Now that my arm problem appears to be “shoulder impingement” (doesn’t that sound like a traffic offense?) I realize I need to change the kind of art I make for a while. No more quilts that involve lots of pieces and cutting and sewing. And no more quilts larger than about 40 inches.
My response has been to gather information about other art techniques that are similar to quilting but are considered more surface design or mixed media. Besides, I always welcome a chance to take in some eye candy. I visited my library and hauled off several books about surface design. Some are already back on the library shelves, but some I’d like to share with you.
Today I’ll go over Reclaimed Textiles by Kim Thittichai and Sew Wild by Alisa Burke. The former book has crossed the pond so the artists, materials and resources pertain to the UK. I have no idea what the US equivalents are to solufleece and bondaweb. That said, the book features some seriously inventive artists who reuse waste, including plastic bags. I’d love to take an experimental textile course from Kim and plan to take a closer look at the projects on her blog.
All that lace is melted supermarket plastic bags. And how about these cunning repurposed satin bridal shoes decorated with felt and tulle by Helen McKenna?
Reclaimed Textiles has a few projects, but I’m using it more for the possibilities it presents. I don’t know if I’m ready to make fabric by ironing several plastic bags together, but you never know.
Speaking of plastic bags, they’re just one of the materials Alisa Burke uses in Sew Wild. This book leans heavily to the DIY craft side of mixed media. The two main sections cover surface design (painting, printing, resist, discharge) and stitching techniques. There are a dozen projects that I think would appeal more to teenage girls than to me. They feature lots of raw fabric edges and what Alisa calls messy stitches.
The DVD included with the book shows the various processes nicely. It seems Alisa has produced online classes about her techniques, which can be accessed on her website. I think this book would be helpful to someone just beginning to experiment with mixed media techniques, but I find the work somewhat slapdash and there’s little design guidance.
On the next leg of my trip through mixed media land I’ll feature compilations of work by mixed media artists.