Enjoy a Surface Design Explosion this Fall

pokey bolton

surface design marbling technique
Detail of a quilt by Jo Fitsell using her layered marbling surface design technique.

Reports from Fashion Week earlier this year (how many of us knew the term "fashion week" before "Project Runway" came on the scene?) showed that color, graphic design, spots, and fabric that seems to move would be hot this fall.

This interests me, and not because I'll be sporting plaid leggings running to and from the office, but because it jibes with the theme of our upcoming August/September issue: Surface Design Explosion.

(I know it's still summer in August, at least in my part of the planet, but in the fashion magazine world, the August issue is always the one with the new fall fashions in it, right?)

One of the articles I'm most excited about is Jo Fitsell's technique tutorial, Layered Marbling. Marbling is the ancient technique of floating very thin paint on the surface of thickened water. The paint is then absorbed by placing fabric on the surface of the water, creating a design.

surface design marbling technique
Jo demonstrates her layered
marbeling technique.
surface design fabric printing
Marie-Therese Wisniowski over-prints with disperse dyes to make eye-catching designs.

Inspired by the way painters painstakingly layer each color on an oil painting, Jo experimented with increasing the layers of acrylic paint on her marbled fabrics to achieve a richer depth of color.

By letting the fabric dry completely after each layer of paint was applied to the fabric and floating stencils on the surface to capture colors, she was able to achieve results that have a fluid, organic quality.

I can't wait to try this technique for painting on fabric, but surface design junkie that I am, I'm eager to plunge into the other tutorials we have in this issue, including:

Using over-printed disperse dyes to create artful cloth, by Marie-Therese Wisniowski.

Resist dyeing with tapioca, by Lisa Kerpoe.

A fabric print technique using foam, by Rose Legge.

Customizing your stash with painted-art additions, by Linda Sharp.

Monoprinting techniques for finger-painted fabric, by Cynthia St. Charles.

If you get more excited about stitch than surface design, don't despair: we've dubbed the October/November issue of Quilting Arts the "stitch intensive" issue for all you thread heads out there!

With the upcoming issues of Quilting Arts in hand, just think of all the textures, designs, and patterns you can fashion.

P.S. What's your favorite surface design technique? Have you discovered something new you'd like to share with the class? Leave a comment below!

Other topics you may enjoy:


Fabric Painting & Dyeing, Quilting Daily Blog

2 thoughts on “Enjoy a Surface Design Explosion this Fall

  1. I’d have to say ANY kind printing using a silk screen! There are so many variations, it always feels like you’re trying something brand new. I love to layer screen prints with stenciling, additional translucent paint layers, and painted organza layers.

  2. Since I started art quilting (2005) I have been interested in fabric painting (over 50 yrs. painting experience). I found Jacquard’s dye-na-flow and am having a great time Sun Painting using real leaves from nature. Everyone loves it and I have won several ribbons with it. I also teach this technique plus other classes. Outdoor in the Summer is the best time to do it and this year has been a very late start. I am going to make some lamps this year.
    Carolyn from Oregon