Sunday, August 26, 2012

leaf me alone....

I needed to make some leaves for an ATC swap over at the Cloth Paper Studios Yahoo Group. Did I want to make green, yellow, red, orange or brown leaves?  No, the muse told me to make them white!!!  They're not intended to duplicate nature but to make an impression of it!  That's my take and I'm sticking to it!
They started with one and grew to three..........

......then multiplied to ten......and finally finished up at twelve........yikes!!!! 

But I only needed three..........finished ATC's for the swap!

The leaves are a version of fabric paper that I read or heard about somewhere (I think my friend Deb mentioned it on our last play day) and then added my own ingredients.  Use cheesecloth for the base and matte medium, instead of watered down white glue.  In retrospect, the glue would have been cheaper to use and would probably give the same effect.  I laid down some freezer paper (shiny side up) and then a layer of cheesecloth......brushed on the matte medium......added bits and pieces of white/cream japanese paper......then another layer of matte medium. I cut all the leaf shapes freehand.....added some fine brass wire to the back and hand stitched the centre veins. 

The background is collaged text, then a layer of crumpled tissue (more matte medium), then a print using acrylic paint on my new Gelli Arts, Gelli Plate (a gelatin print without the fuss).  An empty Robison Anton thread spool was used to make some circular impressions, but you don't really see the effect in this shot.

I wanted a dimensional effect for the leaves and I'm happy to say that I accomplished it!  Of course, they'll probably be squished flat when they arrive in TX, but I'm sure that Diane will be happy to fluff them up for me!

Now what the heck will I do with the rest if the leaves?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

wee gifties from afar and a kitchen technique

More results from my July gift exchange with Kaite in Australia.  I wasn't allowed to open the first one until July 23rd and as I was late sending mine, I decided not to open anything else until Kaite  received her parcel from me (at the end of July).  Hee, hee......waiting is so much fun!!  If you check out Kaite's link, you'll see my gifts to her.

Lovely free form peyote earrings and a handmade box.  The earrings are light as a feather and very easy to wear.  The box is clever and I'll need to persuade Kaite to send me the instructions.

Part of our gift exchange is always a handmade postcard.  This is the one Kaite sent me this year.  Interestingly enough, many of the blue fabrics on the background are ones I sent to Kaite to include in a blue quilt that she wanted to make for herself.  I wonder what happened to that quilt?

There was a lot of serendipity happening in our gift exchange this year.  We both made earrings and used circular layered flowers.  She sent me a house, so of course, I had to send one back to her.  It was really quite funny!!

Another lovely postcard, but this time from my friend Beth in South Africa (soon to be moving back to the US).  I admired a series of postcards she made for a PC exchange and she sent me one!!!!!  Aren't I lucky?  The colours just glow as they're made out of some type of waste silk product.  Throwsters Waste, perhaps?

Thanks to both Kaite and Beth for my lovely presents!

What else have I been up to??  We'll I found that I just couldn't resist the kitchen anymore, so started playing with flour.  I mixed up flour and water (wisk together one cup of flour and one cup of cold water), spread a thin to medium layer on the fabric and then leave it to dry for 24 hours.  I used a credit card to slather on the goop as my pieces were fairly small.  You could also use a squeegee for larger pieces.  I pin one end of the fabric to a layer of plastic, over a layer of towelling, felt or cardboard.  When you've finished spreading the flour/water mixture, pin around the sides as the fabric will curl up as it dries.

When it's dry, crumple it up in your hands until you are satisfied with the crackle effect.  Lay the fabric back down on fabric and paint on thinned down fabric paint/acrylics or ink.  Make sure you get well down into the cracks.  If using a dark paint on light fabric, you should be able to see some of the results on the back of the fabric.

I used mostly Setacolour transparent fabric paint in Ultramarine Blue.  One blob of paint at a time and 3-5 short sprays of water, mixed on a pallette of some type (I use well washed meat trays).  I used a lot of paint!

Plain white cotton fabric/dark blue paint!  It's nice, but perhaps a little boring.

 Reclaimed cotton fabric that had previously been dyed with black, Procion MX dye.  I thought the piece was a failure, because it turned out a rather blah grey.  It certainly looks a little more lively with a combination of white pearl acrylic and white acrylic ink (the lighter colour that almost looks like a light grey).  It's better, but certainly not perfect.

Now we're talking!!!!  Green/white wipe up cloth with the dark blue Setacolour.  This one didn't have enough blue for my liking, so after it dried, I cracked the fabric again and added more paint.  I think this one is raw silk, based entirely on the rough texture of the fabric.

I love this one as well!!  Procion MX, parfait dyed cotton with the dark blue Setacolour.  I used turquoise Setacolour first, but it really didn't show up all that well, so the Ultramarine was added after the first layer of paint dried.

It's quite a messy process and not for the faint of heart, but the results are quite satisfying.  I expect these small pieces will decorate my stash for a while as I have no immediate plans for using them.   Don't you think that stash is much better after it ages a while?   I still have a one yard piece of black/white silk that I purchased in the 70's and couldn't bear to use (or I hadn't bought enough to really make anything interesting).  Do you have anything similar?

BTW, to get the flour/paint mixture off the fabric I soaked it in a bowl and then scraped the mixture off the fabric with a credit card (messy, messy, messy...).  I then hand washed and hung to dry.  After that, I heat set the piece with an iron and then threw it in the wash to get rid of any residual flour.  I'm very happy with the overall results and will be playing more in the future.  Perhaps next time with thickened MX dyes!

My next kitchen experiments may require the use of either oatmeal or mashed potato flakes.  Not sure when I'll do it, but do it I will!!!  What do you do in your kitchen?