Monday, November 30, 2009

Darkly Sparkly

I've had these two pieces of titanium-coated drusy for some time but every bead combination I tried seemed to be overwhelmed by their emphatic sparkle. When Artbeads invited me to try out their cubic zirconia beads I requested purple ovals and was delighted to find that they more than matched the color and sparkle of the cabochons.

The picture makes the CZ beads look more reddish than they really are; I think it's because they were photographed on a warm-colored rock. In real life they're almost a perfect match for the sparkling purplish drusy stones.

I used a spike-ended loop fringe on the bottom of the piece and to embellish the "head" and the lower part of the strap.

FTC REQUIRED NOTICE: I received the cubic zirconia beads (but not the rest of my materials) free of charge from Artbeads. I am not being paid for this blog entry or for endorsing Artbeads' products in any way.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lacy Looped Fringe Instructions

Loop-ended fringe

Just as with spikes, you can end a spike fringe stitch with a loop instead of with a big bead and a pivot bead or any of the other variations we’ve already discussed. All by itself, I have to say this doesn’t make a terribly exciting fringe.

It should be obvious from the diagram how you do it: string on enough beads for the desired length of fringe, then string on enough more to make a graceful loop (the 7 pictured are a minimum; I actually like my loops with 8-10 beads) and then go back up the first lot of beads you strung. (Again, probably more than 5. Think 10, 15 beads at a minimum if you want a gracefully swaying fringe.)

Where looped fringes really come into their own is when you start adding loops before you get to the end, like this:

It does make a difference which way your thread runs, so bear with me while I dissect this one in a little more detail:

String on 4 beads. Now string on 7 more beads and go through the 4th bead again, in the same direction as before. (If you keep stringing in the same direction as before your loops will dangle gracefully. If you string back into the base fringe in the opposite direction then your loops will stick out. You could think of them as perky and individualistic, but I find the effect is more like that of a person with very curly hair on an extremely bad hair day.)

And that’s about it, really. String on 4 more beads, then do another 7-bead loop maintaining the direction of stringing, keep on this way until your fringe is long enough, then close it off with one last loop and run the needle back up through all the main fringe beads but without passing back through any of the loop beads.

Massed together, these multi-loop fringes can give a beautifully rich and lacy look. I used them to decorate the strap and half the beading on Crazy Lace Cascade. The original crazy lace agate stone had bands of even color on one side and a wild tumble of pale peach and pearl curls on the other side; I tried to duplicate that effect in the beading, with fringes falling over the stone as well as around it. (see previous post for a picture, or go to my website for a really detailed picture.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crazy Lace Cascade

I'm finding all sorts of creative ways to avoid getting back to the Massive Sculptural Beadwork Project From Hell. Actually this piece was finished a while ago, I just hadn't had time to blog it. It uses a multi-loop fringe stitch that I developed for the new book to create that lacy effect on the left hand side; I'm quite taken with this effect and plan to experiment with it more in future pieces.

I plan to post a book excerpt showing how to do this crazy looped fringe later this week, in case anybody wants to play with it.

The piece I'm actually working on right now, inspired by Artbeads' invitation to try out their line of cubic zirconia beads, has another fancy fringe, but quite different, designed to show off the CZ's. More on that when I get it done.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fibrous Matter

Inspired by Maggie Grey's Textile Translations, I recently got hold of some mulberry bark and gampi fiber and was playing around with them. (No, I don't know what gampi fiber is. I guess it comes from the gampi tree.) Both of these substances can be soaked, teased out into interesting webs of fiber, pinned to dry, then painted and embossed and applied to fabric.

So can cheesecloth, and it's a lot cheaper and easier to get hold of.

