February 27, 2010

Tutorial - Transfer TEXT to FABRIC using a transparency

You know that wonderful fabric with text that many artists are using now? It is very simple and easy to make your own!! Use this idea with your own text or background fabric, using your own colors, font styles and sizes, etc. and have your own "texty fabric" to use in your projects!

This tutorial is for how to add text, or any other image, to fabric by transfering with a computer-printed transparency.

The materials you will need are:
  1. Fabric - In this example I used plain undyed muslin as my fabric (you could use other types of fabric such as silk, organza, etc).
  2. Image - whatever you want to transfer to your fabric (this could be text, in my transfer I'm using a "Wordle" which is text cloud created at http://www.wordle.net/.
  3. Printer with capability of printing image in reverse/mirror image (some printers call this a "T-Shirt transfer" setting) - otherwise a graphics program that allows you to "flip" the image or "mirror" the image.
  4. Transparency film - I used 3M Transparency Film for Inkjet Printers
  5. Gel Medium - I used Liquitex Matte Medium
  6. Paintbrush - to paint gel medium onto fabric (a cheap foam brush to throw away is great)
  7. Burnishing tool such as a bone folder or the back of a spoon

How to make the transfer:
  1. Print out your mirrored/reversed/flipped image onto transparency film. The film usually comes with two sides, one rough and one smooth and shiny - you'll want to print on the ROUGH side. Also, most printers have a print setting for transparencies - be sure to use that if available because it prints with extra ink on the paper, which gives you more to transfer to your fabric.

2.  Cover a work surface, and lay down your chosen fabric.
3.  Paint a thin layer of Gel Medium onto your fabric. You don't want it very thick, just enough to make the fabric moist to the touch on top.

4.  Place your transparency SHINY SIDE up (right side up, so that the words read correctly from the top), ROUGH SIDE DOWN, on top of the fabric.

5.  BURNISH the top of the image with a burnishing tool. I used a bone folder, but you could also use the back of a spoon. You'll be actually rubbing the ink down onto the fabric coated with gel medium - so be careful not to let the transparency slide around or move, unless that is the effect you want. You'll only need to rub for a minute or two for the text to transfer. I started in the middle and rubbed in tiny circles outward toward all the edges of my Wordle.

6.  Gently lift the transparency from the fabric, starting on one side, lifting up and away toward the other side. If you find that any words didn't transfer well enough, try rubbing a little more, and if that doesn't work, you know that next time you'll need to use a little more gel medium.

7. Last step - VERY important!! Now that the text is transferred, MOVE your piece of fabric off of your work surface to dry ( I made the mistake of leaving it on a piece of cardboard, which made it very hard to peel off later!! ) Hang it up with a couple of clothespins or paper clips on string or the edge of a box, or whatever you have handy, just so that the wet fabric isn't touching something it will adhere to.

Let your piece dry for a couple of hours, and then you have a text-embellished piece of fabric!!

I plan to do a bit more with mine from this point, such as overdying to add some background color with some Dye-na-flow or watered down acrylic paint, maybe even dye with alcohol inks and then use it in an art quilt. You might choose to do the transfer on your fabric after doing those other steps, however just remember there might be some interaction with the gel medium and the type of dye you used on your fabric.

I'll post a finished project with this piece later! (Once I redo it and NOT leave it to dry on cardboard...yuck!! ; )


February 25, 2010

Hand Carved Rubber Stamp

Today I carved a Rubber Stamp using Speedball's "Speedy Carve Block." This was an etsy request, and the buyer provided me with the image to carve. It is SO easy to do - and a great way to add custom images to your stamping and art work.

I made a label for it, with sticker paper and the actual stamped image, and mounted it onto a wooden block.

This is the actual carved side:

This technique is SO easy - the "Speedy Carve" material cuts like butter with a set of linoleum cutting tools. I plan to do several more in the near future of my own images, such as birds, swirl motifs, and diamonds as it has been quite awhile since I did any of my own carved rubber stamps - I had forgotten how much fun it was! I plan to do several more carvings of my own images because also that way, the images aren't copyrighted. 

For a tutorial on rubber stamp carving, click here: http://www.lawrence.co.uk/fact_sheets/speedball.html

"Impressionistic Style" Art Quilt Pillow

Using the same "Impressionistic Art Quilting" style, I created a pillow for my fiance. His favorite color is PURPLE - which he refuses to wear - so this was his Valentine's Day present : ) I knew I wanted to use the same sort of style that I learned in the class I took with Ann Loveless, however I wanted to create an image for the front of the pillow that would look less like a landscape and more like - well, just flowers, in all different shades of purple. This is what I came up with!

