fabric art in the woods

I'm just back from spending a little over a week in woods with kids. We are all thoroughly bug bitten, dirty and happy. Just as we should be...

I managed to introduce the kids to fabric painting guerrilla style. First I read a bunch of tutorials online, the day before leaving I did an experiment in my driveway, and two days after arriving in the wilderness made 20 kids ages six to ten sunprint bandannas in the woods. They had a blast and so did I!
the sun was hot that day, just what the crazy fabric lady ordered!
The basic concept was easy to grasp and making a mess was the bonus treat. Even the boys enjoyed it for a bit.... I just ran laps around them with a huge spray bottle of water and attempted to convince them to not over do it. Hah!
gorgeous results
how to wear your bandanna
The girls of course took it to the next level. Embroidery was such a hit, even the boys came back for more crafting. And from now on children will be threading ALL my needles always.
nimble fingers

busy busy busy...

End of the school year is here, that means madness all around, right? I am trying to keep up with all the kid activities, while getting to everything that needs to be done art-wise... There has been quite a lot going on in the studio. Good thing I have recently cleared all working surfaces, because they are full again.
a little paint to play with...
My buddies at FANE and I have started off on a Surface Design Renga project. Which is really cool for me as I don't usually get to do too much surface design or participate in group projects. It's a collaborative round robin that I'm really enjoying so far.

a tiny detail of a large work in progress
I also despite the lack of time have started a largish new artwork. I knew I shouldn't start anything with summer upon us and a heavy travel schedule, but I could not help myself. I'm not ready to show it all yet, as it's all new and I'm not quite sure of my direction yet. But I'm really excited by it, and that a good thing!
Window to Your Art
Oh and also I'm making some new samples for the workshops I'll be teaching in New Jersey in July. So much fun! And lot's of paint drying...

Now...does anyone have any good suggestions for nature based kid crafts to do in the wilderness?

patience is a virtue or my babushka's tablecloth

How's that for a confusing title? I'll explain... I inherited several tablecloths from my grandmother, all in various states of disrepair. My babushka was the ultimate recycler, these table cloths are full of patches and mending. Anyone else would have thrown them out eons ago. I, on the other hand, have decided that they will make perfect base cloths for the rest of my Pagan series.

Two weeks ago I started painting the first one with Prismacolor water-soluble crayons. I start by sketching my basic design on the cloth, then spray it with water, wait for the colors to come a live and blend together and then let it dry. I steam iron it to set and start all over again until I reach my desired result. By the time I reached that stage with this tablecloth it had become quite holey... So I pinned it to batting and now I am in the process of mending all the holeyness with my favorite variegated cotton threads. I didn't like the pictures I took of my process up to this point so I'll have to do that better next time, meanwhile here are some pictures of mending in progress. This could be a long process as I do this in my down time usually in the evening in front of the TV. Good thing the batting is wool, it'll keep me warm through the season.

After my playdate with Vivien the other day, I decided to paint the second
tablecloth differently. I also didn't want to waste any paint.. I made several layers of fabric, various pieces of muslin, silk chiffon, silk crepe de chine and cotton sateen. On top I put my tablecloth folded in half, partly because I wanted to have two somewhat matching halves when I was done and partly because my table could only fit half. (I learned the original painting method from Sonji Hunt's blog a long time ago and have tailored it to my needs. Thanks Sonji!) I sprayed the whole sandwich with water and let it sit for an hour or so until it soaked through, then started painting with Jacquard Dye-na-flow paints, just my usual swirls and curls on a giant scale. I sprayed it with water and then added some dots and doodles with the Jacquard Textile paints. Then sprayed with water again and let sit for another hour. Good melding of colors started to occur.Then I again painted into it with various swirls and dots using the textile paints. When I decided I was done, I went to town with my spray bottle (industrial size) and soaked everything again. Look at the lovely blending that started to appear. And this is were the "patience is a virtue" part comes in. You've got to let this whole thing sit until it's almost dry to achieve the effect I desired. No peeking until it starts to dry and even then only a tiny bits can be picked up for a look so you don't disturb the process. I was greatly rewarded this morning, here's the tablecloth and take a look at each progressive layer as I peeled it back - gorgeous I think... and look at those lovely drips.. and here's the top layer table cloth unfolded and ironed. Most of these fabric will be used as a back ground for other projects, some I might just embelish for small works and mostly they will look quite different when I am truly done with them, but if you look closely you will be able to pick out the original details.. I'll keep ya updated..


Yesterday my friend Vivien and I had another playdate. This time we painted fabric! Here are some that Vivien painted, don't these look happy? You can just tell she was in a good mood, and for a good reason...and here are some of mine, kind of abstract amoeba looking, to go with my head cold I suppose..and here's an experiment with rock salt, we were a bit impatient with this, but after Vivien left I painted another piece and left it with the salt on for a few hours while I ran my errands and look at the lovely results... I still have some silk that I left overnight with rock salt, wonder how that turned out? Hope the salt did not eat through the silk, although that could be a fun experiment too...