Monday, November 30, 2015

Block Printing with Craft Foam #1

As I was putting things away in the studio after my day of playtime thread sketching, my hand fell upon some sticky back craft foam.  Instead of continuing to straighten up, I started cutting circles and strips from the foam.

From this seemingly mindless activity emerged four 6" x 9" printing blocks which are being used to create a 40" x 40" themed challenge.  I won't be able to show the completed work until it has gone through a jurying process, hopefully making the cut, and finally being exhibited.  However, here is the beginning of this particular block making technique.

Tools Used for Cutting Sticky Backed Foam
Foam, Ruller, Compass, Craft Knife

Use Compass to Mark Circles and Cut with Scissors
(Block #1)
Circles Ready for Mounting to a Board
Note:  The school of experience has taught me that one layer of the forms is not high enough.  When drawing a paint roller across one layer, or even two layers, often paint will get onto the mounting block and print onto the fabric.  This is definitely not something one wants. So I always make three layers of foam shapes.  See profile below.
Three Lays of Foam Shapes

Block #2
Three Layers of Thick Stripes
Block #3
Three Layers of Thin Stripes
(Ultimately I needed a fourth block, but that will be addressed later in this series of blog posts about creating printing blocks with craft foam.)

In order to make somewhat permanent, rigid blocks to make printing easy, I cut 3 6" x 9" plywood blocks onto which I affixed the foam shapes.  I attached he first layer of each foam shape to the plywood with Weldbond glue so that the block would withstand multiple washings without coming loose.  The sticky substance on the back of the foam works well for affixing the foam layers together but it is not strong enough to permanently stay on a wood block.
Plywood Block
 Tomorrow I'll show how I used these blocks to audition the colors to use when printing.
Always remember, never fear to experiment.  
Sometimes wonderful things happen.
© Linda Friedman 2015.  All rights reserved

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Masks - Picking Up A 31 Day Challenge

After reading  Cheryl Sleboda's post it seemed like a brilliant idea to join in a challenge to post to my blog every day for 31 days.  If you would like to participate, go to this LINK and sign up. 
 31 day blog challenge (1)
And here is the content of my post today.  This time it is not about quilts.  It is about masks.  It's a continuation of my blog post yesterday about the positive  impact that playtime has on the creative process.

Sometime ago I found that I had accumulated cardboard of various ply that I was hesitant about tossing, so I set about constructing and painting some cardboard masks.  Several sold at an Open Studio event.  Some I gave to my granddaughter who was in elementary school but who is now all grown up and away at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  Her mama, my daughter, must have liked the two masks that I gave to my granddaughter because they suddenly made a reappearance a few days ago as decorations on a dress form that she is storing for me.
                                          Here are a few more that I have kept stored away.

Creating fanciful items has always seemed to play a front stage role in my creative process.  A touch of zany is good for freeing up the mind.  I'm thinking that I might like to create something like these masks in dimensional fiber.  Hmmmm.  Wonder where that will take me next.
Always remember, never fear to experiment.  
Sometimes wonderful things happen.
© Linda Friedman 2015.  All rights reserved

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Reflection - Thread Sketching and Play Time

As I was pondering a maze of thoughts about how I was going to approach a new themed quilting challenge, my mind became a swirling mass of disparate ideas going nowhere.  A swath of white, voile fabric lay on my work table, so I picked it up and started free motion stitching--all without direction.  I was allowing myself to play without an objective.

This led to a day not only of creating this 12" x 12" work but also to a day of pure and simple playing.  By the end of my play day I had come to a direction for the non related, large work that would evolve.  That work will need to be shown later.  This post will show the process of how this particular piece evolved.

I first backed the small swath of voile fabric with water soluble stabilizer, inserted it into an embroidery hoop, lifted the free motion foot, put the embroidery hoop under the needle and started stitching with a narrow zigzag stitch.  Much to my surprise, a figure evolved.
The wonky hat seemed to define this figure as a male and the cloak seemed to me to have an Asian feel.  To define this idea further, I stitched something that looked like bamboo.  Because the eye line was looking downward, I stitched a flower shape to convey that this was a positive moment, not a depressive one.  I then used a red Sharpie marker to color in the flower.
My original thought was to merely stitch on the voile to make a transparent image.  When I held it up to the light coming from a window, I did not like the images that came through.  If this were a very large work, it might be spectacular, but not something this small.
As I looked at the stitching, it almost miraculously it reflected how I had been feeling when I was trying to figure out what I was going to create for the larger themed work.  Although the stitching could have been finished at that juncture and put away as merely an exercise, I had begun to identify with it and wanted to document this.   I lightly penciled in the word, "Reflection", and set about stitching it.  To underscore an Asian feel I stitched a little block at the bottom right that contained my initials in script.

By this time I was unwilling to stick it in a drawer as an exercise.  I liked it and needed to make it permanent so I laid the stitched voile fabric atop batting and white, cotton backing fabric and set about quilting the piece.  The quilting reflected the black stitched bamboo shape.
This was no time to stop.  To confirm the permanency of this work it needed the edges to be treated.  I did not want to bind or face it.  To bind it would have visually boxed the image in and I wanted to maintain a somewhat limitless feel.  To face it would have reduced the size.  I chose to edge it with a cording that I made from Gala mixed fiber "yarn".

This was done, as follows.  I first cut three lengths of the yarn that would go clear around the work and then zigzag stitched of the bundle of three yarn lengths with a cording foot.  The cording foot is shown in the picture below.
Starting at the middle of the bottom of the work I laid the cording next to the edge of the piece and zigzag stitched the cording to the fabric.  It was completed with a 4" hanging sleeve and a label.

                           And here it is--"Reflection"--playtime that opened mental doors.

                                                            My thought for today:
                                                 Always give yourself time to play.
                         It's good for the mind and body and creates a fertile ground for creativity.
Always remember, never fear to experiment.  
Sometimes wonderful things happen.
© Linda Friedman 2015.  All rights reserved