Well, what the title says. I can’t seem to stop myself. One of the years when the war was raging in former Yougoslavia, my family went on holidays to Spain instead of there. We did like it but it was just not the same, and I couldn’t forget why we had to go there. We were near Barcelona, which is the Capital of Catalonia . There was a “free Catalonia” Graffiti all over the place, and the people spoke French with the tourists rather than Spanish. Heh, I know there won’t be a catalan revolution any time soon, but way back when their malicious gossip about the Spaniards reminded me of our Croatian landlord’s speeches about the Serbians, which we never took any more serious than Bavarians railing against the Prussians. An uncomfortable kind of deja vu.
On the technical side, I did the same as with the last two postcards, just a different top layer. The word was painted onto the fabric after ironing the bondaweb on, because writing it mirrored so that it will turn out right after ironing the bondaweb on seemed too much hazzle.
Now this is the same, with white silk chiffon ironed on top. It looks very muted, blurry, and, well, silky. I do like the effect, although I’m not sure it fits the mood of this postcard. The red word didn’t make a difference for ironing the top layer on.
I was so fascinated by the new technique I had just learned (using painted bondaweb) that I went to do another piece for the february take it further challenge instead of finishing something old. Seems I’m in one of my creative frenzies.
This one shows the coast line of the place at croatia where we used to go on vacation before the war there.
I used the same base fabric, bondaweb painted in the three acrylic colours I mentioned in my post about the tif colour palette, and covered it with deep blue nylon chiffon. The whole piece is more soft and you see more from the colours on the bondaweb because the nylon fabric is very delicate.
Last, I show a pic after doing some stitching. Right now I think I’ll probably leave it alone at this stage. sometimes, less is more.This was much softer to stitch than the piece with polyester organza as top layer.
I have been painting too much: I still seem to think in acrylic pigment colours not in DMC colours.
Like I always seem to do when working with colours, I looked for the acrylics I can use to mix them. I chose light ochre, English Red and Indigo, together with white for the mixed colours. Basically the yellow/red/blue colour scheme in somewhat muted colours. I show the pure colours and equal mixes, and how I made the tif colours from them.
The blues are just Indigo and white, the ochre is light ochre as it comes out of the tube, the beige is light ocre and English red in equal parts plus loads of white. Of course, you could just use water + the effect of the white paper to make it more light. As a comparison, I added the original palette again.
I was so happy with the results of my recent experiments with painted bondaweb that I want to share the fun, so I have written down how I’m doing it. Kudos go to all the bloggers from whom I learned that such techniques exist. All the images are thumpnails, you need to click on them to see them full size. I’m sorry for this, but I guess not all my readers are really interested in this totorial and those who aren’t probably don’t want their browser blocked by loads of images. English is not my first language, so I hope this doesn’t read too confused. Tell me if it does, I’ll be happy to try and make it better and learn from my mistakes.
For those who don’t know: Bondaweb is a gossamer-like vilene that is used to make two fabrics stick to each other. It sits on a paper and is sold by the metre. Usually you iron it onto one fabric paper side up, peel off the paper and iron the second fabric on top.
raw materials you need:
* Base fabric, preferrably not too thin and made from a material that can be ironed with at least medium heat
* acrylic paints
* sheer fabric for the top layer (Organza, Chiffon or something similar)
Tools you need:
* a flat iron and a suitable surface to use it on
* maybe baking paaper to protect your ironing board
* painting equipment
Here, you see the raw fabrics for the layers: beige evenwave embroidery fabric, bondaweb (called vliesofix in Germany) and sheer polyester organza.
First, the bondaweb was painted with watered down acrylic colours. The bondaweb has a smooth side, that is the paper side, and a somewhat hoarse side, that is the vilene side. You paint on the vilene side. For this one, I used them really thin and in copious quantities, thus reinforcing the stripey effect you tend to get when painting the bondaweb. Remember that on the finished piece, you’ll see a mirror image of all you paint because you need to iron it onto the fabric face down.
The bondaweb is somewhat translucent. So if you are not that good with painting you can lay it on top of a boldly drawn pattern and paint after that.
The bondaweb has to be completely dry before continuing. To be sure let it dry overnight. Don’t dry it on a hot radiator or somesuch because that will reinforce its tendency to crinkle, or possibly melt it.
Books claim that any water-based colour system would work for that step, I haben’t tried anything else than acrylics. Oil based colours definitely don’t work.
Next, the bondaweb is ironed onto the base fabric, in this case the evenweave fabric. For this it is laid onto the fabric with the painted vilene side down and then you iron over the paper. This step is a bit complicated because the bondaweb tends to get crinkles when wet. Lay it onto the fabric, carefully flatten it and then iron it carefully. When dealing with a bigger piece, start in the middle and work towards the edges to avoid bubbles and crinkles.
