Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Colouring of Materials - bonus.


On this occasion, I dyed all the little pieces in plastic bags,
them sewed them together. I rinsed them several times
and the water seemed to be pretty well clear.
As they were drying on pieces of kitchen roll, I noticed
that some colour was coming out of them onto the papers.
During subsequent dyeing adventures, I re-used the same
papers but dried different coloured dyed samples on them.
I ended up with some lovely random effects which I'm sure
will come in useful in the future.
Even better, they all split into three layers, each of which is
slightly different. Oh, joy!
We all love an unexpected bonus, don't we?


This is a general view of the papers.


I've taken close ups of some of my favourites.



Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Chapter 6. Colouring of Materials. Part 3.

In part 3, I've returned to a computer manipulated image which I used at the beginning of my sketchbook. The formerly elegant angels looked like swirly ghosts after manipulation with Paint Shop Pro. These strong, bright colours are more like the palette I would prefer to work with.




The composition of these yarns is as follows -
1) cotton boucle
2) thick cotton perle
3) cotton chenille
4) thin cotton perle
5) thick cotton
6) viscose boucle with cotton binder
7) viscose and cotton 'snarl' yarn
8) viscose gimp
9) cotton slub
10) bamboo
11) cotton and polyester boucle

I really like the variegated effect of these yarns and I can't wait to use them!


This is a bit of a cheat, as I used my embroidery machine to make the motifs on this little bag. The background is free embroidery, quilted through cotton wadding and the fabric is hand-dyed cotton velvet, lined with pure silk.
I just couldn't wait to make something with some of the hand-dyed fabric! (No self-control - it applies to chocolate, too)

Chapter 6. Colouring of Materials. Part 2.

Unfortunately, I didn't get everything prepared after the gym last night, in time to post again. However - home from the gym again this morning and full of energy (or maybe not), here is part 2.

Last time, I mixed the dye powders to obtain the colours I wanted. This time, I mixed up the straight colours in the bottles, then mixed the liquids together in the plastic bags, on top of the damp fabrics.


Once again, I'm using this gorgeous gargoyle. He's so characterful - but difficult to photograph, as he's so high up. I really like the cool colouring in this photograph and the rather slimy green areas on the stone. This is quite a limited palette, all blues & greens. Again, it's not what I would normally choose but it's good sometimes to work outside your comfort zone.


Sample 1, the cotton/viscose brocade, was different on both sides so I reversed some of the pieces to show the difference. Sometimes the flowers are shiny and in other samples, the background is shiny. This fabric seems to have more variety of colour than some of the others and it's one of my favourites.
The silk/viscose velvet has taken the dye really well but it was evil to sew - it's exceptionally slippery - and stretchy!


Again, I used up the remaining dyes on the yarn samples. From top to bottom, they are made from -
1) cotton chenille
2) cotton perle
3) cotton boucle
4) loosely twisted cotton and viscose
5) cotton and polyester slub
6) viscose ribbon.

I don't think I've ever dyed this much yarn in my life. Now, I just need to acquire the taste for hand stitching! (or maybe I'll just use it for couching and the embellisher)

Monday, 17 October 2011

Chapter 6. Colouring of Materials

After a long break, I've started on Diploma work again - and not before time!

I decided to use cold water 'fibre-reactive' dyes (Procion) for my samples, although I'll probably experiment with other methods too.
This first batch of samples was taken from an old gravestone, adorned with a dove. This is not the type of colour palette which I would normally work with - and that's why I chose it.
All of the portfolio pages are A2 size.



I liked the strong contrast between the three shades of grey and the 'acid bright' yellows and greens. I've used a range of fabrics, listed in the left hand column.
Fabric sample number 5, the cotton mix jacquard, looked different on each side. I've used the 'front' for some samples and the 'back' for others, to show the different effects.


Dark grey fabric sample 3, the silk chiffon, had disappeared when I came to sew the strips together. Of course, just after I glued the samples in, it re-appeared -jumbled up with the dyed threads. The silk chiffon was very wispy and elusive. I'll have to keep a watchful eye on it in future.


I put a selection of skeins into each plastic bag, as I was dyeing. They are (from top to bottom)
a) bamboo b) cotton boucle c) viscose ribbon d) viscose loop with cotton binder
e) cotton/polyester slub


Here they are, in all their glory.


To use up the left over dyes. I put these pieces of velvet in a tray and dropped the colours onto them. I think the top piece is synthetic, as it came out very pale. They were cheap bundles (60p each) and had no details with them so I don't really know what they were made from.
Overall, I was pleased with this first batch of dyeing. The samples were very close to the gravestone colours so I feel quite encouraged by this.
Roll on the next set of samples. I may post them when I return from the gym, if I'm in a fit state!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Weekend workshop with Carol McFee

I recently attended an excellent course called 'Textured
Surfaces for Stitch', with Carol McFee. She and Lynda Monk
wrote the book, 'Stitching The Textured Surface', which I
have in my hoard.

