Saturday, November 24, 2007

Batik meets screen printing and thickened dyes.

Love it! This is so fun and so fast and so fabulous! I drew the design first with wax and a djaunting tool onto the screen. Then I used dye paste from Prochem with dye and soda ash. Since this was the first time, I had no idea how much I needed, so I prepared to do a lot of runs with the screen. Then I pushed the dye through the screen and repeated. The yellow dye is so bright and cheerful!

I was expecting it to run, especially because my design was a bit on the fine side, but the print paste did it's job very well. The whole process only took an hour. I had a lot of waste (only because the soda ash was mixed in, otherwise, I could have saved the left overs). And the process is messy, but I had so much fun doing it, I didn't even notice. And the best part....there is no wax to get out of the cloth!! The design remained very true and the dyes also stayed bright through the entire process. I will make some fish with this fabric. The last note is cleaning the wax off the screen. I haven't done it yet, so I don't know. To see more complete description of the techniques used, see Jane Dunnewold's book Improvisational Screen Printing.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

What I'm Thankful For
Well, there are a lot of things that I am thankful for, but today, I am directing my attention towards my children's school. I am so very thankful for the transfer we received so that they could go there. I am thankful for all their teachers and the support staff that allow so much learning and love happen in the classrooms. This year I am making a quilt for the yearly fundraising auction. How appropriate that I should finish the quilt top today! I am grateful to get to share it with you!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Learning to Draw with Wax
I have a couple of projects in mind that I would love to draw with wax. Unfortunately, most of my experience with batik has been stamping this whole cloth is my practice, or maybe I should say, another opportunity to practice. I love the navy and turquoise together. I was happy with the design. I still want more practice and more control.

I found it to be kind of like drawing with your wrist instead of your fingers. This reminds me of machine quilting, which I find to be like drawing with your entire arm up to the shoulder. It feels strange and unusual at first, but eventually you start to get the hang of it.

Control is more difficult as the nature of the wax changes while you are drawing. When it is hot, it is very fluid and you have to move fast. As it cools, you have to slow down. I was also having problems with big drops of wax running down the outside of the djanting tool unexpectedly leaving drips. Rats! I keep thinking, surely, there must be an easier way, one that gives you a bit more control over the process. I did not find it, so for now, I must go with the flow!

This piece is 60" x 60" whole cloth. I expected it to be much more difficult to get the wax out than it actually was. And expect for a rather large wad of wax that got trapped in the center, it didn't take much time at all to get the wax out.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

27" x 60"

The yellow bellied bird has a fear of heights and sits paralyzed below the sunflower seeds; a metaphor for the fear of success. A contrived and artificial path waits before him. If only he would realize that he has wings to fly...

This is the fourth in a series using real construction fencing as an embellishment in my quilts. (You can see the others by following this link to Plover Lover, Only One, and Balancing Act, you might have to scroll down a bit. ) You could call this art using trash, as I found the construction fencing blowing around in the street. None of the workers near by seemed to care that they were missing a piece of this lovely fencing blowing around, so I decided to make the world a prettier place, in more ways than one!

I am thrilled to say that I got the fat envelope from Houston. This means that it got juried into the show, which is an amazing thrill in and of itself. Even better was the next letter. It said that Vertigo had won a cash award. The awards ceremony is this Tuesday night. I can't stand the suspense!!

Yahoo!! Vertigo won second place!!
I am thrilled! If I hadn't already lost my voice, I would be definitely shouting from the roof tops! And our group quilt, Kiwi and Fuschia Meet for Mojitos, also won 2nd place! If you haven't seen it yet, scroll down a bit. You can see all the winners by clicking this link.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kiwi and Fuschia's Little Sister
approximately 21" x 23"
 This is the little quilt our group made for the IQA auction in Houston this year. Quick and fun to make and we had plenty of fabric. Makers include: Sherri Lipman McCauley, Kathy York, Raewyn Khosla, Connie Hudson, Frances Holliday Alford, and Leslie Jenison. It is called Shades of Kiwi and Fuschia.

