Blog Archives

Creative Journey

Beginning

Where does your creative journey begin?

Mine began many moons ago, when I was a child.  Maybe it was simply that my mother wanted to keep me busy.  (Hi Mom!)  Or maybe she wanted to share her interests with me.  Regardless, I started stitching (crewel embroidery) when I was about five.  I moved on to knitting and sewing soon after.  My best birthday present when I was 10 was a sewing machine.

My road has had many branches.  I played the violin for many years, performing in a youth orchestra which toured the US and Europe.  (All kinds of awesome to travel like that while in college!)  For many years, my craft/art of choice was cross stitch.  At the same time I kept sewing.  I even took my sewing machine with me to grad school.  And back then, it wasn’t what the cool kids were doing!

When I moved to Ohio, I discovered quilting.  I joined a guild and learned how to put a quilt together.  I think I even took a class offered by the guild, in spite of not learning well in classrooms.  I kept up with other crafts as well…knitting and some other random things that I can’t remember now.

Somehow, from traditional quilting I found art quilts.   I still keep my hand in with knitting, spinning, sewing, traditional quilting and even some mixed media work.  These seem to give me the balance I need to create my art quilts.  And my photography plays a huge role in the inspiration for my art quilts.

All the branches in the road have come together.  My road is clear, and my journey has a destination.

Where does your creative journey begin?

From “Fugly” to “Has Potential”

Possibilities

This piece was some of the fugliest fabric I have ever ever ever dyed.  It was awful.  I had dyed it a green that didn’t turn out nice and overdyed it in a brownish red that just muddied up the green until  it looked…it just was fugly.

So while I am fooling around with surface design again, trying to get back into the swing of it, this seemed like a good piece to work with.  It couldn’t get any worse!

I started with deconstructed screen printing.  This was a new-to-me technique that I now really like.  The process is to mix up some print paste (urea, thickener, water) and add in some dye.  Then create your screen — I used some plastic artist rubbing material, put it under the screen and pulled the dye paste over it.  This created an imprint on the screen, which I then let dry overnight.  This is what it looked like.

screen with imprint

Then I put the screen on the fabric and pulled screen paste (print past with soda ash mixed in) across it.  The first prints come out dark and clear, then fade and muddy up as you continue screening.  So I was moving all over the fabric with the screen and just that first step was a huge improvement.

Then I went in with some thermofax screens and printed the maple seeds in brown, and some flowers in a golden yellow with thickened dye.  I am not completely happy with how the flowers came out but that’s no big deal.  And finally I went in with a leaf stamp and stamped it up with some green thickened dye.

When using these types of techniques, I would normally batch this by steaming.  Since this was the only piece I was working on, I went ahead with a washout instead.  The only problem I had with the washout was that some of the brown migrated.  But that actually made the fabric a bit better!

I really enjoyed playing around with this.  I don’t think anyone would say this fabric is beautiful.  But it definitely has potential!