Friday, July 12, 2013

I'm With Laura

Laura Wasilowski, that is.

For the uninitiated, Ms. W is the Dean of the Chicago School of Fusing.  Fusing fabrics, that is.  So she knows her fusible web, and for years, Wonder Under 805 has been her favourite.   Given her blog post of July 6, I wonder (no pun untended) if that's going to change...

It's been one of mine too.  I say 'one of' because in the past year I found Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite, which I really like to use for the underpinnings of my art work.  And I am rather fond of Misty Fuse for multiple layers.  But WU 805 has been a staple in my studio for years, and it's the only one of these three that you can paint and when dry, apply to surfaces for a really neat effect:

Sample - C&G Module 7 - 2012

I thought it would be great to use as part of my current "Texture" piece, which I'm referring to as "Tree Study I".  I also thought I'd go one step past cotton and, inspired again by Beaney and Littlejohn, try applying painted WU 805 to a napped fabric, a piece of polyester velvet, and a few other synthetics to see what results I'd get.

I'd bought a 5-yard roll of WU this spring, while I was making miniatures for the Lacombe Art Show, so unlike what was used for the sample in the photo above, this is new stock.

And alas, like Laura, I was disappointed.   If you check out her recent post, you'll see that the latest incarnation of WU 805 has "gone plastic" -- leaving a shiny plastic surface when you remove the release paper.

Sure enough, that's what I found, too...and that doesn't bode well for those of us who want to paint it and use it as an embellishment.

This morning, I painted a large sheet of WU 805 on the sticky side, and let it dry.  I was using artists' grade acrylic paint -- primary colours, which I then mixed up into my own "tree-like" palette.  I threw in some Jacquard Lumiere (green) and a bit of  "old gold" metallic craft acrylic, but sparingly, as it has a higher water content than the artists' grade stuff:

Once it dried, I cut the sheet into sections to apply to my various fabrics. I placed each sheet, painted (sticky) side down on each fabric, and ironed with a hottish iron (no steam).  When cool, I peeled the release paper off.  Here are the results:

  • On the napped fabric (so-called because it's not velvet; it's firmer than that, but has a napped surface):

Looks like a flat coat of plastic, doesn't it?

  • On polyester velvet:

Oops!  Some of it didn't want to release from the paper.

  • On a light-weight synthetic semi-sheer:
You can see the colour and texture, but it still feels plasticky
  • And finally, on good ol' (non-synthetic) muslin:
Another imperfect transfer, and still plasticky to the touch

Sigh.  So much for adding texture to my piece with this technique! 

Undaunted, I got out some used dryer sheets and painted them.  I figure they'll make a neat overlay and add visual texture.  Here they are, ready for their audition:

And here's the first layer of my "Tree Study I", sticking to the Steam-a-Seam 2 Lite on a background of miscellaneous cotton-poly fabric -- not yet fixed with the iron.  It's about 18 inches square right now; the finished piece needs to be 15 x 15.  I have it up on the design wall to 'sit' with it till tomorrow; so far, though, I think it's a go:

Tree Study I  - WIP
Fabric strips include commercial cottons, cotton batik, something that resembles silk but might not be, and a wonderful crinkly fabric I got in a stash of scraps from an acquaintance who's a draper and upholsterer.

Before I go off to the wine and cheese reception for "Take 5 - An Opportunity for Artists" over in Bashaw this evening, I'm going to link up with Nina Marie and Off the Wall Friday.  See you soon!


MulticoloredPieces said...

Hi, Margaret. Your experiments are very interesting. I especially like your tree piece as I am also working on a tree, a pomegranate tree that may never end.
best from Tunisia,

Nina Marie said...

wow you have been busy. Its so interesting to see your studies - thanks! You know i'm not a big fuse girl - but when I do I use Steamaseam 2 and misty fuse. I think I'm going to be using misty fuse more in the future a temporary hold instead of pins and glue when I need to stitch over something.

Regina B Dunn said...

I'm glad I read your post before I purchased more WU. I'll buy Steam a Steam instead. I'm big into fusing, but I've never tried painting the fusible. Thanks for posting your experiments. You sure are "branching" out.

elle said...

Great study. I'm liking the Misty Fuse for sure!

Linda A. Miller said...

What a disappointment! I have used WU for years. Now may have to reconsider it. Have used Misty Fuse, but never as pleased with it as WU. So it goes...

HollyM said...

I just went through the very same experiment with a fusible web.- not sure of the brand because I pulled from a scap drawer. It was my first time and it turned me off because it look like plastic.
I wonder if there's a brand out there that doesn't do it.

Susan Lenz said...

Love this blog post. Love the tree studies! Thanks so much for sharing!