Sunday, 6 January 2008

Reflections...and some fabric experiments

Over the last couple of days I have (naturally) been catching up on some blog reading instead of getting on with some projects that I really do want to get underway(really and truly I do!) and I have noticed that a lot of people have reflected on their progress and achievements for 2007 as well as their dreams, hopes and plans for 2008. It was really refreshing reading them and has made me think more about my situation and what exactly it was about 2007 that makes me look forward so much to this year and why I feel so full of anticipation.

I have come to the conclusion that although the last year has been a difficult one on some levels for me in my personal life, the friendship, networks, stimulation and support that I have received (and hopefully also given) as a result of starting a blog have made a huge difference in my life and helped me cope and grow. Rather than dwell on it I would just like to thank
everyone (including the people who visit my blog that I don't yet know) for being part of such a wonderful creative, inspiring and supportive world.

And, as a new year naturally makes you think of fresh starts, I found yesterday that I could not bear the mess in my paper arts room (a reasonably small ex-bedroom) for one minute longer. (Note - at this stage I am ignoring the fabric room, another fairly small ex-bedroom.) I also found that I couldn't even get in there!! The reason - firstly I am a very visual person so I need to SEE my stuff/supplies which means a lot of stuff/supplies gets pulled out and put on the floor (there is never any room on the desk) when I am working on a project. In my creative life I am a very impulsive person so before I finish anything I have also started on something else. This means I need to control/contain the bits for each project, at least to some minimal degree. The system that works for me is to have a multitude of shoe boxes, baskets, trays etc and just keep dumping everything I am using in those. It helps if they are the sort of containers that can be stacked and not fall over when I squeeze past along the tiny bit of remaining floor space to get to the door.

All of this is fine and probably very very normal but the problem is that I hardly ever get around to clearing away and putting away the contents of those containers and I will regularly continue to just pull stuff from them because they are visible rather than opening a cupboard or a drawer. Naturally the act of yanking a piece of painted paper from the bottom container creates chaos very quickly so then I use the scoop and deposit system (generally involves everything loose on the floor being dumped in a bigger box). Bigger boxes take up even more room... To top it all off I seem incapable of throwing away scraps so all manner of tiny offcuts and bits and pieces accumulate.

So late yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours lugging all the stuff off the floor and arranging it all very decoratively (not) down the hall, in the lounge room, in the family room and all over the dining table. I even took the towers of containers down from the top of all the cupboards. I'd show you pictures but it is just too embarrassing! The only trouble with doing all of this is that I now love the look of all that floor space and have no option but to sort through all the stuff, to not only organise it but to thin it out. Needless to say I share the dream of having a large space with long work tables and walls and walls of open storage...

Anyway it is not going to take too much imagination to know what I will be doing today and after work every night this week - except for when I am making the most of the space on my desk and doing creative stuff! I'll have to get it all done before the rest of the family comes back from their extended holiday.

Before I started the emptying routine I coloured cloth (there are four pictures of the end results scattered through this post). It was another hot day and perfect for "frying" your fabric completely dry in a matter of seconds. This is ideal for the effect I wanted to achieve. So I took fabric that I had previously sprayed with Adirondack Color Washes and water. This fabric had been dried too slowly so all the colours merged in a soft way but there were none of the water markings that I love.

So using these fabrics as a base I sprayed the color washes onto a large sheet of plastic (thanks Annie!) and sprayed them with water until I was happy with the look of the droplets (the plastic of course makes the dyes bead up). Then I just touched the pieces of dry fabric against the plastic momentarily, section by section until I was happy with the amount of colour they were taking up. I then immediately hung them in full sun to dry in seconds and then repeated the process, changing colours along the way until I was happy with the result. I just love the effect. These fabrics are for items that won't be washed so I only have to iron them for heat setting purposes.

I also started work on my quilt for the Unique Stitching Challenge which is to raise money for the NSW Cancer Council. The theme is Australian Autumn and the challenge is to visibly incorporate the provided mystery material in your quilt. I don't know if everybody gets the same thing or not but mine is goldish coloured angelina fibre. Quite difficult really as I don't associate sparkle with autumn. Anyway I have experimented by laying gum leaves on a piece of rusted fabric and lightly spraying over them with Color Washes to get soft edged leaf shapes. I have then painted the leaves with Olive Lumiere paint and pressed them onto the fabric so that they overlap the negative shapes. I used the same paint to stamp some text and then I sprayed the whole cloth lightly with walnut ink and gold Moon Shadow Mist. To get more variation I also flicked Super Copper Lumiere paint and very watery Olive paint onto the entire surface. Not sure what I will do next or even if I will use this for the quilt but it was good messy fun to do. I should have worn gloves but I like to use my hands unencumbered!

