It’s always a leap of faith when I try to follow directions in a magazine. Will I forget a step? Will my minor supply substitutions cause an epic fail? Will the directions be specific enough for me to feel confident of the steps?
Recently I’ve been on a sewing room purge. Now that I’m acquiring painting and collage supplies space is at a premium. My back issues of Quilting Arts and other related magazines were a good place to begin de-accessioning. As I scanned them for any articles I wanted to save I found a method to make paper cloth. It called for cheesecloth, freezer paper, matte medium, and lightweight paper such as tissue paper and decorative paper napkins. I possessed all these items, so I went to work.
While I read the instructions through first, and heeded the author’s warning to have all supplies at hand before using the matte medium, I kept halting the process to figure out specifics. For example, I was to have foot square pieces of cheesecloth, but did the author mean a single layer or the multiple layers as cheesecloth comes packed. I first tried a single layer and decided it seemed way too wimpy so I went with a double layer. Then, I was to use “several” tablespoons of matte medium on the freezer paper and add more medium once the cheesecloth was placed on the initial layer. Yet more was to be added after the paper was put down. I had a hard time defining “several.” I ended up using almost half a container of liquid matte medium. The back of the cheesecloth is solid acrylic. Don’t you just love it when the final instruction is “Experiment and have fun!”
I realize I may have overthought the process, but the results were underwhelming.
I stamped over both of them to see if I liked them better. Meh. It may be that my choices of light weight papers weren’t best suited to the technique, but I can get similar effects more easily with paper or fabric collage. I realize that the end product is meant as raw material for a finished piece, but I can’t see sewing over the thick, rubbery material I created.
If I do anything more to these two square feet of paper cloth it will be to paint over most of it and add it to collages.
I have fond childhood memories of cutting up sheets of colored paper with blunt end scissors to make shapes, then gluing them (and my fingers) to construction paper. For my latest master class assignment, layers, I’m revisiting those kindergarten skills.
I love transparent layers, so I’m deviating a bit from the assignment by cutting tissue paper into three sizes of a candle flame-like shape. Then I play. When I make an arrangement that appeals to me, I take a picture.
Here are my shapes ready for action.
I warmed up with simple combinations, then got more baroque.
For my class I’m de-saturating the colors so I can see if the values work, but those photos aren’t nearly as much fun. I’m also doing a pencil sketch that’s quite elaborate, but again it’s black and white.
My silk organza arrived from Dharma Trading, so I’ll start painting it once I pick my colors.
I’ve taken up mixed media to help expand my repertoire of ways to work with fabric. In this instance I’m coloring tissue papers with ink dyes, sealing them with matte gel medium, fusing them to interfacing or fabric, and using the resulting product as fabric. It’s part of an online course I’m taking. Here’s an example of a piece that’s ready to use.
Along the way I began applying the colored tissue directly to fabric with gel medium or Yes Paste. A while back I colored fabric with bleeding tissue paper so I had a stock of those papers. I tore up strips and glued them onto drill cloth with the following results.
Since I had made more organza leaves I decided to sew them onto my collaged fabric, along with some ribbon. I also sandwiched the top with a piece of felt and fabric backing and did some rudimentary quilting.
Well, the instructor didn’t much like this (the ribbon looked like ribbon, the tissue paper looked like tissue paper, etc.) so I began to paint over areas. I also glued on more tissue that I had spray painted. At present the piece looks like this.
I haven’t done any painting (besides walls) since before many of you were born. It’s been fun to get back to it, even if the results aren’t what I had hoped.
With the frost on the pumpkins, this dyeing season has closed at my house. However, there are still ways to color fabric even with the dye buckets packed away. The easiest, hands down, is to use tissue paper.
You may remember this craft from grade school. With some fabric, some brightly colored tissue paper that will bleed (we used Spectra brand,) and some water you can watch boring white fabric become a rainbow of colors.
Here the PFD fabric is draped over the cat litter tray (never used for that purpose), sprayed with water, and layered with tissue. A final spray encourages the paper to bleed.
Here are stacks soaking on newspapers. There are plastic bags under each stack. After about an hour or so the tissue was mostly spent and was removed.
Both of the above were done on previously dyed/painted/stamped fabrics.
This was done on silk organza to use as an overlay on a landscape.
No, my camera wasn’t out of focus. The paper bled like that.
Here are some of the effects my friend got.
Looks like she’s already used some of her fabric.
The good points about this technique: easy, little mess; good to do with children; it can be used on silk; layered papers produce new colors. The bad points: the fabric can’t be washed without losing most of the color; the colors may fade with time; the effects are smudgy.