Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gelli Plate Printing

I finally got my "Gelli" plate in the mail! yea! I was really looking forward to it. I ordered from their videos were very helpful to get me started. I got out my paints, tools, and some white fabric I had cut into strips to treat with the Bubble Jet Set. Charlie took a nap, so I was all set to work in peace. I rolled paint on with a hard rubber brayer, then used a comb to drag wavy lines through, and laid the fabric on top to print. I used several different tools to imprint into the paint, rug grid, foam stamps, napkin ring for circles, several different combs, and other found objects to design on the wet paint. After the first round, I decided I needed some masks to add another layer, and still show the color of the first layer. I had collected some oak leaves yesterday, with this in mind, I also cut circles out of freezer paper. I tried to decide if it was better to go light to dark, or dark to light, with the paint layers. Either worked well, but a light 2nd layer needs to be opaque enough to show up on top of a dark undercoat. The second layer NEEDS some empty space for the first layer to show through. I kept adding layers, especially to the pieces I did not like, extra layers helped a lot, to add depth and complexity. I didn't like the mat finish of the cheap acrylic paints, so I tried the Versatex fabric paints that I have, a good yellow helped brighten up a few of the pieces, but I probably should have thinned it down with some fabric medium anyway. I will try fabric medium with all the paints next time, to see if I can get the colors to be more transparent. A lot of paint built up on some of the pieces with 3 to 4 layers of paint, and they are pretty stiff. I finished some with metallic silver and gold acrylic paint, either stamping directly on the fabric, or stamping on the Gelli plate, then laying the fabric on top of that. I decided to try a few pieces with wet fabric, to get the colors to bleed a little and soak into the fabric, and not be so mat finished. I wet 3 pieces and added color to them, then laid them out to dry a little. I used a foam stamp into the next layer of paint, and printed the stamp onto a 2nd piece of fabric too. They came out very nice, in several variations, I kept darkening the green paint on the leaf print. I also made several "Ghost" prints, a second printing from the paint left on the Gelli plate, after I removed the oak leaves I had used as a mask. I will definitely be doing more of this!! Come on Peggy more play time!

Daffodils & Crocus

After my morning walk thinking of daffodils, I stopped up the hill and took photos of a neighbor's crocus, that are already blooming, there are daffodils blooming also, so my estimate was a little off. I went home and went through my photos, and selected several to print onto fabric. I pre-treat the fabric with "Bubble Jet Set" and iron on a freezer paper backing, and trim it to 8 1/2" x 11". I run it through my computer, just like regular paper, but I change the printer setting to a heavier weight paper, like card stock or something similar. I wanted vertical strips, to emphasize the tall flowers, I added some lavender crocus flowers to add color, I filled in with some of my hand dyed light green fabric. I added a border of darker green Bali Batik, as none of my hand dyed fabric was a darker green. I am going to thread paint it with rayon threads, with free motion machine quilting.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Play Day Too

Peggy came over for another play day, my "Gelli Plate" did not arrive in the mail on time, they emailed it was shipped on Monday, maybe I'll get it today. So we just played around painting more fabric with different items. We used Versatex Fabric paints this time, to see if they are any less stiff when finished. I did add fabric medium, when I wanted a thinner paint. I used four different items to paint with, a ladybug bubble wand, and a Celtic suncatcher from the Dollar Store, and some rug grid, and a leaf stencil. The ladybug had lots of circles within circles and created a very abstract pattern when overlapped, I also have a bee pattern. The plastic suncatcher was the best tool, it had enough relief to make a great rubbing with Shiva Oil Pastels, and also under the fabric, to run a paint roller over it. I bought several to share with people in the art group. The rug grid is 1/4" + woven canvas, and makes a great all over pattern, I can't wait to try it on the "Gelli Plate." I ran out of hand dyed fabric to paint over, so I just added fabric medium to a roller brush that all ready had paint on it, and rolled it all over a piece of damp muslin. I created a yellow/green blotchy background, then added dark green and rolled over a leaf stencil. The damp fabric really worked well with the paint roller, the roller was already saturated with paint, and the dampness pulled it out of the brush, with out constantly adding paint, like I had been. Peggy continued to print with her "Collagegraph" of birds, and leaves. I forgot to take pics while we were working. I think I will still add some Shiva Oil pastels to a few of the pieces to finish them off, they NEED shimmer, or maybe I just am addicted to shimmer!
Photos - 1. Leaf stencil, 2. Rug Grid, 3. Ladybug Bubble Wand, 4. Celtic Sun Catcher.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thinking of Daffodils

