For many of us, coloring books were our first foray into the Zen-like focus color play can bring. Time spent in my studio rearranging textiles for fabric art brings me back to those days.
When I make small fiber art projects such as prayer flags, I usually start with a vintage textile like a linen napkin or a salvaged piece of a worn-out quilt as my base.
In my travels to quilt shows, exhibits, and "Quilting Arts TV" tapings, as well as virtual traveling via social media, I'm seeing a big return to some of the traditional sewing crafts like smocking, tucking, and hand appliqué.
Why did I ever take up quilting? Necessity! I was 16 years old and redecorating my impossibly small bedroom.
on textile art refers to changing the look of fabric through techniques
such as low-water immersion dyeing, batik, and discharge dyeing (or
removing the color from the fabric), or stamping, stenciling, and
I'm at International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston this week, soaking up all the fabric, quilting, and surface design ideas I can and meeting up with old and new fiber art friends.
One of the artists who taped "QATV" segments and a Workshop was Diane Rusin Doran. I was especially taken with the techniques she will teach in her Workshop: awesome hand dyed-fabric effects with digital imagery. Diane created gorgeous fabrics you would think were made in a dye studio-but were all done digitally.
If you've never hand-dyed fabric before, the process can seem intimidating. Yet learning how to dye fabric is not that different from learning how to cook. If you follow the recipe and take simple safety precautions, you will almost always end up with a feast of delicious color.
Want to stay cool with a hot surface design technique this summer? Learn How to Dye Fabric with Ice from expert Lynda Heines.
What are your favorite color combinations for quilt art and surface design? I particularly love the combination of hot pink with orange and turquoise. Or red, yellow, and orange together. And then there are the sun-washed combinations of yellow, blue, and green.
I'm an equal-opportunity fabric monger: I drool just as much over hand surface-designed fabrics. I gobble up every new technique and have even tried some fabric stamping, ice dyeing, resist dyeing, and fabric painting. I love it.
Where I live in New England, it gets dark at about 4:30 p.m. in the depths of winter. So when Daylight Savings Time kicks in and the snow banks start to melt, I'm itching to get outside and do some fabric painting and dyeing.
I've been playing with screen printing for fiber art a lot lately, in preparation for a surprise the Quilting Arts team has in store for you. (Trust me, you will love it.)
Our foremothers knew how to make a quilt using only what they had, from scraps of fabric to natural dyes. But, quilt making the frugal and eco-friendly way was easier for them:
Whether or not you are celebrating Christmas, I hope you will think about setting aside some time—today or in the New Year—to think about one special gift: your ability to create art quilts and other fiber art. Is 2013 the year you will to bring your quilt art to a wider audience?