Anyway, I had this background lying around - painted handmade paper embellished to foiled black felt - and stitched my experiments to it, thinking they look sort of like a coral reef. Of course half of everything I do looks like a coral reef, and it gets worse the longer I'm deprived of vitamin Beach, but never mind that now - just tell me what you think. Purple is one substance, pink is another, and orange is a third. Anybody want to have a go at identifying gampi, mulberry and cheesecloth?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beadwork Title Generator

Okay, so I haven't quite worked out all the bugs yet...but a friend's comment that she is having trouble finding names for all the pieces she has made, reminded me that in my romance-writing days I actually wrote a simple-minded title generator full of words like "Love," "Heart" "Flames" "Burning" "Passion" "Desire" etc. The code is long gone, but it was pretty simple. How hard could it be to come up with a beadwork title generator? Different set of key words, obviously. But my first thought is to write something that makes a pass through Bartlett's Quotations, so that "Mostly Green and Gold Thang," could become "Golden Goblet on the Wild Emerald Tree," and "Red Carnelian Pendant," becomes "Crimson Wing," and.....Pretentious? oh, ok. I did say that I hadn't worked out the bugs yet.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I have it on good authority that a group of Native American intramural basketball players at the University of Northern Colorado decided to call their team "The Fighting Whites" and chose a caricature of a white businessman from the 1950's as their mascot.

While I applaud their cultural sensitivity, I feel that they could have done a lot better for names. How about "Mad Men"? Or, going a little farther back, "The Gray Flannel Suits"? or "The Babbits?" Oh,heck, I bet nobody who reads this blog, except Vernon, has even heard of Babbit. Can't expect that of a bunch of college kids.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chihuly Form Out of Progress

Well, you can't really call it "in progress" when you've packed up the materials in a plastic shoebox to get them out of the way for other projects, can you? I hope to get back to that necklace before it becomes another UFO - but I did design it rather on the grand scale; peyote ruffles are one thing, but sculptural peyote ruffles are...a lot of seed beads. And before all that there was, conservatively, sixteen miles of bead embroidery, all backstitch, no oddments added for variety, all in the interests of creating a smooth base before the necklace shape breaks into waves, which it's just beginning to do and I have seen enough green beads for a while.

So it's back to small projects like this abstract angel, which I'm calling "Winter Light" - very restrained for me, nothing but kyanite and transparent rainbow beads and a small fortune's worth of rainbow Swarovski cubes. I really wanted to showcase the chatoyance of the kyanite rather than showing off my fancy bead embroidery here.

Now I'm ready to cast aside all restraint and make something as frothy as Chantilly lace. Watch this space!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Artistic Photo Quilts

Last week's Quilt Festival in Houston was the usual orgy for the eyeballs; I don't think I'm allowed to post any photos of the quilts here, but what the heck - as usual, half the exhibits were No Photography, and SAQA was good enough to put out their own book of their two exhibits.

A slight design flaw (from my point of view; from the pov of the organizers, probably a Machiavellian scheme to get people to spend money) was the fact that there were hardly any chairs or benches in the quilt side of the show, but lots of places to sit down on the vendors' side. I blame this for the fact that I came home with three books and a new clip-on magnifying device for beading. One of the books was Charlotte Ziebarth's Artistic Photo Quilts, which is directly responsible for my spending more time fooling around with Photoshop than doing anything else since the quilt show. It's full of inspiring headers like "Bad Pictures Can Often Be Useful," and "Out of Focus Areas," - and examples to back up her assertion that you don't need a stunning, award-worthy, professional-looking photograph to make a stunning quilt. I love this woman!

The picture is one I took some years ago while hiking, divvied into sections and manipulated using some of the many ideas in her text. Now if I can just stop playing with Photoshop filters and go get some more color ink cartridges and print the sections, I think it might make a really nice small quilt. (And if it doesn't, you'll never hear about this particular bright idea again.)

