As I Was Saying…

I made an impulse buy of Marabu wax pastel crayons at my local arts and crafts store. These lipstick-like markers can be diluted with water or applied thickly for intense color. They are designed primarily for mixed media uses, not for fabric. But…I decided to try them out.

I gathered a variety of fabric scraps for my trials. Most were all cotton. Two were primarily synthetic. I drew letters, scribbled, diluted my lines with water, applied the crayons over dry and wet fabrics, and made rubbings from textured plates. Here’s the results of my first trials before immersing some of them in water.

After 24 hours I soaked my scraps in lukewarm water to test for color fastness and found lots of color loss. Definitely not a product to use on any fabric that will be washed or exposed to water.

However, I liked the feel of using the crayons enough to do further experimentation. I watched a few videos about this product and decided to try smearing, stenciling, and rubbing.

Green silk organza stenciled with Marabu crayon. The crayon is good for stenciling because it doesn’t run (unless you add water.)

Rubbings applied on Pellon 830 with dry crayon, then sprayed with water. I started to outline the shapes in the smaller rubbing with ink. With this technique you’d need to be sparing with the water used, otherwise your design will wash out.

Thick application of crayon on Pellon 830, sprayed with water, then hand rubbed with plate under fabric. I like this effect, though you don’t get much smearing of the crayon on fabric. The videos show lots of smearing on paper.

Heavy scribbles on cotton fabric with water applied lightly by brush. This shows the transparent effects possible with the crayon.

Conclusions:

It’s an interesting product for adding lots of intense color to areas, not so good for fine detail drawing. It is literally like drawing with a lipstick.

It is blendable with water, and works well when applied to damp surfaces.

The lack of color fastness is a major drawback for use in working quilts, not so much for display pieces. The manufacturer says it sets up after 24 hours and can’t be reactivated, but I don’t think they plan for full immersion.

It’s probably not the most cost effective product of this type on the market, especially because it spreads so easily you’d (at least I’d) be tempted to use lots at a time. I believe it’s comparable to Gelato crayon markers.

Will I buy more? Probably not, unless the price is deeply discounted.  The price I paid was about $2.50 a marker.

If you’ve tried this product I’d love to hear about your experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Techniques

Humans Plan, God Laughs

I was going to share some of my recent experiments with a new to me coloring tool, but instead I had my appendix out. I feel much better now.

18 Comments

Filed under Everything Else

Artistic Endeavors – Art Forms of Nature

When I came across Ernst Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur plates published in 1904 I felt such an affinity for all the curves.

According to Wikipedia, Haeckel

was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including anthropogeny, ecology, phylum, phylogeny, stem cell, and Protista.

Besides all that, he dabbled in philosophy, penning a work called “The Riddle of the Universe.” Only in that time period could such disciplines have co-existed in one person. But wait, there’s more. He was also an artist, producing 100 detailed sketches of animals and sea creatures that were translated from sketch to print by lithographer Adolf Giltsch and published in Kunstformen der Natur. The images influenced several artists associated with the Art Nouveau movement.

Haeckel is yet another distinguished person I’ve never heard of before, but he has been memorialized in place names. “In the United States, Mount Haeckel, a 13,418 ft (4,090 m) summit in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, overlooking the Evolution Basin, is named in his honour, as is another Mount Haeckel, a 2,941 m (9,649 ft) summit in New Zealand; and the asteroid 12323 Haeckel.” (Wikipedia)

Here are a few of his drawings that are a bit spikier. To me they resemble drawings of science fiction universes done by someone on hallucinogens.

 

 

 

8 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Inspiration

Getting My Curve On

So far this year my work has been squared off and rectilinear. I’m breaking with that in my latest WIP, which is all about curves.

I was inspired by a sketch left over from my 2016 master class and my hoard of silk fabrics.

I had developed several sketches using cut shapes of tissue paper.

Someday had arrived for the dupioni, sari and kimono silks, the broadcloths, and the silk-cotton combo fabrics I’ve collected. Because the silks were different weights, I stabilized them with either fusible nylon knit tricot or WonderUnder. The differing material characteristics (some were closely woven, some ravelled or shredded, etc.) led me to use raw edge applique instead of piecing. I used MistyFuse for any pieces not backed with WonderUnder.

There were translation issues between my sketch and the work. The sketch was designed for transparent fabrics, and was another take on overlapped pieces of silk organza, a technique I used in Unfolding.

Unfolding 25″ sq.

