Friday, February 29, 2008

Stamping Update

I did another set of stamping samples for the project. The present thinking is that stamping heat activated disperse dyes directly onto the panels is fraught with danger, so I did some to try behind the panels.

I used a black dye and the same stamp, but tried to get a more consistent application. I really didn't like the paper when I had finished - it was very patchy and the stamp edges far too definite. However, I ironed it onto the organza. Maybe my heat press doesn't get hot enough (though it was hot enough to burn my arm when I was trying to position the paper and fabric). It took more than a minute and a half to get a distinct print. I also found it hard to manoeuvre the A3 size litho paper and the half metre of organza. I made two prints with the press, then grabbed my homemade ironing board which is a bit bigger than A3 and heated up the old non-steam iron. It took less than 30 seconds to print the rest of the half metre with the iron set on cotton.

So I did the second piece and took the bits around to Juliet's. The prints were less patchy when placed behind the panels, and back to back even better. BUT the total effect was to dull the area where the Wagyl is to be, rather than make it a feature.

Back to the drawing board. Iris called in and the consensus was that the stamped fabric just wasn't going to work. So then we spent nearly an hour playing with various combinations of printed and plain fabric but nothing appealed to all of us. The girls are going to have a think and I have the weekend off to do something else.

I am playing on the computer with a series of photos for possible printing on fabric for a piece for Stitched and Bound. Also came up with an idea for Quilt West. Need to spread out my black and white fabrics for that one. As usual I will be pushing to meet the deadlines.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Comments and Spam

I've been hijacked.

I hardly ever get any comments though I know people are reading the blog, so it was a surprise to see comments on my last three postings. The first one (from Linda) was real. The rest of the comments are all spam.

If you are a legitimate reader please don't click on the links in the comments - they will take you to a dodgy software site which starts loading a so-called spyware protection program without your permission. Ask me how I know! We use a Mac so it was relatively easy to get rid of it, but I suspect a Windows machine might be more vulnerable.

I tried to find a way to report the spammers to Blogger and sent some objectionable content notices. I don't know if anything will come of that. If it keeps up I will disable "allow comments" - reluctantly, because I do like getting feedback, even rare as it is!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Innovative Stitches

I have been invited to join this Embroidery Guild group, so I went along to the meeting today.

It was fun. The theme was 1969 and we were asked to bring ephemera that related to that time. I found a photo of me holding Helen, who was born in November 1969. I remember the dress I am wearing in the photo - gold polka dots on white with a gold colour collar and front facing. Isn't the collar amazing?

I also found a copy of a Time magazine from 1969 that we had saved.

It was very interesting to read it. The air travel revolution was obviously just starting - there are 7 full page ads for various airlines.

This is one of them - so politically incorrect nearly 40 years later. Quote: "we know when you'd like ....... your cigarette lit ....."

But also surprisingly, there is only one ad for cigarettes - Peter Stuyvesant in full colour on the back cover.

Another interesting aspect is that the magazine has very little advertising - at least in relation to today's publications. There are 55 pages in a 84 page publication without any ads at all. Possibly another 10 pages have ads on part of the page only. I think I should get a current issue and compare. Could be very interesting.

We were asked to make a doll that reflected us in 1969. I think mine will be pregnant!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Catching up

I have been really slack about posting, but I HAVE done some fiddling with fibre.

Monday I played with my 4D software and developed designs for a name badge and for a monogram. This is the monogram design.

I would like to say I did it all by myself, but that would be untrue. I found an online lesson and followed the steps. I am going to try modifying the technique though. I think the background is a bit too stiff.

I have done the transfer printing samples for Juliet and Iris. I delivered them to Juliet this evening and looked at all she has done. She has been direct dyeing polyester with disperse dyes for the green and yellow panels. She has succeeded in dyeing close to 20 metres of white polyester organza in a range of cool and warm greens, graduating from light to dark. I LOVE a particular olive green she has achieved - I will ask her for the recipe.

Many of my printing samples were crappy because I wanted to achieve results quickly, but it is very interesting to compare samples that Juliet did using an ironing press with those that I did using an iron. I have an old non-steam iron with a flat soleplate. I never ironed a sample for longer than 15 seconds. The resultant transfer was comparable to a sample that Juliet did some months ago which took more than a minute using a press.

Since the panels are at least a metre wide and the Wagyl segment is in the upper middle of each panel, using a press will be problematical. I think ironing is the answer, but obviously more experimentation is needed.

