In my latest effort to quilt without quilting I played around with old free motion quilting practice pieces that were underwhelming to begin with, figuring I had no worries about ruining them. I found them when I sorted through my stash of made objects to see which needed a new home. I pulled out paint and paintstiks to gild these weeds in hopes of improving them.
Occasionally I try to work with pastels and the typewriter piece is an example of why I don’t use pastels more often. I just don’t get them. Anyway, I thought some letters would go with the typewriters. I used fabric paint and large letter stencils I had.
For another failed pastel FMQ piece I rubbed a paintstik over the lighter areas. I like how highlighting the quilting gives the insipid yellows and pinks more depth.
When I washed the pieces I found that I must have used all cotton batting as they took on serious crinkling. I may hang the QUILT one on the door to my studio or donate it to my guild for the refreshments table. I know it’s completely machine washable. The other one may await a lover of pastels.
At the November meeting of my art quilt group we played around with paintstiks, which are oil paints compressed into fat crayons. You can draw with them (though nothing too detailed), stencil with them, or do rubbings with them. You can blend the colors together using a special blender crayon. They can be applied directly like crayons or with stencil brushes. Use the shiny side of a sheet of freezer paper as a palette and you can customize your colors for stenciling.
Here’s a member doing rubbings from paintstik plastic plates. You can also use any textured objects that will leave a pattern – pressed glass, leaves, rubber matting, etc.
Here are examples of stenciling and rubbing with a stencil brush.
The trees were made with a stencil and brush, while the “brain” was made by rubbing a paintstik directly over a trivet.
These rubbings were done from plates designed for paper embossing.
Paintstiks are less messy to use than paint, though you need to make sure little shavings don’t get on furniture, floors or clothes; as they will stain if rubbed in. It is oil paint. You let the decorated cloth air dry for 24 hours, and then cover and press the cloth at a temperature suited to the fabric. The paintstik crayons seal themselves with a protective skim coat over the areas you use. This needs to be removed the next time you use them with a paper towel, cloth, knife, or vegetable peeler.
I enjoy the versatility of paintstiks and the many iridescent color choices. You can use them to decorate prewashed fabric, or to enhance your piece after quilting. Check out The Painted Quilt by Linda and Laura Kemshall for inspiration. Here’s links to some online tutorials: Dharma Trading Post video, Craft Test Dummies, and Blue Twig Studio. We found that Dawn Blue dish soap works well for brush/stencil/stamp clean up.
If you’ve played with paintstiks I’d love to hear about how you used them.