Yesterday I posted several beautiful postcards I have received from a small exchange I have participated in all year and here are some more beautiful ones that were received just before I left to go on holidays. The technique was to make and use fabric paper (a la Beryl Taylor) somewhere on the postcard. Only Danielle has a blog so unfortunately I can't send you to sites to see more of the other's wonderful work.

(Coralee Barker's Fabric Paper Postcard)

(Danielle's Fabric Paper Postcard)

(Karin Hutchinson's Fabric Paper Postcard)

(Ruth Kelly's Fabric Paper Postcard)

And to finish this rather long post, I am posting a much better scan of Sue Smith's beautiful Silk Postcard as I worked out what I was doing wrong when scanning reflective materials.

(Sue Smith's Silk Postcard)


Sequana said...

This is the most beautiful eye candy blog I've read in a long time. *S*

Both the fabrics and the cards are so pretty.

I have to laugh at the description of your house right now tho. How long do you have before it all needs to be sorted?

Myra said...

Welcome back Debbi! I just went through the same think with my sewing/craft room. I HAD to get some organization going, it took me 2 days but I did it and I feel so much better now.

Your painted fabrics are gorgeous. I know they will appear in something fabulous soon.

Doreen G said...

When I started reading this Debbi I thought that you were thinking along the same lines as me because I was looking for a certain piece of fabric and began removing boxes etc when I decided it all had to be either sorted out or thrown out.
I am like you I call it the dumpster theory --I have heaps of containers and the "stuff" gets tossed into them and then the containers have to stand on top of containers---HELP--

Pat said...

Oh, how I can relate to this,I hate throwing things out and when I do make my room tidy(rarely) I sit there with a clear desk wondering what to do.
You have some very talented friends the cards are very striking.

sharon young said...

Hi Debbie
What a great post! I totally agree with the first part and am also very grateful for the support ,friendship and encouragement of other bloggers, yourself very much included :-)
I felt the same when the turn of the year came, full of hope and enthusiasm/excitement, knowing that there are people out there on the same wave length who are willing to take the time to give each other, sometimes, much needed feed back.
Love your fabric samples , what a fab effect , will have to look up the Adirondack Color Washes never heard of them.
You friends' work looks amazing!
BTW what is the secret to scanning shiny stuff?
Good luck with the sort out. I found the best idea was to have a giant bonfire in the garden, very theraputic!

Homeleightigger said...

Fabuous post Debbi - I was very disappointed when I came to the end! Love the fabrics, I must read it again, to make sure I understand what you did. I also would like to know the secret of 'shiny scanning'. Val

Night Owl Designs said...

Hi Debbi, I think your pieces of fabric look stunning! Good luck organising your craft room :-)

Rosemary aka fabricfan said...

I enjoyed reading your blog tonight, my paper area is driving me nuts with the piles of stuff, the sewing area isn't so bad. Love the fabric and how you created it.

kelsey said...

Those fabric pieces are just beautiful Debbi! Glorious colours and I KNOW that you're going to save every little scrap of it when you work out what you're making out of them!!! lol

Thanks for the insightful read.

Sue McGettigan said...

I love what you did with those fabrics Debbi - most wonderful! Hope 2008 is a good year for you, and thank you for being an inspiring and supportive long-distance friend - one of these days we'll meet for a coffee in Freo :) (I don't have a trip home on the calendar at the moment, but might get a courier flight later in the year).

Jacquelines blog said...

All the best wishes for 2008!!!!this is really gorgeous fabric Debbi, sorry I can't answer you back because my computer is out for repair. I mail you as soon as possible.


This fabric is beautiful Deb!!! Must bea the season for it, ive been altering my room too!!! :))

Gunnels blog said...

So wonderful fabricpieces you have dyed! Really beautiful!

Ev said...

I love the fabric pieces, the colours are fantastic - I will have to get some fabric out and try it out, what fabric did you use?. I have been thinking about you and your long trip home over the last week, so glad you made it safely.