Monday, 31 October 2011

Weekend Silk Screening Course

Last weekend I took a silkscreening course from Anne Leon, an artist who runs a fabric design studio in Byron Bay. The course was great. Anne is a warm and generous teacher, with many years of experience in silk screening.
We were told to bring a black and white drawing. I wasn't sure what was suitable for screen printing and assumed that my usual very detailed work might 'fill in', so I came up with a more graphic design.

I wanted to do several prints, and was also thinking of patches for refashioning, so I hoped that multiple images would give me more options. Hence all the little people falling.

Above is my original drawing. If you look closely at the top, you can see where I pasted a new figure over one I wasn't happy with.
And here is all the patch material. Not sure what I will do with it yet, but it gives me a few options. It was interesting to see how it worked on the different fabric. The design wasn't strong enough to show up against my purple diamond fabric. My favourite is the rosebud and polka dot sheets, some of the first sheets my DH and I bought together in the 90's.

Anne threw in the yellow baby shirt to show me a technique. Very kind of her. I am hoping it will fit my grand-daughter.
I found the clothing more challenging to print on. If you look at the top of the pale blue t-shirt you will see what looks like staining. It is. Paint stains where I forgot to cover an opening in the screen. After I heat-set the design, Anne was able to water-blast most of the paint mistake off except for the pale stain. It was worth the mistake to see what could be done.

I might try adding some bits of colour to some of the figures with fabric paint.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Patches as Embellishment

My latest fun, patches. It started with my niece putting patches on her thrifted clothing, part of making them hers. When we went to a Seattle market there was a woman selling lovely printed drawings on patches. My niece bought a few. At the time I didn't take a lot of notice.
Then, also while in the States, I bought two fabric markers, the Tee Juice fine point marker in brown, and a SetaSkrib marker in black, thinking to compare them. At home I did some drawing on muslin fabric (the bird is coloured in with some Crayola fabric markers I already had) and then remembered my niece's patches. It seemed like a fun way to personalize my thrift stores finds a bit more.
I sewed rattie onto my purple tunic, and the bird onto a thrifted top I had dyed a while back.
I am not completely sure how I feel about them. Perhaps a bit 'stuck on' looking? I am going to wait, maybe wear them a while and see how I feel. The good thing about the patch is I can always take it off and put it onto something else.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

I Just Wanted to Show You

Dyed and Reverse Applique T Shirt

For this refashion you will have to imagine a plain white t-shirt. I didn't take a photo, but that is pretty easy right? First I put it into a purple dye bath with a few other thrift store finds. Then I recut the neckline and cut a strip out of dotted cotton knit that I had. I ironed it in half and commenced to hand sew it onto a new neckline.
I enjoyed the hand sewing, and I worried less about it stretching than with the machine.
The polka dot neckline looked a bit out there on its own, so I thought about putting strips on the sleeves. But my bloggie friend Ricë had recently been doing reverse applique and I thought I would like to give it a try.

The paper shapes in the background were me trying out different shapes. I decided to go with heart shaped leaves.
I drew the leaf onto the back of the dotted knit and then sewed it where I wanted on my t-shirt.
Here I have done a second leaf and then cut them both carefully out. You then go around to the right side and cut away the fabric that covers your shapes. Be sure you cut inside the stitching.
I think the leaves might have looked better without the internal lines, but I still like it.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Recent Drawing

Another drawing from the 120 Day Challenge. I just felt like sharing this one, not sure if it is finished.

Friday, 14 October 2011

An Ugly Art Journal

An ugly beginning.

I don't write as often about my art journal as I used to. I think my AJ and I have been going through a difficult phase. I knew things needed to change, not because anything was 'wrong' but because, for me, the innate nature of my art journaling is dynamic. An art journal can be anything you need it to be, and what I need changes.

At the moment I have two art journals, an A5 journal (8" x 6") and an A4 journal (12" x 8"). The larger one is different from any art journal I have had in the past. It is very plain. So far all it has in it are drawings and writing. They aren't elaborate drawings. Well, you have seen a few of them, they are my drawings from the 120 Day Challenge. No collaging, no painted backgrounds, no fun art journaling techniques, just drawings with a bit of colour. There is a lot of white page compared to my other art journals.

