Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Collage Lab—Cardboard Substrates

Today I worked on Lab 5 in Bee Shay’s book Collage Lab. I cut and distressed the cardboard to reveal a lot of the ridges, then I prepped the top row of the samples with white gesso. The second row was prepped with matte medium and the third row was not prepped.

cardboard step one

Next I painted the samples

The first column was painted with full strength olive green paint.

The second column was painted in a 50/50 wash with turquoise paint

The third column was painted with a vivid lime green

The fourth column was painted with a blend of titan buff and a robin’s egg blue.

I’m already liking how the ones prepped with gesso look.

cardboard step 2

For the final coat I did a dry brush technique with yellow paint on the olive green column

On the second column I did a dry brush with full strength turquoise mixed with a little bit of bronze iridescent.

On the third column, I did a wash of 50/50 turquoise. It really toned down the brightness of the vivid green.

For the fourth column I did a dark blue ink wash (50% water)

The last piece in the photo was an un-prepped piece I painted when I had paint left over from other samples. I think I’ll lighten it up and try the tissue paper overlay that Bee Shay writes about in her blog.

cardboard finished

Lab notes: I liked the samples that were prepped with gesso the best . The colors were truer since they weren’t influenced by the color of the cardboard.

After the pieces dried, the green gold pieces were really ugly. I added a 1/1 mix of light aqua paint and acrylic glazing liquid. I colored the extra piece that was dark turquoise as well. I liked it so much when I was finished that I followed Bee’s lead by writing on tissue paper with a Pitt artist pen and adhering it to the cardboard with matte medium. I’ve got a plan formulating for how I will use it.

more cardboard

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bleach Discharge Coaster Tutorial

I was inspired by Kelly Nina Perkins article in the most recent issue of Quilting Arts Gifts. She discharged fabric with bleach and made mini quilts then assembled them into gift boxes. I decided to do a quicker project and just make a set of coasters with some flat surface design elements.

Select fabric to discharge

You can try commercial printed fabrics, but my best luck with fabric discharging has been using Kona cotton solids by Robert Kauffman. I chose a green for this project

Discharging the fabric

I used a new Clorox bleach pen (they do lose effectiveness over time) and made some doodles with the small end of the pen. It took about a minute to begin discharging the color. I immediately put the fabric in a bucket of water and swished it to remove the bleach and then washed it in the machine

Making the Coasters

I cut the discharged fabrics to about 5” square and adhered them to lightweight stabilizer with temporary adhesive spray.

adhered to stabilizer.jpg2

Next I did free motion machine and hand stitching. I used rayon 40wt thread for the machine work, and a beautiful rayon metallic thread for the hand work. My friend Sue gave me this gorgeous metallic thread a few years ago. It is too heavy for conventional machine sewing, but works fine for bobbin work. I did hand stitching today, maybe next time I’ll do some bobbin work.

machine and hand stitching

Next I trimmed them down to 4 1/2” square and cut backs out of a contrasting fabric. I also cut 3 3/4” squares out of heavy interfacing, like Timtex.

On the wrong sides of the backs of the coasters I ironed on some wonder under which helps to stabilize the back when you are turning the coasters right side out. I cut a 2” slit through the stabilizer and the coaster back, and removed the paper backing.

stabilize backing

While I had out the iron and the stabilizer, I ironed wonder under to 1" x 3” strips which will later be used to cover the hole in the back of the coaster.

make cover pieces

Next I matched the coaster fronts to the coaster backs, right side together and stitched around all four sides. Remember that slit you cut? That is how you will turn it right side out.