On my weekend walks, I am seeing the daffodils starting to rise up out the the damp winter soil, some are about 6" tall, and starting to form buds. They probably won't bloom for another 2 to 3 weeks, some time in March. The crocus are usually first, and I do have two Hellebore plants in bloom, with lovely mauve bell type flowers, they are also called "Lenten Rose" because they bloom during Lent. They are hard to photograph, because they hang down, you have to lay on your belly and get your elbows muddy to take the pics. So now, I can't wait for spring!! I want to make a daffodil quilt, I don't need any new projects, but I have over 100 daffodil photos, so I am thinking of printing a few on fabric, cutting them into vertical strips and thread painting them. Just a quickie small wall hanging to jump start my spring. Photos - Last years Daffodils, and Hellebore from Feb 2012.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ghost Tree & Coffee Sleeves

I finished the "Ghost Tree" wall hanging. It is very soft, subtle and low contrast. The free motion machine quilting came out very nicely, it shows up very well on the back, with various gray threads on the black background. I quilted roots under the tree, and rocks and grasses off to the side, above the root line I added grasses, rocks and bare branches to create a landscape, you can barely see it from the front. Ribbons with curly cues, wave horizontally across the sky area. I thread painted the owl eyes in black and yellow, they are very piercing and stand out, this makes a focus in the top left, and your eyes flow across the quilt from that point. I am very pleased with the way I used my photographs of the branches for the background fabric, it was fun playing in Photo-shop to create them. As a quickie project I made several "Coffee sleeves" with scraps, so I can carry my hot coffee back from my walks. I made one in red/black with some oriental fabric for my neighbor Betsy, a pink one, purple and blue(masculine) I gave the two to the ladies at Dutch Bros. Coffee, and will give the guy the blue one after I make another for me. I couched yarns over the raw edges, and the outside, and added a Velcro closure. They insulated the cups just great, maybe my coffee won't get cold before I get home!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thoughts on Blogs, computers, and the Internet

Several years ago I seldom turned my computer on, people would email me info and I'd not get it, 'cause I only turned on the computer every 2 weeks to once a month. Instant messaging with my family across the country encouraged me to connect more often, then my Dad got me a wireless connection, and I got a newer computer. I still didn't work on it very often, I would much rather quilt!! With the addition of a digital camera I was finally ready for the internet revolution. My Dad showed me how to download my pics, and a friend showed me how to sort and file them. I love photography, and was getting to the point of not being able to afford the developing, and some film sat in a drawer for years. Printing my photos on fabric treated with bubble jet set, was economical and easy. I got a cheap version of Adobe Photoshop Elements ver. 6 and was very frustrated with it. It did SO MUCH!!! My knowledgeable friend was using a HP photo editing program and my other friend a Mac, so I had to be self taught. This is where I got sucked into the computer, I purposefully sat down to LEARN Photoshop. I had several quilt books about quilting with photos, they all assumed a basic knowledge that I didn't have. I read and reread them, struggled with one part of the program at a time. I started to get the hang of it a little bit, I was managing to make quilts with my photos in spite of the learning curve. Then a friend wanted to learn how to download her photos to the computer, she had just been buying new memory cards when they were full. So I helped her and a few others, suddenly I was the one who knew what was going on??? How did that happen? By spending A LOT of time on the computer. I started typing up directions for them, but they didn't do their homework, they weren't putting in the time I had. Computers led to Facebook, and more knowledge, and the wireless connection made it so much easier. One of the ladies in our textile arts group Fyber Cafe, had to start a blog as an assignment for one of the Cities and Guilds units she was doing, so I thought if she could do it, so could I. Where did this confidence come from? I have always photographed ALL my quilting work, and I digitized the older photos so they too were available. Photos of in progress pieces gave me a starting point for the blog, talking about technique, inspiration and projects. I am really enjoying the writing, I feel like I am sharing my work, and making connections with family and friends. Staying in touch with my quilting friend in California was a big plus, we both got more involved in quilting about the time I moved to Oregon. I would still rather quilt, paint fabric, machine quilt, and take photos, then spend time on the computer, but it too is a creative outlet for my thoughts. Through hard work I am learning Adobe Photoshop and helping others with it, and my goal is to use my photos in my quilts. I still don't know how to add links, gadgets? or other stuff, but I am very proud that I managed to add a counter, and the webring info, and I feel like more people are seeing my site now too. So I have been pulled kicking and screaming into the new millennium, for a long time we kept saying we had no cell phone, no satellite TV, a 1999 car, no CD player, etc... I even started a blog for the Fyber Arts Group, check it out at See you on the internet! AMY