It was my first real attempt at sewing a piping edge on a pillow, and I was very happy with the results. I looked up some videos on youtube.com for how to sew a piping edge on a decorative pillow, and some women had so kindly shared their tips and how-to videos! For the binding and the back I used a hand-dyed batik cotton which worked out very well. Also on this piece I used a piece of PURPLE tulle instead of black, to add to the overall "purpley" shading on the pillow.

A close-up view of the created pillow top using chopped up bits of fabric:

And last, here is how the back looks:

(I love this batik fabric!!)

I wasn't going to upload these to my blog, thinking maybe he would want this pillow "all to himself" however tonight he took a look at my blog and said - very disturbed - "why didn't you post my pillow?" So now that I know it won't offend him, I'm happy to share!! : )

February 24, 2010

"Emo/Punk" Journal

About - well a few years ago, I started a journal for a friend's daughter, and today I finally finished it!! I was so proud of myself. UFO for only 3-4 years, but it needed to "incubate" I suppose...
The person I made this for was going through a really tough time at the time, and she is so young and sweet and immensely creative - she and her sister both have this wonderful sense of style and have that very cool "edgy" - and I'm told it isn't "Goth," it's "EMO." ; ) So I attempted to make something she would like, with respect to their styles, and here's what I finally came up with!!
It's a version of a curved Journal by Embellishment Village (link here - Embellishment Village's Curved Pieced Journal Cover) and the inside is a mishmash of different types of papers all sewn together art journal style, with stampings, vellum pieces, painted papers, laces and trims to prompt more writing or painting or whatever amazing creative things she'll probably do with this just as a starter. I'm so excited to give this to her - it has been a long time coming!!
I tried to work mostly with a palette of black, white, gray, and pink - only the smallest amounts of pink to give it a feminine feel, and add a bit of color.  I also included specialty papers that include images of music - guitars, etc - because not only is this person talented in art, but music as well!

Front Cover:

Includes hand-dyed fabrics, commercially printed skull trim on grosgrain ribbon, free-motion stitching with silver thread, metallic ric-rac, sparkly layer of tulle overlaid one one of the curved sections, and a row of hand-beading.

Inside pages photos:

(Pages are varied in size and shape, so that it creates a "layered" effect and different portions of other pages show no matter which page you turn to - I love this effect!)

Notice mesh pocket, lace trim sewn around the outside edge of the paper so it shows on both sides, overstampings, and use of vellum overlays.

(Includes a piece of paper that I was practicing calligraphy on - a great way to use up "samplers" from calligraphy sessions! Even the imperfect ones look great this way.)

This last photo shows a page I covered completely in black tulle, then stitched and layered around a squared off area, then cut away the tulle to create a "frame" for journaling or a photo.

It is very fun to sew together random papers and use different stitches - a very easy way to create an art journal, and also a great way to use up paper scraps, especially those "special" ones that you don't want to throw away (but you've made way too many cards in your lifetime!) - my only fear is that I have covered the pages with too many special papers and now there isn't much white space for writing...but I hope it's at least a good beginning!! : )

Silk Sari Ribbon Journal

So last night I was busy ironing and flatting piece upon piece of silk sari ribbon - it is so beautiful, in every way. Colors, vivid...texture...torn edges...how can anything NOT look fabulous if it is made of this wonderful stuff? I decided to start with a smaller piece, so I fused a piece of black cotton to some stiff interfacing then began sewing vertical strips of ribbon, rows of them, then using smaller and smaller pieces, layering and sewing over the original strips. When that piece was finished, I had to decide what to make!! I figured a journal is a good starting point to play with to see where else it might take me. I added "Journal" stamped out on canvas in little sewn blocks and then painted over with acrylic paints and fabric markers. I added a loopy fringe along the border for touching and playing with as I write in the journal. It is very tactile, and I wanted to include some of it in its raw form to be able to touch and pet! The final addition of scattered colorful beads was like adding icing to the cake of lustrous color - I'm hooked on silk sari ribbon now!!!

