Posts Tagged ‘painting fabric’

In the Studio: New Artwork and Camping Out

I have five artwork in progress right now in my studio which is just the way I like it. Four of the artwork, including the detail of the one above, are definitely in the Boundary Waters family, but their working name is “Rock and Water.”


The fifth artwork is something I’m thinking about as I go.  I’ve been walking a lot out at the prairie reserve and I am inspired by the sky and the dried grasses. This is just a detail of a pretty big painted piece that I cut up and stitched back together.It’s hard to tell, but it is completely stitched already in yellow variegated thread, but I’m thinking that this is just the base layer for this artwork. Thinking, thinking.


All of the above artworks stem from an experiment I tried when I painted in Nebraska. I painted several LARGE pieces of white cloth that I had pieced from chunks of different kinds of cotton and muslin.  I love how the seams on top of the artwork (such as the one on the left above) add texture.


And, in other news, I am more or less just camping out with my sewing machine in my studio.  Since the window behind my sewing table is shot, I’m going for a new double one. Unfortunately the first one ordered didn’t fit and, of course, I had cleaned everything out to avoid the dust and debris.  Camping out is working though to really focus my efforts on stitching, so it’s pretty much a win-win.



09 2014

A tale of 200 yards of white fabric – Part 2 of 3

Art is Good!

Yesterday I covered prep, the Trained Monkey stage of Layer 1, and the first ironing of the 200 yards. Jamie and Ann asked about my paint.  Here’s a previous post that’s all about my paints. I do appreciate all comments and questions. The comment section in this new blog format is by the date.

Onward to the fun stuff!  I’m featuring individual pieces of fabric today to show some representative techniques. 

I made a lot of screens on my Thermofax focusing on my maritime photos from Alaska. This was a net with little floats on it, but when enlarged it looked like a plant with fruit. An unusual color combo for me. My printer was making weird lines on the original, but I made the screen anyway as I thought it would look better than big solid circles.

Using a graphite pen for the original, I also made screens of doodles (above), drawings, and many kinds of handwriting. This was an intermediate layer for this piece of fabric. 

Here is the same doodle screen on a blue Layer 1 with one of my sketches screenprinted in two colors on top.

I also made quite a few pieces by stamping with a sponge-like lawn mower filter. You can see this full-sized in yesterday’s post at the very end.

I had fun stenciling over a cardboard coffee cup holder (above).

But it really was screenprinting that captured my attention time and time again.

Painted, screen-printed with drawings from my sketchbook, and then painted again.

Painted, screenprinted with dingbats, and then screenprinted with a screen made with a spiral drawn with a graphite pen.

Painted, screenprinted with my writing, screenprinted again with a screen made from a blown-up photo of a bush in winter.  And this way is the correct orientation.  I think of writing as texture, as the human touch that unconsciously draws us to a work of art, not as something to necessarily be read.

Painted in blue and white, screenprinted with a “burst” made from a photo of a plant in pink and white, then screenprinted with hand-drawn circles and then screenprinted one last time with a swoop of hand-drawn little squares.

Painted, screenprinted with an enlarged harbor scene turned on its side, gold added with a cool little dental tool, like a syringe, given to me by Leslie Jenison. 

 Screenprinted with a screen made from a photo of harbor junk blown up and edited. Layers of screenprinting using blue, gold and copper over a Layer 1 of white. I made one screen of normal size, then enlarged the photo and made a screen of that.  So the two screens are obviously related, but totally different.

Part of the display wall for Open Studio Day.  The fabric above is center. At top left, top right, bottom left and bottom center are pieces with MANY layers of paint and screenprinting. And, yes, with this type of paint, adding layers does add thickness and stiffness.  But that works for me in the type of artwork I generally create.

The blue swirl piece is actually a Layer 1 piece and the hand is the same as a dyed piece of fabric.

The top left piece will be a whole cloth piece, but the top left piece will be cut up as will most of the fabric I created.  The center left piece is a finished piece of art constructed of Tyvek on painted and dyed fabric (more on that in the future.)