AND I did 4 sessions of water aerobics this week! No walking though.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Transfer Dyes - Stamps and Stamping

Today I stamped a pile of papers using the stamps I made on Wednesday for the Melville Textile Art Project. I used black only because this may be the single colour to be used for the Wagyl, but I am also going to try other colours as well on the samples I made.

I was very unhappy with my papers. There are distinct edges to the stamps and it is very difficult to control the amount of transfer dye for each print, so the impression varies. I decided to try printing them anyway, but I was reluctant to mess up the samples I had made. I nipped down the hill to The Fabric Shed and bought a metre of beige organza. The organzas that the project is using are being held behind the counter and I had a discussion with the saleslady about the project's progress. She is looking forward to seeing what comes of it all.

I had stamped some pattern vilene and greaseproof paper as well as the usual photocopy paper. Because the Wagyl section will be larger than A4 in some places, Juliet and Iris had been thinking of making just one transfer for each panel, so vilene seemed to be a possibility.

It is not. The surface is too absorbent and it's also quite thick so it doesn't get hot enough to sublimate the dye. I will try again, but today's experiments weren't too impressive.

I printed a 20cm strip of the beige organza with various papers, including the vilene. All except the vilene worked well and the stamp edges are far less obvious on the printed fabric. The uneven dye deposit didn't seem to make much difference either. Greaseproof paper transferred really well, so I have joined two pieces together with masking tape and stamped this larger piece.

I will try printing it tomorrow. If there is not a visible line where the sheets are joined this could be the answer to the Wagyl problem.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Power of Stitch

Friday evening Iris and I drove down to Mandurah for the opening of this textile exhibition. It is a collection of works by some of the people who have done Master classes at Dwellingup with Glenys Mann.

I had misread the opening time, so we were very early. Fortunately the gallery was open so we had plenty of time to look at the works without many other people being there. It is an excellent exhibition.

Two years ago there was another Mandurah exhibition, again for people who had done a Master class with Glenys. I participated in that one and two of the three works I entered travelled with the exhibition to various venues in the Eastern States. The third stayed here in WA because it had been purchased.

Iris struck up a conversation with a young man whose partner was one of the contributing artists to the current exhibition. He said that she had only recently begun working in textiles. Just then she joined us and carried on the conversation. She said that she had visited the last exhibition on the recommendation of her TAFE Art lecturer and had been overwhelmed with the works. She had purchased a piece called Tree Story by someone called Joan Lock. It was the first art work she had ever bought. Having fallen in love with textiles as an art medium she was now learning all she could about them and had attended Glenys' next class.

We had not introduced ourselves at this stage so she was greatly surprised when Iris told her who I was. I was gobsmacked. I am so chuffed when I sell something and it is an added bonus to meet a person who has liked what I have done enough to buy it. There is an additional bonus this time. I did not get a good photo of the piece before it went into the exhibition and they have promised to email me one.

So this exhibition's title is most appropriate as far as I am concerned!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mary's Hearts

I belong to a friendship group which has been going for nearly 20 years. In fact it started after Mary and I and another girl met at a workshop run by Marjorie Coleman in August 1988: the first textile workshop I ever attended.

Membership of the group has changed over the years. In the beginning we were all members of WAQA; now most of the group do not belong to the association. But we still meet on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. When we started most of us had paying jobs, so we met in the evenings. Last year we decided that we would meet in the afternoon since only one of us was in paid employment and quite a few of us were reluctant to drive at night, especially in winter.

Today was our first meeting for the year and everyone came! Even Cynthia managed to take a couple of hours off. It was a great afternoon.

We presented Mary with the heart blocks we had made for her. She lost her husband last November. They were so lovely, all of them different, yet all of them fitting together and bearing our thoughts for her. I wish I had taken a photo.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Making Samples

Juliet and Iris are beavering away finishing the construction of the organza panels for the Melville Community Textile Art Project. They have decided that it it is actually quicker to do the construction themselves than have helpers. I wish them hassle-free success.

One part of the panels is is still in flux. Pieces done by a Nyoongar women's group have been arranged to fit into a Wagyl (Rainbow Serpent) shape that moves across all panels.

There have been several ideas mooted on how to do this. Piecing was ruled out very early, as was applique. It is now intended to stamp the shape. They are using disperse dyes since the panels are being constructed from polyester organzas.

I was given a job yesterday - I had been offering my services on a regular basis.

I am to make a couple of stamp pads and stamp lots of papers with transfer (disperse) dye in various colours. The idea is to see whether the Wagyl looks better in just one colour across all the panels which are different colours, or if it would look better if the stamping were in a darker shade of that panel's colour.

