Friday, April 18, 2014

No Gray Areas

Black and White theme for the Arts In The Cards trade. I could explain it but would rather you think about it. Each card represents true or false words along with lots of little white lies.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Is this ART...Is it MY art?

New blog is UP!!!

Oh what a cute little piece of vintage commercial fabric. I could see this design reworked with appliqued yo-yos and embroidery.I could use any commercial fabric of my choosing for the background, or I could use some of my hand dyed fabric for a more artsy look.  But then the questions arise. Is it my art quilt, a copy or an inspirational derivation?

What if I did nothing to the fabric except put a binding on it and some beads. Does that make it art? And if it makes it art, is it MY art?

If I want to submit it to an art show or a quilt show, can I honestly do that and call it MY ART or MY QUILT? Remember, this would be no different than quilting a preprinted panel and jurying for a large quilt show without telling the jury it was a panel.

Recently I've had this very issue come up. When I asked what makes a commercial fabric that is simply bound and beaded art, I was told it is the artist's hand that changed it, otherwise it is just fabric.  Ummmm...maybe ....

My response was that it is the artist who transforms any medium into art. But I don't see binding and/or beading a commercial fabric enough to transform it into art....and especially not art that you can honestly present as your own work. You aren't the designer of anything except the binding.  If you are beading the design it isn't much more than paint by number.

I think this discussion goes far beyond a fiber artist using commercial fabrics for their art. Pamela Allen is a master at using commercial fabric and making art and there are many more.  With the ability to purchase  unique fabric from the designer who sells it on sites like Spoonflower, the chance of something being claimed as the fiber artist's own art and design increases. I think it is dishonest and I wonder what you all think about it?

I know I'm outspoken and not afraid to enter into a spirited discussion about all things fiber and I hope you will let me know your views on this.  I'm linking to Off The Wall Friday this week.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Coming along for the ride...

Ron expressed an interest in learning some bundling and dyeing techniques. I'm a novice and everything is experimenting so I have no objection to him coming along for the ride. I asked this morning what he was going to do with the fabric he dyes and he said he didn't know what I was going to do with it, he is just going to dye it!

I thought you would like to see his first dyeing experiments. After he bundled some rose petals and rose leaves in silk and linen he rolled them up and tied them. The long skinny one he did when I was out of the room and he didn't add any vegetation before he rolled it around a rusty spike. They were cooked in a vinegar and yellow onion skin bath. Some pretty good results!

Oh yes,  he left the bundles to sit for 3 whole days before unrolling them. The man has infinite patience that I don't have.

DSCN0023 DSCN0024 DSCN0025 DSCN9826

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New ATC Radiant Orchid

This month's ATC prompt was TEXT-ure. You can see them here and read about how they were created on my WordPress Blog     HERE

Sunday, February 9, 2014

How to tell Fabric Content with burning or bleach

Sometimes we need to know the exact fabric content of something we are planning to use. I've always done a rudimentary burn test but sometimes it is hard to know from that anything other than it is a natural fiber. When dyeing fibers, you need to know if it is cotton, silk, wool, rayon or something else because of mordants used.

I found a wonderful chart at  The New Varangian Guard Inc. (NVG Inc) is a historical re-enactment organization with branches throughout Australia, and sister organizations in several other countries.  I am copying the chart below and giving them credit since the original source of the information is a dead link.

How to tell what the fiber is:
Burn Test
Snip a piece of fabric equivalent to 1" square. Using butane lighter and holding the fabric with a pair of tweezers ignite the fabric over a non-flammable surface in a well ventilated area.
Examine the quality and color of the flame, the odor produced, and the quality of the resulting ash or cinder.
Use this table to help determine your fabric's content.
WOOL orange color, sputtery burning hair or feathers blackish, turns to powder when crushed flame will self-extinguish if flame source is removed, no smoke
SILK burns slowly burning hair or feathers grayish, turns to powder when crushed burns more easily than wool but will self extinguish is flame source removed
COTTON yellow to orange color, steady flame burning paper or leaves grayish, fluffy slow burning ember
LINEN yellow to orange color, steady flame burning paper or leaves grayish, fluffy takes longer to ignite than cotton, but otherwise very similar
RAYON fast orange flame burning paper or leaves almost no ash will continue to burn after flame source removed
POLYESTER orange flame, sputtery sweet or fruity smell hard shiny black bead black smoke
ACETATE burns and melts, sizzly acidic or vinegary hard black bead will continue to burn after flame source removed
NYLON burns slowly and melts, bluse base and orange tip, no smoke burning celery hard grayish or brownish bead will self extinguish if flame source removed
ACRYLIC burns and melts, white-orange tip, no smoke acrid black hard crust will continue to burn after flame source removed

