This blog is a place to archive project processes and techniques from Painted Threads with descriptions of how work was produced. I am including comments that contain questions and answers pertaining to the work from many of the original blog posts.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Folk Art Inspired Ornament

What you're going to need

4" square Walnut Hollow aluminum and cardboard from package
embossing tool
ribbon for hanging
red paint
paint brush
decorative craft scissors
paper scissors
hole punch
E-6000 glue or similar adhesive
Adirondack alcohol inks and blending solution (optional)

Click on the heart image to open a full size jpg on another web page. Drag image onto your desktop and print heart design so that it fits on a  4" square (on point, measure on the diagonal).  Trace outline onto the 4" cardboard square that came in the aluminum package. Cut it out and paint it red on both sides. Punch a small hole for the hanging ribbon in the top.

Center line drawing over the 4" metal square and trace the small heart, this will lightly emboss the heart on the metal.

Using decorative edge craft scissors cut just outside the embossed line.

Glue metal heart to cardboard with E-6000 or similar strong multipurpose adhesive, it may need 24 hours to dry completely. Then emboss decorative designs on the metal, I prefer using a nylon tipped tool for this.

Draw the design of your choice on the paper heart, place over the metal and trace the design so that it transfers to the metal.

Go over the lines with the embossing tool to add more depth to the design and add more decorative details.

You could stop here with a silver embossed design or add color with Adirondack Alcohol inks.

Use Alcohol blending solution instead of water to lighten colors, rehydrate the inks on your palette (because they dry very quickly) and clean your brush between colors.

Thread ribbon through the hole and tie it for hanging.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Creating The Look of Rusty, Old, Stained Fabric

A white piece of fabric can be so intimidating to work on, that's one of the reasons I like to start with fabric that has a little color and texture when I plan on collaging and painting it.

I like to create a variety of warm and cool browns.

I mix watery solutions of textile paint, this is a great way to use up the remainders of paint left in the jar. One of my favorite colors is made by combining Setacolor's buttercup yellow and purple, it makes a gorgeous warm ochre brown.

I crumple pieces of dry white pfd cotton fabric and dunk it in the paint solution.

Maybe you might want to use gloves, lol, for some reason I never think of doing things like that.

 Then I squeeze out the fabric

and lay it on the table, partially crumpled, to dry. As it dries the pigment in the paint is drawn to the creases in the fabric.

After it has dried, I iron the fabric to reveal all the beautiful texture.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

DIY Ombre Skirt

I've had this jean skirt for a couple years and have hardly ever worn it, the first reason is the length was not flattering being right at the knee, as you can see here in this photo from quilt festival with my friend  Jane LaFazio and one of my students, Nasreen. It makes my long legs look stumpy and it was just kind of boring.

So I cut off 3 inches and left a raw edge. I'm a 70's girl at heart, I always liked that raw edge on cut offs. Then I set to work bleaching the bottom edge.
Here it is after, much improved, I think.

This is how I did it:
I used bleach, unfortunately with denim there aren't really any other good options for removing the dye, and a bucket.

First I saturated the skirt in water so the bleach wouldn't make a sharp line when I first dipped it. I put about an inch of bleach in a bucket and dipped the skirt in.

Then I poured hot water down the skirt and into the bucket, so there would be more bleach in the bucket but it would be diluted. I slowly dipped the skirt in a little deeper so the diluted bleach went up higher on the skirt. I repeated dipping and pulling the skirt out of the bleach until I got the bottom edge very light and had a nice gradation.

I ran the skirt through a long wash wash cycle to get all the bleach out and put it in the drier on hot to get the bottom nice and frayed.

Now back to work prepping for all my classes at International Quilt Festival next week.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How can you resist such a simple technique

One fun little technique I found works great with acrylic inks (this would also work with Tsukineko inks) is to draw on fabric with a colored pencil or china marker and paint over it like a simple resist. Kind of like in grammar school when you colored with crayons and painted india ink over the top.

So why pencil versus china marker? Simply, pencil will give you a thinner defined line and the china marker a thicker heavier line.

In this case brand does matter. The first sample, if you can see it, was written with a Blick store brand white colored pencil and the second was a Berol Prismacolor white pencil. The Blick pencil was not as creamy and waxy and did not create a very good resist, the ink painted right over it.

If you are unfamiliar with china markers, they are a pencil that can write on a non-porous surface, like plastic, glass or metal and then can be wiped of with a firm rub with a dry cloth.
You don't sharpen them, instead you peel back the paper wrap covering by grasping that little string and pulling it back to the first perforated row
 grab the paper, unwind it
 then draw.
This is a sample I worked on in the acrylic inks class, layering up multiple different techniques.
The thick white lines are textile paint, the thinner flower vine pattern in the center of the paisley is china marker.
The little pale blue crosses in the background were also drawn with white china marker and then painted over with blue ink. I like how they show up really well and have a hint of blue.
I painted over the center of the paisley with red ink.
The pencil does not penetrate the fibers like a gutta resist, so if you have a lot of ink on your brush and the fabric gets really wet it will bleed beyond the pencil lines, but the white lines of the drawn imagery will show through, which to me is the effect I really like.
I painted inside the flowers and leaves with red-violet ink to make them stand out more. The benefit of the china marker was that I could quickly add color without being too fussy and neat because it kept the ink fairly contained.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Making the 8 of Cups

8 of Cups      Judy Coates Perez      24" x 60"

The 8 of Cups came about after going through a rough period emotionally last fall, it was a cathartic piece that I created for an upcoming exhibit called Rituals that will open at International Quilt Festival, Long Beach in July. 

