Monday, 12 October 2009

What the...?

Most of us, as textile artists, have things in our cupboards that make us say, "what the...?" Those things we bought at a show or workshop and don't remember any more what they are for or how to use them. Those materials that look interesting until we come to use them. And even those projects that have stalled because we can't see how to go on with them. Today, Fibrecircle brought some of those things out of our cupboards into the light.

First, we needed sustaining with much chocolate and coffee.

Then, one by one, we brought out these bottles and jars. Most of them are form of sealants, and I guess our confusion is understandable, since there are so many products like this available. Nearly all of them do much the same thing - give a solid base for painting and provide a clear seal over the top of work. Most of what we brought wasn't something you'd use on fabric, except maybe fabric collages. But they are great for giving some robustness or a clear seal to sketchbook pages.

Then there were the weird materials. (Nola had a good collection of those!) Packaging material - might be good to machine stitch, as long as it doesn't catch underneath ? Probably will smell bad and kill all living things in a kilometer radius, if melted. Several people took samples away to play with, nobly risking life and limb in the search for truth.
Rug canvas, kindly donated by Helen some months ago. She's promised to bring us some examples of what you can do with it, next time. So maybe we might actually use those samples...
Sizoflor - what is that stuff? All agreed it looks like fun to stitch, and overlay, and print, and paint, and of course, zap with the heat gun.
Quilling paper strips - several of us own them but none of us do quilling, what's that about? Nola tried weaving it through the rug canvas but it wasn't robust enough (and it was seriously boring to do). Maybe it would make an interesting base fabric woven on the loom with a cotton or linen warp? One Day.
Lingerie wash bags, with dead zippers - interesting to hand stitch? They are very soft but the holes are interesting. Might take paint in interesting ways too?

Shiva Paintstiks - OK,we can see they take a rubbing beautifully, especially when the texture is large and open. ... this.. coating....of... dry stuff first!
Oh, more rug canvas, painted gold. What sort of knots can we use, if we use these strips of fabric? Ah, yes, like hooked rugs only on a bigger scale. I think we'll be seeing more of this rug canvas.
Here's Tricia modelling her gorgeous crocheted wrap.

Do we think it looks OK as it is? (We do!) Should she crochet more on it, around the edges, or do something else to it? (We don't think so.) She spun most of the yarn for this project herself. And, yes, she finished it today!

Prue brought along a sample from a cyanotyping class she did with Barbara Schey years ago. We discussed the differences between cyanotyping and sun printing. Prue has always been disappointed that we didn't get such sharp images with the sun printing. How can we improve the sharpness of the images? Some suggestions were to pick foliage the day before and press it flat overnight; to slit prominent stems and veins to flatten the leaves out; to use lightweight materials like ferns that stick to the fabric when wet; to press things down firmly against the wet fabric; to work on very hot days so the fabric dries within twenty minutes; to use paper doilies and other paper shapes that might adhere a little to wet paint.

Helen brought along her graffiti fabric, which she'd cut into squares and then into sections with another fabric, using gentle curves. How to rearrange them? After some head scratching, we got them rearranged nicely. They look great, don't they? She's planning to cut them again and rearrange them further.

All this plus browsing some of Nola's quilting books took up our day. So what do you think of our "What the...?" ideas? All thoughts gratefully received!

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