Personalized Notebook Covers
It's been a few days since I've given you any news from the studio, but a lot has taken place. Let me start by saying there are several projects going on simultaneously, and I'll try to catch you up.
Keeping records is very important when you experiment as much as I do. I note measurements, temperatures, dye colors, processes, etc., knowing there's no way I'll ever remember everything. But one problem I keep having, is not being able to locate one special notebook to keep everything together. Dyes in one, paints in another, etc. I have at least a dozen composition books and journals going, but recipes all need to be kept in just one.
It's not a new idea, but simple cloth covers in a variety of colors make it much easier to spot the one I need. Making several would give me some options to try different techniques, or what is referred to as adding layers.
This fat quarter was easily made into a simple slip on cover, and I pressed it well, but added no starch, which might interfere with paint or dye. The raw edges are just pressed in, and since the book will be in place they won't show.
Make Your Own Stamp
My own dahlias are just in bud, and I'm anxiously awaiting them. I thought a dahlia stamp would be fun to try, and I sketched one onto plain paper. When I had a simple design I liked, I went over the lines in pencil to darken them. I transferred the design to flexible stamping material by laying the drawing on top with the pencil side down, and burnishing with a heavy spoon. Then I used Speedball linocut tools to carve out the design. Trimming away the excess makes it easier to place your design exactly where you want it.
Positive vs. Negative
When I tested the smooth stamp out with pink ink, the positive surfaces picked up the color. The cut out, or negative areas remained white on the paper. But for the fabric, I chose to use a Golden Pearlescent paint. Can you see how it was so faint on the positive surface it didn't show, but the negative spaces made the design? It was entirely opposite! Your medium, or what you stamp with, makes as big a difference as does your surface.
Simply stamping doesn't cause a big mess, but I even tucked old paper in the folds of this to make sure there was no bleed through. If you're going to stencil or spritz, both of which I did next, cover your work space with recycled newsprint or sacks. Paint splatters even when you're careful.
I used a commercial stencil and sponge pouncer to add branches here in silver. Next I watered down some Jacquard Textile paint, added some Flow Aid to it, and spritzed it out of an old hair product bottle. I let it all dry before adding each layer, and heat set it with an iron at the end. There's a lot more to look at than just the pink, low immersion dyed fabric.
Fixing an Oops!
If you remember back a few weeks, this piece started out as just printed numbers on fabric. When I heat set the paint, I singed it because there was soda ash on the fabric. Soda ash scorches very easily! Beware! To hide the scorch, I dyed it, but then the numbers disappeared. I needed to figure out how to make pale yellow numbers show up on dark or mottled fabric.
Transparent vs. Opaque
Regular fabric paints are transparent meaning you can see through them at least partially. The good thing about that is layering a yellow over a red will give you color mix of orange. This was not the paint's problem here. I needed to find a paint that was labelled 'opaque'. Opaque means light does not show through. A higher pigment in silk screen paints means they are more opaque than other textile paints, and you can see there was a real difference below.
I used a sponge brush to apply the paint to the number stamp, and added more in areas I saw needed it. Carefully I lined them up with the first printing, and pressed onto a padded surface to make my print repair.
In my opinion, it's much better. Another option would be layering batting under it, and FMQ with a bright thread to outline the numbers. I may try that, too, and see what happens. I have nothing to lose, you know. It's just a piece of fabric after all. Be brave!
Come on, Doxie girls.
We have so much to do this week!