Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Remember when it rained a couple of weeks ago on the very day I was planning to do outside fabric painting? I did it anyway... on the floor in the garage.

My mission was to create a background piece for the challenge issued by the Twisted Stitchers -- a small art quilt group here in the Dallas area. The Twisted Stitchers had noted a lack of entries in the "large applique" catagory at the Dallas Quilt show, so they decided to flood the catagory with stunning entries from our members. We are supposed to make pieces that are at least 12 inches wide by at least 72 inches long. That's the minimum that will qualify for the "large" catagory. We're all doing verticle compositions. Can you believe how big that is? I've never done anything that is 72 inches long. In fact, most of my recent stuff doesn't even reach 12 inches. A welcome challenge for me! I might have poo poo'd the idea of applique... but of course that just means fusing which I'm totally comfortable with. I think I can even stretch mixed-media collage into the applique catagory.

Of course I studied Sonji's tutorials before I began and I had high hopes for inspiration and success. Here are the paints I started out with.

How I ended up with such "springy" colors during this "fall" season, I'm not sure.

Here are my two pieces after I finished the painting. On the right I copied Sonji's genius circle pattern and on the left I did some abstract scripty lines that felt much more like "me." That's all on top of various pools of color and spatterings of silver.

Then I ran into trouble. Sonji says she hangs her pieces to dry. In fact, you can see some of her fabric hanging on a chainlink fence on her blog. I was skeptical about picking these pieces up. They are painted on wet wet wet muslin with watery paints. How does Sonji possibly keep the paints from running and just sliding right off the fabric? I decided to give it a try. I picked up the piece on the right and disaster struck. Every thing ran into everything else and I lost every single bit of the circle shapes and most of the varience of color pools. Sonji?!

So I laid it back down on my tarp and scrunched it up hoping to get some nice foldy texture.

Here is a close up of the dried piece from the left with the scripty lines. It will be the background and I'm pleased with the results.

Here is the less-successful foldy piece. It will get cut up and salvaged somehow. (Or folded up and buried in the blue-green fabric drawer.)

Now I guess I should take the next step. What will that be? I'm considering quilting the whole cloth first with a bunch of swirly random free-motion quilting and maybe some dragon flies buzzing about. Then appliquing on top of the quilting. I'm thinking sheers and layers and tall skinny fan-shaped flowers. We'll see.


Anonymous said...

Thought I posted just now, must have got lost somehow! Strange.

Anyways, what I said was that I had the same experience with my 'Sonji' experiment so I think Sonji must let them dry flat somewhat first before hanging them. I now have some silk to try it again, didn't have the time or musé to do it before now.

His Office, My Studio said...

Great Job even if they did not turn out as you wanted.

I always hang my dyed and painted fabric on a chainlink fence. Sometime the paint runs and other time it does not. I do not know why. What I hate is when I am trying to hang the fabric the corner flaps and touches the middle. I need a third hand and wind.

Gerrie said...

The one you didn't try to hang is wonderful. I would try overpainting the other one. I hear of lots of rain in Texas. It rains here, but it comes in little waves of light misty drops. It rarely pours. I find I can still walk the dog.

Joanne S said...

Okay. sonji has some sort of felty stuff under the painted fabric and she has layers of damp-- not wet--- damp fabric. and she paints on 2 yard pieces for sometimes a couple of hours so by the time she hangs them--they are mostly dry.

If your fabric was wet-- then you should have let it sit on the floor for a couple of hours before attempting to lift it. It's still okay to use. Iron it flat and drag it back out to the garage and paint new circles on it. Spray parts with water to get a mushy feel. Or don't. then let it sit while you do something else.

I attempted to pick up and carry a wet piece and now I have a very nice painted tee shirt and pants. But only the front side is painted.

Anonymous said...

Here is a tip for all those who paint: Always wear black clothes from top to bottom. Paint has no chance and you can wear the same clothes everytime you paint.

Unknown said...

use the second peice as your backing for the quilt.it is perfectly color coordinated and just the right size.