Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#3 in the Series and Self Critique

I've finished the top to #3 in the series and this one took me far, far longer than I had anticipated. I think there were two factors involved. First, I was working with a much more controlled palette of fabrics, a total of 6 or 7. Secondly, someone had suggested a few more vertical, thin lines. Don't get me wrong, I'm not easily swayed, but I did see the merit of trying out that idea. So, a bit more planning was involved!

So here it is, as a vertical piece (on the left) and rotated 180 degrees.

What works here:
  • the tighter palette was a lot more fun to use, because I had a limited choice.
  • the dark strips really stand out-strong contrast
  • I actually prefer the one on the right, perhaps because its not as bottom heavy.
Problems I see:
  • the dark strips are too evenly spaced, doesn't create any tension/focal point
  •  no place for the eye to rest, rather jumpy
So, as before, I turned the piece 90 degrees, so it has a horizontal orientation. What a difference!

 To me, all of a sudden its much more painterly.... and a much better composition? I prefer the one on the top. It seems to have hints of a landscape that I find quite appealing. Plus the vertical bits seem rather tree-like. I might go back and either trim a bit off the bottom, or add another darker strip in the lower right hand corner to pull the eye down a bit.
I want you to know that I really do appreciate your comments and have found them very helpful. So lets it from you about this one?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Here's #2...Self Critique

Here is the second in the series that I'm working on, still keeping with the 12" x 24" size. I havent worked for a focal point but did try for even movement across the piece. I've appreciated the comments that people have been sharing with me and look forward to hearing some more. Remember, I have a thick skin....

Here they are with the image rotated 180. I prefer the one on the left as the darker area is at the top.

This is what I think works well:
  • there is good variety of value across it
  • the strong lines are repeated in different sizes
  • the concept of a grid is more consistent
  • there is a more constrained colour palette
This is what doesn't work:
  •  it appears rather chunky/blocky
  • the right side of the piece is heavier
 I have found that as I'm working through the series, I'm in love with the one I'm working on and feeling less love for previous ones (If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with!) So #3 is quite exciting for me!
But here is #2 as a horizontal piece and I find it far more engaging with more movement than the previous orientation. However the centre bottom needs a little more colour.

Here it is cropped a bit closer to the 12" x 24" that it will end up being.

Any more comments that you'd like to add? #3 will be posted sometime early next week, I'm off to go kayaking this weekend.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Recent Series and Self Critique

I've had some ideas slopping around in my brain since I finished "Piet Goes Green" and sent it off to a show (small bragging here). I wanted to continue working with some grey fabrics I had dyed and painted and some others that I thought it was time to use....
I had heard a suggestion of working with a 12" x 24" size as a good size to sample ideas and design. It seemed to suit me, so off I went....
Here is #1, as two images, one rotated 180 degrees.

What do I think is successful about the design?
  • there is good contrast in value
  • the partial circles are a good visual break from straight lines
  • variety of line widths are interesting
What isn't successful about the design?
  •  heavy, dark horizontal lines
  • design seems chunky
  • there doesn't seem to be any flow across the design
It's interesting to see these less successful parts once there are on the computer screen that I couldn't see on my design wall.
As for orientation, I prefer the one on the right. But once I make some changes, we'll see if that's still the case.

Here it is back again, with a couple small changes.

 It's better, but I'm not sure its right. I've cropped the sides in the next photo closer to what it would be as 12" x 24".
Ok, now the orange chunk in the lower left looks too clunky. I may take that section out and work on it.
Comments? I have a thick skin, so be honest!

Thanks for the comments, I really do appreciate everyones thoughts.
Here it is with the orange fixed up and another orientation that Rayna had suggested. I hadnt considered placing it on the horizontal, it may lead me in an entirely new direction with my design ideas!

 Now I really like that spot that had been replaced.....not sure about the large black and blue piece tho!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Where Have You Been?....

I've missed you...missed writing the blog....missed keeping in touch. But I'm back from my adventures and ready to share ideas, thoughts and designs with you. My adventures have taken me half way around the world and if you've been following me on Facebook, perhaps some of this will be a little repetitive.
Someone once said "never let children or animals have the last word" (or something similar!) so I'll start with my cute little animal pictures. Most of these were taken at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, animals in the wild don't pose quite so well, as they are usually moving fast or not moving at all!
If you ever get down to Australia, do take time to visit a sanctuary, most often they are rescued animals that are in a breeding programme to improve populations or overall health and often released back into the wild. Check out the Bonorong Sanctuary here: http://bonorong.com.au/
Here's the little Tasmanian Devil, an ugly creature in my opinion and rather snarly. But I guess someone loves them!

I love the little wallabies, they clasp onto your hand with their claws (not sharp) to eat. I had to buy a little toy one with a book for a special little boy at home.

I also saw a beautiful Kookaburra, and got a great picture. He is bigger than I had imagined and a rather strong beak. Do you remember the song about the Kookaburra, we used to sing it in Girl Guides: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysaskdFpPz8

Of course the Koala is synonymous with Australia, and although I couldn't hold one, I did get a good picture. They are as cute as I had imagined.....while out driving we did come across a group of people looking up into the trees at one of them, but try as we did, couldn't see it! Koalas have unusual eating habits, most of their time is spent sleeping because it requires a lot of energy to digest their toxic, fibrous, low-nutrition diet and sleeping is the best way to conserve energy. (there's a new diet tip for you!) You can learn more about them here: https://www.savethekoala.com/about-koalas/interesting-facts

I was able to get up close to an Emu and we had a little staring contest. I was surprised at the purple colour on his neck. It shows only slightly in this photo.