One thing that frustrates me somewhat is that while Ziebarth gets magnificent results with the Cutout filter, I'm not getting much use out of it when I try to manipulate my images of Rajasthan. Cutout seems to transfer brilliant reds and oranges into muddy brownish earth tones. Any Photoshop gurus have a suggestion to fix this problem?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chihuly's Persian Forms

I got hold of a book on Chihuly's Persians in Santa Fe and have been thinking about using some of the ideas (stripes of color, undulating shapes) in a beadwoven necklace. It'll probably take forever and what's worse, I may need several tries to get it "right", but I think I'll start working on something. In between, of course, finishing the little pieces that are still "in progress." Chihuly Persians

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lace on a Grand Scale

I'm disappointed that they don't have a picture of the 600-pound laser-cut oil drum, but the few pics they do have are fantastic - wish I could get to Philly to see the exhibit!
Lace at the Design Center

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beaded Forest

All the inspiring photos from Santa Fe are in my head, alas; I spent a LOT of time in art galleries, trying to absorb the essence of pieces we can't possibly afford to buy. (Basic paradigm here being, if it's shown in a Santa Fe gallery, we can't afford it).

I've been beading and finishing pieces like crazy, though. This one I'm calling In the Forest of Myth - rather a pretentious name for a pendant that fits in the palm of my hand, but that's what I was thinking about while beading the piece; deep forests with branching tree trunks lost in foliage, with spirit faces and birds with Messages - it all started with the cabochon, which makes me think of deep green pools in among brown and golden trees.

You can do a lot of thinking while beading even a small piece.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kente Quilt I

Just to show I did something besides beadwork this's the top of the first kente quilt. There were going to be three of these, one for me and one for each of our girls, because Katie's Nigerian boyfriend last year brought me tons of African print fabrics. However, now there are only going to be two, because Katie broke up with Wale and no longer wants her bedroom dominated by West African fabric. I expect I ought to splash the kente prints around more lavishly in KQ2, but I don't know....I really like the brilliance of relatively small pieces against all that dark blue.

Tomorrow we're going to visit friends in New Mexico, so I'll get no craft work done at all for a week, but with any luck will come back with lots of inspiring pictures.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Twisted Ribbon Stitch

Twisted Ribbon Stitch

Today I actually feel intelligent enough to take a small excerpt from the new book. I'm quite pleased with this stitch and hope anybody who's interested will be able to follow this slightly abbreviated description.

The twisted ribbon stitch, worked with joined spikes, takes advantage of the fact that they are joined at the top to force the line of beads from vertical to flat and back to vertical. You can do it with seed beads only, but it’s absolutely eye-popping worked with bugles, so that’s how I’m going to show it.

First stitch: bring needle up at A, thread (sb, bb, sb) and bring needle down at B. Because this stitch strains the thread against the bead edges at top and bottom, it’s important to buffer your bugle beads with at least one seed bead at each end.

(Huh? That’s not a spike. It’s lying down flat against the fabric. Has she gone out of her mind or what?
Just wait for the next few stitches, ok?)

Bring your needle and thread around under the fabric and come up again at A. Go back through the first (sb, bb, sb) but this time do not bring the needle down through the fabric. Instead, string on another (sb, bb, sb).

Now bring your needle down at C, take a tiny stitch, and bring needle and thread up just beside C.

I think you can see where we’re going here. You keep making those joined spike stitches, without going back through the fabric at the top, and as the line of spikes gets longer it will gradually become more and more free of the fabric until eventually the spikes can stand upright. It’ll probably take about 10 to 15 spikes to reach this point. When you do, if you push the last spike upright with your thumb, you’ll see the line of spikes making a beautiful curve.

Obviously, once you let go of the last spike, the beads will just flop down on the fabric and your beautiful 3-dimensional curve will be lost. So what you want to do now is to anchor it somehow, and you do that by working another 10-15 spikes and stitching through the last one to anchor it to the fabric in the opposite direction. Now you’ve made one “twist” of the “ribbon.”

If you really want to get fancy, you could try changing colors at the midpoint of each twist, implying that you’re twisting a ribbon with different colors on each side.