Monday, October 15, 2007

3rd Time's the Charm!
Fauna Wins 2nd Place at PIQF!!
Fauna by the Gomez Sisters, Frances Holliday Alford, Kathy York, Vickie Hallmark, Julie John Upshaw, and Judy Coates Perez, (left to right), has won 2nd place at Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, California! Fauna made it's first public showing in Quilting Arts Magazine (April, 2007). As a group, we longed for Fauna to be seen in person at a quilt show, and are delighted that it has done so well, especially after been rejected from two other venues. Below I have attached a few close ups (you might have guessed, I have a new close up lens that I have been playing with). Can you tell that I love dots?  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Meet Kiwi and Fuschia
84" x 49"

This is our group quilt for Houston IQA this fall. It was juried in and apparently has won a cash award because we got the call from Houston last week! Hurray!
Kiwi and Fuschia win 2nd Place!!
The full name of our quilt is Kiwi and Fuschia Meet for Mojito's. Group members include: Frances Holliday Alford, Sherri McCauley, Connie Hudson, Leslie Jenison, Raewyn Khosla, and Kathy York. Apparently we are now the Austin Art Quilt Bee from Brooklyn, NY. What? Okay, really, one of our members just moved to NY, and since the quilt was entered under her name, somehow our group identity has been slightly altered. Oops! We really are based in Austin, but over the years our quilts have come to include members from other cities as well, including: San Antonio, TX, Portland OR, Portland, MA, and now Brooklyn, NY.

Our group members met weekly throughout the winter and spring to make fabric for this quilt. We were taking a class to learn some surface techniques and after the class was over, we picked a color palette, basically chartreuse and fuschia including everything in between when dyeing in successive layers. This quilt was an extension of our quilt from last year, Altered States. We decided to do our collaboration while making the fabric, instead of after the blocks were made. So... we would dye something and then exchange fabric. Then maybe add a layer of shibori, or batik, dye again, and exchange again, and on, and on, and on....We also decided to work with more than just cotton this time. We selected cottons, silks, organza sheers, and silks from old wedding dresses. After we made piles and piles of fabrics, we brought it all together, had a pizza party and then started dividing it up. Each member had a big stash to use when making blocks. After all the blocks were made (and quilted by the artist), we assembled them in a period of about 4 days. Whew!! The the finishing touches, border (satin stitch), label, hanging tube, photograph, and our entry was sent off to Houston. An intense labor of love, this quilt must be seen in person! It is absolutely beautiful!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Jamie Fingal's New Book!!

Jamie Fingal's fabulous new book is very soon to be released. I am very pleased to have been included in this fabulous collection of little embellished quilts. My quilt, Art Quilt Bee, was selected and I couldn't be more thrilled. Interestingly, this little quilt of mine is about my art quilt bee (really?). And one of the members, Frances Holliday Alford, has a number of quilts in this book as well (How We Look at Fruit, Tide Pool, and Yellow). Awesome!!
Want to see some photos from inside the book?
Follow this link!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Ruffle Skirts

I decided to make my daughter some simple ruffle skirts for school this year. Not satisfied with anything in my stash, I saw a big pile of white fabric that was still waiting for inspiration. I grabbed it and ran. I made her 3 ruffle skirts, and dyed matching t-shirts and bicycle shorts (from Dharma Trading Co.). I thought this was going to be an easy plan, but it turned out to be anything but.

I ended up putting a different batik design on every fabric I used. Some were dye painted, others were waxed a second time and overdyed. I think they look really cute and my daughter is super happy with the results. Her eyes sparkle! I am still in awe of the number of hours I spent making in each one....if you are wondering, the fabric for EACH skirt took approximately 6 hours total, that's without the time to sew the skirt.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Learning to Fly
18" x 18"
private collection

This is the companion piece to Vertigo, which was just accepted as a finalist for the IQA show, Quilts: A World of Beauty, in Houston this fall! This piece, Learning to Fly, follows the adventures of our little yellow chickadee, with an appropriately happy ending. Simple and happy and beautiful, I have donated this little quilt to the IQA silent auction. Hey, if no one tries to buy it, does that mean I get to keep it??

