Tuesday, 20 January 2015

FOG Goes Heavy into Metal

Our January session was quite productive, so much so that I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked for this posting.

Our topic was metal – foiling, dry embossing, cutting, colouring, etc.

It’s amazing to see what can be done with product on hand – dare I say that we are all pack rats? One of the favorite items to dry emboss and colour were the inside foil lids from cottage cheese and yogurt containers.

Jan and Karen brought their Big Shot™ and Cuttlebug™ dry embossing and die cutting machines and they both got very major workouts. If it could be run through those machines we did it.

Several interesting products were tried – real metal DUCT tape (not Duck Tape) – this is purchased in a dollar store or hardware store. It is a sticky backed aluminum tape making it great to use on paper products for cards or it seems to be robust enough to apply to fabric and stitched on with long stitches on the sewing machine. It can be coloured with alcohol inks and other alcohol based markers as well as being embossed through the machines.

Chris brought one of the more interesting products called ÉTAL™. However, a quick internet search only turned up an old Etsy listing so perhaps the product is no longer being made. It is a cross between paper and a fibrous material which has some metal content. It dry embossed through both machines very well and could easily be hand or machine stitched. A light rubbing of a colour of some sort over the surface would enhance the dry embossing.

Left: ÉTAL™, Centre:  ÉTAL™ dry embossed,
Right: Con-Tact Brand - Metal FX

Jan brought along a sticky backed roll of Con-Tact® Brand - Metal FX® which cut and dry embossed very well. Jan brought the Stainless Steel version, though it also comes in Copper. This product also coloured nicely with alcohol inks.

Foiling proved to be very popular and is easily and quite inexpensively done. Chris did some foiling on hand dyed silk and I did some foiling on marbled cardstock that I had previously done using the shaving foam method. I think that most of us that did foiling used a type of fusible web such as PellonLite EZ-Steam™, Wonder Under, Heat ‘n Bond™ though there are foiling adhesives on the market also..

Foiling on shaving foam marbled card stock using Pellon Lite EZ-Steam and copper foil.

Foiling on hand dyed silk.

Lastly, Karen dry embossed metal disks that she had found in a scrap yard here in town, proving that no place is too strange to search for mixed media supplies. They coloured well with alcohol inks and will be great additions to any paper or fibre project.

Dry embossed metal disks.

Monday, 5 January 2015

January Arts Club – Take Those Crayons Out of the Box

Our first project for the Calgary Public Library Arts Club this year was a bit of a nostalgic one, for me at any rate. Its funny where inspirations can come from and for me this project was based on a tinted and stitched pillow that my mother-in-law had in her house. From the research that I did online, I believe that it was likely a tinted Vogartembroidery piece, certainly from the 50s, but perhaps before then. From searching on the internet I discovered that some of these pieces had the colour printed onto the fabric, while others may have been coloured with crayons.

I also collect vintage linens and the collage photo below are ones that are of a similar nature to that pillow and the inspiration for the stitching project for the Arts Club.

Vintage tinted embroidery pieces.
As with all of the projects that Jan and I teach, we do prototypes mainly to gauge the time and materials that it will take for the students to complete the project in the limited time that we have and to give them other ideas of where they can take the new stitches that they have learned. The photo collage below shows a couple of the samples that we did as examples. We also provide a kit for each person and for this project the finished item was a card complete with an envelope to mail to a lucky recipient.


We chose the simple owl motif as it was quite small and had interesting areas to colour and to stitch. Prior to the session Jan copied the motif onto the cotton/linen blend fabric using an erasable Frixion pen by Pilot and stitched a decorative border around the piece. Frixionpens are erasable and can also be removed by the heat of an iron.

Frixion lines on left, heat removed on right.
It's a bit difficult to see in these photos as the black threads on the right ghost through the fabric.

We opted to use simple stitches based on a running/straight stitch, though we also showed them how to do a French knot as the owl needed an eye.

To complete one of these for yourself, first colour the using Crayolacrayons and a light hand. Once the colouring is complete, stitch around the motif using a running stitch and two strands of floss. (A back stitch or stem stitch could also be used for a more solid outline). Once all your stitching is completed, lightly press the piece with a hot iron to remove the Frixionpen lines and to heat set the crayon pigment.

The participants were all quite intrigued by the project and had a great time completing them. Their projects are below.

Works in progress.
PS The February Arts Club is on February 7 at the Central Library. Registration is required. We will be doing a mixed media project and all supplies are provided. Register here.