Play Day II

Peggy came over a second time, so we could print fabric, with the printing plates that we made. We started with an already dyed piece of fabric. I used a peachy/orange fabric and used the bird plate with dark blue paint, The opposites on the color wheel would give good contrast. Instead of putting paint on the roller and going over the fabric with the plate underneath, I used the roller to apply paint to the plate, and laid the fabric over it. I used the hard rubber brayer to press a good print, and it came out very sharp and clear, but reversed. The blue paint on orange fabric kinda sucked the color out of the blue, it was a bit dull/brownish, but I went over and added touches of the blue paint. I also dipped a bamboo skewer in metallic gold paint, and added long marks to the lines of the print, gold paint on rug grid was dabbed on as wings to the birds. It still looked a little dull, so I splattered some bright yellow specks overall. It looks very much "Folk Art" and 2 people said it looks like Egyptian Hieroglyphics. It is not really "My Thing" but I like the results, crisp clear printing, directional, and with contrast. The second piece I did was on a light green dyed background, with touches of yellow and turquoise. I used the rubbing plates of the leaves, that I had made with the wood filler from the stencils. I wet the fabric, and put wet paint on the foam roller, I rolled over the fabric on top of the plates. It gave a much softer/blended look, and I added green. I also printed in a darker green on top of the fabric, this was clear and crisp and added a definite pattern. Next was a layer of metallic gold leaf printing, and it still needed more, so a layer of turquoise Shiva Oil Pastel was rubbed on over the leaves. So I learned if you want subtle blending of your print use the paint wet with a foam roller, a hard crisp line is made when you put the plate underneath the fabric, with the paint directly on the plate. Layer-Layer-Layer! The more complex the fabric, and the more depth it has, the more interesting the fabric. Use subtle shifts in color, add a different color paint each time you print, and finish off with some shimmer, either metallic acrylic or the Shiva Oils. Peggy added birds and leaves to a dyed fabric that she had already stenciled. She added sunflowers and then edged the printed curly cues with gold Shiva Oils. She was still going to add other elements to the fabric, and either collage or applique on additional layers. She was also trying for more "Layers" to make her fabric interesting. I did one last piece with the alphabet again, it was printed on a dark purple and gold dyed fabric, it was a rich dark color, but I couldn't see myself using it. I added purple acrylic to the gold areas, and metallic gold paint to the purple areas. Also layers of metallic gold Shiva oils, and a bright frosted purple Shiva. It is a very complex piece of fabric, I don't think the richness of the colors photographed very well.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Play Day

Thursday I had a "play day" with Peggy and Kay, I invited them over to paint, quilt, whatever. We started out with a watercolor collage that Peggy was working on, and kept getting out supplies, and books. We passed around Artists trading cards, and planned to paint some background papers/fabrics. We ended up doing a "Collagegraph" technique. We glued different elements to a base of mat board, to make a printing plate, I am going to demo it at our next textile group meeting. It can also be used as a rubbing plate for Shiva Oil Sticks. We used flat toothpicks, string, corrugated cardboard, rug grid, and foam sheets to cut out shapes. We painted everything with a base coat of acrylic paint to seal it. Next week Peggy is coming over and we are going to print with the boards we made. We also made rubbing plates with a "wood fiber" filler from "Elmer's Glue" We smeared the filler through plastic stencils, up to about an 1/8 inch depth, then pulled up the stencils, to leave a raised area. Later it was sanded smooth, and sealed with paint. I made one fabric print last week, with a print plate with stick on letters. I used a foam roller and acrylic paint to print onto a piece of hand dyed fabric I already had. It was difficult to gauge the wetness and coverage of the paint on the roller, too wet and it bled, too dry and it wouldn't print. I also tried a solid rubber brayer, but it wouldn't hold much paint. I love the fabric that I got, it was layers of black, dark green and lighter green alphabets, onto a dark navy green dyed fabric. I used the plate to rub on teal frosted Shiva Oil Pastel also, and it added a depth and shimmer to the whole piece. I don't think it photographed very well, but I loved the results.