Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Testing, Testing, 1,2,3

Kristin here. I hang my show in a week, and I feel like I'm pretty much ready for it. So now I have time to move on to the next ideas I want to explore. One of the things I want to do involves making a full-sized sun-print of a person. When I get the chance, and have the materials, I try out a technique.

Plan A and B: The first try was painting fabric with slightly diluted, water-based, fabric paint, and then laying on it until the sun had wicked away the moisture and created an image.

Unfortunately, 45 minutes in the made me sweat, which affected the print in an interesting, but not appropriate for my purposes, way. I tried again adding a cloth underneath and a shirt to absorb sweat, and got much better results. However, when I washed the fabric, a lot of the luscious color washed out an the whole piece had a worn, scuffed, look I didn't like.

Plan C: The next thing I tried, was to use my husband as a stencil and spray fiber reactive dye around him. Dye creates a much richer color, but boy was it hard to wash off my man afterwards. Unfortunately, spraying dye doesn't saturate the fabric the same was as immersion, and the resulting fabric was very light after I washed it out. Not the look I was going for. Bummer.

Plan D: So, I mixed mixed the best of both worlds and painted my cloth with Inkodye, a dye that reacts in the sun, and used my hand as a stencil. Love it! But then when I tried to go full size, I dipped the fabric in the dye instead of painting it on (speed was of the essence), I laid my fabric on a cloth to absorb sweat, and I used a different fabric. My resulting print lacked the contrast of the test. 


Plan E and F: I'm learning and refining as I go. I'm pretty certain that I will actually use parts from each of my tests and patch together a pretty interesting image. I will try the Inkodye again with my husband (I need male and female parts) using conditions closer to my test. Depending on how that works out, I will probably also switch to small scale and print individual body parts as needed, using the Inkodye or paint.

Although none of these images are exactly what I want, I'm not frustrated. It's all part of the learning and exploring process. Each try teaches me something. Not knowing exactly how something will turn out is part of the adventure. It will all work out in the end, so I know the investment of time and materials is worth it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Butterfly play

All summer long I've been focused on taking butterfly pictures.  I've done some other outdoor work -- birds and flowers -- but it's mainly butterflies.  While I enjoy simply printing as is, I often use them as springboards to other play.  In this case, I used the above photo as a base for the digital paintings below. 

The above is made by taking the photo, duplicating it, adding various effects to it like noise, and then playing around.  While nothing has yet turned into fiber work, I have lots of ideas.  I had hoped to put up some work based on another photo I took of a statute.  Maybe next month ... stay tuned!
P.S. I apologize for the obnoxious copyright info, but too many times my images have ended up on the websites of others.  I certainly don't mind sharing, but I do at least want credit.  :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Inner Mad Scientist Has Taken Over

Liz Kettle here today...aka Experiment Girl!
Like some of my fellow 8 that Create artists I have been experimenting quite a bit this summer.

Is it the blazing summer sun that has us all asking 'hmmmm...what if I...'?

I don't have a ton of fascinating photos to share with you. I forgot to take one yesterday when the UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel) exploded everywhere! But exploration is such a great topic that I thought it deserved some blog time even if I don't have dozens of inspiring photos...or any.

Being the Mad Scientist in the studio has a few drawbacks.
  • It isn't visibly productive. At the end of the day yesterday I had a pile of what most people would chuck in the trash and embossing enamel everywhere. That stuff is like glitter in it's propensity to find it's way into ever nook and cranny.
  • At least once in the middle of the scientific process you will find yourself saying...this is the stupidest idea I ever had...maybe more than once. Maybe more like 394 times!
  • You will feel uncomfortable. 
  • You will feel annoyed
  • You will feel like chucking things
  • You will feel disappointment
  • And the big elephant in the room...you will feel frustrated!
  • You WILL start talking to yourself. Hence the Mad Scientist label
But, you WILL also learn a lot about the subject of your experiments.

You may uncover a new way of looking at your work

or a new process that captivates your soul.

You may discover a very cool technique.

Even if all your experiments fail you will discover what doesn't work and one night at 3am a couple months from now you will get an out of the blue bolt of lightening inspiration that sends you running back to the laboratory excited to ask again...what if I...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Playing with Tyvek

Well I was going to write about my inspiring visit to The Brooklyn Museum to see El Annatsui's metal quilts, as they are sometimes called, but Natalya beat me to it. So, rather than repeating what Natalya has already said, just go visit if you can, it is well worth it ( great photos, by the way ).

I thought I would show you what I'm working on at the moment, " TYVEK", just love the stuff !
I've been asked to teach  a workshop next year in England run by Colouricious ( Jamie Malden ) and she wants me to use her Indian wood blocks, so I  am doing a fabric book themed on "The Tree of Life" using tree and leaf blocks. Lots of different techniques using "Tyvek", modeling paste, dimensional paint, Gelli plate printing and more.

As I didn't have enough of Tyvek I carried on and did some more small pieces, lots of them !
The larger leaf is a really big block I have done two of these with a view to making them front and back covers of a book.

Friday, August 2, 2013

the hard stuff

It's hard to believe that metal can lids and bottle caps can be so textural and sculptural. Natalya here, I finally had a chance to see the El Anatsui exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum and I was blown away! Hurry it's only up until August 18th! Talk about such a different take on stitching..... 

I must share, as I have already shared on Facebook and on my own blog, this quote that just spoke volumes to me: "The process of stitching, especially the repetitive aspect, slows down action and I believe makes thinking deeper. It's like the effect of a good mantra on the mind."

Enjoy the images that I had a hard time winnowing down, I wanted to share all 80 or so...
That last image is a stunner. The metal manages to look light and ethereal too!