Adventures in Shibori Dyeing

I’ve had this on my “To Do” list for years: literally Finally, after some reading, some dyeing experience and creating some suitable space for the project, I accumulated a few supplies and got started.

  • 100% cotton fabric, prepared for dyeing
  • resist material such as rubber bands, twine, flat templates in simple shapes
  • dye bath using Procion MX Indigo color
  • additives – soda ash, salt –
  • Synthrapol 
  • mask to cover nose and mouth while handling undissolved dye powder
  • elbow length rubber gloves
  • plastic sheeting to protect working surface and floor as needed

The term Shibori refers to a technique used to dye fabric.   In Japan, the earliest evidence of its use dates all the way back to the 8th Century!
Shibori is a type of resist technique in which the fabric itself is manipulated by sewing or wrapping or folding. When the dye is applied it is unable to reach the areas that have been obstructed by the folds etc. Thus, some very appealing patterns can be generated.
I enjoyed this process so much and was able to try out a variety. I folded, fan-folded, flag-folded, bound with rubber bands or twine. I even applied plexiglass shapes to the ends of my folded cloth on several occasions and bound it all together. This variety of Shibori is called Itajime.

Some bundles of Itajime ready for the dye pot:

Itajimi Round SamplesF1Itajimi Rectangle Samples

It can get a little messy – took me until the next day to get all the blue off my fingers. And yes I did wear rubber gloves. Traditional Shibori uses an Indigo dye that is complicated to use. I achieved my results with a Procion MX dye – the color indigo.

All the little bundles sitting in the dye bath

All the Little Bundles of Fabric Sitting in the Dye Bath

What I loved most? After the fabric bundles had “cured” for many hours, rinsing them off and undoing them for the great reveal! A lot of Shibori is predictable according to the specific technique. But there’s always that serendipity that the individual introduces so that each piece is unique.

Some of my results showing the bundle after it has ‘cured’ in the dye bath; then the fabric that resulted following unfolding and rinsing with tap water.

C2FanFold Rolled Bound with Rubber Bands

Fan Folded, Rolled, Secured with Rubber Bands

IMG_4015

Fan Folded, Rolled, Secured with Rubber Bands

E2Flag Fold Small Circle Itajime
Itajime, Flag Folded with round templates tied on with twine
E3Flag Fold Circle
Itajime, Flag Folded with round templates tied on with twine
Random pieces of the fabric are tied off with twine
Random pieces of the fabric are tied off with twine
A3Random Sections Tied Off

Random pieces of the fabric are tied off with twine

F2Fan Fold Itajime RectangleMG_4018

Itajime, Fan Folded Fabric, Rectangular Templates attached With Twine

F3Rectangle Itajimi Fan Fold

Itajime, Fan Folded Fabric, Rectangular Templates attached With Twine

IMG_4046

The colors lightened slightly after washing, drying and pressing.  In some cases this added to the definition.

flag folded

tied off random

I also threw in a larger piece of fabric “as is”  and now have some mottled Indigo fabric in my stash.

whole cloth dyed

All in all, a VERY satisfying afternoon of work!

I welcome your comments and questions!

Beach Buddies – featured on the Superior Threads Blog

I was so excited to see that Superior Threads has featured my art quilt “Beach Buddies” on their blog.

http://www.superiorthreads.com/blog/2014/8/superior-spotlight-guila-g/

Years ago I took a photo of my husband and oldest granddaughter walking on the beach. I always loved that photo and knew that someday I would do something special with it.  After learning more about making pictorial quilts, including a workshop with Wendy Butler Berns, I made this quilt.

I enjoyed the process of making it immensely – and loved quilting it with silk thread.  I used Superior’s Kimono #100, a very fine thread.

detail 1 I did the quilting with #100 Kimono Silk

Detail 1

 

Beach_Buddies_detail

Detail 2

 

detail 3

detail 3

detail 2 The little girl is my oldest granddaughte

Detail 4

 

And this is the photo that I took when my granddaughter was only 2 years old.  She is now a senior in high school !

This is the photo of John and Marley that I based

Original Photo

 

 

Time To Get Bitten By The Quilt Bug !

It’s time to get bitten by the Quilt Bug – definitely a LOT more fun than mosquitoes.

You’ll have a great chance to jump in with our newly scheduled Introduction to Quilting Course to be held at Quilty Pleasures in Simi Valley starting in September.  During the series of 6 classes you will learn the skills that you need to make your first quilt.

You will be making a vibrant Autumn (or theme of your choosing) wall quilt 32 inches by 32 inches featuring fabrics that you will choose at the first class meeting.

Here’s a photo of the sample we have prepared.

IMG_20130719_135721_599 - Version 2

http://www.quiltypleasures.org

Call Quilty Pleasures to sign up today -805-581-1577

Celebration Art Cards

As the year is winding down I’m busy getting my act ready to take on the road for 2013.  A new workshop being offered is Celebration Art Cards.

This is one of my favorite things – creating small mixed media pieces – combining colors and textures as I go to achieve a special look. It’s all about color – movement – mood – and most of all letting those creative forces loose and having FUN!!

Here is a preview:

celebration art card 2celebration art card 3celebration art card 1

Workshop being offered at Baron’s Sewing Center Friday January 18: 4 PM until 7 PM.

In addition – I will be demo-ing this technique at the San Fernando Valley Quilt Association’s annual Quilt College, Monday February 18, 2013

Latest Series of Workshops – a Highlight of the Summer

I can say two things for sure: Teaching teenagers art quilting fundamentals is FUN !!! and… Teaching teenagers art quilting techniques is EXHAUSTING !!!

I just finished up 3 days of workshops at Baron’s Sewing Center in Woodland Hills with a group of bright and talented young women.  They were eager to learn and to put their new skills into action.