We used texture pastes and gels to create interesting surfaces
on a variety of backgrounds. Carol then demonstrated her
colouring methods, which give lovely, iridescent effects.
I don't want to give away too many details about the course, in fairness to Carol.
I would certainly recommend anyone who has the opportunity
to go on this course. I came away with my head buzzing with ideas.

Carol and Lynda have some free tutorials on their website at

A lot of these effects were quite ethereal and I could see them
being very useful for my theme, 'Churches, Chapels and Churchyards'.
Number 1 could convey the misty, eroded designs on some of
the gravestones I've seen.

Although we used mainly commercial stencils, I'd like to cut
my own to link in with my theme.

Some of the materials we used absorbed the colour and
others acted as resists. Using them both in the same piece
would give even more scope for experimentation.

As you can see, some of the colouring materials were very shiny.
The seahorses in this sample remind me of carved wood - another useful effect!


This surface suggests weathering and decay.
Again, that would fit in perfectly with my theme.

As I leave early for the Urchfont Summer School tomorrow,
I'm not going to be able to follow up these techniques until I get back.

Doubtless, I'll come back with my head full of bees again.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Colour Study 3.



I bought a pad of this paper a long time ago. It's called Schut Aquarel Flamboyant watercolour paper. The surface is very rough and it was very expensive. Every now and then I would take it out and admire (stroke) it, then put it away again. It seemed much too special to use.
I came across it last night when I was looking for something else and it seemed perfect for this colour mixing sample.


Close up of the pastel sketch washed over with black ink.

Close up of the other side, which looks less striking without the ink.


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Colour study 2

I've just included this close up of the kitchen towels to show the texture, as it didn't show up in my last batch of photographs. They were very absorbent and really drank up lots of paint. On the bright side, after they are dry they can be peeled and the three layers can be split.This means that you get three textured, co-ordinating sheets of paper.

Sian made a valid comment in her feedback - that many of my samples in picture 9 looked similar in tone. I think I probably concentrated too much on the bright colours and not enough on the darks. Here, I've added some more of the darker colours to get a greater range.
These samples are on thin wrapping paper - white, with denser fibres scattered about on it.

Just three more on watercolour paper. The sample on the right looks very pale but it wasn't at all. This is the third picture I took, too!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Chapter 5. Colour Study

I enjoyed this activity and decided to continue it using different types of pictures and colour combinations. This is one of my favourite colour investigations in this chapter. I like the strong contrast between the lights and darks and the mysterious, moody palette of colours.


I liked the gentle blues, lilacs, peaches and greens in the left hand picture.
I'd probably prefer the right hand colour scheme with the addition of more blues and oranges and more contrast. As it is, it looks a bit bland.

I was pleased with the results of this activity and I think that the dyed fabric colours turned out to be a good match to the photograph.

These colour swatches are displayed on two sheets of A2 card. The coloured squares seemed to get everywhere, especially after I put a book down too quickly and sent them all into orbit!



Considering how many colour circles I've done in the past, this took longer than I expected. Perhaps that means that it was high time I did another one! Once again, I painted a lot of test samples before filling in the sections.
I quite enjoyed making some samples with foodstuffs and make up and was tempted to do more. In the end, I decided to carry it over to the dyeing chapter instead.

It was quite a nice change to work with a different colour palette!
I really love this colour scheme, especially after the addition of more darker samples (in colour study 2). The warm oranges, reds and golds are exciting when combined with the purples and plums.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Chapter 4. Shape and Pattern.


Before I began this chapter I made a small, card viewfinder and used it to look through my photographs and sketchbook. I then chose a range of my findings to make outline drawings from. I was looking for shapes with a reasonable amount of detail, which would look different when rotated - asymmetrical and interesting!


This one is from a gravestone I had photographed. First, I did some tracing, then I made a selection of printing blocks based on my favourite shapes.


The blocks were made from card, string, polystyrene and self-adhesive foam.


This is sheet 1. The black card is A2 and I used five sheets to display the work.


You can see the first shape I chose, on the gravestone.


This picture reminded me of the Victorian, curly feather fans.





Below - Sheet 3 using the gravestone motif.




I did a lot of work with this motif, because I really liked it - but time to move on..........


If you look at the lower half of this motif, it looks like a man with a big nose and his mouth wide open. Or is that just me? It also looks a bit like a jigsaw piece. In fact, the more I look at it..........



I used the picture above/left for this but the colours are so different that it's not immediately obvious.


I decided not to glue this piece all over, as I liked the 3-D result. It reminds me of a circle of people dancing round a Maypole.


Time for another change of shape. I quite liked the little dragon's wing - although it wasn't as exciting as the other shapes I used.


Here are just a few of the results I ended up with after looking at the 'leftovers' picture with a viewfinder. I isolated lots of different shapes, sometimes turning the picture on its side or upside down. This could go on forever!