Monday, March 31, 2008

gel printing at the craft guild

One of the obligations of membership in the MS Craftsmen's Guild is to sign up to do an all day demonstration every so often. Saturday was my day. I would have gone insane sitting there sewing all day (especially after we discovered how much the tables shook when we were actually using the sewing machines!) so I decided to do some gel plate printing to get some fabrics for a piece I'm working on now. Poured the plates the night before and gathered all my stuff to use. I have this fear of forgetting to bring some crucial component every time, so I tend to over pack. I did have fun though, and even though the rain they promised never materialized, I think it kept people away from the craft center. Very slow day for visitors, but I enjoyed having the room to stretch my stuff out on the tables and just do nothing but create art fabric. No distractions like I have at home. And yes, that is latex wall paint from Lowe's that I use for the gel printing. The gel plates are much smaller than I normally use, but it was a demo and I only needed small pieces for the string piecing I had in mind. I did spend the last hour or so of the demo cutting and piecing, but the majority of the day was spent just getting paint on fabric. The colors are darker and a bit muted, but it was what I needed for the chosen project. If nothing else, the setting is absolutely gorgeous, as you can see from the huge windows behind the work tables. I even took a nature walk to pick up some seed pods, stones, sticks and other assorted detritus, including dove feathers from a freshly-dead dove who thoughtfully committed hari kari against the window. The treasures will be incorporated into the quilt I'm making from the gel printed fabrics, so it all dovetails (hahahaha, I crack myself up) nicely.

And the beginning of the final piece. It's all pieced and quilted and I've just started on the embellishing. There are tiny slivers of maybe 5 commercial fabrics in the string piecing, but everything else is painted/dyed/printed by me. The color is bad (as usual) in the photo, but I'm pleased with it in real life.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rust staining classes scheduled

I have finally got a rust staining class scheduled that's open to the general public. June 17, from 9-noon, $25.00 plus your supplies. The class will be taught at Quilt Arts on Lakeland Dr. If you can't make that one, we've also discussed running one (or more) rust stain classes at ARTichoke this summer. I much prefer doing it in the heat of summer since you can see the results immediately. I have a piece of raw silk that's been on the rusty pole out back all winter and all it has so far is half a dozen small spots. I could do the same piece in the height of summer and have a deep golden brown in 48 hours, and a good mottled piece in 24. I have no idea why the heat makes any difference but it seems to. Maybe it's the "cooking" that goes on in the black plastic with the Mississippi sun beating down on it. Anne and Marianne have ordered in some PFD fabric for us to use and of course they have all the tone-on-tones and solid colors already. I played with some prints and colors last year and my favorites are the black and white prints, and a few solid colors like blues and greens that play well with the rust stains. Not every color does, but it's like the entire process of rust staining....trial and error. I do know that it doesn't have to be 100% cotton though. That's always nice to be able to do some surface design on non-cottons.

I'll be demonstrating gel plate printing Saturday from 10-4 at the MS Craft Center on Rice Rd. too, if anyone is interested in that technique. A quick stop at Hancock's on the way out there for some scrim and muslin and whatever other weird fabrics I see and I get to play with paint all day! I have what's left of the pints of wall paint from last summer, and the bajillion bottles of the craft acrylics, and a pkg of plastic bowls and spoons so I'll be a mixing fool trying to use up some of the remnants of crap I have. Maybe I'll even finish off enough that I can throw some of the containers away. "And my color inspiration for this piece was using whatever I had the least of so I could throw the can out." I'll have to round up my foam stamps (at last, a reason to use the Fluer de Lis!) and bubble wrap and assorted mark making tools. Pour the plates tonight, clean house all day tomorrow and then demonstrate all day Saturday. Gee, I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Into the Woods

For the first time in several years, I'm actually enjoying the costumes and props duties of a production! It sure is easier to get motivated and get things done in a more timely way when I'm having fun doing it. The storms came through last night and our power was on and off this morning so I wound up dipping the buns and rolls in polyurethane in the dark. Literally. I was doing it at 5:00 am and it was absolutely pitch black in the house except for the flashlight. The bread needs to bake a few more hours and then I can coat it with the poly. What the hell am I doing, you ask? This is stage setting for the play. They need an assortment of breads for the baker's shop and the cheapest, easiest, fastest way to get it done was buy a bunch of different kinds of day old bread, bake it overnight on a warm setting on the oven and then seal it with the poly. We'll probably wind up adding some color to some of it and maybe frosting it with drywall mud "icing" before all is said and done.

