Saturday, 28 January 2012

Module One. Chapter Six.

I have spent some time setting up a corner of our dining room to use for my materials and equipment. This has made such a difference, having nearly everything to hand allows me to work even for a short time and I can set up small tasks ready to be completed as time allows. Also in consideration of health & safety it is important to have cutting blades, paints and other tools stored safely so I have a tool kit that keeps them all in one place and can be put away securely.

As I was printing fabrics I also printed some papers; in the exercises for chapter 2 I used a polystyrene block to cut a stamp but this was quite big so I used an eraser as suggested to make these samples. This size of printing block is much more useful for creating repeat patterns in a smaller area.

I used the same printing blocks to produce this selection of printed fabrics. I have used cotton, satin, silk, chiffon and crystal organza.
Painted Bondaweb. I used Colourcraft Brusho colours for my first samples but the colour on the Bondaweb was very faint, I think this was due to the watery nature of these paints. The gouache paints being thicker in consistency have left more colour on the Bondaweb.

I used the Brusho colours to paint some silk rods that I split into thin layers. I think these may be useful in later exercises.

The sample on the left is made from 2 layers of net with snippets of thread sandwiched between them. On the right a similar 'sandwich' made with chiffon fabric.

Painted chiffon sandwich on the left and painted satin with sheer chiffon over the top on the right.

It was possible to use Bondaweb on only one layer if threads and fabric snippets were sprinkled quite sparsely, however it was necessary to apply Bondaweb to both surfaces if the surface was covered more densely or thicker threads were used.

When layering shapes cut from different fabrics I found that, as well as giving consideration to the colour contrast as with layers of paper, I also had to consider any surface texture, transparency or sheen. Colour contrast alone between layers did not always lead to the best end result; I put together the cut shape layers first before trying out different background fabrics in order to choose the one that I thought gave the best result.
These are the layered samples I produced.

Painted cotton shape with sparkly shape threaded over and under, the sparkly shape was reduced in scale compared to the cotton shape, cotton background.
Painted satin layer with printed silk layer on cotton background.

Painted tissue bottom layer, top layer is sandwich made with Bondaweb applied to satin fabric, sprinkled with thread snippets and chiffon fabric on top. Layers applied to cotton background. 

 Devoré fabric used for lower cut shape, shot silk for top cut shape, additional cross shape applied to centre made with pieces remaining from cutting out other shapes. These have been applied to a painted cotton background. The fabric surfaces produce some interesting effects as the light catches them.
Lower shape cut from cotton fabric, top layer cut from sheer bonded fabric, satin background. I like the subtle shadows created by using a sheer layer and the way that all the layers are visible.
Bottom layer cut from painted satin, top layer cut from crystal organza, additional shapes cut from sandwich made with crystal organza, on a taffeta background. The top organza cut shape is like a subtle shadow cast on the lower layers. I am surprised that this combination of fabrics works so well as they all have a sheen or sparkle but this is a lovely sample, the scanner does not really do it justice.
Lower shape cut from silk fibre hanky with top layer cut from bonded crystal organza fabric on cotton background. A nice contrast of textures.
Shot silk background with shape cut from coloured Bondaweb, small cross shape cut from foil with torn strips of organza applied.
Shape cut from painted Bondaweb, sprinkled with thread snippets and sandwiched between layers of crystal organza.

Painted Bondaweb shape adhered to painted muslin, threads applied and painted chiffon applied over the top.

Cotton background with strips of painted Bondaweb, threads trapped by Bondaweb strip. This sample has been left without a layer of sheer fabric, this could be developed further.

Painted cotton background, the same cut shape in satin on the bottom and printed crystal organza on top. The top shape has been rotated and pieces cur from the organza shape have been applied at corners of the bottom shape. The shadows created by the layering with sheer fabric give the impression of a third layer.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Module One. Chapter Five.

Here is my collection of fabrics in shades of lime green and magenta. Some are left over from sewing projects or are from my general stash but most are scraps donated by my kind colleagues at work. I have kept pieces of some fabrics to print on.

