Saturday, October 29, 2011

Getting back to work

Now that the remodeling is finished, I have no more excuses for not being in the studio working. But I sure am out of the habit, in addition to feeling very un-creative.  So I thought I would prime the pump by doing some fabric painting. Several weeks ago I bought a Gelli plate from Gelli Arts. This is a substitute for a gelatin plate except it doesn't deteriorate nor does it need refrigeration. I thought it has a lot of positives, first off being that you don't have to plan ahead to mix up the gelatin. So I got mine out and began to play with it. The first thing I noticed is that it is much firmer than gelatin. When I tried putting leaves and other stuff on it to make an impression, they tended to slide around a bit. Also, I often put too much paint on and so ended up with a very blotchy print. I haven't quite decided if I'm in love with this or not - I think it needs more practice.

Next I watched Kerr Grabowski's Adventures in Surface Design I've taken classes from Kerr and also have her Deconstructed Screen Printing DVD, and both are fabulous. This new DVD focuses on paint, instead of thickened dye as in DSP. She does some screen printing with torn paper stencils and also works with water soluble crayons and oil pastels. These would be some fun techniques to add to my gel printed fabrics.

 
On this piece I tried to use her technique of doing a repeat design. I didn't line my screen up very well so the prints are a bit offset, but it's not a big deal. The green layer is from the gel prints. And I also used a curved tip syringe to do some scribbling.


On this piece I drew on the screen with the oil pastels, and then pulled the transparent paint base to transfer the colors to the fabric.


This is a torn paper stencil along with brush strokes. I think this piece of fabric will look a whole lot better when it's cut up.



I used the fabric crayons to do a rubbing from a sink mat onto the fabric, and then screened it with yellow paint.


For this piece I did a rubbing onto the screen, and then pulled it with yellow paint. This works a bit like deconstructed screen printing since the crayon slowly transfers to the fabric and you get color outlines.


For this one I drew directly on the screen with the crayon. It was a grid with random x-es. The x marks deconstructed and lasted a lot longer than the grid. By the fourth pull, the grid was pretty much gone.


I suspended this piece of fabric, filled a syringe with watered down paint and then drew lines, letting the paint drip down the fabric. The paint was pretty dilute and it mostly just spread out. It would be really cool if the paint would form drip marks and not be absorbed into the fabric, but I don't have a clue how that would be accomplished.


Random brush marks, then dip the fabric in very dilute paint, wrinkle it up, then let dry. The dilute paint migrates and makes interesting effects.




Here again I drew on the screen, filled circles and scribble lines. I love the outlines around the circles and lines as the crayon dissolves from the screen onto the fabric. One major difference between working with paints and working with thickened dyes is that the paint cannot be allowed to dry on the screen. If it's not washed immediately, it dries and the screen is ruined. Thickened dye can be allowed to dry on the screen and then it becomes part of the next design also. These little remnants of color really spark up the fabric. I guess I will have to get out the dyes....

Post remodel observation: Since the kitchen level is now insulated to nearly an R-15 and the rest of the house has no insulation we are finding that the kitchen is the warmest room in the house. Used to be the coldest, and in the dead of winter I always had a space heater running under the table to keep me warm. But now we have a dilemma. The thermostat is on the kitchen level. When it's set at 68 degrees, it's fine for that room, but the rest of the house is at least 2 degrees colder, and it's noticeable.  If we jack the thermostat up to make the rest of the house 68 degrees, it's almost too warm in the kitchen. Insulating the rest of the house is not an option, so we're going to have to think of some other method of redistributing the warm air. It's tough in a split level house to get good airflow. And it's supposed to snow tonight. There have only been 4 recorded snows in Baltimore in October. With leaves still on the trees, branches will fall. Bummer. 





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