Monday, September 14, 2009

More beadery

Wish I had something to put up here besides pictures of beadwork, but that's about all I've been doing lately. Vernon suggested I excerpt some of the new stitches from Spikes, Loops and Fringes in case anybody wants a preview of the new book but I'm in a mild depression which makes concentrating on the book feel terribly, overwhelmingly difficult.

I can still stitch beads on Ultrasuede, though; in this case it's relatively few beads and a handful of Swarovski crystals because I wanted to showcase the blue pietersite cabochon, not my wonderful bead embroidery. I've been fondling this cabochon for a couple of years; it's scary to commit one of my favorite rocks to a piece of beadwork, but after all the Austin Gem and Mineral Show is in just 5 weeks and if I were at all short of pretty rocks (which I'm not) there'd be every chance to restock then.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Small Klimt Necklace

I've been working on several smaller bead embroidery pieces this summer - in fact I've got quite a lot of bead embroidery done, since it's something you can do sitting down with a fan blowing on you! This piece may not look all that small, but it is in comparison with my larger Klimt Necklace, which is now at a gallery and unavailable for me to wear. As with the larger one, it's worked on gold-foiled suede and the gold glimmers through the millefiori beads; but this one uses a Lucy Lu magnet of "The Kiss" instead of an expensively hand-painted porcelain reproduction of Judith in Klimt's "Judith with the head of Holofernes."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Incestuous backgrounds

Last night, inspired by Vernon's digital work, I was playing around in Photoshop with one of my pictures of the raku/green necklace (now "officially" named "Sea Forests." The Twirl filter combined with a bit of Liquidize around the edges and some layering, flipping, and blending of the image produced this image, which looks vaguely dragon-like to me. I'm thinking about printing it out and emphasizing the dragon-ness of the form with judiciously placed beads and embroidery. It does seem kind of weird to me, to take a snapshot of my own art and squoodge it around and use it as the basis for another piece. I wonder how long I could keep recycling like this? If I do bead the dragon, can I photograph and Photoshop it and come up with a quilt design? The challenge appeals to me.

Of course, first there's the challenge of using my extremely rudimentary drawing skills to move from this swirly shape to a recognizable dragon. Hmm, where did I put that book on how to draw dragons? I'm going to have to do something about wings...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Backgrounds for beadwork?

My talented friend Vernon Sims has been playing with a fractal program and sent me these two images, which he thinks might make good backgrounds for beadwork. I don't know - the red one in particular is so rich that I might print it out and just sit there staring at it and salivating. It almost seems criminal to cover part of it with beads. What I'm wondering is whether beads could enhance it at all.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crocheted Coral Reef

A member of our local fiberarts group discovered this glorious construction, which is now traveling around the country. Alas, right now it's on exhibit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. That's a fair distance from Texas; I'll watch, and wait, and pray it comes somewhere closer.

For some time I've been harboring a fantasy about making a beaded coral reef on a base of handmade felt, but so far it hasn't got much past a fantasy - every time I finish a beadwork project I start a new one on Ultrasuede. I really need to slow down, collect my fibers and make the felt.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gelatin Monoprinting

So I've got Frances Allford's article in the latest Quilting Arts, on monoprinting fabric with fabric paints on a gelatin plate; and I've got a book about monoprinting paper with water-based inks on a gelatin plate. The only thing is, I want to print fabric with the kind of multi-layered, dreamy images shown in the book on paper.

These are what I got from two weekends' experimenting with thickened dyes on gelatin. The first weekend's work was so pale it washed out. The second time I mixed really strong dyes and the color was so strong I could hardly see what I was doing; when half of that washed out, I was left with these results.

