Fabric Painting

I have had a brilliant couple of days creating batik style fabrics based on my cloud drawings for my City and Guilds course. I could do these all week :o)

This one is pongee silk using silk paints and gutta:

Same silk and paints but this time using the liquid wax, I think you can see the resist lines are thicker. They turned yellow when ironing the silk to fix the paint, I hope they will return to white when washed.

Liquid wax and procion dyes on silk and silk chiffon. The dyes on silk are much more pastel in colour than the same dyes on cotton.

Liquid wax on cotton muslin with procion dyes, these are my favourites, the colours are just so vibrant and juicy!

Never one to be content with just following the brief I conducted some experiments of my own too. Using the monoprinted fabric I was least enamoured with I gave it the “painting with dye” treatment and once that had dryed played with some other “toys” in my play box of fabric paints too; some 3D paint in shimmery white and bronze and some blue glitter paint for fabric. I’m still waiting for these to dry before I can “puff up” the 3D paint and wash it.

This is what it looked like before I started playing:

And after:

This is a close up showing the glitter paint near the bottom of the frame.

I think this piece is much improved from the addition of a bit (ok, a lot) of colour, only time will tell if the 3D and glitter paints will tolerate felting….


Following on from the cloud sketches we were asked to use them as inspiration for monoprinting, these are my efforts using acrylic paint on various papers. We were limited to using just black, white and brown paint but I think I may have cheated by using coloured papers for some of them.

The first one was produced by just squeezing paint from the tube onto the acetate so perhaps not too surprising that it is mostly “blobby” where the thickly applied paint has spread.

All the others were made with a paint brush, with a few blobs where I was a bit heavy-handed with the paint.
The next 2 are my favourites out of the initial set on copy paper, the first one has a lot of energy and movement about it that I find exciting, the second reminds me of Japanese characters and the repetition of the shapes is quite calming.

This one reminds me of looking at reflections in water ripples…

Using my 2 favourite monoprints above I explored the effects of different papers, this one is textured pastel paper and stamped over the top with a shape I cut from a cleaning sponge.
Blue card
Some handmade paper with rose petals, I love the mottled effect of this one. I think it is my favourite.

Some marbled paper, the paper looked like clouds on a blue sky so seemed rather appropriate
Textured red card
Then I took the same designs onto fabric.

Having liked the monoprints on mottled / coloured papers so much I rummaged through my stash to find some rainbow dyed cottons. I really like how these turned out, much more exciting than the white background.

Once fixed, I plan to felt these fabrics.

Gestural drawing

For my C&G course we have been asked to explore gestural marks and drawings using Da Vinci’s “Deluge” as inspiration. To be honest I have enjoyed this far more than I thought I would when I first read through the module, at first I was a disappointed to not be making felt of some sort but I found the quick, uninhibited way of making marks on paper quite liberating (in the end).

This is da Vinci’s Deluge that I was instructed to use as a reference.

I have always found working from another artist’s work somewhat daunting, trying to reproduce someone else’s work usually results in disappointment that what I have produced is inferior in some way. I much prefer to take inspiration from other’s work and interpret it in my own way.

So I sat in front of “the Deluge” pondering how to approach it, making a few scribbles and doodles that loosely represented parts of the great work. Then I tried making a charcoal drawing. It wasn’t working.

It was time to go back to basics, I felt I needed to look at some real-life clouds instead of da Vinci’s interpretation and lucky for me I was in the “land of the long white cloud”, and we found ourselves driving towards gathering thunderclouds the next day so I took lots of photos and produced a couple of sketches.

Feeling more confident about cloud shapes and how light and shade create the illusion of lines and shape I took another look at the Deluge and produced this piece surprisingly quickly; less than an hour ignoring the time it took to dry after the wash. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

Goodies from New Zealand

New Zealand beaches, especially on the west coast, are magical places, often stormy and moody and covered in jewels from the sea. My father in law lives just a couple of miles from one such beach, it is covered in literally thousands of shells and piles of drift wood of all sizes washed up by the stormy rolling sea. While it is not the most comfortable beach to walk bare-foot along it is a beach-comber’s treasure trove.

Here are a few of the pieces I collected, most of the drift wood pieces are the thickness of a biro. I am thinking of incorporating all of the pieces below into felt but these are still very much half-baked ideas.
On our way back from a weekend in Napier we stopped at a Paua (pronounced pow-a) shop. Paua is the kiwi name for abalone, I’m told a delicious shell fish but it is the iridescent quality of the inside of the shell that I am interested in. The shell is commonly used in jewellery and decorative items, I think it has potential for inclusion in felt.
This is another find from the beach, at first I thought it was a shell (it has the texture and weight of shell) but it is smooth on one side and rough on the other as if the rough side was attached to a muscle while the smooth side is more hydrodynamic, I wonder if it sealed an opening on a large mollusc of some sort? Do you recognise it / have any idea what it is? It is approx. 4 cm across and the smooth side is slightly concave. Whatever it is I love the heart shape and radiating ridges on the rough side. I see it becoming a pendant or adornment on a bag.

Happy New Year!

Apologies for the lack of posts in December, I have been travelling in Hong Kong and New Zealand but I promise to post some kiwi and HK inspired work in the next few days.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and healthy new year filled with creativity and to thank those whose blogs I follow for your generous sharing of techniques and ideas, you are truly inspirational.

I don’t subscribe to setting New Year’s resolutions, most seem to fail before we even reach February, but I do think it is important to follow your dreams and that usually involves setting some goals…

Here are my goals for 2014:

  • dedicate more time to creative activities (I have already “bought” some extra annual leave at work that should allow me to spend 1 day every 2 weeks dedicated to felt making and other creative interests)
  • create at least 50 good quality pieces for sale
  • find alternative sources for selling my works, including at least 2 craft fairs and improve marketing of my work
  • complete my City and Guilds felt making course before August
  • post at least once per week
What are your goals for 2014?
Happy New Year!
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