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

First Sewing Project
 My daughter wants to learn to sew. So, from the scraps pictured below, I cut a few squares and helped her piece them on the old sewing machine. She was nervous but determined. She is all of just barely six years old. They came out so well, I decided to keep them and make it into a pillow. Unfortunately, I couldn't stand the colors of the two fabrics together, so off we went into the garage where I painted this wax design on, bleach discharged, and then dyed in fuschia (her choice). Afterwards, I taught her a few hand sewing techniques and we embellished with a bit of embroidery on the surface. She did the orange running stitch in the middle, cautiously avoiding the sharp end of the needle. Her older brother jumped in with the yellow backstitch. She didn't have the patience to do it all, so we decided to do it together. Voila'!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Warm Days of Summer
 Standing over a hot electric skillet of melted wax or a vat of boiling water, steam rising, melting the wax off, I am starting the think these are activities for cooler seasons. But I can't help myself, once the muse starts incessant chattering in my head. These are my latest samples, created specifically for my next project. I like them like this; just layed out, side to side, but am not planning to use them this way. However, I might recreate this collection just to use like this as a sampler. The collection grows, now filling a 4' x 8' design wall. It feels good and cheerful just walking by.
These are commercial fabrics: batiked, bleach discharged, and overdyed. Each block is about 6 inches square, more or less.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Batik - Grid Series
Our art bee took a surface design class to learn all about batik, dyeing, over-dyeing, and pole wrap shibori, and clamp shibori. We were attempting to make some complex cloth by adding layer upon layer of dyes. I seem to have gotten stuck on the simple mono-layer though. All of these designs were stamped in wax with found objects (okay, some were found in Home Depot--but I wasn't looking for them when I found them). Then I either brushed dye with a large foam brush or meticulously hand painted the dye inside the shapes. The dye painting was done in one session, no overdyeing in this group of samples. I also had previously soaked the fabric in soda ash before starting as this seemed to work better than soaking after I applied the wax.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Garage Door Dots - What I am Doing Arty this Week
These dots came from my good friend Frances Holliday Alford. She had them made for her black Mercedes Benz for the arrival of Christo and Jean Claude last year in Austin. She really made quite the arrival!! Afterwards, she gave me the dots (they are magnets). They proudly decorated my green beetle and my mommy car for a few months before they landed in the garage. Now a year later, I found them sitting in a dusty corner, so I pulled them out. Low and behold, the garage door is metallic!! First we have, Random Dots, then Double Dipping, and now, Sinus Wave. The neighbors are starting to point..... I call it art in public spaces. People are beginning to stop their cars and get out and come up to my garage, just to see what it is. Some walk by and point! The new one is called: Big Dot.
And just in case you are wondering, yes, I am still quilting too, when I am not busy with such silly antics. I'm just not ready to post the photos yet. You will have to wait.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cover Girl!! Fauna makes the cover of Quilting Arts Magazine!
I couldn't have been more pleased when I found out my seahorse panel was going to be on the cover of Quilting Arts Magazine! The reality of it blew my socks off! The photography and graphic layout are phenomenal (if I do say so myself!). Below you will see a photo of the entire quilt which was given an 8 page spread in Quilting Arts, also an amazing display!
Fauna was made by Frances Holliday Alford, Kathy York, Vickie Hallmark, Julie John Upshaw, and Judy Coates Perez (left to right). I feel very honored to be included in this group of amazing artists. They had been making group quilts long before I was making anything resembling an art quilt. I still remember being asked to join in this latest project. "SURE," I said, no pressure!!
P.S. This issue also has a very lovely article about my quilt Synchronized Swimming and how to make it. The photos are also quite amazing! AND there's more, I'm not finished yet. This issue also features an amazing quilter and friend of mine, Frances Holliday Alford who has many quilts in a special article featuring her! Kudos!

63" x 45"

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Jay Walk has been missing since Feb 22, 2007 when it was sent to IQA Houston via USPS. It was sent delivery confirmation and insured. Unfortunately it was put on the wrong truck and sent to the wrong address in Houston, a business called Genesis Brand located on West Park in Houston. They signed for the package without checking the address on it. Apparently, they accept hundreds of packages every day, and so it is easy to see how it might have been overlooked. The company claims to have looked through every tower of packages in their warehouse. They claim that all misdelivered packages are sent back to the post office. The post office claims never to have gotten it back. It has now officially missed the judging for IQA, Celebrate Spring. So where is Jay Walk?
I can see these birds, still tightly wrapped, snuggled in their box, clawing and pecking for the surface. I visualize them all pushing together, working as a team. I hold out hope that they will find their way to the top of whatever stack they are in and finally be seen and sent home. I miss my birds, and though I have filed a claim with the post office, I'd much rather they find my dear sweet package and send it home!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Neon Tetras and Shibori

I have been distracted by fish again! We saw some neon tetras at the store. I have always loved them, so I decided to make some! These are about one inch long and painted with metallic paints. Their fins are fused from some unnatural irredescent material, (maybe lame?).

I have also been distracted by a surface design class our art bee is taking. The top sample is batik. It took about 15 minutes to make these wax circles for about 1/2 yd sample, not including dyeing time. The circles are about the size of quarters. I think it is gorgeous!!
 I love the bottom sample too. These are tied circles that I learned from the book, Shibori, The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing by Wada, Rice and Barton. The circles are slightly larger than peas. I did a sample slightly smaller than a fat quarter and it took about 7 hours. I love the way it came out, but even with some experience, it just takes too long. I will try some batik smaller circles with a copper pipe next. We'll see how that works!

Here's an update for you of what I used this orange batik fabric for. I will be putting these birds on my new quilt, Vertigo, coming soon! Enjoy! Kathy