Friday, July 22, 2011

testing 1,2,3

I make tests all the time, since I try something new on almost every piece.
I want to see how the process looks, and also check on the durability.  The wall pieces aren't meant to be washed of course, but I need to be sure the images are permanent, non smearing, and can withstand some handling- the work gets shipped to shows, sometimes many times.
I feel it's very important for all of us to do this- collectors should feel confident that their investment will last.
I pulled this magnificent pile of silks, some Indian dupioni from Silk Baron and some chinese silk acid dyed by me.  I'm looking for that red rock color that we saw last weekend in the Jemez, and might work with a photo from the Valley of Fire by my pal Hannah.
Quilted a few samples to see how they discharge- tried jacquard discharge paste and Decolourant plus in green.  Brushed it on really thinly since I just want to highlight the quilting.
The green is really disgusting, see no use for it in this project.  this is the paste applied, before steaming.
I was pretty shocked after I steamed these at how readily the color was removed- seems much faster than on cotton.  the color with the green warp turned really green after steaming.  hm- will need to think about this.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

fuzzy logic

A couple of months ago, I made a bunch of silk "bullseyes" as class samples, and because they are so darn fun to do.
I took one of them and added some felting.  Since I can't get the wool to stick on habotai, I glued them together temporarily with Vilene.
here it is during quilting-
The Vilene makes everything stiff as a board, but luckily the machine doesn't seem to mind sewing through it all, and it washes out easily-
It turned out pretty cool, and I'm going to mount it onto another piece.
For the background, I picked out a gorgeous piece of silk brought back from China for me by my good friend Darlene.  It became my first acid dyeing experiment, and I've been saving it for something special.
here it is with the silk  wool roving laid on top-

under nylon after a couple of passes with the sander-
and rinsed out, still wet- will get quilted when dry.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


First, I'd like to thank the lovely folks at the Rio Rancho Artist Association for inviting me to give a presentation.  We had a good time!

almost finished quilting Synapse.
this is it prior to quilting- silk and wool fibers were lightly felted to some handwoven Thai silk purchased
from Luana Rubin at equilter.

here it is on the machine- lots of sewing on this one!

The base fabric has an interesting story- several years ago, EQuilter posted several colors of the silk for sale.  I immediately bought one yard of each color, and am glad I did, since it was sold out in a few days.
I immediately made Xylem from the brilliant yellow/orange-
It sold quickly from my Etsy store.
Next came Urchin, which went to several shows and now belongs to a lovely lady in California.
There's something to be said about hand woven material- it really speaks to me, and I enjoy using it every time.

Friday, July 1, 2011

new directions

I've been working on combining elements of felting with quilting.  I love the lines and and forms that the partly felted fibers assume, they mimic organic internal structures very effectively.
I had never felted anything before, and the instructions available on the internet were just a start, since I was after something different.

I have some gorgeous silk and wool roving from a fellow Etsy seller in Taos.
I laid it out quite sparsely, and sandwiched it in the usual way between sheets of bubble wrap and tulle.

Partial felting followed, rolled it many times between the bubble wrap with hot soapy water.
Since the roving is a combo of silk and wool, it does not seem to felt as readily as pure wool, although that's just an assumption on my part.
I decided to use a marvelous piece of silk burlap (!) from Santa Fe Fabrics as the background.  It was laid out over the partially felted fibers, soaked with more soapy water, and rolled again as one piece.
the little dents visible on the surface are from the bubble wrap and disappear after rinsing and drying.
I backed it with brilliant orange silk dupioni to peek out from behind the dark gray burlap.
I wan't after full on nuno felting, with its attendant wrinkling, just wanted to bond the layers together enough to quilt them.
the quilting was fun, I tried to accentuate the forms with several colors of thread to coordinate with the colors of the roving.
It turned out pretty skinny, there is really a lot of shrinkage!  and ended up 11x40".
voila!  next up- work on composition and layout. stay tuned :)