14 Mar

The Marbled Fabric Dyed

In theory, overdying the marbled fabric worked great. In practice though, I should have had a few colors of dye. This red is too bloody for what I had in mind. A clever girl would have dyed two pieces in the dark red, two in bright red, and two in orange. Or maybe, started with orange, and if it didn’t work, gone progressively darker. Of course, I’ve never been much of a tester when it comes to this kind of thing. I do tend to throw caution to the wind. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I fall flat on my face.

On teh other hand, I overdyed a commercial fabric and two other hand dyes with a ┬ádark peaty green at the same time and they turned out just how I had hoped they would. I have discharge plans for those, and now at Gerrie’s oh so wise suggestion, I’ll try discharging these too. Well, maybe I’ll start with just one!

07 Mar

Fabric Marbling

On Saturday I gave a workshop for the quilt guild on marbling fabric. I’m no expert, but I’ve done it a few times for myself and for other quilty friends, so i figured “why not?” The guild was hosting a retreat at a “camp,” so we had a cafeteria, a large lanai, and all day in which to work. Great conditions.

I pre-prepared 20 yards of fabric, about 15 colors of paint, and 9 gallons of “goo” on which to float the paint. That was a lot of stuff to carry with me, but a few 5-gallon buckets did he trick. Four trays to work in was just about right for the 14 students we had. There was just the right amount of waiting and watching each other (good for inspiration) without feeling like you were standing around bored. Though, with six pieces of fabric each to marble, we exhausted the goo in a few hours. Unless one has a very light hand and paints that float perfectly, there can be a lot that sinks to the bottom. As the goo is depleted with each “print,” you can dredge up more and more sunken paint. I made 6 more gallons of goo at our lunch break which kept everyone going until we had used up our fabric, but if I were to do another workshop I’d mix two rounds worth of goo beforehand or limit the class size or number of prints each person could make. Six opportunities each is good though because there were lots of chances to try different patterns and color combos.

Unfortunately, I did not remember to bring my camera to the workshop. It’s too bad too because we had a great time and color was flying everywhere! We had a great group of ladies who were willing to “go with the flow,” and just play. I took home the leftovers and did a little more marbling this morning. I realized that marbling could be just the right technique for the 12×12 theme I came up with: Kilauea. My results above are not as deep and rich in color as I wanted so I’m going to try some over dyeing with Procion dyes this week. We’ll see what happens.

02 Mar

Test Run

I’m trying some new-ish things. I have an idea for a series of art quilts and I need to experiment a bit with some techniques before committing to one of the pieces. I am also teaching a workshop for our quilt guild on marbling fabric. I’ve only done this a few times, but everyone loved my scraps and convinced me we needed to do this at the guild retreat next weekend.

So, a dry run was in order. When I saw Judy’s colorful felted soaps a while ago, I figured they’d be the perfect size project to experiment making felted rock. On Saturday, while coming down from our tsunami high and realizing that we didn’t need to stockpile water in case of disaster after all, the kids and I made soap rocks. Well, I made rocks, theirs were far more colorful. I highly recommend this easy peasy lemon squeezy family friendly activity. Great results! And now I have a better idea of where I’m going in my larger project.

On Sunday I prepared my paints for marbling. I use textile paints formulated for marbling and/or airbrush. Each paint behaves a bit differently on the thickened water so I wanted to do all my mixing and thinning before class. I also wanted to test the “size,” or thickened water, I made the night before (with some of the water reserved in case of an island wide shut down). I was worried that the formula I used last time I did this in Germany might not be the appropriate one for warmer, more humid, Hawai’i. I was right. Not tragic, but I’ll mix up the rest of the batch a bit thicker.

Anyhoo, my Jr. Redhead was really curious about what I was making, so I enlisted her help in floating each color on the size as I mixed it and let her be in charge of swirling and combing to make patterns. She had a ball and my new airbrush colors are intense! We made the pebbly background above by swirling some cool colors and then flicking the whole thing with a bit of dispersant which made all the paint run away, leaving “blank” spaces. I’m feeling much more confident about the class and the kid-friendly projects were a great way to kill two birds with one stone (ha, that pun just snuck up on me).