Why did I ever take up quilting? Necessity! I was 16 years old and redecorating my impossibly small bedroom.
Over the years I've learned several surface design techniques
for creating unique fabrics. Dyeing, fabric painting, discharge dyeing,
stamping, and screen printing--they all make me feel like a kid again,
getting creatively messy with color and pattern
Usually when hand-dyeing fabric
you're trying to put color in. With discharge dyeing, your objective is
to remove color in an artistic way. You can create patterns on fabrics
using many of the same methods you would use for other surface design
processes, including painting and shibori techniques.
A few years ago I visited Old Sturbridge Village (a living history museum in Massachusetts) with the kids and was fascinated by the costumed interpreters demonstrating how to hand dye fabric with horse chestnut hulls. I tried it myself at home, but limited success--probably because I tried to speed up the process and didn't follow the instructions I found on the Internet.
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.
Last year about this time, I was inspired by a group dyeing adventure at the Interweave offices to host my own dyeing party at home.
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.
Last year when Pantone announced its Color of the Year—Tangerine Tango—I was a fan. I like cheerful, sunny colors, and this one hit the spot for me. I could see using it in different modes, from fabric to embroidery, to surface design techniques.
Usually when we hear the word shibori, we think of dyeing. Shibori dyeing come from the Japanese term for several methods of resist dyeing using binding or tying, stitching, folding, twisting, compressing it, or capping to create patterns.
I returned to New England from QuiltCon in Austin, Texas, this week, I
couldn't help but notice: it snowed again while I was gone. Yes, while I
was in the climate-controlled comfort of the exhibit halls surrounded
by colorful quilts--and quilters--Mother Nature had thrown another heavy
blanket of snow over my region.
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.)
Last week I shared a pillow project by Candy Glendening, noting how the simplicity of the design allowed her hand-dyed fabrics to take center stage. Today I thought give you some insight into Candy's fabric dyeing process.
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?
Recently, I shared Marcia Derse's tips for making your own fabric stamps for resist dyeing. The way that Marcia came to surface design and incorporates fabric painting and dyeing techniques into her quilt art fascinates me so much, I thought I'd give you some insight into her thought process.