'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Thursday 12 March 2009

More experiments

One of the advantages of my idea to use pre-dyed fabrics in C June Barnes' technique of distorting fabric is that you cut out a stage.

One of the disadvantages is that, despite the use of colour catchers, you can get what the detergent ads used to call 'mixed wash accidents'. In my case - a blue one.

Believe it or not, the backing felt on the piece on the right here was white before it went into the washing machine.

Just imagine the fresh spring-like colours here. Before they went a bit blue.

The one on the right was a piece of Evelon, transfer dyed. I don't really like Evelon - part of my general dislike of non-wovens [apart from felt, of course] - but a hot wash seems to have given it a more paper-like surface, which I like better.

The one on the left is a piece of my snow dyed muslin, with white felt behind it. It was really pretty before it turned blue. Fortunately I have more of it so I think I shall have another go.

The piece below was less affected by the colour run, although those grey bits used to be white. This is black fabric, discharged by flicking bleach over it, then overdyed red. The squiggles in the middle were inspired by my pebble studies in January. I did the background by free machining round the splatter marks on the fabric.

The whole thing shrank quite well in the machine - probably around 10 - 15 %. I used black felt, which looked quite shiny and artificial, but clearly had a reasonable wool content. It has a wonderful soft, knobbly surface now. I have learned from this piece that I don't need to do such heavy machining round the areas I want to puff up, just a row or two will work. On the other hand, if I want to distort the fabric by stitch alone, I need to do a lot - probably more than I have patience for.

And this is the culprit - the source of the blue dye. And I don't even like it - it is much too busy, with layered fabrics of different textures, and the distortion caused by the shrinkage.

One to paint all over. or stitch all over, or cut up and reassemble - or all three - or dispatch it, Frisbee like towards the bin ...

The first experimental piece is coming along nicely. I finished the overstitching, and added some detached chain round some of the circles, and random cross stitch amongst some of the free machining. I did try a few French knots, but the thick rayon thread was reluctant to go through even the thinner parts of the piece, so I decided to keep it for couching or whipping.

Today's red picture comes from the Watts Memorial Chapel near Guildford. Despite living near it for around 25 years, off and on. it was only last year that we went for the first time, and fell in love. The small interior is covered with wonderful images like this - the photo doesn't do her justice.

Probably a life time of inspiration for embroiderers in one small building!


Liisa Mannery said...

Hello, Celia. I'm glad you found the Stapleless Book link useful, and that you're enjoying my attempt to make a book a day. I followed your profile over here - clearly I will have to come back and explore some more. It looks as if we love many of the same things.

That is one adorable granddaughter...what hair!

Unknown said...

Hi C-C,
from all of us,
L, R, C and Y xxxx
Looking forward to seeing you tonight!


PS. Sorry this message is a blogger comment and not an email but I don't yet have your email address on my new netbook, only your blog url!