February 23, 2010

Wordle - Create a Text Cloud

Today I found out about a website called "Wordle." Here is the link:   http://www.wordle.net/
It is an AMAZING little site that allows you to copy and paste or type in words, then it will arrange them in a "Text Cloud" for you - you can change the font, colors, edit words, etc - just play and experiment!!
This is the first one I've created, and already saved and printed it out in mirror image on transparency to use as a text transfer onto fabric for fabric embellishing. Just print it as "mirror image" so when you lay it down it is backwards, then spread some acrylic matte medium onto the fabric in a thin layer, and while still damp press your transparency onto the medium and burnish. And voila! A text transfer with your own customized design - I could *really* get carried away with this....

February 16, 2010

Confetti Fabric

Last night I had some fun in my art room, creating what I like to call "confetti fabric."
So, I'll give instructions in a tutorial later, but for now here's how I created the fabric and petal pieces in this quilt. I chopped up little pieces of fabric, yarn, string, thread, ribbons, fibers, angelina fibers, skeleton leaves, organza flowers, dyed silk roving, and dyed wool roving. I gathered all of these items in different little piles (like a palette) and got out two pieces of "SUPER SOLVY" - water soluble stabilizer. I put one on my work surface (anything will do), then began laying down roving pieces and snippets of thread, sequin trim, angelina fibers for some bling, and then string, fibers, and yarns. I made sure to cover almost the entire base with a super fine layer of roving. Then I sprinkled everything else on, creating areas of lights and darks. I made two of these pieces, one in a pink color scheme and one in a green/blue color scheme. I raided my scrap bin, where I throw all my threads while sewing, extra fabric scraps that I trim away from various projects, etc - ANYTHING will work as long as it is cut down into little pieces. I layered areas with sheer organza ribbon snippets, silk ribbon, dyed cheesecloth, faux flower petals, etc. Then I added another piece of Solvy on top, to make a "confetti sandwich" and pinned it all together with several pins. Then I free-motion stitched all around in loops, swirls, zig-zags, right on top of the water soluble stabilizer. I made sure to alternate thread colors often, and highlight areas with yellow thread. I laid my stitched confetti sandwich in a baking dish in the sink, turned the water onto luke warm, then sprayed with the spray nozzle over the top of the sandwich very gently. The Solvy disappeared, leaving all my beautiful texture and color from all of the different materials I used to make the confetti. Then I turned over the piece, and sprayed the other side. I swished the piece around in the water, then dumped it out of the dish regularly, spraying with new water until it filled again, then dumping it out, and repeating. This process also FELTED the roving I used for a base, which adds a great bottom layer to be able to stitch it down to other fabrics. I laid my piece out to dry on some thick towels, then ironed it between pressing cloths on a warm setting. Voila!! Confetti Fabric.

(flower and leaves in this photo)

I had been working on a base for an art quilt for an upcoming Lakeshore Fiber Artists Show, (LFAW is the group I belong to). I wanted to do something non-traditional, with free sheer edges, so made a base with different shades of dyed organza. The center is a turquoise raw silk with batting behind it, and the "frame" is made with a very cool new fabric which is black with white text all over it - words about music. So I was very happy with the beginning, because it combined everything I love - text, black and white mixed with color, sheer layers, silk and organza...but I didn't quite know where to go from there. I tried doing some traditional quilting designs on the square, to add the background texture - I did this with black thread to juxtopose the traditional design with the rest of the quilt, which is everything BUT traditional. It looked neat, but I didn't feel there was enough to it yet. So, I grabbed up my confetti fabric and started loosely cutting out shapes (I did NOT want to cut into it!!) that the colors suggested...leaves from the greens and large flowers from the pink. I used the lighter areas of the confetti fabric (the highlights of yellow and orange thread) as the centers. I arranged these on the quilt and machine-appliqued with black thread to add some definition to the edges, and to match the black and white text fabric frame. I'm still not finished with it yet - I think it needs some hand-stitching, some beads, something different for the centers of the flowers...maybe vintage jewelry?

A work in progress.....

Impressionistic Art Quilt Class with Ann Loveless

I am so extremely lucky!! I got to take a class with Ann Loveless. She is amazing - a great artist, a great teacher, and a wonderful person!! We spent a couple of hours "chopping up" fabrics to create "Impressionsitic Art Quilts" - it has made me think of fabric in a whole new way. Ideas are spinning in my head!! Here is the quilt I made during her class.

Now, some detail shots:

I am truly inspired!! I have already been cutting more fabrics for MORE of this style of art quilt - I'm thinking of fabric as "paint" now. Even the ugliest, nastiest prints (the ones you can't believe you still have in your stash, the ones you push to the back and/or bury in hopes that neither you nor your friends will ever see again) turn out to be amazing in this techinque. FUN!!!!!!!! : )

February 9, 2010

Fabric Dye Day!

