Saturday, December 17, 2011

Stabbin & Stitchin

Working on City Block 5

I'm finishing up City Block 5. The buildings are chunks of soy batik cotton which I quilted individually. I debated how to attach them to the quilted background and decided stab and stitch was the best way to get a blind stitch effect. Basically, it's an up to the front side/down to the back side stitch which is good for stitch placement through several layers but takes a maddening amount of time.

Since I don't have 5 thimbles, when it starts getting ugly,  I take a break. . .I admit I don't have the patience for a steady diet of handwork but I do like having something non-caloric to do when watching TV with the family.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Searching for the Perfect Tomato

Our household was deep in tomatoes this past weekend. First, a bushel, then another 1/2 bushel because one bushel is ONLY 50#. We got 24 qts. tomatoes, 35 pts. salsa, 14 half-pts hot pepper relish and one sticky floor. The hot peppers were wicked-est I can remember. Jon and I took turns coughing, laughing and leaving the kitchen for sneeze attacks. These babies burned gloved hands. Even the dog stayed in her kennel.

This got me thinking about my favorite tomato recipe:

3 T. Coral (Pro MX #301) dye concentrate
1 T. Scarlet (Pro MX #300) dye concentrate
2 T. salt
3/4 c. warm water

Add one yard scoured 100% cotton- Yield: one yard tomato

For a more orangey, bright tomato I use:

3T. Scarlet (#300)
1 T. Golden Yellow (#104)
1 T. Sun Yellow (#108)
1/4 t. Bright Blue (#404)
2 T. salt
3/4 c. warm water

If you're not a regular hand-dyer, the low water immersion instructions at Pro-Chem website are:

Next, the search for the perfect pepper.

Monday, August 29, 2011

2011 IQA Mini Quilt Celebrity Silent Auction

"Sunblock"  2011

Each year the International Quilt Association’s Celebrity Mini Quilt Silent Auction is held during Quilt Market and Quilt Festival in Houston. "Sunblock" is the quilt I will be donating to the auction. It's a wholecloth cotton, soy batik piece with a lot of free-motion quilt stitches and measures about 15" W X 19" L.

"Sunblock" (detail)

The money raised helps support the activities of IQA, including the annual judged show, Quilts…A World of Beauty.  The quilts are auctioned on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Festival, November 3-6; however, they will be on display and available for bids from the beginning of Quilt Market, October 29-31.

If you go to the Houston show, hope you're able to stop by and take a look at the auction quilts and possibility bid on one to support IQA.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Portals" Soy Batik Series

"Portals"  2011

After several months of experimentation (aka playing) with soy wax, I've completed a piece!  "Portals" is the first of a series using wax, fiber reactive dye and cotton cloth.  . . . This technique keeps generating new design ideas which is why I started a journal. And I don't keep journals. I barely blog but we already know that. .

I used 50 wt. cotton thread in a coppery color to do most of the free-motion stitching- there's also some very dark navy in there.  Portals 2 is in the works.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Soy Batik Workshop with Els Van Baarle

An unexpected email last fall changed my art life. Vicki Jensen from ProChem asking if I was still interested in taking Els Van Baarle's soy batik workshop in November. What?? How could that be?  I was third in line on the waiting list- besides, it's the middle of October!!

Of course, I went. Electric fry pan, pre-washed fabric and all.  There were 11 of us which allowed each to have a decent work area and share a fry pan of hot wax.  But what would Barbara Billingsley think of using fry pans, irons,  and clothespins in this high-handed manner? If she'd known, she'd probably be doing the same thing.

Els is natural teacher, making a point of explaining further when she saw puzzled faces.  She shared some of her successes and failures and often reminded us "Have fun- no stress- yes?" Yes.  She is soft-spoken but gets her point across, giving constructive feedback without hurting feelings. That's not easy.

Els uses a layering process which begins with white/light fabric followed by layers of soy wax and fiber reactive dyes.  Simple exercises to start using 2 layers of color and moving into using tjaps, wood stamps, tjantings, paint, and silkscreens. We used paper, silk, cotton and other fibers in layers with the media.  Warning: this is addictive. The more you do, the more possibilities you see. Els stressed taking notes on each labeled piece of fiber and I did. At first. It got too fun to stop and write. Much of it is learned by doing although it is nice to know which layers of colors produced this great coppery color or that muddy green. 

I took this class because I love Els' work. (How much? I bought one of her pieces at the workshop.) I'm incorporating the techniques into my studio work and enjoying every part of the process.  Be sure to look at her website and the amazing gallery: Here's something you won't find on the website--- she loves the smell of hot wax.  

Now I'm thinking about picking up another electric fry pan.  I have to try the more traditional batik wax mixture of paraffin and beeswax. No mixing these 2 types of waxes because soy is water soluable and the mix isn't.  Two fry pans in my house and still no one's cooking. That's cool.

If you're wondering why it took until March to write about a fall class, I injured my shoulder around Halloween, had rotator cuff surgery in January. Two months of physical therapy so far- no end date yet. . .  the sling and I are one.

Els shared a favorite quotation in class:

"It is an artist's job to get lost. If you always know where you are, you have missed the point."

Isn't that a relief??

Here are a couple photos from the workshop, I will post more in the coming days as the server can't handle all this art at once: