Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rusting Fabrics - yet again...

I decided that 5 of my 9 rust-dyed fabrics (as shown in the November 4th entry) really needed to be darker. This time, rather than leaving them exposed on our deck, I dipped each cloth in vinegar and then wrapped each one around one or more rusty tools and placed them in a LARGE Hefty ziplock bag for over a week. The bag was then placed in the garage - out of sight and out of mind. This way, they don't dry out between spritzing while the rust continued to penetrate the cloth.

Today, I remembered them and figured I'd better check to see how they were doing. Here are all 5 pieces after soaking them in salt water to stop the rust-action, washing, drying and ironing them:

And here are close-ups of each of them:

This one is my current "favorite:"

As you can see, they turned out beautifully!

I'm Back!

We spent Thanksgiving in Vermont again this year - celebrating with our son, his wife, their three children (girl, 18 + freshman in college; boy almost 17 + junior in HS; girl 15, sophomore in HS) and their two foreign exchange students (an almost 17 year old boy from Brazil and a 17 year old girl from Viet Nam). The weather was cooperative, considering most of the east coast suffered from a nasty Nor'easter. The tables were full of all sorts of goodies - the huge turkey, mashed potatoes with chopped hard eggs and lots of cheddar cheese, several veggies, cranberry sauce, plus 9 pies in 7 flavors! Did we gain weight? Probably. Was it worth it? Absolutely!

Alas and alack, I accidentally deleted all the photos from our trip. Believe you/me, I hope I never ever do that again!!! I'm really bummed about it - it was my last opportunity to photograph all 5 of the kids together... Sure hope they catch some at Christmas, prior to Felipe's return to Brazil. Their new Brazilian boy will be arriving in January for a year.

But I did manage to get a couple of photos of Michelle, a Philly U student in fashion design. We had her overnight (the night I deleted all the photos...) before we returned her to school. Here she is modeling the collar and cuff she had to create for design class. Permission was granted to post the photo!

And here is the Philly skyline as seen from the Walt Whitman bridge coming from NJ into town. Michelle took these from the car while I was driving.

The above is the authentic version. Below is the "enhanced" version, with the smog diminished a tad with the help of Photoshop!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

FiberArt Cards Formalized

PURPLE SQUARE (C)Pat Dolan 4"x6" mounted and framed to 8"x10"

MANY MOONS (C)Pat Dolan 4"x6" mounted and framed to 8"x10"

CONTEMPLATIVE (C)Pat Dolan 4"x6" mounted and framed to 8"x10"

These cards were actually made last year, using Angelina Fibers, fused fabrics and hand-painted cheese cloth. I love making small-sized works - they don't take as much time, although they DO require good composition, color, balance, craftsmanship, and design! They are quickly quilted without causing shoulder pain - something I've encounted in the past year in doing larger works. I've actually taken the past two week off from machine sewing to give the impinged rotator cuff a chance to heal more thoroughly. I won't be doing much this week either, since we're off to Vermont for the holiday.

Anyway, Kevan Lunney, has invited the members of Fiber Revolution to produce "beautiful, juicy morsels of art which are 4" x 6" finished, in a horizontal format" for her curated traveling exhibit entitled ART CONCENTRATED: A BIG SHOW OF PETITE FIBER ART. Each piece will be mounted on 1/4" Foam Core to create a shadow effect around the work, and then framed in identical 8" x 10" black frames and hung on a horizon line around the exhibit area. I'm really looking forward to seeing these little masterpieces of art by our members identically framed and hung together in a cohesive exhibit!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Eclectic Quilters Challenge

One of the members of our Eclectic Quilters group, Mary Manahan, brought two gorgeous copper-toned fiber pieces to our last meeting and invited each of us to take a piece of each and to create something using them, along with whatever else from our own stash is required. There are no size, shape or even project type restrictions - total freedom to create whatever comes to each of us. We are to bring our completed projects to our next meeting January 25, 2007!
Here are my two pieces:

The copper piece on the left is stiff organdy or organza, whichever... The marbled piece on the right is marbled hand-made paper. I love the colors and tones - perfect for fall, but for many other things as well. I've pulled out all sorts of coppery toned fabrics, metallics, paints, and such - as seen below. Of course, I will need to have more contrast, but I LOVE the colors!!! And I have yet to begin...

Here are a few leftover photos from my trip to East Windsor a few weeks ago.

The warm, late afternoon sunshine illuminated this oak tree so beautifully that I had to stop my car, turn around and go back to find the tree so I could capture the elusive beauty. Coppery colors indeed!

Monmouth Battlefield State Park - New Jersey

Here are some photos taken yesterday of a walk through parts of this lovely state park - part of which forms the back border of our townhouse.

Textures continue to inspire me... here are some I found at the park.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My Journal Quilts 2006

Below are my Journal Quilts for 2006 - one for every month of the year, even December, which hasn't yet arrived, I realize that. This is the second year I have participated in this project and I enjoyed the process immensely. My JQ for February, entitled MARDI GRAS, is one of thousands of journal quilts included in Karey Bresenhan's new book CREATIVE QUILTING: THE JOURNAL QUILT PROJECT. (see explanation at the end of this post)

January - Serendipity
An experiment in textural effects – combining hand crochet and crewel work with various threads/yarns and some machine quilting on my hand-painted chiffon.

February – Mardi Gras
An experiment with Shiva Paintstiks® over stamps and found objects on my Seta-Color® painted chiffon. It is embellished with Self-Hardening Makin’s Clay® and Sculpey II® heads made using Maureen Carlson’s AMACO Designer Plus Mold® heads. The heads were brushed with Jacquard Pearl-Ex® for color and bits of yarn/string were added for hair. This time of my life marks the ending of “Mardi Gras” and masks, roles, and illusions on my way to personal authenticity.

March – Depression
An experiment with a bleach pen on black fabric. I love the rust color that is produced but the design is weak. Simple machine quilting. I was very depressed during the month of March and beyond. The darkness of my mood strongly affected my work in every possible way. (Note: see November's journal quilt)

April – Birds in the Night
Another experiment with Shiva Paintstiks® over a metal batik bird stamp and a foam fern stamp. I further experimented by cutting away the fabric where there was no Paintstiks color thereby exposing the black batting. Machine quilting with rayon threads.

May – Spring Bubbles
This experiment involved the use of my own marbled fabric which I placed on a firm piece of fusible interfacing for support prior to machine quilting.

June – Light!
An experiment with stamping on fabric using various purchased stamps on hand-painted cotton. Several of the shapes were selected to highlight with more satin stitching with rayon thread, as I still am weak in that area. The piece was then machine quilted.

July – Hot Summer Day
I learned to machine embroider gauze so I promptly painted some gauze and machine embroidered a circular design within the hoop, leaving the edges of the cheesecloth free of stitching. I then placed the gauze on some of my hand-painted silk in a complementary color. After placing it where I liked it, I appliquéd the cheese cloth to the silk with its batting and backing attached. I machine quilted down the central circle and went on to machine quilt the rest of the piece, carefully laying the loose cheesecloth in pleasing shapes. This experiment was lots of fun and turned out very successfully.

August - Stones
An experiment in 3-D – I attempted to put small pebbles on this quilt top with relative success. I used white nylon netting and made small bags into which I place 5-6 small stones. I sewed the bags closed and then appliquéd them to the muslin background. Simple straight machine quilting adds contrast to the curves in the stones.

September – Change Happens
An experiment of layering different types of fabric together by fusing and machine quilting the fabrics on the base hand-painted fabric. Since I have little experience (and little luck) with the satin stitch, I chose to practice the satin stitch to appliqué the pieces to the background. Then I cut out a circle from a small piece of shimmery dressmaker fabric, fused it in place and straight stitched around it. Placing a layer of pale lavender chiffon over the entire piece, I satin stitched the edges. To complete the project, on top of the chiffon, I used the same shimmery fabric to create narrow strips which were placed in an uneven cross design.

October – Reaching Out
My hand-painted silk forms the background for this journal quilt. Using commercial fabrics with appealing shapes and forms, I combined them to form a flame-like design and machine quilted it. The entire piece seemed as though it was reaching for something, so with Self-Hardening Makin’s Clay® and Sculpey II® hand shapes (Maureen Carlson’s AMACO Designer Plus Mold® hands/feet), I created reaching hands, which were then glued to the surface of the quilt.

November – Darkness Descends
This quilt was an experiment with inks, watered down and randomly placed on the muslin. I was both confused and depressed at the time I made the quilt (last March) so the grays matched my mood. I had little or no energy, thus the machine quilting is minimal. It represents the gray days of late autumn and early winter rather well.

December – White Weddings & Such
(My husband and I were married in December!)
Playing with white satin and sheer fabrics - folding, fanning, stitching, adding embellishments. The main purpose of this exercise was to work with a very limited color palette and some rather diverse materials. Opposites abound: hard/soft, smooth/rough, round/square, fabric/metal, lace/feathers, etc.

What are Journal Quilts?

The original idea for Journal Quilts began with Karey Bresenhan of Houston Quilt Market & Show fame. She wanted to find a way to inspire quilters to trying different techniques, to step outside their comfort zone, to get really daring and creative. So she challenged the Quiltart mailing list folks to doing one small, innovative-for-them, quilt, the size of a standard piece of computer paper. Each little quilt also required a short statement as to the intention, the process, and/or the results. Each quilter would then be able to submit her/his best 5 of the 9 quilts created to be hung with all the Journal Quilts in a special exhibition at the Houston Quilt Show each fall. (The Journal Quilts were not to be shown anywhere until after the Houston show.) Thousands of these 8 ½” x 11” Journal Quilts have been created in the 6 years since her first challenge, and most of them have gone on to Houston and home again. Many have sold over the years, too. Best of all, quilter’s learned the fun of experimenting – and it helped that the size was so small that even a BAD experiment didn’t cost much by way of fabric, threads, or even time. And so quilters expanded their bag of tricks (aka techniques) and the world of quilting has been richly enhanced. This fall, Karey, with the help of Pokey Bolton + Quilting Arts LLC, published a book entitled CREATIVE QUILTING: THE JOURNAL QUILT PROJECT which went on sale at last week's International Quilt Festival in Houston. The book is available on-line at the Quilting Arts Magazine website.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Rust-Dyed Fabric!

Ta Da! Here are the best of the several yards of fabric I've been rusting for a few weeks. It's a messy project - the Mr. Clean sponge is excellent for cleaning up the sink, counter and plastic dishpan after these fabrics move through the rinsing, soaking in saltwater, rinsing process prior to hitting the washer/dryer. Some are quite wonderful, most are rather so-so. But all can be used, one way or another...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Rusting Fabric continued...

Here are the latest photos of the rusting fabric process. I've found it has taken longer than anticipated to achieve the depth of color I desire so every few days I have taken the obects off the fabrics, changed the positions of the fabric, spritzed them with straight vinegar (as Karen Stiehl Osborn so kindly suggested)and then rearranged different rusting objects on the fabrics. It's a lesson or two for me in patience, to be sure! It takes mother nature time to achieve results... Notice that I've also layered the fabric in some cases, placing the rusty object between two pieces of fabric as well as on top of the top layer - in my attempt to hurry the process, of course.

And, just because it's a gorgeous fall day, here's our Red Maple in flaming color.