Today I decided to break out the leftover batting pieces from other quilt projects, and start painting. I lined a big cookie sheet with green tablecover plastic (cheap by the roll at party stores), and sprayed water all over the muslin until it was soaked through (but not sopping wet), then began to paint! I simply used Ranger's Alcohol Inks, making sure to work quickly before the ink could dry. I also used some Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow (yellows and whites) and even mixed the two types of ink together at times! I just very loosely filled in splotches of areas with different colors, beginning with the yellow because it was the lightest color, then moved to pink, purple, then the greens and blues. After I was pleased with the "splotches" of color, I began to outline flower shapes with the yellow Dye-Na-Flow. It turned out beautifully! I can't wait until it dries so I can begin doing some free-motion stitching and add some handmade paper beads. I think it will turn out to be a nice vertical art quilt, in spite of its humble beginnings as a scrap piece of batting!!

I also painted a few little crochet doily flowers with the alcohol inks, maybe to use as an embellishment on this quilt, or maybe for another project - I haven't decided yet.

Painted Metal Embellishments

A few days ago while I was having a "paint a bunch of paper" marathon session, I glanced over and spotted some junk metal that I decided to try painting on with my leftover paint. (Do you notice how when you begin painting things, you never really finish?)

These were all metal junk jewelry or scrapbook elements, which I painted with nail polish, then splashed on some regular old acrylic paint. I think next I might dip them in UTEE and sprinkle on some mica pigments? Anyway, I like where this is going!! And a great way to use leftover paint!!

Fabric & Fiber Art Postcard

This is a fiber art postcard I made at Cloth, Paper, Scissors "Make It and Take It University" at the Chicago International Quilt Show a couple of years ago. I pulled it back out of a drawer and thought - wow! - I really like this technique - I think I want to try it again!! It is made on Timtek (thick interfacing) with fusible web, with random bits of metallic fiber and foiled fabrics, fancy fibers, wool roving, silk waste, tissue paper, snippets of other various fabrics, tulle, and cheesecloth - all artfully arranged, fused, and then the layers that could not reach the fusible webbing were simply lifted, sprinkled underneath with Bonash, then fused down again. (I need more Bonash!!) The Timtex was layered on the back with thick solid paper (such as watercolor paper), with a piece of double-sided fusible webbing, Then the edges were sewn with a satin stitch, and trimmed down to create a one-of-a-kind fiber art postcard. Very fun and simple - I might try it again!!

Paper Beads with UTEE

I cut up some strips of paper, rolled them around a skewer gluing along the way with gel medium (thin layer), then rolled around on a clear embossing ink pad, then dipped in UTEE (Ultra-thick embossing enamel - available at Hobby Lobby or Michael's in the scrapbooking section). Then heat with a heat gun, watch them turn glossy and beautiful, then maybe dip them a few more times if you want more of a high-gloss finish - then you can sprinkle on some Pearl-Ex, some fine mica, some tiny beads, wrap with fibers, experiment and have fun with what you have - anything goes!!

These are a few I took a bit further - I plan to use these as charms on journals or jewelry, so I added beads to each end and put them on a metal head pin and wrapped additional wire and created a loop for attaching them more easily to things later.

February 5, 2010

1,000 Artist Trading Cards: Innovative and Inspired Mixed Media ATCs

It seemed like so long ago that I made some little ATCs for submission to Cloth, Paper, Scissors - they were having a display at the Chicago International Quilt show, and a couple of mine were chosen from the display for the book:
"1,000 Artist Trading Cards: Innovative and Inspired Mixed Media ATCs" by Patricia Bolton.
I got to meet Pokey very briefly, and it was very inspiring to be included in this book. At that time I was still married and so my last name was "Fillman" but well, I'm proud becuase it is the only thing I've been published for so far. I don't even have images of the cards I submitted for this project - I'm so ashamed to say - as my old blog was wiped away when I quit blogging for a few years. Anyway, as I've been thinking about my connection to the rest of the art world, it's a little bit of inspiration for me to look back and remember the excitement of being included in such a project.  So, because I LOVE ATCs and their scale - making for quick projects and a great way to try out new techniques - I wanted to post the book for anyone who might be curious about it. Enjoy!!