Part of the problem seems to be that the dyes sink into the gelatin; my gelatin printing plate was totally saturated with color by the end of each day. I suppose it's time to get on the dyers' list and ask if anyone has had better results with this method, or suggestions as to how to get the dye onto the fabric rather than into the gelatin.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Raku/PMC necklace

I finished this piece just before we left for Nova Scotia, but didn't have time to photograph it until this weekend. It's built to showcase the round bead dangling at the bottom, a true masterwork combining raku with PMC which I bought at a bead show a couple of years ago. The large rectangular bead just above it is titanium-sprayed drusy quartz, and the tiles on either side are raku beads in green and copper (bottom rows) and abalone squares (top row). The fringe on the neck strap took forever to do. At least I didn't have to bother with a clasp; this one is a keeper which I will never ever sell, and I don't like clasps because they get caught in my back hair, so the strap is one continuous piece of free peyote from one side of the front piece to the other.

With, as I said, lots of fringe. Possibly a little too much fringe - it certainly felt like that when I was working on it!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Tidal Bore

...was something of a disappointment. a 2-3" "wave" of muddy water ambling its way to the very top of the Bay of Fundy; ok, it's traveling uphill and scientifically I daresay it's very interesting, but I did not get the major kick out of it that all the Canadian tourists seemed to get.

Apart from that and from not getting to go through the section of Cape Breton Park where meese are said to abound, Nova Scotia was very nice and a welcome refreshment from Texas in summer. Lots of picturesque rivers , old houses and barns,
fishing villages,
and the good fortune of being in Halifax on the day the Tall Ships were there.

I had a bunch of ideas for the new bead embroidery book and scribbled madly in a notebook in the evenings; now we're home and I'm implementing the first brilliant idea, which is "CLEAN UP THE STUDIO SO YOU HAVE A PLACE TO WORK ON SAMPLES."
It's amazing what came out of the piles of "Miscellaneous Stuff" between the beadwork station at the right end of the table and the kiln at the other end; the details are now mercifully blurred in memory, but I distinctly remember some pictures of Sarah in her short-red-hair phase, which was at least 7 years ago. And that was only halfway down the layers of Stuff. I was half expecting to find a couple of my old college roommates at the bottom of the pile, but no such luck - just more Stuff that I should give away or use.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Needlefelting

I haven't had anything to say for a while because the unending succession of triple-digit days has made most of my brain cells sweat out through my skin. There ought to be a medical name for this condition. Dog Days Dumbness? I have a feeling that "dog days" are supposed to be associated with August. Well, so are daily temperatures of 104 and up, and we're getting those now. So.

I've been working....slowly and as you'll see, not very intelligently... on making a handbag from needlefelted fabric. Started with some truly glaring red felt left over from an old project, foiled bits of that and covered some of the foiled bits with synthetic sheers. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's not supposed to be possible to needlefelt synthetic sheers to acrylic felt, but you know what? The sheers pucker beautifully and the needling helps to hold them in place for the next step.

At this stage it's still pretty ugly.

Then I collected a basket of silk scraps in pinks (salmon to hot), golds, oranges and greens - some opaque and some sheer - and needlefelted those over the naked felt, the foiled felt, and the edges of the synthetic sheers. Here's a half-and-half picture. The left hand side has been covered with silks, the right hand side is still waiting for its second coat.

After that I couched a couple of yarns in hot summer colors - the variegated yarns that inspired this color scheme in the first place - still using the needlefelter. Which isn't supposed to work to attach synthetic yarn to synthetic felt, but it least temporarily.

I will admit that after all this embellishing, for a final step in the fabric creation I moved over to the sewing machine, put gold thread in the bobbin, and stitched freehand gold circles all over the fabric, just to make absolutely sure that nothing pulled loose. This stitching had a serendipitous side effect; the synthetic yarns had a frizz of fine shiny threads around them, and the stitching held those little shinies down close to the fabric and made the whole thing sort of gleam.

Finally, having made the fabric, it was time to line the two pieces I'd cut for the flap and the strap, assemble everything, and put the magnetic purse snaps in.

