Thursday, July 19, 2007

Working with Lesley was delightful. She is so warm and inviting, so engaging as an instructor. She also has a great sense of humor. She started the class with her story of coming into art – by combining her passion for fabric, photos and quotes, leading to her Fragments series. This led me to question what is my passion, what do I enjoy working with?

Paper of all kinds and textures
Fabric of all kinds and textures
Paint (acrylic and oil pastels, glitter)
Photos of people, gardens/flowers,
statuary, buildings, streets, portals …
Text – paper, handwritten, stamped;
used as background, layered under something, also quotes
Stamps – old
postage stamps, contemporary art stamps
Stitches – hand and machine
Beads and buttons The list isn’t as refined (yet) as Lesley’s, but it adds up to a surface that is highly textured, dimensional and layered.

The first day we transferred images to fabric from photos and transparencies. We also created paper fabric and used Yuppo, a synthetic watercolor paper that transfers the paint to fabric and is reusable. I think if one does this a lot, you can become “good” at it, but it does take lots of practice and you must give up the notion that it will be “perfect.” It gave me some ideas for using my own photos to add subtle dimension to my fabrics.

Day 2 was used in altering fabrics. We discharged fabric with bleach (which has become a favorite tool for me!), we painted and stamped and stenciled fabrics, screen printed, masked, and generally did anything we could to alter fabric. This is great because I use mostly commercial fabrics and now I have several techniques to make them “mine.” Oh, yes, we also painted brown paper bags … when painted feels almost like leather. A great way to recycle, along with painted paper towels.

Interesting that my color palette became rich ochre tones. With the exception of 1 piece of green paper fabric, I used a lot of Crimson and Nickel Azo Gold. Very different palette from my usual bright colors – a result of the discharging and painting.

The last day was spent on using all these fabrics to create collages or a sampler book. Lesley covered several things: bookmaking with button closure, collage, fusing with wonder under, coffee staining, framing, pens, and more.

I’d decided I wanted to make a book, so I worked on creating several collaged pages, and pinned them into place because I didn’t feel like setting up my sewing machine. Also, I like to do the creative thing in my own space. Lessons learned include:

· Wait to stitch until the project is close to completion, keeping options open
· In making size decisions for projects – go with standard sizes, easier for framing, also visually appealing
· Paint and stamp and stencil fabrics before construction – have lots of fabric choices
· WonderUnder is great for temporarily attaching fabrics until stitching; just put snippets under the fabric
· Don’t rush to complete – let it sit for a while, look at it frequently, look for embellishments that are related to the theme that will enhance

Great class! My project turned out very different from last years.


Lesley Riley said...

Jan - Thanks for htis wonderful write up of the class and your experience. I love that the weekend became such a spiritual retreat for you. The universe sure knows how to WOW us, doesn't it?

Beate Knappe said...

wonderful - I like what you have done a lot

sewnut said...

I love collages - they are so orgabic and textile. Your images are inviting