Day One:

We started off with a lesson in Sun printing using Dynaflow Paint from Jacquard.  The plan was that the pieces would dry in the sun while we went on to the next topic. Well, Betsy and I knew they’d enjoy the process but hadn’t realized that this technique would be the hit of the day!  All they wanted to do was to Sun Print!!!  And I must say some amazing work was produced by these budding artists.  (I will be putting a Sun Printing Tutorial on my Blog shortly for all to enjoy).

Prepared Panels Drying In the Sun

The girls used all kinds of things to create their patterns – plumbing washers, nuts, bolts, coins of all sized, keys, decorative flashings from keyholes – sequin waste and decorative cutouts of their own design.

The session on painting techniques continued with stencilling paint on fabric and using rubber stamps to apply acrylic paint as well as pigment or dye ink from stamp pads.

Day Two started with a unanimous request for MORE SUN PRINTING !!

We were glad to oblige but made sure we got to the new stuff as well.  Our students learned the use of Fusible web to apply designs to their quilt tops and how to assemble the layers that would give them a foundation for quilting their pieces.

It was exciting and gratifying to see how quickly these girls caught on to the concept of free motion quilting. And although mastery of this technique takes many hours we saw some commendable first timer results here.

Day Three commenced with yet more requests for painting.  I promised they could do that after we talked about a couple of other things.  I reminded them how excited they had been with the idea of applying glitter to their quilts and took a few minutes to demonstrate how easy it is to do that.

We also went over the many uses of angelina fibers (one teen asked, “What about Brad?” and my response was “huh?”)

They had all decided that they wanted to turn their quilted panels into pillows.  So I proceeded to show them how to assemble a removable pillow cover using the pieces they had just created.  Here they are digging into the scrap bag looking for suitable pillow back fabric.

looking for that perfect piece to back their pillow with

Here is some of the work produced by this talented bunch.

Original drawing from one of our talented teens

And More Creativity on Display

Challenge for January: Exhilaration – Haiku and Art

The Haiku Art  prompt word for January was Exhilaration.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines “Exhilaration” as    “The state of being stimulated, refreshed, or elated.”
Sometimes all it takes to experience these feelings is to step outside on a sunny day.
The Haiku
scent of new mown grass
sunbeam caresses my cheek
living…feeling…aaaaah…
For the art work that I was preparing to go with this haiku – I didn’t want to be too structured.  I wanted to indicate an almost childlike feeling of exhilaration with my composition and color choices.
At the same time, as a developing art quilter, I wanted to incorporate a couple of new techniques and see “what if”?
First off I used a “blah” pastel print in lieu of plain muslin as my base. I didn’t mind that it partly “showed through” – just felt it added some interest.
I felt that color was of first importance in this piece – so before doing anything else I painted my background using acrylic paint.  In order to add some texture to the piece I used some Golden Light Molding Paste to parts of the grassy area.    
I quilted the piece extensively with heavy thread. 

Procrastination – Observations: Visual and Poetic


One of the keys to overcoming any bad habit is to have some understanding of why we do it in the first place. So why don’t we “just do it” a la a Nike commercial and put off some tasks for later? And I’m not just talking about doing the dishes. I’m talking about taking care of tasks that we enjoy as well – could be sewing or gardening or whatever.  

For some it could be some underlying fear of failure or even,  for some others  – fear of success.  Maybe we don’t think that we have the specific skill required or talent needed to complete the task and that we will face ridicule.  Maybe we’re in conflict about the task at hand and aren’t even sure it’s something that we want to do. Maybe we’re overwhelmed by other demands in our lives and can’t give adequate attention to this newer demand. Maybe we don’t have a clear enough image of exactly what it is we want to accomplish.  Maybe the task is boring compared to some other activity that could substitute.  I’m far from qualified to give out any advice here but maybe there’s some food for thought in the above possibilities.
I considered these ideas and wrote the following Haiku:

  Demands, wants, needs, musts
      I want to……….I don’t want to
      Relentless tick – tock

I decided that I would set specific goals for the art work that would accompany this haiku:
1. to complete the work in a set amount of time – time that I alternatively would have spent that evening playing a game online .   I thought that it was not unreasonable to have the main designing and rough assembly done in 45 minutes.  I would do the quilting and finishing the following day.
2.  I have a plastic storage box full of previously fused cotton scraps – some of which are remnants from previous projects.  My challenge was to use ONLY fabrics from that particular box.  Believe me there were plenty to choose from.

The completed piece is approximately 12 inches by 12 inches. 

It demonstrates how focus, definition and time limits overcame procrastination in one dedicated to that art.


Eat Your Veggies

Most of the art quilts that I’ve been making have been fairly free form.  So I wanted to try my hand at a Still Life. I wanted it to be vibrant with color and simple in design.  The fabrics that I chose would be very important.

First, not knowing which veggies would make the final cut, I went to the refrigerator to see what was available.  I arranged various combinations on a cutting board and ended up with something that looked pleasing.  I photographed them as I went along to get various perspectives.  When I was satisfied I made a print in the size that I wanted to sew and prepared templates.  I adhered a clear piece of laminating film to the printed design and cut the shapes that I wanted to use.

For the first time I went to my little stash of hand dyes and selected the veggie fabrics.  Believe me when I say this was a really big deal.  This is my holy grail of fabric.
I found pieces amongst my commercial stash that would work for the background and the cutting board.

Eat Your Veggies

Once I had the composition in place I decided that some highlights were needed on the veggies.  I added these with Tsukineko Inks, chosen because of the ability to readily control the amount and depth of the color to be added.
I machine quilted to add texture and interest.

As I said earlier it’s quite different from what I usually do – do you like it?