My smaller art journal is older. I began it last February. It looks like my other journals, with backgrounds and collage and writing. More of the usual art journal (is there such a thing?) and I am struggling with it. I thought I was wrestling with it because I am still doing it in the 'old' way. I assumed I was a bit bored with the format. I have considered abandoning it.
Last night I thought what the heck and started working in it. Just sticking down some collage, not paying too much attention. Just gluing stuff in without worrying about how it looked.
It felt good.

And then, this morning a new possibility came through to me about why I have been struggling with this art journal.
I think it might be my ugly art journal.
~another ugly beginning

In the past I have always had my ugly art journal pages. We all have them. I have written about them, talked about them with my students. I believe they are a necessary and important part of our art journals. Being willing to make ugly journal pages frees us in ways that beautiful pages can never do. (Go here and here to read older thoughts on this subject.)
But an entire art journal? Am I willing to be that free? Can I continue on with a book that is mainly ugly pages? With only the very occasional pretty page?

Monday, 10 October 2011

Refashion Post - Maybe not as Finished as I Thought

Hey, anyone remember that dresslet I was working on ages ago? Probably not. Everything I do takes ages, I am so slow. Well, that isn't entirely true, but it is close enough. I used to think I couldn't be very creative if I was so slow. It seemed like really creative people didn't stay interested in stuff long enough to be slow. Hah, all the ways we judge ourselves...

Anyway, tah dah - here it is. Right there at the top. Looks a bit like an apron, not entirely successful but I still like it.

I began my dresslet here. I think I will just repost the pictures as it was last May and I want to give you an idea of the process.
Here is part of the original inspiration. I took the photo in the dressing room. I would have bought the original but I didn't like the colour, and it is more fun to try and make it.
Also the inspiration was a man's pajama top that I thrifted because I liked the pattern and colours. Sorry, no photo. By the time of above I had already removed the sleeves and collar and recut the neck and armholes. Also I turned it around to have the buttons in the back (I felt really clever when I decided to do that) and cut off the bottom. I made it curved because I wanted it to drop in back like the one in the second photo.
Bia tape around the neck and armholes. I am a fan of bias tape. It makes everything look nicely finished.
That all took a while so you get several photos to get the sense of time, teehee.
This is me trying to decide what to use for the bottom half. It might have been prettier if I had gone for the flowers, but sometimes I just don't want pretty. Does anyone understand that? I have said to my hairdresser "don't make it too pretty" I don't think she understands.
All tacked together. Let's see how it is going. I really want one of those mannikan things to try stuff on.
I held my arm up so you could see how the bodice drops. Now I have to figure out how to do get the hem to do the same thing.
Aren't the buttons in the back nice? There were originally half that number and they were boring white. So I changed them and rather than make all the button holes I just sewed the buttons through to the other side because the dresslet can go over my head.
And now you see my problem. The funny thing is that I didn't realise what a problem this was until I got this photo back. This is because my students are all too polite to say "Hey, cool refashion but it makes your butt look big." I gotta remember, us girls with bubble butts need more cloth in the back.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Is it Finished? I Think It's Finished.

How do I tell when my artwork is finished? I assume it is done when I can't see anything else for me to do. Well, let me qualify that. There is a difference between something I need to do, and when my mind just wants to fiddle more.

But other people don't necessarily agree with my assessment. Friends will see a painting I have been working on for a few weeks, and sometimes they can't see a difference. This used to bug me. I would think that I must be stupid to spend all that time when most people didn't seem to notice.

But I don't feel that way anymore. I can see the difference. And that difference matters to me, a lot.
Here is where I left this painting the last time I posted. If you want to see it before that go here. Or earlier go here. For the very beginning go here.
Between these two photos I was mainly working on her face. She now has pupils in her eyes, more colour in her lips, darker darks in the shadow areas.

As hard as it might be to get people to see the differences in the studio, it is even harder here. I am not a photographer, my paintings always look 'more' in real life. Subtlety is also lost on the transition to the computer and online. But let's try anyway.

For your part, you will need to be willing to click on the pictures and see them at a larger size.
Here I have added more vines to the background. I made the transitions between tones more subtle in her face and body. I made her hair lighter and added more detail. I also added insect holes and discolouration in the vine leaves.
Finally highlights in her eyes, more detail on her raised hand, more leaves on the background vine, and some subtle colour altering on a few of the vine leaves.

I didn't take notes, so there would be quite a few changes that I don't remember. Now I will leave it for a while and take another look in a few weeks.