Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fabric Painting & Dyeing

Painting on fabric is an adventure that requires a bit of courage, a willingness to risk making a mess of the thing. A willingness to keep going until you really know you are finished. I started painting on fabric about a year, or so, ago. And I still have to let go of, or better yet, push aside the ‘but, what if I mess it up’ thoughts that are always at the ready.

A few weeks ago I took a class on ‘baggie dyeing’. No, not dyeing the baggies but using them to hold the fabric dyes and pieces of fabric. I promise I’ll get back to the painting in a moment. I already know how to dye fabric but this instructor, Adrienne Buffington has been dyeing fabric for years and I have her book, ‘Hand-Dyed Fabric Made Easy’, published in 1996 by That Patchwork Place. I believe it is out of print but may be available again soon. The class interested me because Adrienne is fun to be around and because I was interested in the stuff that never makes it into the books, the stuff she has discovered from her experiments and mistakes (yes, everyone makes them, that is where the learning is) that good instructors are always willing share with their students. The class was fun and I learned a lot.

Thankfully, I have developed the ability to separate the ‘shoulds’ that show up in my head (these are sometimes known as expectations) from the results of the dyeing (and other pieces of art). I forgot to mention that this type of dyeing also requires patience, or at least the ability to distract yourself with other things while you wait anywhere from 2 to 24 hours, or longer, before you take your fabric from the baggies, rinse it, wash it and see how it turned out. Please believe me when I say, you really don’t know the result until you’ve run it through a couple of cycles in the washer. My fabrics turned out wonderfully. Mind you they were not necessarily the colors I was expecting them to be and they had excellent texture – see photos below of a sampling.

I said all of that about dyeing fabrics to get to the fact that I decided to use some of my pieces for painting. When I hesitated about using this piece of fabric, I had to remind myself that I can always make more. And since hand-dyes come out differently each time, each piece is always a surprise, like a Christmas gift; you get what you get and can choose to be thankful and happy with what you get, or not. Need I say that choosing thankful and happy makes life much easier? However, it is easy to forget this option.

I tend to make up what I paint as I go, in terms of what colors to use, in which order and with which ‘texture’ tools – I’ve gotten really good at just going with the feeling and letting it flow (also a much easier life choice at times). So I took the piece I preferred the least, and started painting. Here is the result:

See, it was worth the risk, I didn't mess it up at all. I will admit to wandering around my apartment looking at various household items and stuff in my stash of tools to see what might ‘work’ for a particular project. I made good use of a stencil, a hair pick, a mask (which is a sticky version of a stencil), and sequin waste. I try to keep these ‘tools’ in their own clear plastic container labeled ‘tools’ and most times I am successful in keeping them there.

The paints were a happy surprise as I decided I would finally open the jars of Stewart Gill Paints that I bought last year at Art Unraveled. I also used some Lumiere paints. The Stewart Gill paints are marvelous and they have the added advantage of being rather transparent (the Alchemy line) so that whatever you paint over still shows thru – helps create a nice ‘layered’ effect, in my opinion. Their Alchemy line of paints are also ‘interference’ colors so you get a different look depending on your angle of view. I love them and now will save up to get some more. They are expensive but very much worth it. They worked beautifully on this piece of fabric.

I’m actually quite happy with this piece and part of it is now on the cover of a composition journal that I am donating to Art For the Homeless, which is an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the homeless in America. I discovered this group on Twitter.

Here is another composition journal I am also donating. This one is covered in a piece of commercial batik fabric with paper & wire embellishments.

Links in order of mention in this post:
Stewart Gill Paints – read about them here
Note: A Google search will bring up some vendors that sell these in the U.S.

Art Unraveled – a yearly ‘creative’ conference/gathering held yearly here in Arizona

Lumiere Paints – a line of Jacquard paints -

Art4TheHomeless –

As always, thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment if you have time or are so inclined. I never worried about leaving comments until I started this blog, now I realize it is part of the connection that people who blog seek with the world. So I thank you in advance :-).


Sue B said...

Your fabrics are gorgeous and those journals are beautiful!

Rosaland Hannibal said...

Thanks Sue! Wish could spend more of my creative time doing things like this instead of dividing it into work & other things - but, it is always fun. And your work is always an inspiration! Thanks again.

Terri Stegmiller said...

I think your painted fabric turned out great! The journals too!

Gina said...

Great fabrics and journals! I clicked to enlarge your painted fabrics to see all the details; I really like all the layers - beautiful!

Debi said...

Hi Rosaland, It was great to spend the day with you yesterday at Julia's. Let me know about the East Valley group meeting. I added you at my site. Hope to see you soon.

Rosaland Hannibal said...

Thanks Debi. I should have my blog post about the event finished by tomorrow. It was great seeing you again. I will put a link to your site on my blog. Keep creating your wonderful work.


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