Sheer Layers, Sheer Fun

My May master class assignment is layers, which is right in my wheelhouse. You may recall my rhapsodies over my Empty Spools translucent fabric class. I haven’t worked with transparency since I finished The Big Bang. My first step will be to paint yards of silk organza.


Below is what I sent Elizabeth and her response:

For this assignment I went wild with tissue paper collage, but I did convert my photos to black and white. I plan to use painted silk organza for my piece. I’ve used it before for transparency work and find it works well fused or stitched.

 As to examples of painters and quilters that use layering effects, here are a few: (look at the sleeves)

I’ve been collecting examples of transparency on a Pinterest board for some time.

I used a candle flame shape (seems to be a popular choice in this class) in three sizes, and did trace the shapes for part 3 of our assignment.  My sketch 1 layers the basic shapes over each other in a mirrored effect. Sketch 2 layers a full view with detail. I considered putting something in the center-ish opening, but decided to leave it alone for now. Sketch 3 combines two different sketches. In this one, I erased extraneous lines and shaded in what would be color overlays. I tried several crops, but decided to send the most inclusive version. I think it may be too busy unless I go really big.

I like the ideas and the shapes – great thought to use tissue paper to work out designs.  I find the one above just a little too symmetrical to be really interesting….though the surprise of the very transparent layer is rather nice…
However the one below is very good I think and it works well…there’s a nice flow of movement around the shape…
I do keep wondering if it should be rotated 90 degrees to the left as you have a lot of weight on the left hand side…
I do like the way the negative space reflects the positive shapes – good one!
also the little unexpected shapes as one works one’s way around…can’t see any adjustments, I’d make at this stage.


Nice sketch, symmetrical but not too much…lots of flow and opportunities for overlapping layers and shifts in hue and very well in a square –
I like the way some of the leaves go right off the edge, but the circle always pulls us around…it should make up very well – don’t make it too small!!!  It will work as big as you can do!

As always, with the blocked out piece due on the 20th of the month, I don’t have time to get too elaborate. That means I will most likely make up sketch 2 and save sketch 3 for later.


Filed under Art quilts, In Process, Project Ideas

12 responses to “Sheer Layers, Sheer Fun

  1. I love Big Bang–there’s so much going on to look at–so I’m very intrigued to watch this next idea develop!

  2. I haven’t worked with transparencies but love the idea. When I saw this post in my inbox, I wanted to read it right away to see where you have gone with your prior work with transparencies, but I made myself wait until I had sent out a neighborhood newsletter I had to do today! So I finished it quickly and this is my reward, getting to read about something purely creative!

    • Well, there are niggling mechanical details so my thought is there’s no such thing as purely creative except in dreams. I’ve started to cut out my organza shapes and am debating what fabric to put on the bottom. My piece will have much softer colors than the tissue paper I used. It’s hard to get intense colors painted on organza without clogging up the weave. I think dyeing might be better for strong color. Glad you got your newsletter sent out.

      • Well, I was comparing to my recent pastimes of cleaning floors and building decks and being on the phone with customer service and taking dogs to the vet. 🙂 So it seemed like pure creativity to me, and it was fun just to read about it. Of course I don’t have to worry about the mechanics!

      • I can get behind the deck building and the dogs, but the rest is stuff that just needs to be done over and over. Poor you. Of course, you could ignore the floors. Just saying.

      • I used to be able to, at my old house in the suburbs. Now I live where there is sandy soil and we all track it in all day. When the dogs lay down and get back up, they leave their outline in the sand that has fallen out of their fur. I used to wonder why Laura Ingalls described sweeping so much, now I know!
        I am getting little bits of projects done, but nothing is at the reportable stage yet. It’s good to soak up all the internet inspiration sometimes too. 🙂

  3. This sounds like it will be fun and a learning project (aren’t most of them?!). Would love to see some of your painting the silk organza process, any chance you will be posting some of that? Thanks too for sharing the links too.

    • I can show you the pieces I’ve painted, but the process is pretty much like painting a wall – mix paint to desired consistency, apply to brush, put on fabric. I used opaque and Jacquard shimmer fabric paints. I can tell you I’ve learned not to wash the organza so it retains some stiffness. It’s much easier to cut/sew when stiff. Also, if you want to blend colors on the organza, do it fast as the fabric dries in about a minute.

  4. Beautiful! I always am amazed at what a totally different picture I see when I look at it in b/w vs. color.

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