The dresses are cobbled together from some basic ready-to-wear pieces from the Salvation Army. The Snow White bodice was originally a very expensive suit jacket and I just replaced the sleeves and added the collar and skirt. Some cheap accessories from the Dollar Tree and it's good to go. The gold and silver dress was originally 2 separate dresses that I just cut the skirt off the silver one and added it to the gold one. A yard or so of the silver and gold fabrics and it's done.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Busy, busy

I completely forgot to post a report on the closing reception Saturday! It went off without a hitch (or a power outage) this time although we went to bed the Friday night with dire predictions of up to 2" of ice and snow overnight and the first thimg I saw when I woke up was the totally covered roof of the house across the street. At 5:00 am it never occurred to me that the house was vacant and had no heat so I almost panicked at the thought of another reception in bad weather conditions. Fortunately, it warmed up into the 60s by the afternoon and everything was good. Everyone who walked through the door had a joke about my luck with the weather though.

I had a bit of a jolt when I walked in the door too. A small Robert Johnson piece I sold last fall was front and center, beautifully framed in a shadow box and sitting on an easel. Anne said the owner had seen the announcement for the reception and offered to let her display his piece during the show. What a rush to see to see it professionally framed and displayed! I kept going back to it and thinking "Did I really do that?"

I've been doing a ton of beading lately and have pictures of some of the stuff but not of others. I also realized last night while working on a book cover for Aidan that I have like ZERO beads in the yellow/orange range. I think I had one tube each of seed beads and a few bugles from a bag of mixed colors. Other than that, I was reduced to cutting up old jewelry and fudging into the gold and brown spectrum. I also re-drew the pattern to make the yellow and orange parts a bit smaller. At least it gives me an idea of where I need to fill in the holes of my bead stash.

The "Earth Fissures" series of small beaded pieces I'm doing using rust stained borders is coming along, although none of the 3 I have now are completely finished yet. I am really loving doing the heavy beading sort of free-hand. Some with a theme in mind, some just as it comes while I'm working on it. My cats thought they had hit the jackpot when I started making a lap so often when I sat down to bead, except that I put a tray across my knees for a beading surface. You can just see their little cat brains wondering why I go to all the trouble of sitting down and then not letting them get in my lap. That doesn't always stop them from trying though. And sometimes they even succeed in getting under the tray to curl up between me and the arm of the chair. At least they don't swat at the beads and thread.

Keep in mind that neither of these are finished yet.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

How strange!

My fellow blogger Penny Sanford Fikes has a post this morning about some fabric collage plates. What a shock to open up her blog and see a red version of my husband's grandmother's green plates! Even the patterns for the individual pieces of fabric appear to be the same. This is apparently something that was a thing to do at one time, although I can find zero information on where they might have come from or what era they might have been popular. That is assuming they were ever "popular" to begin with. They are relatively detailed for what they are, just sort of strange in a weird, creepy sort of way. Fabric pieces just glued to a standard cafeteria ceramic plate. No markings on the back of the plate, and all of the painting on the front is obviously hand-painted. Rick rack, nylon netting, sequins, and a button for the embellishments. The date is 1922 on James' plate, and 192? on Eula's. The second number on hers looks like it was scraped off and changed, although the changed number has apparently flaked off also. His geneology records say June 1920 was their wedding date, so who knows what the real story is with them, or even who made them, or when, for that matter. Interesting sort of thing to run across though.

If any of you have any clue what these things are, or any other information on them, I'd love to hear about it.