If you can avoid it, don’t use the same flat iron and ironing board for this you use for your clothes. Inevitably stray bits of bondaweb will stick to them and may ruin your clothes next time you iron them. If you don’t have a second flat iron for such adventures do all the ironing between sheets of baking paper. Put an old towel or baking paper onto your ironing board.
Let this sandwich cool down completely before trying to peel the paper off. Be careful and patient when doing this, the acrylic paint may make the paper stick to the bondaweb more than it usually would. Now you can add things like words or fine details painting on the fabric directly, but don’t overdo this or the next layer won’t stick properly.
Now your piece is ready for the top layer. There is one problem: in order to really stick to something properly, bondaweb needs medium heat or somewhat below that, more hot won’t hurt. Polyester organza will melt even on the usual synthetics setting. Nylon, rayon and silk are better because they can be ironed a little bit hotter, but even with them, in my experience you won’t get the kind of connection between the layers you get with two 100% cotton fabrics. Just iron the whole thing as hot as the top layer allows, and then overstitch it sufficiently to make it keep together. If the top layer is very thin or somewhat net-like iron it through baking paper so the flat iron won’t stick to exposed bits of bondaweb. The top layer will in any case fullfil its primary purpose, whih is seal the bondaweb so that the finished piece won’t stick to anything else. The reason why I will continue to use polyester organza is its incredible sheen. The scanner really isn’t doing it justice. Experiment with different top layers for different effects. I’m in the process of this and will let you know about the results. You also can experiment with diffferent base layers of course.
You can see the same piece after stitching in my last post, if you haven’t already seen it. Now do your own experiments and have fun! For my part, I’m not entirely sure jet if this technique is really superior over just painting the fabric and then layering it using some paperless gossamer fusible or just stitching. My further experiments will hopefully show this.
OK, here is my february tif piece as it looks today. I katha stitched all over it, and think, I’ll leave it as is for now. I’ll just have to think up some solution for the finishing. I’ll either back it with something and finish it with a kind of quilt bindin or just machine stitch arround the edge. Next time I do something similar I will leave more fabric arround the finished picture, about 1 cm. That will make finishing it easier. Hey, I’ve got a job now! I can buy more fabric if I run short of it.stitching this felt funny because the bondaweb renders the fabric rather stiff.
About my rant last week, on re-reading it I think it might sound offensive to some readers. Of course, I don’t mind if others work decoratively, or abstract. In fact I read many blogs of such people and enjoy their works. It’s just not what I feel driven to create. So, sorry if I stepped on anybody’s toes. This is probably as stupid as as the art versus craft debate.
Sometime this week I was surfing arround idly on wikipedia – and found Stuckism , an article about a group of artists who reject conceptual art and postmodernism in favour of paintings which are kind of understandable and done out of a need to express oneself, not just for attention and monetary gain.
I went on to read their manifesto and other stuff on their website. Some of it might be irelevant to a fiber artist. But on the whole, I agree to their manifesto enthusiastically. I guess I’m not going to become a stuckinst now, I’ too much of an amateur to be part of any -ism, I guess. Also, my painting teacher would probably foam at the mouth with wrath about some of their art (he is into fantastic realism, and able to paint photorealistically if he wants to).
What I especially enjoy is their quest for meaning. Just some days ago I had a discussion with someone who claimed that painting (in the widest sense, including pictorial fiber art) as a medium of art is utterly dead. I responded that there’s truth in that, but it doesn’t need to be that way. What is killing art is the snobbism and of the art scene, which make art look disgusting for ordinary people. What also kills it is the notion that something must be shocking or a novelty to be art. This on the one hand, and the strive for decorativeness on the other hand. Once my painting teacher said: ” Don’t paint decorative abstract stuff. leave that to interior designers, they are trained for it much better”. In my oppinion, art in any medium should be about expressing emotions, thoughts and experiences, if possible in a way that is effective in communicating them to others. And it shouldn’t be spelt with a big A. I certainly found some of this in the stuckist manifesto.
Oh well, I guess the fact that I didn’t know about them, and many other art movements I found on wikipedia, probably means I’m a bloody amateur who has no business ranting about such stuff.
One more post about Sharon’s take it further challenge. Several people have posted DMC colour numbers, and they did not agree. For lack of time and energy, I didn’t go to a big store in a big city but to a local one wich has only a limited selection of coats mez floss. I didn’t even have a printout with me because I don’t have a colour printer, so my colours are just a rough guess. not a bad fit imho, but the two light blues are not as dull as the ones in the colour scheme. They were the most dull blues that shop had.