Tomorrow – stacks and stack of fabric!


03 2009

A tale of 200 yards of white fabric – Part 1 of 3

Great Expectations Creativity Center – My painting studio. 

Ok, I’ll be honest.  I really didn’t think transforming 200 yards of white fabric would be that much work. Fun, but not too hard to do considering I had the whole month of February. But, really, what WAS I thinking?

Step 1:  Fabric Prep 
I had 200 yards of 60″ wide Kona PFD bleach white cotton fabric shipped directly to Texas.  It came on two rolls:  one 164 yards and one 36 yards.  So I tackled the big roll first.  Just de-rolling it was interesting.  I finally put it on the plastic-covered floor, braced it against a table leg and pulled until my arms were tired.  Then I tore that length off and repeated (ad infinitum).  Then I took each length and tore it down the center to make 30″ wide pieces as that width fit perfectly on my painting table.  This process made so much lint that I took the whole operation outside.  And who wouldn’t want to do it outside with this view?


I covered the little table with plastic, made a pile and measure off an arm’s length, snipped and ripped.  I ended up with approximately 400 one-yard pieces of fabric, all about 30″ wide.  Here is a SMALL portion ready to be painted:


Step 2:  Trained Monkey Phase
I like to put down a base coat of paint before adding additional surface work. Usually I use a brayer about 90% of the time for this layer (fast!) and sponge brushes for the rest.  But either the fabric or paint had technical issues (I’m thinking the paint formulation changed a bit or the paint was exposed to too much cold during shipping) and so brayer painting didn’t work.  Off to the only local shopping venue (a big box we will not name) where I perused the paint department and bought a painting sponge-type thing with a handle. Problem solved.  Here’s a selection of Layer 1 fabric laid out on plastic to dry:


I actually kept quite a few fabrics from this first layer of paint phase as I have so few “solids” to work with usually:

Three multi-colored fabrics, but still Layer 1.
Mostly Layer 1 fabrics with a few notable exceptions.


Unusual for me – very light fabrics.  

Once Layer 1 was done, I repaired to my very spiffy ironing area to heat set the paint.   Pam, the ranch manager, had Hollis and JR move a padded ironing table outside  so I could iron whenever I wanted with lots of fresh air to combat any fumes from heating the paint.  Technically, ironing isn’t required before adding another layer, but I like to see what I have and think about what each piece might need.  


Again, who wouldn’t want to do this outside with this view?  The birds (hawks, bluebirds, mockingbirds, swallows, turkey vultures, chickadees, cardinals, etc.) kept boredom at bay as I ironed away on my 200 yards

Notice primo accessory – cup of java.

Tomorrow:  The Fun Stuff that comes after the Trained Monkey Phase – screenprint, stamp, paint, repeat.
Part 3 on Thursday will be just stacks and stacks of fabric for you to enjoy.  
Then I will wrap up residency week on Friday with some photos of Open Studio Day and the beauty of Texas.


03 2009

Back from month-long residency in Texas


I’m back after a glorious artist’s residency for the month of February at Karey Bresenhan’s Great Expectations Creativity Center in La Grange, Texas.

I painted, screenprinted, stamped and used other surface design techniques to transform 200 yards of 60-inch wide white cotton fabric. It was a lot of work, but I am very pleased with the variety and richness of the fabric.


I thoroughly enjoyed the company of Carol Moore, the other artist-in-residence. Carol worked in the  AIR studio and created fiber artworks of great texture and complexity. Here she is trimming the threads on the back of her stunning Redwood piece:


A month of time to do work, to think and to let the creative well fill is a gift to be cherished by any artist.  I know this time will make a difference in my art making and I thank Karey for the opportunity to experience this perfect time and setting.

More later this week about all that fabric!

Special Note:  I didn’t take any photos at the Open Studio Day and would appreciate receiving any photos from that magical day that others would like to share.  Low-resolution jpegs are fine and may be sent to Virginia(at)


03 2009