February 4, 2010

For Mom - Iris Art Quilt

This is an art quilt I'm working on for my mom. She loves Iris flowers!!
It started with a pattern I found online here:

Sindy Rodenmayer's Pattern

The pattern was only for a 16 1/2" block, but then I added longer stems...and a vase...and a background, and a border...now it is enormous. I appliqued the pieces, then added beaded and silk ribbon embellishment, chose the fabrics for the background, border and backing. Now I just need to do the quilting and the construction - which is where I might seek a little help! I'm too afraid to "mess it up" at the point. But, I wanted to show the quilt so far, the UFO that it is.


So I searched through about 500 sites to find patterns for potholders - then ended up just making my own versions. I wanted to work with some fabric in bright colors I wouldn't normally use - and need little gifties for people : ) Perfect solution to break in the new sewing machine!

February 3, 2010

Fabric Paper

Samples of Fabric Paper that I created - great fun - a couple of years ago. These are long gone...I made them then never did anything with them, then sold them on eBay (now regretful!!) - before I realized they would become a very popular component of art quilts - at least I saved the photos - maybe I'll do something digital with them?

Organize Fibers with Laminate Sample Cards!

Really quickly, I wanted to post how I made the laminate cards for organizing - or giving - the most special little fibers and lace and beaded trims. You know, the ones you only have a few sparse strands of and you want to keep forever? Your favorite samples of wonderful hand-dyed, sparkly-edged, slightly crinkled ribbons will look perfect on these!! Easy to do, and looks amazing.
  1. Gather some laminate samples - you can buy these on eBay, or visit your local home building shop such as Lowe's or Home Depot and see if they have any old or extras they would allow you to have. They come in a smaller size or a larger size - I used the smaller ones for this project.
  2. Gather some special papers to use as backgrounds on the cards, and cut out some text from old vintage books - anything goes as far as collaging. Text backgrounds work especially well because the effect shows through after you color them.
  3. Paint the cards with some gel medium (my favorite adhesive) in thin layers and collage the fancy papers. Let dry. Then collage little strips of text or book page snippets.
  4. Allow to dry thoroughly, then cut as close to the edges of the cards as possible, or even sand off the edges of the paper for a more distressed effect.
  5. Punch holes in the collaged papers where the hole in the card is - to allow you to string them onto a metal ring later.
  6. Grab your sharpies, watercolors, acrylic paints, watercolor crayons, or even stamp over with ink pads - the more layers of color the better. I outlined some of the paper designs in thin sharpie, then scribbled with watercolor crayons to fill in areas with color. Then, I added a little bit of water with a small paintbrush to create a washed effect.
  7. Edge with a metallic paint pen (Krylon pens work well) around the edges and around the edges of the hole for a finished look.
  8. Wrap with pretty fibers, little pieces of favorite trim, whatever you want to organize on the cards.
  9. Loop through with a large metal ring - I like the colored ones, or you could try using alcohol ink on a plain silver one (I wish I had done that!)
These cards could be the base for an altered style mini journal instead - there are many options. Get creative!! These are a nice small size to work with, great to try out new techniques and an easy way to save and use as a reminder later of the ones you liked.

Here are some photos of the finished cards - I'd love to see some of yours too! : )

Gift Basket for Kelli Perkins!

So my friend Kelli Perkins has been a huge inspiration to me - recently she has come out with a WONDERFUL, amazing book called "Stitch Alchemy." I absolutely love it!! Because she is truly amazing and has inspired me personally to keep on creating, I thought it would be great to acknowledge and congratulate her on her book with a gift basket full of goodies I know she'll love : ) I'll add a link to her blog later - but for now at least wanted to get these photos uploaded of the gifty things I gave her. My mom made a needle-felted piece - which became the center of the keepsake box, which I glued to the top then added vintage trim and buttons, then topped it all off with some beads and vintage costume jewelry. The little fiber cards are laminate samples that I covered with paper and collaged, then used markers and watercolor crayons to punch up the color. Add a little delicious fiber to each card, organize on a colored ring, tie a bow and add a tag - and you have a delightful little sampling of special fibers! Also I included a hand-carved stamp (a bird, because I think of Kelli's bird images in her work) and because I call her "Chickadee" - and a collaged glass bottle filled with vintage beads. It was so fun to make this for her - some of my most precious art time has been getting together with her to exchange ideas and goodies, and just simply create.
I encourage EVERY art quilter or altered artist - well just ANY artist!! - to check out Kelli's book, and her blog. Fantastic!!!!