Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monoprinting with the GELLI Plate

I've been experimenting with gelatin monoprinting for a couple of years, and posted about it in 2010.  Since I also teach that class locally, I was curious when the new GELLI printing plate came onto the market last spring.  At first, I was adamant about sticking to my "homemade" method and not caving in to the idea of needing to buy the latest and greatest gadget. That was until I went to class with only enough prepared gelatin for my expected class of  7 . . . that had increased to 9 students.
I bought it!  It works!
I've reconsidered, and now the class supply list includes a GELLI printing plate for each student!  The benefits:  I no longer have to mix up three large pans of gelatin the night before class. No more spilled and hardened gelatin in my refrigerator.  There's no waste, since this new product lasts indefinitely.  Each student brings their own printing plate to class.  And it answers the question once posed to me by a very strict vegan:  What's the alternative to using Knox gelatin, which contains animal products?   The GELLI plate!

However, I've noticed one interesting phenomenon when printing on fabric with this new surface.  I was using acrylic paint, so I mixed textile medium with it.  When I rolled that onto the plate with my brayer, the paint mixture immediately began to separate, resulting in this background texture:
My first GELLI print on fabric, with snow? leaves?
A second attempt with straight acrylic paint gave me a solid-covered background.  So the textile medium does a little random dance on the GELLI surface, which is pretty cool!
I might (no, I WILL) miss the cracks and gouges that come with using real gelatin.  They produced some interesting, organic lines on the printed fabric.  And I'll miss the cool feeling of the sheets of gelatin in my hands.  Yes, I liked that!
Painted GELATIN plate with an interesting crack.
And now we're here at the end of 2011.  I feel pretty good about this year's theme word, FOCUS.  I got better at it.  The theme for 2012 is MAINTAIN MOMENTUM.  How about yours?   Please leave a comment and share your mantra (if you have one) for the new year.  Thanks for following along with me, and I'll see you next year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

More Holiday Fabric Postcards

The winner of my first blog post was nandas (Nancy of Portland, OR) and the prize was one of my fabric postcards.  Now that she's probably received it, I can show it here.   I love the quaint message it sends:

The winner of my first blog contest received this fabric postcard.
I have a collection of vintage postcards that I often use (in part or whole) when designing fabric postcards.  This year I added tiny accents of glitter paint, and I like the added sparkle.  Here's another:

Another fabric postcard enhanced with glitter paint.

The next one is very special.  I made it for my son's girlfriend, Brandi, knowing that she loves mermaids.  (So do I, which is why I 'd previously downloaded this vintage postcard!)  I quilted the outlines of the major features with cotton thread, then switched to a copper-colored rayon for the hair, which added a nice texture.  The original colors of the postcard were very light and ethereal, so I added some tints of color using LuminArte's Primary Pigments (ground colors mixed with pure mica pigments) for a bit more intensity:
Brandi's Dream.

It's hard for me to admit this:  I grow very attached to these little beauties, so much that it's difficult to send them out into the world.  But my other friend Nancy wisely advised me to release them for others to enjoy!  No one else can enjoy them if you keep them all for yourself.  She's so right.  Anyway, I can always revisit my photos of them.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Postcards Exchanged (fabric, of course!)

 Here are the fabric postcards made by members of Fiberexplorations for our 2011 holiday postcard exchange:

Fiberexplorations' 2011 fabric postcards.
As we've done the previous two years, everyone brought a potluck dish and we sat down for a lively dinner and conversation.  Erica, our resident wine expert, treated us to Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, which was wonderful.  After dinner, we drew names to see whose card we would receive.  (Until that time, none of us knew who would receive our card, or whose card we'd receive.)   In the following photo, we're each  holding the postcard we've received:

Holding the postcards we've received.
And another photo to document the makers of each postcard:
Holding the postcards we made for the exchange.
 In my next post, I'll include photos of all the Architecture Challenge quilts.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winner of first blog contest!

Vintage Christmas postcard.