Next I clipped the corners and turned the coasters right side out, and stuffed them with the heavy stabilizer. (the pin is only to hold the stabilizer together for the photo)

stuff it 2

Iron the 1”x3” strips to the backs of the coasters to cover the slit, and sign if desired.

sign it



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Collage Lab textures and washes

Continuing the Collage Lab Book study, referred to in the previous post, I’ve done some more with washes over assorted substrates.

favorite washes

1—First layer, writing in wet white gesso, allowing to dry, second layer green ink on the bottom, blue ink on the top. third layer transparent red iron oxide diluted with acrylic glazing liquid. Note how the color pulled off the top blue portion, I had forgotten that acrylic glazing liquid can act as an eraser

2—First layer acrylic modeling paste stamped with a piece of a citrus bag. Second layer Brown Bombay ink. Third layer green gold acrylic mixed with polymer medium. I actually liked this one better before I added the green paint on the top layer

3—First layer, heavy gloss gel “combed” for texture. Second layer brown Bombay ink. This one is in need of a third layer

4—Peach paint tinted gesso allowed to dry. second layer, white gesso stamp, third layer brown Bombay ink, fourth layer green gold acrylic diluted with acrylic polymer medium

5—White gesso combed for texture while wet and allowed to dry. Second layer was turquoise acrylic paint diluted with water. It bubbled and separated, so I wiped most of it off and applied some yellow Bombay ink on top

6—Gesso tinted with turquoise paint and sponged while wet for texture. after drying, a swirl stamp was applied with white gesso. Next layer was brown Bombay ink

7—Acrylic modeling paste stamped with bubble wrap while wet. Second layer turquoise acrylic paint diluted with water. Yellow Bombay ink on top

8—This was my favorite sample. The substrate was modeling paste sponged on for peaks and valleys and allowed to dry. Second layer was turquoise acrylic paint diluted with water. Third layer iridescent bronze acrylic paint dry brushed to just hit the high spots. If I did it again, I’d make the turquoise paint a little greener so it would look like copper verdigris.

9—Heavy gloss gel sponged and swirled for texture. Second layer brown Bombay ink diluted with water, third layer red Bombay ink diluted with water

Friday, September 24, 2010

Back in the Studio

I’ve started playing a bit in my studio. My Yahoo group, mixed media art friends is doing a book study, Collage Lab by Bee Shay. Bee is blogging about the book at this blog. The blog is designed to be a companion to her book.

Today I was doing ink washes. I’ve never worked with inks before, so it has been fun.

ink washes

I’m not doing any specific project, just playing with techniques, but it’s good to be making something again.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The wedding

Our daughter Laurel married Jeremy Trantham on August 14. It was a beautiful outdoor wedding in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. Here are a few photos of the wonderful event.

down the aisle


Our dear friend, Robert Alexander was the officiant.

the kiss

clayton family

Our new family, Susan, Tom, Laurel, Jeremy and Patricia

after the wedding near horses

private moment

Friday, September 17, 2010

What I’m Reading

After Laurel’s wedding I had a hysterectomy. I’m four weeks out now. Progress has been unremarkable, but slow. I still have to limit activities, so instead of making quilts and art, I have been reading (and watching Mad Men DVD’s)

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

The Stieg Larsson Trilogy

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Girl Who Played with Fire

Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger

Waiting by Ha Jin

My current books: Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne and Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Little Bee—Liked, unusual story, compelling characters

Larsson Trilogy—suspenseful page turners. Dragon Tattoo is a stand alone book, the second and third book are part one and two of the same story. Don’t start reading Girl Who Played with Fire without knowing where you are going to get Hornet’s Nest.

So Brave, Young and Handsome—best book I have read this year. Absolutely beautiful prose. It’s a wonderful story wonderfully told, and if you haven’t read his first novel, Peace Like a River, read it too. They are completely different stories, but equally beautifully written. He and Elizabeth Strout are among my favorite authors.

Waiting—It took a long time for this book to get interesting, (thus the title?) but I did enjoy it. It’s a post cultural revolution look at social mores in China.

Empire of the Summer Moon—This is the only non-fiction book in the group, but it reads like a novel. Fascinating story of the Comanche the most powerful tribe in American history. I’ve stopped reading it for now as I just picked up Jonathan Franzen’s new book from the library.

Freedom—So far I am really enjoying this book. I’ve read about a hundred pages. The only bad thing is that a heavy smoker read the book before me…the downside of a library book.