 My favourite little animal was quite shy but ever so cute, he is called an Echidna (maybe its a she) and has a lovely little waddle when walking, perhaps I feel a kinship there! Even though the quills look prickly apparently they are stiff rather than sharp. And the cutest long nose.....

So those are my holiday pics! Many thanks to Chris for taking me on the wildlife tour....I'll be posting some classroom/workshops pictures soon so you can see the wonderful fabrics that were created! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Printed Fabric Bee....Not So Late!

I'm catching up now to everyone else and getting ready to do my fabric for this month!
But now, I've got a series of photos to walk you through the latest one I've completed, for January! So the theme for January was turquoise and orange colours with Petroglyphs as the image theme. Well, since I live in the Pacific Northwest I decided to use art for this area and found a wonderful richness of images left behind by ancient people....check out this website: http://www.gabriolamuseum.org/petroglyphs.shtml
So here's how it happened....I found some fabric that was turquoise and purple and then forgot I had it...so overdyed some blue and got a nice mottled turquoise.

I remembered just the perfect stamp for a border image and when I found it, it had broken....so I carved another one....

Then I made four separate Thermofax images to use from the Petroglyphs. First there was the "Salmon", printed in a salmon-y red colour .....

Then came the "Killer Whale"...... chasing the Salmon!

And then "Dancing Man" and "Bear"

Now you can see the entire layout. I had fun, learned something about the culture of my local area and created some cool fabric!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Free Online Mini Workshops

Did you know that I have some online workshops, absolutely free? They are little tasters to give you some ideas and basic instructions in a couple of Surface Design techniques.
You've already seen how to make a print table here:


I also have another fabric dyeing demonstration using colour gradations here:

Did you ever think you could combine textile paints, foils and fusible web to create interesting patterns and textures? Well, here's another tidbit for you!

Interested in more? I have several exciting workshops scheduled this year, sign up for my newsletter and you'll be the first to know! If you are wondering about dates, check this out: http://susanpm.com/online-workshops/

Monday, February 9, 2015

How About Some Exciting Surface Design Workshops?

printing with two colors

Surface Design Workshops are in full swing here in Victoria, BC with lots of creative designs and beautiful fabrics coming out of the studio!
I have two more workshops scheduled for this month and there's still time to register. You can get the full details here:

Colour Blocking
February 24, 2015  9:30-12 noon
Try screen printing with thickened dyes to create “colour blocking”! By using an open screen, with no images masked on the screen, students can achieve large areas of one or several colors that can mix and combine on the fabric. These fabrics are perfect to use in piecing, as backgrounds for appliqué or embellishments and clothing, Learn to use value in an important way by changing the dye pastes to suit your needs! this technique was featured in a recent issue of Quilting Arts magazine.
Fee includes all dyes and chemicals. Your supply list will be sent when registration is complete.

Gelatin Plate Printing (with a Gelli Plate)
Purple Ginkgo-no mat  
February 26, 2015   9:30-12:00 noon
Create amazing prints on fabric without a press by using a simple gelatin-like plate. Use stamps, art tools, bubble wrap, stencils and more for exciting mark-making effects on your “Gelli” plate. Printed fabric is perfect for small art, collage, cards and home decor.
Discover the excitement! Fee includes a 6″ x 6″ Gelli Plate to take home, plus all paints and mark-making tools, your supply list will be sent when registration is complete.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Fabric Printing at Home Blog Hop

Are you having fun with the Blog Hop? I'll bet you have got some great ideas to play with on fabric? Maybe you've already started creating beautiful fabric?
Yesterday I pulled some kitchen tools out and laid paint onto a green fat quatrer, using some of my favourite printing tools - rolling pins and brayers!

My friend Jim likes to make things with his power tools, so he takes old wooden rolling pins apart and cuts cool designs into them. They are awesome on fabric! I also wind string around a brayer and print with that or put sticky shapes onto cardboard tubes and print with them....get the idea?

I use textile paints to have a lot of creative fun. How about you?
Would you like to win a copy of the book, plus.....wait for it......the fabric I printed?
Just leave me a note in the comments section and DH will pick a lucky winner on February 9th.
Remember, this could be yours............... once the paint dries!

PS. Watch the video on yesterdays post to see how to make a print table!
Tomorrow's Blog Tour stops by here:
Feb 8: Teri Lucas                                   http://terificreations.wordpress.com/

Friday, February 6, 2015

Making a Print Table

One of the most useful items in my studio is a print table, in fact I have several. One for large pieces of fabric several for small pieces of fabric and for my students and a few to take to workshops that fit into my suitcase.
I've given the instructions to lots of students and actually have the instructions here of the blog somewhere. But I thought it might be useful to have a short video for you.
So here it is, let me know what you think:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Printed Fabric Bee.......late, late late!

Where did January go? I'm late getting my fabric done for the Bee exchange, so sorry everyone. So Lisa Chin has been patient and I will pop it into the mail first thing tomorrow! Lisa's chosen theme was Old World Maps and I'm quite pleased with my results. It didnt take long to make but quite a bit of waiting for paint and paintsticks to dry.
I used a piece of pale taupe fabric, thinking it looked a little old! Truth be, it was an Ikea curtain that I no longer used...
I traced a pretend coastline onto a folded piece of freezer paper because I needed to use both the positive and the negative image, you'll see why later....... Then I cut out the coast line and ironed part of it to the fabric:
 My next step was to use paintsticks and colour in the edge of the paper.
 Next was to stencil some ocean waves with indigo colour textile paint
 I took the freezer paper off.....
 And used the mirror image of the paper to cover up what I had just completed. Then used a map stamp and back textile paint. The green edge of the paper came from a piece that I had used previously.
So here is the final step, I drew around the coastline with a reddy brown marker to emphasize the edge. I think it turned out well. Now onto the next fabric for the Bee!