Commit to a Weekly Art Routine

In winter I crave creating with color–during the darker, bleaker months, my studio is completely taken over by paints and dyes (think periwinkles and lime greens, cerulean blues and bubble gum pinks).

Imagine my glee when I got the latest book offerings from surface design experts and Committed to Cloth founders Leslie Morgan and Claire Benn from the U.K. and their comrade Jane Dunnewold, the U.S. associate for Committed to Cloth.

In concise and clear language that is accompanied by images of supplies and fabrics in process, these four books (three of which include a bonus DVD) inspired me to develop a weekly regimen for creating colorful, original cloth every single day of the week.

As a screen- and dye-aholic who has a full-time job, here's how I set aside time every day (even if it's just ½ hour) to create colorful fabrics:

Sunday night: Mix the dyes and print paste and prepare the fabric in a soda-soak solution so it's receptive to the dyes.

Monday night: Prepare 2 – 3 silk screens for breakdown printing (also called deconstructed printing).  (For quick and easy directions for breakdown printing, check out Rayna Gillman's article in the August/September 2008 issue of Quilting Arts.)

Tuesday night: Time to put the prepared silk screens to work! Deconstructed screen-printing is a lot of fun and will yield the most surprising results, so I make sure I set aside about an hour. When finished, I carefully roll the fabrics in plastic sheeting and batch for at least 24 hours, allowing the dyes to thoroughly saturate the fabric.

Wednesday night: Rinse and thoroughly wash the batched fabrics, then allow them to dry.

Thursday night: Time to apply more surface applications to these fabrics, including working with Thermofax screens, applying freezer paper resists, accenting with Shiva® Paintstiks®, or painting, stenciling, and stamping directly onto the fabrics with fabric paints or thickened dyes.

Friday: Date night with my spouse, which allows time for the fabrics to cure if I've used Paintstiks.

Saturday: Heat-set my fabrics if necessary and take them to my sewing machine!

With this time set aside for myself to experiment and immerse myself in color, I have certainly managed to stave off those winter blues and created yards of original fabrics to boot.

So how about you? Have you developed a weekly art routine or way to keep yourself color-filled during winter?

Other topics you may enjoy:


Fabric Painting & Dyeing, Quilting Daily Blog

One thought on “Commit to a Weekly Art Routine

  1. While I’m not a fabric artist, the notion of setting up a schedule sounds extremely valuable. I do keep lists of projects I plan to do and actual commitments with deadlines, but haven’t set up a schedule in this way. It is definitely strange that this email came in today because this morning while on the bus commuting to work I was making a list of projects I’m working on now along with the steps remaining in each project. This post is definitely a keeper and something I’ll be working on.