave it a running bath for ten minutes.
 You can see the color has changed to blue after washing it in water. It now drys on a towel.
I plan to explore this with photographs on fabric, and different types of fabric. I have also purchased the chemicals to coat my own fabrics so that I can experiment more. This is cotton fabric.
The blue is much more vibrant but did not photograph well for me.