Do not try this at home on a day when your brain has melted and run down to your ankles. I tried to get away without measuring, using the eyeball algorithm instead, and as you can see, the purse came out distinctly lopsided!

What the heck - I love it anyway, and I'm going to take it with me to Nova Scotia, where we're headed to escape the Texas summer for ten days. Mmm. Seafood, glacier-carved coastlines, seafood, Cape Breton fiddle music, seafood, whale watching, chances of a close encounter with a moose, the tides in the Bay of Fundy, and did I mention seafood?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bronze Age is over!

And here you all thought it ended around 600BC, if not earlier. Nah. The real completion occurred in June 2009, when I finished sewing the sleeve on this quilt and took some final pics (not that good - I am continually amazed at what inconsistent results I get despite using photofloods and a camera that is many megapixels smarter than I am). I'm calling it "Bronze Age Settlement With Artifacts."

Here's a closer look at some of the artifacts:

A hoard of silver coins, a Goddess figure, 2 plates - one terracotta, the other polychrome - reconstructed from potshards.

Another look at the polychrome plate, and two bronze spear heads. They've got a lovely greenish patina on them; too bad it didn't show up in the pictures.

A feast of anachronisms. The little fat Venus figure is Neolithic, but I like her so much that I decided this style lasted into the Bronze Age. See the patina on her? Then there's the ax head in the upper right, which came out looking more like iron than bronze; well, my husband says that some bronze age metal workers accidentally made tools and weapons that were a funny color and harder than they expected, due to "impurities" in the ore. Let's chalk this one up to impurities and not assume my people were so far ahead of their time that they had an iron forge in the woods.

And finally, a look at the outermost building, where the messy work was done, and where two bone implements for scraping leather hides were found, along with the remains of a terracotta plate. The wealth of this household (as evidenced by the silver hoard) probably didn't make it back to this outbuilding where the poorest farm laborers lived.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Fearless Felter

I've quilted the Bronze Age quilt, I've bound it, I've made a bunch of itsy-bitsy "artifacts" with polymer clay and patinas, and now I'm sewing them on....and it doesn't look that much different from the last picture. I do plan to take a bunch of detail shots of the "artifacts" when that job is done.

But...I've got pictures today. Have I ever got pictures! I just finished editing some photos of my friend Vivian Mahlab's quilts. Vivian usually works on so big a scale that, not having the side of a barn to play around with, there's no way I can photograph her work. But when we went to Jane Dunnewold's workshop in January she brought along some old place mats which she dyed and screen-printed along with her Big Serious Fabric pieces.... and then she came over to my house and embellished them. Vivian will needle-felt anything to anything, and if the two materials don't cooperate, she'll gently urge them together with some teased-out silk fibers. She grabbed pieces apparently at random (I'm sure there's some plan, I just can't figure out what it is) out of the Silk Scraps Box, applied them to the place mats, then took them home and quilted them and had four totally stunning small quilts.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Felt Solution

All the dithering about whether to use black cotton or black and white striped cotton on BronzeAge came to an end when it dawned on me that I could probably needlefelt black felt pieces to the background fabrics, and then they would be securely attached and there'd be no fraying and I wouldn't have to quilt over the edges to keep them in place, which I'd also been worrying about because black thread would show too much on the reddish background and red thread over black elements might look like a design element of its own instead of fading into the background as I wanted it to. I love this solution; it's elegant, in the way that a three-line, mind-illuminating mathematical proof is elegant.

Now all I have to do is find the black batting, pick a backing fabric, put the sandwich together and quilt it. (This is the stage where I wish the Quilt Elves would come in at night and finish the job.)

Oh - and binding. I think I'm going to use the black and white striped fabric for a binding.

