Monday, 20 August 2012

Inspiration Monday : Do Something Different

...or at least, differently.  We all have routines, ways of thinking about and doing things that become habits, that become a rut.  Today, do something differently!  Combine two colours that you wouldn't usually combine; see where it takes you.  Use a new material, see what it does.  Go for a walk in a place you've thought about visiting, but never have; see what you see.  Ask yourself the question, What If I Just...  , finish it to suit yourself, and then, most importantly, DO IT!  This week, I'll show you a couple of my experiments in this way, using materials I wouldn't have considered using with Lutradur and Evolon.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Wondering Wednesday... Why Spunbonded?

I've often been asked why I work with spunbonded fabrics at all.  The argument runs that there are plenty natural fabrics which have been used traditionally to great effect, so why do we need these new fabrics?  And I must admit, that I start all my talks with the sentence, if you had said to me ten years ago that I'd spend 90% of my time working with polyesters and nylons, I'd have laughed at you...and yet here I am, doing just that!

Well, arguably, we don't.  Silk will give us many of the effects that Lutradur and Zeelon give us; it's more difficult to find a natural fabric that corresponds to Evolon; brushed cotton, perhaps, cotton velvet or suede?  Suede is probably the closest to the unique textures of Evolon, as it is not woven...but then, of course, it isn't a cloth at all... The reasons why I use spunbonded fabrics are simple; they are quick and easy to dye, they take colour really well, they have amazing textures, they don't fray, they do what they are told (not something that can be said of silk organza...).  Easy to work with, great effects.

And what of tradition?  Well... I think stitchers of yesteryear used what was available; if polyester had been available, they would have used it.  Ditto for spunbonded fabrics.  If you haven't used them yet, give it a try...there are a number of short projects on this blog for you to attempt (try searching on Try It Out to get a selection). 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Try It Out Tuesday : From The Brink

Sometimes, you just plain get it wrong.  I put a piece of Lutradur 30 together with a piece of Evolon, and transfer dyed them yellow, with blue/green stripes running across it.  It was...errr... loud. Screamingly loud.  I like bright colours, but this was eye watering.  So I did what I always do when I make a mistake; I lived with it for a while.  It didn't get any better.  So I decided to treat it as a background and go for A Bold Statement.  I made a rune shape from wool, and felted it into the cloth.  As bold statements go, it screeched.  Definitely Worse.   (Trust me, it was even louder than the photo...sigh.)

So... what to do?  The obvious thing to do was to add another layer; semi transparency is what Lutradur is best at, right?  Mmm.  On this occasion, though, I did have another option.  Taking the lutradur firmly, I began to peel it off the Evolon until I got to the first of the felted wool.  I then cut round the wool, and continued until I had freed the whole of the piece except the centre of the circle. 

You can see the difference; the colour is nowhere near as strong, except in the circle.  It gives the impression of something that is faded.If you look in the close up, you can see how Lutradur has acted as a resist, giving a crackle effect to the colour.  I've talked about this before on the blog, so the technique is perhaps not new to you, but using it in this way, to remove colour from a piece, is an interesting variation.  Why not try it at postcard size, to see the effects for yourself.

Now, I have to decide what to do with it... I think stitch, first.  And then, we'll see.  What would you do with this developing piece?

Monday, 6 August 2012

Inspiration Monday

When in doubt, write it out.

Sometimes, when you just can't work out what to do next, it's a good idea to have a conversation with yourself.  I like to do that in writing, so that I can see what I think, literally.  I remind myself what my intentions are/were for the piece, and then work out what is getting in the way of achieving that.  Tomorrow, I'll show you an example of how you can work with a piece you are stuck with.

Of course, it doesn't just work for being stuck with a piece; it can help you to formulate ideas for the next piece, particularly if you are working in series.  Then, you have a written record of where the series is going; sometimes, it helps to be able to look back at a written record to see how your thinking has developed over a period of time.