I began by drawing an anatomical heart from an old medical illustration engraving, extending the arteries into curving vines to represent new growth and life. I feel like when I create imagery that is painful but transformative, it helps me on a deeper level internalize the meaning behind it. Below the heart I drew veins from a heart, going upwards, which feel like barren trees, but also have the symbolism of roots to me. The fabric is 3' x 6', the finished piece needed to be 24"x 60".

Using acrylic inks and a 2 inch wide brush, I painted over the drawing with large brush strokes of color.

The only way to get a photo of the whole thing was to stand on the table, unfortunately there is a large shadow falling across it from the window.

Now the thing to keep in mind is, I really didn't have a definite plan here. I tried not to worry about whether it would come out "good" or not, because really that is not the goal. For me it was about processing feelings, thoughts, aspirations hopes... just what was going on personally.

Symbolism of the Imagery
Cicadas, I love the way they buzz in the trees, communicating with each other in circular pattens of sound and I think the growth cycles and transformations they go through in life are fascinating.

The Moon: deception, disappointment, dishonor
Strength: acceptance, courage, optimism, heroism
2 of Cups: resolution, harmony, partnership
2 of Coins: need to balance, energy, amusement

The World: new life, the end of a cycle, attainment of purpose
Cancer crab: represents someone
3 of Swords: betrayal, separation, clearing the way for something better

Grieving the death of relationships, closure and renewal

Hanged Man: suspension, meditation, transformative thinking
6 of Swords: letting go, moving beyond sorrow, the road to recovery
Wheel of Fortune: positive change, progress, beginnings

The cards represented are ones that have come up multiple times in recent readings, so I think their meaning is significant and so very apropos.

While trying to gain perspective on things, the card that turned up most often as an outcome in tarot readings was the 8 of cups. It expressed exactly how I felt and helped me realize I need to be more assertive in taking control of my life. 

Being a tea drinker, using tea cups felt like the perfect imagery to pull all these disparate symbolic images together to represent this card. After painting deeper shades of the various colors around the cups, to separate them from the background, I painted white around a scrollwork design, which feel like flames and feathers, passion and lightness.

I felt like it needed a strong graphic element, so I added a large 8. Then I used a gold paint pen to add decorative details to the scrollwork design.

The cups still blended into the background, so I added a rough and bumpy (like the road in life) outline to the cups, mimicking the style of the 8 and bringing them forward visually.

Finished painting

Eight of Cups: Moving on and letting go. Time to change direction in life. Dissatisfied and disappointed, wanting something entirely different, but not knowing what. Finding courage, taking time to rest and heal.

Preparing the finished work for quilting
I wanted the quilting to have less loft and dimension and instead have more stitched illustrative details, so I used wool felt instead of batting. Luckily I had a big piece of yellow felt that a friend gave me during a recent purging that was just the right size.

I placed a layer of Mistyfuse between the felt and the painted top and did the same with the back. I wouldn't do this with batting because the fusible web penetrates the batting, glueing both the top and back together reducing the loft of the batting, but for this project it's not a problem.

For the back I used left over fabrics that had mistyfuse already adhered to them from the Agave quilt I made several years ago. I don't do fusible applique very often so the fabrics have just been sitting on the shelf not getting used.

For the quilting on the cups, I am using back thread in an illustrative way adding strong black lines to echo the illustration style of the vintage anatomical heart with monofilament in the needle across the middle of the cups.

I decided to continue using monofilament for stitching the feathery flourishes since I do not want to obscure this part of the painted surface with lines of thread and because the monofilament is relatively clear, the more noticeable holes punched by the needle through the fabric gives another kind of visual patterning that I think is kind of interesting.

I chose to do my curvy meandering fill stitching that is reminiscent of leaves and flourish-y shapes in the white background areas to contrast all the linear stitching on the cups with Bottomline thread which is generally used in the bobbin. It's a lighter weight thread, because I wanted the stitched lines to be more subtle.

After the quilting was finished, I marked out the finished size: 24" x 60", sewed a tight straight stitch just inside the marked line, then trimmed it to size.

To finish the edge, I chose to do an untraditional binding with 3 different cords that picked up the colors in the quilt and used them to make a couched twisted cord binding.


What I learned...
Because I like experimenting and trying out things differently, I always learn something new with every project. Sometimes I discover a great new way of working and sometimes it turns out that my initial idea created unexpected challenges or wasn't as successful as I'd hoped.

I used wool rayon felt instead of batting, because I wanted a flat smooth finish for this piece. I used felt a friend had given me that she most likely had sitting around for about 15 years. I had two issues that popped up from using this.

The first one was the stiffness of the felt, compared to batting, made it more difficult for manipulating under the harp of the machine. I think 30 inches would be the widest I would recommend working with felt. Wider than that and I could see some definite limitations to quilting the surface smoothly. I had to roll and fold the piece to work the central areas which sometimes got a little cumbersome.

The second issue came about after I fused my top to the felt. I had a fair amount of rippling of the top due to it not fusing completely in all areas or staying fused for the duration of the quilting (it's possible there may have been a finish on the felt that kept it from adhering), as well as some possible shrinkage of the felt by the high temperature and steam used while fusing.

After the cups and flourishes had been quilted there was a significant amount of buckling in the white areas, I don't think the fusible web was even sticking anymore at that point, luckily the open areas were not very large, maybe 9" at the widest so it didn't present too much of a problem and it all smoothed out nicely with the quilting.

Conclusion: would I use felt again? Yes, but I would take size into consideration, if I was working on a particularly large piece I would probably use a lightweight batting instead. I would also pretest the wool to make sure I didn't have a problem with adhesion when fusing. I think a newer piece of wool felt wouldn't have had the adhesion problems that this one had, I suspect it had a finish on it.
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