And,possibly, artifacts. I'm thinking about adding some little wire coils and polymer clay "potsherds" and other doodads to the quilted surface, as if they were objects found on an archaeological dig.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Strong Women Day

Today, June 10th, has been declared Strong Women Day by the Quilt Mavericks - in honor of strong women everywhere in our lives and in history - the ones who got us where we are now, the ones we look up to for leadership, and the ones nobody knows about who are quietly calling up the strength to free themselves from bad situations and to define their own lives in the face of fierce opposition.

(I will demonstrate my own strength now by not whining about the fact that Esterita Austin had to cancel her trip to Texas. No workshop - at least not this year. Oh well, at least a lot of my crumpled hand-dyes have now been neatly pressed and folded.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

High contrast fabrics

Come Saturday, I'll be driving down to San Antonio to take an afternoon workshop with Esterita Austin, whose work I've admired for a long time. We're just going to make one 15" by 20" piece, so naturally I spent the whole morning selecting and pressing fabrics to take down. What the heck - it doesn't cost any more to drive down there with 60 pieces of fabric than with 6. She says to bring:

"fabric that is MULTI VALUE and MULTI COLOR in the same piece. Usually batiks, or the splotchy type of fabric (that looks like a painters wipe cloth) is best. PLEASE have very darks ranging through mediums to very lights in the same piece. Hand dyes are great if they have a FULL range of value in the piece. The batiks with a soft linear design may work well."

Here's some of what I'm taking (the fabrics are stacked, so there's more than shows in this snapshot). It was easy to collect fabric that looks like a painter's wipe cloth, because I always have some soda soaked pieces of fabric in the workroom to mop up dye spills, and when they become sufficiently colorful I rinse them out and add them to the stash. The rest was a bit trickier and made me realize how much midtones and blues dominate my stash.

We're also supposed to bring a 15" x 20" piece of cloth for a background, preferably something that suggests night sky or sunrise/sunset colors. I think I'm going to cut this slice out of a larger hand-dyed fabric.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Black and White and Grayscale

Well, the Katie Z's survived their night of carousing without having to pull out their picture ID's and without even getting all that drunk. I guess they're growing up.

Me, I'm being indecisive. While they were out drinking I cut out sample pieces of black and striped fabric and pinned them to the background fabrics. I like the striped better - it's more interesting - but the black clearly shows up better; it's really obvious when you change the picture to grayscale.

Now I'm thinking about using both fabrics; black for the rectangles, gray for circles and a long barrow indicating an earlier settlement. Feel uneasy about the compromise. I do have a tendency to make quilts that look good from a foot away and dissolve into a no-contrast blur from six feet away. Is using the striped fabric going to do that to this piece?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Darker, brighter...

Overpainting wet fabrics with highly diluted Setacolor Transparent Purple toned the bright orange down quite a lot, more than shows in this picture. After the paint dried I made rubbings with gold and copper Shiva oil sticks; those will have to air dry for several days before I heat set them and sew them together. That's ok since my brother-in-law and niece are coming for the weekend and I'm putting California Katie in the sewing room.

My niece is (California) Katie Zoraster because one of my daughters is (Texas) Katie Zoraster... my reasoning was that even if David and Cherie used the name first, Katherine is my absolute favorite girl's name and I was going to use it for my first daughter regardless, and anyway since they lived in California and we lived in Texas the existence of two Katie Zorasters shouldn't cause much confusion.

Ha. Now (California) Katie has plans to go bar-hopping with (Texas) Katie and Steve keeps snickering and saying he hopes they'll be carded, because he wants to know what will happen if two girls simultaneously pull out id's in the name of Katie Zoraster. I have a feeling that what will happen could involve BIL David and me driving down to the police station in the small hours of the morning to verify the girls' identities, so I kind of hope they don't get carded.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Overdyed fabrics

After a day of discharging and overdyeing those bright orange fabrics with screens and sponges, they're still too bright, but somewhat improved, and definitely more complex and interesting. Tomorrow I hope to hit them with fabric paints and oil markers - I don't think they'll absorb any more dye.
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