Collage workshop – Fibre Arts Ballarat

I have just returned from five enjoyable days studying paper collage under American artist Donna Watson.  Fabric is my medium, but I have become interested in the past couple of years in including paper with fabric.  In particular, I am enjoying exploring Japanese paper (washi – 和紙). When strengthened with konnyaku it can tolerate immersion dyeing.  This is my favourite piece from the five days. Donna is an excellent teacher – if you get a chance to study with her, I recommend it.Moonrise-collage


Back from QuiltIndulgence Festival

I had a lovely four days in Mittagong at the QuiltIndulgence festival. Took two x two day classes. First was with Fiona Wright – we did nuno felting. All pieces were made on a background of black cotton voile. This one had layers of dyed merino in slate blues and gold/oranges laid out, and topped in places with pieces of silk in the same colours. There is also a piece of good old chiffon scarf (synthetic) like the old ladies used to wear over their hair rollers! It worked fine, even though it wasn’t natural fibre.

The next piece hasn’t photographed true to colour. It looks all pink and green, when in fact, it is bronzey/olivey.

Here is a scan, which shows the colour better. I think this will make a great surface for stitching – I am thinking, hand stitching in big running stitches, with thick silk thread.

Next couple were vaguely sinspired by Spring here – our spring festival, Floriade has just started, so I was thinking, fresh, spring greens, fields of tulips etc. They were also an experiment with including different types of silk – up until then I had only put silk organza on top – mainly because that is the only type I had! But these two include silk jap and silk chiffon – I really like the way the silk chiffon softly blends in – whereas the organza has a crisper, crunchy feel and look.

This next piece really shows that characteristic of the organza. The lighter sections on the surface are pieces of hand dyed mulberry bark.

I think this is one of my favourites – can’t decide whether to use it horizontally, suggesting ripples in the sand, or vertically, suggesting tree bark? What do you think? The middle layer on this one is a mixture of alpaca (which doesn’t felt) and merino, with a bit of glitzy stuff carded through. The top is a piece of cream silk chiffon. The yellowy textured bits are under the top (unlike the mulberry bark, above, which sits on the surface) – they are strands of silk throwsters waste). I like the effect it has created. This is another one I can envisage doing some hand stitching on – and maybe a few small shells? Only, of course, if I go with the seashore theme – they would look pretty incongruous grafted onto tree bark!

And finally – the colours in this one aren’t true – it is really more olivey and Australian bush type colours. I used a layer of olive coloured merino, then topped it with some hand dyed silk hankies with some strands of textured wool laid on top. The base was an olive coloured silk scarf in a very open weave – you can see the fringe hanging down at the bottom edge.

The other two days I did some machining on water soluble stuff. One thing I confirmed doing this class is that sitting for hours, free machining is NOT my thing. a) it is totally boring, and b) it isn’t good for my neck and back, which are a bit fragile and don’t need any unecessary stress. I played around maching circles onto some polyester organza, then burning it between the stitching to make the holes. One of these is a scan, and one is a photo – I went with a vaguely circular motif – some stamping with fabric paint onto some hand dyed cotton, then some circular stitch directly onto the fabric – backed with batting – I used the flower foot as well – caused great interest in the class – have a feeling Dale is going to get a bunch of orders as a result! I did three circular shapes onto the soluble in purple rayon, then stitched them on with copper metallic. That was about it before my boredom thresh hold was reached. The rest I machined bubble shapes onto poly organza, burnt them out with my wood burning tool (had to sneak out of the class to do that) then stitched them onto the surface. Couldn’t decide at first whether it was a cosmos or an underwater scene – class consensus – underwater – so there you are!

More lutradur and lace

This one I actually followed the instructions! Stitched down the cheesecloth and lace motif in white cotton thread. Painted with various types of paint, then (oh alright, this bit wasn’t in the instructions), zapped with the heat gun. It still resisted a lot because of the paint, but I did get some distressing and curling around the edges, and a little hole above and to the left of the flower. I have another idea I will try today of doing some stitching as a resist, zapping, then painting – aiming for holes!

The reason I am thinking about holes is that I am off for four days of workshops next weekend, to the Quiltingindulgence Festival at Mittagong. I am doing a two day class with Sue Dennis called ‘Wholly holes”, and a two day workshop with Fiona Wright on nuno felting – can’t wait! Can’t post a link to Sue Dennis website, it has been down for a couple of days. I think we are going to do lots of machine stitching on water solubles, which will be fun, but I think I’ll take some other stuff to stitch onto as well, like lutradur and tyvek and other things that I can ‘dissolove’ with the heat gun. I am afraid I am not a very obedient student – I tend to wander off and do what I feel like, rather than what the teacher says – might have to wait till I get back to the motel at night to do the heat gun zapping – don’t want to be disruptive!