Sunday, 15 February 2009

Fimo stamp Part 2

Finally got to try out my Fimo stamp yesterday. I started out with my luscious Lumiere, which, let's face it, makes pretty much anything look good! First I stamped: Well, that's kinda OK. Bit less clear than I'd hoped.

Then I put the paint on with the roller, laid the stamp down and then the fabric over the top and rubbed gently. Kind of reverse stamping. That's much better! (It usually is).

Then I tried using it like a texture plate and taking a rubbing with my delicious metallic oil pastels. Well, the white background is pretty boring but imagine this shiny metallic on a coloured background or on black! The pastels give a great effect - soft like soft pastels or textile crayons but shiny. OK, so I'm a sucker for a bit of sparkle.

So overall, I declare the technique a success. If you want simple shapes you can reproduce over and over, and you aren't confident of your carving skills, this is the way to go, because it isn't any harder than moulding with plasticine. Of course, you have to wait half an hour for it to bake, so if you're an instant gratification person and you want to stamp with the damn thing NOW, it's maybe not so good.

Since I had them there for no particular purpose, I also decided to try stamping with the faces from the commercial mould. These are done with the reverse method, stamp then fabric, and one of them would be much better if I'd remembered to wipe my fingers between stamps, but they actually look quite good too, better than I'd expected.

I wondered to myself how you could actually use them and started playing around with green Setacolor opaque paints - well, with blue and yellow and black, to be precise. I stamped a few faces onto a piece of cloth, and then overstamped with eucalyptus leaves, by painting the leaves and pressing them down, and then finished off with a commercial leaf stencil I've had for a gazillion years (I think you were meant to use it to stencil cute designs around your bathroom walls, yes, it's that old!). As I went, I added little bits of yellow and black to the original green to vary the colour a little. And it looked like this: A little bit cutesy, but I'm thinking with a background wash to take out the white, and some appliqued leaves and texture and some stitch, maybe it would be more than OK? If not, it could always become ATCs, which might look quite interesting with little bits of faces peering out of leaves.

What I also got from the exercise was this: I like it! It's what you get when you lay your leaves on a piece of fabric to run the paint roller over them, to cover them with paint for stamping. I added some more of those ancient leaf stencils at the end. I also got two face moulds that look like this: Cool, huh? I just wiped off the excess paint instead of washing them.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

The sashing looks like this:

Now, unless I change my mind and do something different, you won't see it again until it's a quilt top!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Playing with Fimo

Anyone who comes here often will know that I'm always interested in different ways to make marks on fabric. I'm especially interested in stamping. So I wondered to myself, how hard would it be to make original stamps for textile work from Fimo? You know the stuff, like plasticine that you bake in the oven so it goes hard? It's a variety of polymer clay, made by EberhardFaber - the other main brand is Sculpey.

So last Fibrecircle day, in the absence of any sun for sunprinting,I thought I'd have a try. The answer is that it's incredibly easy to make a small stamp. I made this: The stamp is on the left, the ones on the right are from my friend Carol's mould that she happened to have with her and I'll probably paint them for use in some piece of art sometime.

I didn't worry about putting the clay through a pasta machine or anything sophisticated like that. I smooshed it flat with my hands, and marked out the design freehand with one of the plastic clay-working tools from my $2.99 set. Then I just scraped away the parts I didn't want to print and smoothed out the ridges so that they were reasonably level (by eye). Of course, it was really easy to work, much easier than carving, but I'm not sure I could make a large design this way. Then I baked the piece in my friend Prue's polymer clay oven, about a half hour at 130degC, basically until it was fairly hard. I'll show you how it works as a stamp, next time I have the fabric paints out.

My try at sunprinting is over on the Fibrecircle blog.

Quietly quilting

I've been quietly going on with a project I mentioned here quite a while ago. The members of the very small quilt group I belong to made blocks for each other, one a month for ten months, during 2007. So each of us ended up with thirty 6in blocks. I chose reproduction fabrics because, while I love them and buy them a lot, I generally use them all mixed in with other fabrics, rather than making a quilt in reproduction style.

I decided to sew triangles to the four sides of each block, which has the effect of setting them on point (an interesting layout) and making them bigger. I am not fond of small quilts in traditional style - I really prefer the traditional quilts I make to be big enough to snuggle under. I decided I wanted the quilt to be more blue than anything else, so I found a nice medium value blue fabric in my stash and sewed triangles to half the blocks. I wanted a different fabric for the other half, so I would get that interesting pattern happening where the triangles meet. But none of the fabrics I found worked well with my blue fabric. Even ones I bought specifically looked fine in the shop but just didn't sing when I got them home. So I decided that, instead of keeping on buying fabrics that didn't work, I would go back to my stash of reproduction fabrics and work with value, something that isn't always that important in reproduction quilts. I chose fifteen different dark blue fabrics and an assortment of light medium fabrics. These fabrics needed to be medium, to provide contrast with the blocks that had a light background, but still light enough to contrast with the dark blues. Over the past couple of weeks, I've ripped the original blue triangles and sewn the new triangles in place. Here is how it looked, laid out:
Apologies for the foreshortened look, my design wall is fuill of other stuff just now.

The next task is to add sashing between the blocks. I have this delicious stripe to use for that, but I'm still havering over which fabric to use as cornerstones.


I really haven't felt like blogging lately. Watching the tragedy in Victoria unfold, I felt that my own concerns about textiles were very small and unimportant. It's hard to imagine the scale of the tragedy - whole communities burnt, so many lives lost, so many people left with just the clothes they were wearing. Balanced against that is the enormous upwelling of generosity - the volunteer and agency firefighters who put their lives on the line every year during fire season, the people I know making quilts and children's gift bags and pet beds and clothing, sharing their fabric and yarn stash with other crafters and above all, with money through the various donation points. If you want to help these families who have been left with nothing, the Red Cross is taking donations, and many banks have set up Bushfire Relief accounts that you can transfer money into. I know St George Bank has one and Bendigo Bank Please help these families get back on their feet.