Monday, 27 April 2015

FOG Tuesday - Not Con"fusing" at all...

We started our day as usual with Jan teaching us a new embroidery stitch, this time the Closed Cretan Stitch. We all agreed that it was a pretty stitch and would be very versatile in borders and making leaves. Donna commented that she had always made leaves with a satin stitch and that this would be her new go-to stitch for leaves in the future. It was particularly attractive when embroidered in variegated thread and depending on the length of stitches used on either side of the braided centre line and how close you made the rows of stitches it would have a variety of looks.
Mark making on our layered pieces.
While we were small in numbers, we were huge in enthusiasm when it came to our main FOG Tuesday project.
As always when working with a tool that burns, we had to be mindful of good ventilation and NOT triggering the smoke alarms. In this case it was soldering irons, melting, fusing and mark making  our sandwich layers of stitched acrylic felt, synthetic organza, Angelina© fibres and film, lamé, Lutradur©, Evolon© and other materials that would burn or melt.

Wire wool to clean soldering iron tip.
Remember to have a container with wire wool in it to clean the melted residue off the tip of your soldering iron.

The basic technique was learned from the two books by British textile artist Margaret Beal. You can access two short videos by Margaret on YouTube.
Stitched layers by Jan.

The more layers the better as it gives you more areas to “excavate” your final piece. Once you have all your layers, stitch a pattern on the surface using cotton thread. This is important as you do not want the thread to melt while you are burning out the pattern.

3-D flower "stitched" by Chris.
You can use the tip of the iron to “stitch” layers together as in the case of the green flower made by Chris.

Keep a look out for metal items that can be used as stencils with the soldering iron. The daisy stencil was a decorative insert for a Ball Mason jar and can be found at craft stores. You can see that you can use it for both a positive and negative outcome. You will also need a metal ruler or straight edge and a surface to work on. I used a square of marble; others used a glass cutting board.
Metal items to use as stencils: Ball Mason jar insert, metal drain cover, vintage drill bit measuring tool and draftsman's metal erasing shield.
Fibre layers ready for burning.
I can see this technique finding its way into future textile and mixed media projects.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Arts Club at the Library

The April Arts Club at the Central Library in Calgary proved to be a lot of fun with participants making a funky, woven purse or bag for an iPad. We raided our quilting scrap bags and those of a friend, who was only too happy to get rid of fabric leftovers, often to the chorus of “what was I thinking buying that fabric"?

As always we make a prototype to work out construction and material needs and for our full class the quantities were rather amazing, 400 strips of variable widths for the body of the bag and another 120 strips for the braided strap. These were all torn on grain or cut with a rotary cutter.
Bag with braided handle
Bag with button closure

We started with an 18" x 14" piece of white Roc-Lon© fabric purchased for another project and never used and ironed double sided fusible webbing to one side of the Roc-Lon© stripping away the silicon paper. Most brands of fusible webbing should work.
Fabric Strips

As time is limited at these sessions we opted to sew the foundation warp pieces to one end of the Roc-Lon© and used all tints, tones and shades of blue as the warp.

After a short demo, we let everyone loose to choose strips of coloured fabrics for their weft pieces and start to weave their bag…over, under, over, under… The carefully sorted and piled strips of coloured fabric were soon all askew, somewhat resembling a bird’s nest gone wild.
Once all the weaving was done, they ironed all the pieces to the fusible webbing. This left some squares open where they could be embellished with pieces of ribbon, yarn or torn strips of fabric.

Jan then machine stitched the top and sides of the bag ready for the next step.

Ironing strips to the fusible web.

The next step was to make holes on two sides using my very vintage leather punch on the largest hole to create a hole where a two pieced grommet could be installed.

spiral screw punch could also be used for this step.

The final step was to feed 3 strips of fabric through the grommet on one side and tying a knot on the outside. Once that was done the strips were braided, tying pieces together as needed to make the length of strap they wanted. The 3 strips were finished off the same way as the start, feeding them through the second grommet and tying a knot.

With the base warp of blues, the purses took on a colourful finish with the participants choices of weft fabrics. There was a great amount of laughter in our two hours and I think it was safe to say that we all had a good time.
Colourful Weaving
This would be a great project for a youth group and there would be a number of items that could be fashioned in the same way.
Lots of decoration