I didn’t have the color changes created by the fabric overlaps, so I had to come up with an opaque approach. Here’s my first version.

The “hat” had to go. It looked lovely with transparent layers, but not as a solid piece. I ended up with huge blooms that would fit into a jungle. All the sinuous curves give it an Art Nouveau feel, like the embroidered fabric below.

After I ironed down the pieces I straight stitched around all the edges. I tried out a buttonhole and a zigzag stitch, but found they frayed the edges and caused raveling. There is still a bit of fraying, but I’ll have to live with it.

I plan to have Rococo (tentative title) quilted by a local long arm quilter who is very good with curved designs. For once, I think it’s the right approach to accentuate the curves. It should finish about 36 by 30 inches.

 

11 Comments

Filed under In Process

Artistic Endeavors – La Wilson

Last month an obituary appeared in the NYT for La Wilson, who designed quirky assemblages out of odd materials that may or may not have had deeper meanings.  My eye was caught by two things – Wilson died in Hudson, Ohio, which is about a 30 minute drive from my house; and her work is in the Akron Art Museum’s collection.

The copy for her 2014 show at the Akron Art Museum said,

Over the years, Wilson proceeded to position blocks of type, stamps, pastels, crepe paper, fishing lures, plastic forks, coins, rosaries, airplanes, toy guns and a myriad of other materials into boxes or frames creating elegant compositions that evoke delight, nostalgia and sometimes even a dark edge. Wilson comments that her constructions evolve from a “stream of consciousness,” noting that the objects either “click almost instantly” or “take forever to work.”

Not only did Wilson have the Akron show, but she was awarded a Cleveland Arts Prize in 1993. I’m ashamed to say it took her obituary to make me aware of her work, despite her local presence.

She talks about her methods in a short video made in 2011. Apparently her approach was purely intuitive. I love that she knew something was right when “It makes my heart beat faster.”

You can see more of her work at the John Davis Gallery website.

20 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Everything Else

Family Treasures

Some families pass along Confederate swords to younger generations. My family passes on sewing notions. My grandmother, mother, and aunts all sewed; and I’ve ended up with much of their sewing stuff because I’m the one in my generation who sews. Much of it is useless and good only for the landfill, such as 60 year old elastic. Some is sentimental, and some is still useful.

What’s left are buttons, Singer sewing machine attachments (and one Singer machine,) hooks and eyes, awls, tracing wheels and paper, wooden thread spools, and my grandmother’s thimble. The strangest legacy is a very heavy button covering machine produced by the Defiance Manufacturing Co. I don’t know what happened to the patterns and zippers my fore mothers used, but none survive.

Here are just some of the goodies.

I always wanted an awl, and now I have one. There are more buttons than those shown. Maybe a few have some value, but most seem to date back no farther than the 1950s. I now have plenty of snaps and hooks and eyes, plus plastic rings.

The Singer machine accessories include a gatherer, lots of feet, buttonhole and zigzag stitch attachments, and some unknown gizmos. I’ll look into the used accessory market to see if these have any value.

The instructions and order form for the button covering machine, which was purchased in 1951 by my grandmother, were preserved, along with business correspondence between her and the company. The manually operated machine is heavy, and I think some parts are missing. My cousin was thrilled to offload that.

I had my mother’s Singer machine already. It’s billed as portable, but weighs about 25 pounds. I learned to sew on it, but haven’t used it in decades. If anyone is interested in a Singer 99-13, made in 1930, let me know.

My favorite item is my grandmother’s thimble, of course. My aunt had a jump ring put on it so she could wear it on a chain. It’s now part of my jewelry collection, and you never know when you might need a thimble in one’s daily rounds.

 

23 Comments

Filed under Commentary

Artistic Endeavors – Capturing Light

There’s an inherent contradiction between the permanence of a painting and the fleeting quality of light. Yet painters have been obsessed with capturing light for centuries. Monet’s paintings of Rouen Cathedral are a prime example.

I thought of these paintings when I viewed this time lapse video of  light through the stained glass windows in the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. Composer Danyal Dhondy recently wrote a score for the originally silent video.

Colin Winterbottom, who made the video, said,

I am primarily a black and white architectural still photographer, but while documenting post-earthquake repairs at Washington National Cathedral I was impressed by the drama of the vibrant colors the windows “painted” on stone and scaffold. With just weeks before a related exhibition was to open I began mounting cameras to scaffold to take advantage of rare vantage points.

Here’s the featured rose window. Enjoy.

14 Comments

Filed under Commentary, Inspiration