Polishing the Process


NOTE: Please scroll down...pages are in chronological order...

I work with fabric, fibre and floss for the process of it, as much for the finished product.  That said, having decided I want to share those products with others -- and maybe even sell some -- I thought it might be time to polish the process: take the sum of what I've learned at my mother's knee, at workshops (in person and online) and by trial and error, and hone those skills through focused study.  To do so, I've entered a City & Guilds of London programme -- the Level 2 Certificate in Creative Textiles: Quilting.  My tutor is the wonderfully skilled and talented Linda Kemshall of Design Matters.   The programme is entirely online, which makes it easy to access and quite affordable.

The program began September 30, and I've managed to complete Module 1 (the first of 8) in short order.  Module 2 has now arrived (pdf download) and -- WOW!  It is significantly more substantial than the dipping-my-toes into design was in the first Module.  You can read about my first experience with this module on this blog post.

This page will serve as an online journal of sorts, where I'll occasionally post my progress.  I established this to avoid filling my blog with nothing but C&G for the next 18 months or so.  :-)

I hope you'll join me in this journey, and perhaps even be motivated to take on this programme for yourself.  Here's to the creative process, and to all who work with their hands!

March 13, 2011


Continuing in Module 3, we've moved from dyeing fabric to pondering line, form, shape, pattern on paper and fabric through printing with stamps and stencils, and creating visual 'trails' with line and stitch and echoing patterns.

I haven't liked creating all-over patterns much -- I prefer the movement of my hand-dyed fabric without too much 'stuff' adorning it.  However, here are a couple of examples of printing on fabric, using stamps created from compressed sponge, and stencils from freezer paper and Shiva (R) oil paint sticks.




Next comes movement back into the sketchbook to explore the addition of line/echo/stitch with pattern on fabric, thus:

(Left) Fine-tip lines from a Pitt pen echo sponge-stamped shapes.













(Right): Echo created by paper cut-outs, stitch and colouring with a matching colour marker.











(Left) Echo and repetition of shapes created by layering 2 pages -- one red under one white -- then cutting out shapes, and repeating those shapes with a sponge stamp.  Stitching along the top and fine dotted lines with a matching coloured marker add echoes and visual direction.











February 26, 2011


My goodness -- well over a month since I've been here, and I'm working on an entirely new Module -- #3.  It began with fabric dyeing, which, being the low water immersion process, was far neater and cleaner and easier than I thought it would be.

From these basins of unbleached muslin and white cotton soaking in soda ash....







To this wonderful array of fabric and thread




























I have also created a colour wheel of fabric -- the purples and greens were most fun, dabbling with drops of blue, yellow and red to get just what I wanted.


From dyeing fabric, the module moved into printing with neat little sponge stamps.  I drew the shapes on compressed sponge, cut 'em out and played -- first on paper...



And then on fabric -- something I've completed in just the last couple of days:


Formal Arrangement

Semi-formal Arrangement

Random Arrangement
The "Formal" and "Random" Arrangements were done with freezer paper stencils and Shiva (R) oil paint sticks.  For these, I used my fingers to move the colour from the edge of the stencil into the area I wanted coloured.   The "Semi-formal" Arrangement was done with a triangular stamp made from the compressed sponge.  I used fabric paint for the dark olive green (mixed from blue and yellow) triangles, and Jaquard Lumiere acrylic paint, mixed with textile medium, for the gold.  I've discovered I really like triangles!

Next in the Module comes a chance to mix techniques -- stamps and stencils -- when printing on fabric.  Stay tuned!




January 9, 2011

After some time, I've returned to my assignments, and completed Module 2 today with work that focused on form and on manipulation of sketchbook pages for three-dimensional effects.  In the first instance ("Activity 15"), I had to trace one of my selected shapes onto a page in my sketchbook, colour-wash the page, and cut out the shapes.  I'd painted the page behind as well, so ended up with this:



(The red bit you see below is the edge of a book stand in which I propped my sketchbook for photographic purposes.)

I had more fun with Activity 16, in which I was required to create books-within-books in the sketchbook.  I used as a model the little book that was part of the collection of objects with which I began in Module 1.  Once I'd completed the assignment, I created a similar thing in my book for The Sketchbook Project, which I've posted on the blog.  Such fun!  Oh...and here's what I submitted for my assignment:

Books-in-a-book


November 2010


Week of November 7th - Aye, there's the rub!


Module 1 was all about seeing -- shape, line, colour and the intricate tints and shades of it.   The exercises were relatively easy for me, and just plain fun -- play, really.  Module 2 has begun with a bit more serious focus -- building on the skill of seeing, and adding more on shape and form, and -- at least right now -- creating patterns.  I've been having fun with rubbings.  I took a shape from one of the objects in my collection (created in Module 1) -- the spool of thread, which appeals to the stitcher in me and reminds me I am doing this to become a better quilt artist.









Working with it in the 'flat', I created a small rubbing template out of cereal box cardboard, and created a border pattern in my sketchbook, using a graphite pencil to do the actual rubbing.  Then I traced the template several times, cut out a dozen or so, and created a 'Tumbling Spools' rubbing plate.  From here, the possibilities are, if not endless, at least many and varied!

For samples, I used the rubbing plate with oil pastels on printer paper, with graphite on printer paper, and with both directly into my sketchbook -- followed by a watercolour wash.  The whole process of simple play with simple tools fires the cauldron of the imagination, and mine is now bubbling nicely with ideas for my "In Flight" Sketchbook Project....










1 comment:

Linda Miller Designs said...

I like the book within a book idea..nicely laid out!