The hummingbird fabric on the left was the inspiration for my chosen colour scheme, although not suitable for the exercises some parts of the fabric have areas that may be useful. I  had just finished making a bag in this fabric when completing the colour exercises.

I have managed to put together a collection including cotton, poly cotton, chiffon, organza, taffeta, satin, silk, net and devoré fabric.

Some left over quilting squares that are just about the right size.

Some dyed silk 'hankies' from my stash that I originally bought from The Papershed. I thought these might give some interesting texture to some of my samples.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

My home made printing board and painted fabrics!

During the Creative Stitches exhibition last year I was  fortunate enough to have a quick chat with Dionne Swift  at her stall and to purchase her DVD introducing the technique of devore. I haven't had a chance to experiment with this technique yet but in the DVD Dionne explains how she has prepared her work surface for printing.
Space being at a premium in our house I decided to make myself a portable printing board that can be tucked away when not in use!
I used a piece of MDF with a couple of layers of newspaper and some left over fleece fabric then covered the whole surface with heavy plastic and taped this securely on the back and edges where needed. This gives me a firm surface with a slight 'give' that is completely waterproof.

I'm really pleased with my very robust home made printing board!

 I have also been colouring some fabrics to go with my collected fabrics for chapter five. I used fabric transfer paints to colour some scraps of polyester cotton, satin, chiffon, crystal organza and muslin.
Fabric transfer paints are painted onto basic copier paper, when dry the painted paper is placed face down onto synthetic or synthetic mix fabric and then ironed to transfer the colour by heating. It is necessary to place paper underneath and on top of the fabric and painted paper in order to protect both the iron and the ironing board.
It is important to perform some test samples as the colours will look very dull and uninspiring on the paper but they are very vibrant once transferred to the fabric. It is possible to use the same paper several times, the vibrancy of the colour will reduce with each transfer giving a variety of shades. The quality of colour will also be affected by the fabric; fabric with a high synthetic content gives the best results but fabric with a natural/synthetic mix will also take the paint but may require a little longer ironing.

Close up of transfer printed chiffon.

You can see the subtle range of colours on the different fabrics from papers painted with colours that produced the sample swatches at the top of the picture on satin fabric.

A close up of transfer printed satin fabric.

 I referred back to my colour mixing notes when mixing the transfer paints; because the colour of the paint is so different from the colours resulting from transfer they are more difficult to mix but I am very pleased with the colours I have achieved.

Module One. Chapter Four.

I really enjoyed the cut paper shapes exercises. It's possible to create some lovely designs from what initially appear to be quite uninspiring motifs.These exercises are very addictive though and time just flows by! I tried several different shapes and managed to get a good range of solid and open designs, this was important when layering the shapes.

Sheet 1

Sheet 2 - I particularly like the radiating designs resulting from the last extra diagonal fold.

Sheet 3

Sheet 4 - The last two shapes on this sheet show the same design resulting from two slightly different folding methods - this is helpful as it allows me to see how I can begin to visualise what the end design will turn out like. This will save me time in future by allowing me to spend a little less time experimenting.

Sheet 5

Sheet 6

Sheet 7

Sheet 8
Sheet 9
Sian suggested trying some cut & fold shapes starting by folding in the corners of the paper, I hadn't thought of this variation when completing chapter 4 so I did a few. Having a wide variation of shapes to choose from for layering is very useful so I'm pleased I tried these extra shapes.

Layering the cut and fold shapes using coloured papers really helps in visualising how these designs might translate into fabric samples. In some combinations I have tried to use the angles of one shape to draw the eye  towards interesting areas in the other or created by the layering; in others I have considered the complexity of each shape in order to select layers that compliment one another.

I particularly like the top right sample on this page, the top layer isolates the central portion of the solid cross within the negative space that is also a distinct cross shape. I could also have rotated this top layer so that the two cross shapes were at different angles but I liked the way that the square corners frame the small diamond shapes of the lower layer. 

I particularly like the sample on the right of this page, the very complex  layer  gives the impression of something hidden and only revealed by careful examination.