Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Three Dimensional Texture - Acrylic Medium

In previous blogs, I wrote about different ways to create dimension on cloth. Today, I'll focus on the use of acrylic medium.  There are a lot of products out there, from plain gel medium to gels with texture, such as sand, fiber and even lava. Acrylic medium is essentially the carrier used in acrylic paint, but the thicker varieties allow one to create patterns that are raised from the surface of the cloth.

I began experimenting with the variety of mediums a few years ago.  I was intrigued by the three dimensional aspect.  While I like to create faux texture on cloth with dyeing and printing, the concept of creating a raised surface appealed to me.

Here are some detail photos of cloth that incorporate gel medium.

These gels and pastes can be applied in numerous ways. My favorites are to use found objects as re-purposed stencils and to use tools to scratch into the wet medium. For more detailed information, check out my article, Raising the Surface, in the latest issue of InStitches e-magazine.

View the first entry in this series - hand stitching.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Crazy Makers

In Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way, she talks about crazy makers.  These are people who, for a variety of reasons, make you crazy.  They sap your energy, add to your self-doubts and generally make you miserable. I've known my share of crazy makers over the years, but I've recently begun to wonder if we are our own worst crazy makers.

A fellow artist was relating a story about a really exciting speaking opportunity that will give her work exposure to many fine art galleries nationwide. She was relating her story about the ups and downs of how it all came to be.  Along with that was the adult artist's version of the daisy petal game "He loves me, he loves me not." In relating her communications with the event organizer, she waffled back and forth between "They like my work, they hate my work."  During the "they hate my work" periods, she interpreted slow replies and other glitches as lack of interest in her work. Don't we all do that at times - project meaning or intention on another's actions based on our self doubts?

The same day that I heard her story, I had a discussion with another artist and my "he loves me not" voice kicked in. I found myself reading all kinds of negative things into the conversation.  When I got home I tried to figure out what was going on.  I realized that, based on my history with that person, she probably did not have mean intentions.  I just read something into her words that wasn't there. My insecurities came out and colored the way I heard her comments.

Have you ever experienced this?  How are you your own crazy maker?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's Not Too Late . . .

You can still sign up for my online workshop, Visual Texture: Resists from the Pantry, which starts today.

It's a great way to try something new in the comfort of your home on your own schedule. Each week you can download the lesson and work at your own pace. The lessons are detailed and provide complete step-by-step instructions. You'll also have access to a "classroom", in which you can ask me questions, talk to other participants and upload photos of your work.

oatmeal resist

You will have an opportunity to work with oatmeal, rice baby cereal, grits, flour and sugar resists. Each week you will create one to one and a half yards of resist-patterned fabric. (or more if you want to!) Each lesson also includes a video demonstration and a bonus project that incorporates your beautiful fabrics. The first lesson provides information on adding color with fabric paints and washing out the resist. The pdf guide includes detailed step-by-step instructions for mixing each resist, numerous techniques for applying the resist, and lots of sample photos of cloth created using resist techniques.

Working with resists is kind of like magic – you don’t know the end result until the resist is washed out. See the magic for yourself!  Sign up at www.joggles.com.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Print Paste Update

My print paste experiment has been in place for three months. My theory was that the Print Mix from ProChem had additional ingredients that gave the paste a longer shelf life than print paste made from scratch with sodium alginate and urea.

I had been checking the paste weekly until a month ago.  There wasn't much to report at that time. Both the print paste made from scratch and the one made from ProChem's print paste mix were about the same consistency.  However both were thinner than when I started. When I checked the paste yesterday, there was a noticeable difference. The print paste made from sodium alginate was much thinner than the ProChem mix.  It was still usable, but definitely on the decline.

The results weren't as dramatic as I expected. I did the experiment because it seemed like my print paste (made from scratch, not Print Mix) went bad very quickly - within 3 weeks. Yet, this batch lasted for three months. So now I'm not sure if it's a time perception issue, or if my real-life approach of leaving the print paste out of the fridge for a few days after using affects the shelf-life. If I really want to know, I guess that means another experiment!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Finding Meaning in Cloth

Some of my work is created with intent and with a specific meaning in mind. These pieces are generally about something for which I have strong feelings. Other pieces are created more serendipitously and find their meaning when complete. I hate to admit it, but I do favor the pieces created with intent.  Maybe because not only have I put myself into the cloth through the physical creation, I have added emotional energy as well. And I find it affirming and fulfilling when the cloth is used in a manner that enhances it's meaning.

A good example of this is an experience I had this weekend.  I had an opportunity to present one of my pieces to an inspiring woman, Reverend Jane Spahr. Reverend Spahr is most well known for her work as an advocate for the LGBT community within the Presbyterian Church. She spoke at a local church, which wanted to present her with a liturgical stole.  That's where I entered the picture.  The minister purchased a stole from me and I had the honor of presenting it to Reverend Spahr at the service Sunday morning.

The stole (pictured above) was created using a variation of the design from a piece of artcloth  I created a number of years ago. The title of that cloth was We Are One and my intent was to represent community and connection. As I listened to Reverend Spahr tell her story, I was struck by how appropriate that message is to her journey. 

That's what my artistic journey is all about - connecting with other's emotions, hopes and dreams through my cloth.  I can create all the pieces I want and enjoy the process, but the true meaning of the cloth comes out when it sparks the interest, imagination and emotion of another.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ahhh . . . Vacations

I've taken a long vacation from my blog.  I didn't realize how long until I saw the date of my last post.  I took a two week vacation in early September.  And you know what happens when you go on vacation - you have to work extra hard the weeks before and after.  So . . . no blogging. But vacations have to end sometime, so I'm back.

My vacation was wonderful.  We took a driving trip to visit friends and family.  I really needed that time away.  And I'm pleased to say that the vacation peace-of-mind is still with me.  I feel more relaxed and less stressed, even though I faced a mountain of commitments on my return.

I normally keep my blog dedicated to surface design matters and leave out the family stuff.  Please allow my small detour to show photos of our tie dye day.  Part of our vacation was spent with our grandchildren and I thought they might enjoy playing with dyes.  (Gotta start them out young, right?) Their mom came up with a great idea to make a reading tent, so we dyed several sheets.

They had a great time, although a t-shirt might have been better because of their short attention span.  I can't wait to see the finished reading tents!
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