By the way, I can’t quite decide if the light blues are diluted indigo as I stated in my last posting about the tif colours or more greyish. the light beige is certainly no diluted version of the darker one as I assumed earlier for the sake of simplicity. It has much more red in it. I guess I’ll go back to experimenting with paint some more.
I made some progress on the desert embroidery, but not enough to make me scan and post it again.
I was too tired after work to plan something, so I just did what came to my mind when looking at the colours. desert scene with dramatic sky. Somehow I always associated war with arid countries, but I don’t want to add peace signs, tanks or similar kitsch to this. Maybe I’ll have an idea, maybe not.This is roughly postcard sized, I wanted to be sure I start something I can actually finish during February. It was done by ironing painted bondaweb on beige evenwave fabric and then ironing orange polyester organza on top. The last step was hard to do because organza mustn’t get as hot as bondaweb should in order to melt properly. In a second step, I started stitching it with kantha-like running stitches. I’m not done jet, and I’m also not sure if I’ll leave it as is when I’m done or add some more embelishment.
It is fun how my first tif piece is about remembering old times, and this one has to be.
I know I don’t need to, but I don’t have problems telling – I’m 35, and slowly realizing I’m no longer young. So what do I remember? There are of course the big things – The Chernobyl desaster, and all the angst it caused even in western Europe. I was a kid then. I dimly remember some treatise between America and Russia about atom bombs when I was in third or fourth class. I was really, really afraid of an atomic war then, I even dreamt about it. A visit to Berlin in my mid teens when the wall was still in place. A stroll through communistic eastern Berlin on the same occasion. Perestroika at Russia, wich really sparked silly hopes for a better world back then. The fall of the Berlin wall, and the first golf war. The golf war drove everybody crazy, the days it began the teachers amost stopped teaching at school, the radio was on in class all day, featuring BBC or some German news channel, and we kept discussing. The German Reunification, which was good news in the end, although I doubted that back then and still doubt it was done in the right way. The war in former Yougoslavia, which toughed me on a personal level because I have been on vacation there many times and had penpals I met there (everybody I knew personally got through it fine).
And all the technical advances. I remember black and white TV, we got the first colour one when I was 5 or 6. And there were no privately owned TV stations back then, only three German programs, 2 Austrian ones and a Swiss one, but that was hard to understand. The year my school got a coin-operated copier for the students – it was in fact the first such machine in our small town and a big sensation. We spent many a lunch break copying various body parts and other silly stuff just for the heck of it. I remember when computers became affordable – I was 14 when my dad brought home a C64 and I started programming on it. That darn thing had no hard drive, and after a few hours of use it became hot and had to sleep for a while. I remember a youth without cell phones. I remember how vinyl records were replaced by CDs to the dismay of many. I didn’t care that much because most of the time I couldn’t afford either, so I bought tapes. When I started university in 1995 and discovered the inet it was still something not everybody could afford. DSL and even ISDN were not jet in existance and local phone calls (to reach an inet provider for dial in) were expensive in Germany back then. There were no USB sticks, even CD burners were not jet common, so I took home the stuff I downloaded on lots of disks. It was such a relief when we finally got a cd burner at uni. And of course, I remember the advent of inline skates, and all the funny devices kids used earlier.
An no that music has been brought up – As a young kid, I heard the Trentino Mountaineers Choir in our town hall, before they became too old and famous for such gigs. I was thirteen when Modern Talking were new, and actually scraped together the money for two albums of them before realizing how all their songs sounded the same. I remember loving Bon Jovi before they turned from metal to mainstream. I remember the Heyday of the German Gothic scene – although I was flirting with it I never bcame a full-time goth. I remember listening to “Die toten Hosen” und “Die Ärzte” before they became mainstream. I remember the Dire Straits, although I never got why everybody was crazy about them. Oh, there was a time when an album (from a now obscure German Band- erste allgemeine Verunsicherung) was not sold to minors just because it had a song about a prostitute in it – I had to send my mum to get the tape for me. I remember a time when there were 3 or 4 discos in town – only the inofficial one is left now. I remember the time when Thomas Gottschalk (today a famous TV personality) moderated on bavarian radio, I used to listen to his show while doing homework.
I’m probably not remembering that much compared with the other stitchers. I realize I’m probably one of the younger ones of the crowd, and look forward to reading all your stories. And I don’t have any idea how to put something of all this into pictures. It is certainly not a topic for a “quick and easy piece” as I hoped the next one would be.
Meh, I am ranting again. This challenge makes me tell more about myself than I ever wanted to online. To add a bit of an eye catcher, I am adding two pics I did today playing with acrylic colours. All I see in that colour scheme are shades of indigo and ocre. I used Schmincke Indigo and light ocre. The ocre jturned out somewhat too yellow in the scans. So I played with these two colours. It doesn’t feel as strange as the last one, but I’m not sure I can do something with such a limited scheme.