The winner of my first blog contest (fairly chosen by the Random Number Generator) is Nancy D-D from Portland, or "nandas."  Congratuations, Nancy!  I'll get your holiday-themed fabric postcard in the mail this week.*   Please contact me via email with your address.  And thanks to all who entered!  Please stay tuned for future contests.  This was so much fun that I'm going to dream up some ideas for more contests, either monthly or bimonthly.
(*I'm not posting a picture of it until you've had time to receive it in the mail.  I wouldn't want to spoil your surprise!)
Tomorrow night is Fiberexplorations' holiday dinner meeting.  We'll draw names and exchange the fabric postcards we've each made.   I hope to have good lighting so I can photograph each one and show them in my next post.  Keep watching!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blog contest deadline extended; more on Fabric Postcards!

FYI:  The contest announced here on Nov. 29  has been extended until tomorrow (Thurs., Dec. 8) at midnight.  The prize is one of my fabric postcards!  Follow this link to enter.
The first fabric postcard I ever made, and still one of my favorites, this reindeer (a Laurel Burch fabric) was simply freemotion quilted with satin-stitched edges:

Joanna Price's holiday reindeer, 2005.
Blogger is now cooperating, so I can add more info to my previous post about fabric postcards.  Shown below are the 4 layers:  the top (or "base fabric"), cotton batting, Timtex, and the back (several examples shown, stamped with "Postcard").
The 4 layers of a fabric postcard.
Besides the examples above, here are the backs of three different fabric postcards (clockwise, the handwritten example is mine, followed by postcards made by Lisa Encabo and Chris Deibel):
The backs of 3 finished fabric postcards. Always sign and date them!
 Next, the postcards I've received from past holiday exchanges within Fiberexplorations:
Hand-appliqued, hand-beaded by Chris Deibel, 2009.

Always one for a Hawaiian theme, this was from Lisa Encabo in 2010.
Time to start stitching some more!

It's Fabric Postcard Time Again!

Making fabric postcards!
It feels like Santa's taken up residence on my kitchen table!  I needed this large surface to spread out the bits and pieces I use for making fabric postcards.  A few were finished (or at least nearly so) last year, and many more are somewhere in-progress. 
Next Monday is Fiberexplorations' third annual holiday dinner/meeting, hosted this year by Deb.  We all bring a potluck dish and a fabric postcard, then draw names and exchange the cards.  It's always a treat to receive a piece of art made by another member of the group.  I'm trying to upload the cards I've received from the past two dinners (from Chris in 2009; from Lisa in 2010), but blogger isn't cooperating at the moment!
Instead, I'll show you how I assemble my 4-layered fabric postcards.   The top layer (or "base fabric") is usually pieced or includes some fusible applique, such as the two examples below.  Strips of green fabrics were randomly stitched together, backed with fusible web, then cut into tree shapes.  Then they're fused to the base fabric.  A layer of cotton batting goes under this base fabric, and those layers are quilted.   NOTE:  I use either fusible web or a fusible spray baste to hold the layers together during construction.

Strip-pieced trees fused to base fabrics (batting layer visible underneath).
Sometimes I go to my vintage postcard collection, and photocopy some of them onto pre-treated fabric sheets for ink-jet printers.  Fusible web is added to the back of the photocopies, then sections are cut out and fused to the base fabric.  Other fabrics (with fusible web already attached), are fussy-cut and added to the design:
Vintage postcards trimmed and fused to base fabrics (batting layer visible underneath).
Sometimes (after the quilting is done),  I pull out my box of ribbons and begin adding some surface embellishment.  Angelina fibers, tiny seed beads, glitter glue, and fairy dust are all great additions!  Just be sure nothing dangles or protrudes from the postcard, or you might not be able to mail it.
Ribbons and other sparkles!
The finished size of my postcards is 4" x 6".  I used to start off by cutting my base fabric that size, but this year I'm cutting it and the batting  4.5" x 6.5" so there's room to trim after quilting.  Yes, these can go through the US Mail;  just take them into the post office and ask that they hand-cancel the stamp (rather than putting your fabric postcard through a machine).  Fabric postcards can be mailed at regular letter rates (not postcard rates).