Today I made two stamp pads and assembled sample pieces of organza for the stamping. There are 7 different combinations of base fabric to be tested. I have completed six - I am so glad that I do not have to use the pojagi-type seams of the real panels. I have been stitching bits together, then stitching the seam allowances flat. Messy, but quick.

Tomorrow I will finish the last sample, then I will start stamping papers. Won't get much done because I have other things I have to do, but at least it is a start.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Swap Meet

We went to swap meet this morning as we occasionally do on a Sunday morning. Because it was quite early we decided to go to Melville, which is the biggest of the local markets.

Melville market is usually very interesting, but we have to keep an eye out for one of Kevin's relatives who is a regular there. If he sees us we are in for at least 30 minutes of conversation, so we try to avoid him. Means that we have to leave out a big section of stalls as well.

While it was crowded, there was not a lot that appealed. I did however pick up this for $2.

The publication date is 1987 but a lot of the work is still very contemporary and interesting, especially some of the methods of presentation. Most of the photos are black and white, but there are a few coloured ones. Some well known names too - Jan Beaney for one.

I think I got a bargain.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

More procrastination

It has been raining steadily today - Yippee!! According to a news item I heard on the radio we have had more than the expected amount for both January and February in one day. Just as well, we haven't had any rain since November? or was there a drip in December?

I went to water aerobics this morning and almost got wetter going to and returning from the Health Club than in the pool. This was my third session this week - she says, feeling smug.

I have been quite productive today. I have finished making a book cover using the woven fabric I made as a Husqvarna Club exercise and stitched with goldfish designs that were digitised in a workshop a couple of weeks ago. Looks OK. Maybe I'll post a photo later. Plus I have constructed 21 siggy squares for the Retreat swap in May. Only 49 to go, but then I have to sign and embellish them.

All this to avoid confronting the piece I really need to get done, which is the fan for the Fanning Creativity exhibition in Brisbane later this year.

Monday, February 4, 2008

TWO WiPs finished!

I finished my January Journal quilt for the Aus-NZ Art Quilters list today. It's only three days late which is somewhat of a record for me. The theme for the month was "Seasons".

The fabric is a lightweight polyester which was a leftover from a paint/dye workshop and reminded me of a weather map. I free motion quilted it using a narrow satin stitch and called it "Summer Forecast: Continuing HOT" because that seems to be the only weather we have had for January. Today was again in the high 30s, plus it was humid as well. VERY unpleasant!

The second is a cover for an A4 size Visual Diary. I wrote about this piece of fabric here. Today I attacked it with a heat gun so it has some crustiness to the surface again. I am quite pleased with it. Maybe the book will encourage me to get serious about a visual diary.

All this is by way of procrastination. I really need to get going on my fan for the "Fanning Creativity" exhibition, but I have come to a grinding halt.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

An exhibition fix

It has been a long time since I spent an afternoon visiting art exhibitions, especially textile ones.

Today I realised that it was the last day of Ruth de Vos's exhibition which I really wanted to see so I raced into the Central TAFE gallery in Perth. It was certainly worth the effort. Ruth's drafting skills are extraordinary and she has transferred her designs into skilful piecing and even more skilful free motion quilting.

One of her exhibited pieces was familiar. "Even Solomon in all his glory" won a swag of prizes at last year's QuiltWest exhibition. Her newer pieces are even more spectacular. I loved one (I think it was called "Mummy,why?") which combined pieced eucalyptus leaves and flowers with free motion embroideries of her four year old son in various stances and embroidered questions such as "Mummy, why do the ants follow each other in a line?" Obviously someone else loved it too, because it was sold.

Almost all Ruth's eucalyptus flowers are shades of pink and red, so the triptych of white blossoms titled "Vye" ( a nit picking comment here that I think the title should be "Vie" or "Vying") had stunning effect in the middle of one wall. I loved this one too, and I hope that Ruth's hopes of its selection for Quilt National in the US are realised.

Then I went to the Fremantle Arts Centre to see the latest exhibition "Skin to Skin" which is part of the Perth International Arts Festival. So different. So interesting and imaginative. I will definitely be making another visit or two before it closes. And the catalogue is an absolute bargain - a "gold coin donation" for a 24 page book with really good coloured photos of the exhibits.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Embroidery works

I did not have a lot of time today to test the machine, but I did stitch out another example of the design we digitised. Apart from one thread breaking continually (and I think it was the thread, not the machine, because all the others worked well) I had no problems. There is no evidence of tensions being unbalanced.

We had to go down to Martin's unit to change some tap washers, so I wasn't able to try "normal" and patterned stitching. Maybe tomorrow.