Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Double the fun!

The Fibrecircle girls have been busy creating lately, both in the group and elsewhere. Our first October meeting was crammed full of creative energy and two different activities.
Tricia brought show and tell from the dyeing workshop she did at Virginia Farm Woolworks last weekend. She had some fantastic cotton squares, which she thinks will be perfect for a quilt. They really are a short primer of ways to tie fabric for Shibori dyeing.
1. fabric wrapped around a CD
2. twisted from edges with object in middle
3. bobby pins strategically placed
4. twisted in circular motion from the centre, keeping it flat
5. wrapped around another CD, corners fan-folded
6. fan-folded from corners, then bobby pinned and tied in the centre
7. concertina fold and clamped between tongue depressors
8. marbles tied with string
9. stones tied with string
10. scrunched up and tied
11. stitching with tied corners
12. clouding - pole-wrapped and tied 
13. Tied with string in clusters
14. concertina one way and then the other, then tied
15. Large piece showing clouding
16. Pole-wrapped diagonally
17. wrapped length of plastic chain
18. pole-wrapped, scrunched and pushed along the pole
Maz brought along samples from her week-long workshop with Marie-Therese Wisniowski at Fibre Arts and Hunters Hill last week. Marie Therese was teaching a method of transfer printing she calls Multisperse Dye Sublimation. The result is visually complex art textile pieces on man-made fabrics. Maz's samples show some of the possibilities of the technique.
1. Sample of the transfer printing, repeat of the print, light colours first
2. as above
3. multiple layers on delustered satin, using plant material as resist
4. colour sample on synthetic chiffon
5. sample on synthetic lace
6. two pieces – one on ordinary satin – Maz wasn’t happy but Marie-Therese suggested printing again onto organza as an overlay
7. reverse layering – dark to light – on delustered satin
8. Printed using plant materials, moving the plants with each colour to create shadows
9. printing without laying down a background colour first, and moving the objects to create shadows
10. multiple print – paper stencils, some reversed, and line drawing on transfer paper
11. postcard size pieces using different techniques she’d learnt
During the week, Maz won a raffle, and this was the prize – a large piece of printed silk fabric by Els van Baarle.  This is just a section of the fabric, as it's way too big to take the whole.
Isn't it just gorgeous? We all wanted to sneak it into our bags! Helen brought along two bags she’d made since our last time together. This first one uses fabric that we printed last month. She cut the fabrics into strips and wove them together into a piece of fabric. She also made her own braid by stitching over yarn on the machine, and used it to embellish the front.
The other bag used a piece of monoprinted fabric, embellished with appliqué, stitching and beads.
It was also time for the unveiling of our latest challenge works, on the theme, Let’s Go Geometric. Maz’s unfinished Geometric piece is worked on rug canvas with embroidery threads. She’s not sure where it will go next, perhaps a book cover.
Nola’s Geometric piece was also unfinished, but is almost there. She’s making a dice pot for gaming, using fabric she painted earlier and then block printed a couple of weeks ago.
This is the lid, which needs to have a rim added.
These are the sides of the pot, individually stamped with hand-carved stamp motifs.
Bev’s Geometric is also unfinished. It’s inspired by the windows of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, and is made from snippets of fabric trapped between layers of silk organza. You can see her sketchbook with sketches for the work, along with the piece itself. 
Helen is the only one to finish her challenge (no surprises there!). But she surprised us by producing two challenges. The first one is this notebook cover from embroidered rug canvas.
Here's the whole cover.
But she said that she thought we would all expect her to make her challenge from rug canvas, and that wouldn‘t be a challenge, so she decided to do another one. The second one is a concertina book, with pockets containing different geometric patterns.
The side with the pockets..
The other side...
Then it was time to start work.

Carol wasn’t participating in the activities this time, so she was busy preparing craft for her Joeys Scout group. She was making flowers from egg cartons, as samples for the kids to follow.
Our first activity was to prepare screens for some deconstructed screen printing/breakdown printing. In this method, printing screens are used to create a series of similar-bur different prints, unlike traditional serigraphy (screen printing), which aims to produce identical images over multiple prints. Basically, thickened dye is added to the screens in a pattern, and allowed to dry thoroughly. When the screens are printed with the thickening agent or some more thickened dyes, the dry material is slowly softened and dissolved from the screen. Thicker areas of dye paint take longer to break down and act as a resist. The result is usually complex layers of colour.
Before everyone arrived, Nola had prepared some Drimarene K dyes, mixed with urea and DR33, a thickening agent. We were using several different methods to put colour onto the screens. This screen was laid over a texture plate and several pieces of bubble wrap, and printed with a squeegee in the usual screen printing method. The texture of the materials underneath was reproduced on the screen and allowed to dry.
This screen was painted from the back in several layers. The first layer was a wash of turquoise, from when the dye paints were made up. It was allowed to dry overnight, and then further dye paint was added in different thicknesses, using a sponge brush. The thicker areas were imprinted with pieces of bubble wrap and texture plates, which were left on the surface while the screen dried. Some puddles of dye paint were drawn out into spikes with a comb, and small black lines were added with a syringe.
This screen was built up during the morning, by painting on the back. It had dye paint applied thickly and then two pieces of string were laid down in a random pattern, then a small piece of  bubble wrap, a piece of road guard plastic and more bubble wrap. This screen took a long time to dry, because the bubble wrap tended to trap the moisture.
We’ll show you the printing results after our next meeting!
The second activity was laminating fabric. This process transfers an image from newsprint or similar lightweight paper onto a layer of sheer synthetic fabric, using gel medium. First, the image was laid down on the back cloth, and then the organza or similar fabric was taped firmly down on top. Gel medium was added to the surface, fairly thickly but without soaking the paper. The layers were set outside to dry.
Once they are thoroughly dry, they need to be heat set with an iron for about 10 minutes. Then the fabric is placed in a bucket of warm water for about twenty minutes, to soften the paper. The paper is removed by scrubbing with the fingers and then with a dish scourer, leaving the image behind. Some paper residue usually remains, so the images are usually slightly cloudy and mysterious. They show up well overlaid over strongly toned fabric. We’ll show you the results of that next time, too!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

September block printing

Our September meetings were much smaller, since several members couldn't attend. The remnants decided to keep on block printing for a little longer.
Nola carved these stamps from large erasers. The flower stamp is based on a sketch she made at an exhibition called "The Art of Islam", back in 2005. The cloud motif was a motif she sketched at an exhibition of Chinese art called "Celestial Silks" in 2004. Both exhibitions were held at the Art Gallery of NSW. So it really pays to keep those sketchbooks!
Here is a test print of the flower stamp, with a pair of stamps she made earlier this year.She talked about them on her blog here.
These are some of the stamps she made then.
She had these stamps out  because she planned to use them as part of her Let's Go Geometric challenge piece.She stamped these images on a piece of pre-painted quilter's muslin.
Tricia was also printing.  She laid down some colour with the roller and then added texture with a round cardboard reel.
The shapes on the left of photo above, and in the one below, were made by printing with toe separators.

These were from stamps that Tricia carved. She was very interested in making stamps that could be used to make a repeat pattern, so these were test prints.
Bev was also printing but no photos were taken. So we need photos, Bev!

Bev brought along a postcard in progress. She wove together strips of fabric, including some with hand prints from stamps. Then she began to stitch on the top. Can't wait to see where this goes!