Bleach Test:
To determine content of fabrics I recommend conducting this first with fabrics that you are sure about the content of – so you will know the outcome of the test yourself. In a non reactive pan (I use a pyrex pie plate) take snips (small pieces) of the fabric you will be testing. Use straight bleach and put about ½” of bleach in the pan. Please do this in a ventilated area. Add the snippets of fabric and let them sit for about 24 hours. The next day, look at what you have left.
100% Linen or Cotton any color should be removed from the fabric, but there will be no damage to the fibers themselves
100% Silk or Wool the fabric will have fully dissolved (unless its worsted/gabardine, there is a fabric treatment that protects the fabric from the bleach and keeps the fabric shiny even after washes).
100% Polyester, Rayon, Acetate, or Nylon the fabric will have become a cloudy mess within the bleach. Fully dissolved into an opaque cloud within the bleach.
Blends – The individual fibers will act as described above. The result will be different for each combination
Rayon / Linen linen fibers with a opaque cloud;
Silk / Polyester and Wool / nylon fully dissolved with an opaque cloud;
Linen / Cotton no damage to the fibers;
Silk / Wool fully dissolved.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

For Vintage clothing Lovers

OMG, while we were in Springfield, MO we stopped at the thrift shop run by the Disabled American Veterans. It was large and it was clean so that was a plus.

We were tired after a long day driving and getting our new ID's at the base but thought we needed to stop at at least one thrift shop, lol.

I bought a huge bag of sewing things because I saw a hooked rug pattern in it. When I got it opened in the car I saw it was full of 1940's clothing patterns. They are just the coolest thing. The sizing is not even close to our sizes since a size 12 was for a 30 inch bust and 33 inch hip....what size is that today, a 2? 

The historical value is wonderful but I could see a theater company or costumer getting a lot of good from these. I decided to sell them on Ebay and you can see them all HERE.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Quilt on Quilt Inspiration Blog

Hi All,
In case you might have missed this, my pet portrait is on Quilt Inspiration blog  today.

Check out all the wonderful cat and dog quilts from the International Quilt Festival in Houston.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Postal DNA Artist Trading Cards

 I confess I wasn't thrilled with this month's theme. You can't win them all right?  We get very little junk mail since we don't get catalogs and magazines. But what we get is shredded right away. I kept looking for interesting things in the mail that I could use for these cards until I realized that the shredded mail was interesting. 

When I started playing with it I thought about strands of DNA and Code. Online we know we are just bits of code going into the stratosphere until it shows up in some computer across the world. In the world of snail mail we are also just bits of code. You know those strings of dots and slashes you find across the bottom of an envelope? Those are code that tells the post office or the business on a business reply envelope all about you...even before the envelope is opened. 

To use these bits of code and to create my Postal DNA cards, I used a watercolor out of a sketchbook. I Mod Podged the bits to the watercolor paper and then added the code strings. Just like our own DNA, each of these cards is completely different and unique. But, because they are members of the same family, they have similar strands of code just like your biological  DNA

Monday, December 30, 2013


Reposted from

I have inherited somehow and from somewhere, a NASTY little Brownie. I don't mean those cute tiny little Girl Scouts who come to the door begging you to buy cookies.  I mean one of those tiny creatures who come out at night and carry off things you need and hide them so no matter how many places you look you cannot find what you are looking for. Never mind that it is always in the last place you look...with these little suckers there IS no last place!

I've moved things myself because all the construction going on here; new studio cabinets, taking over a space for dyeing, moving looms and yarns to new locations...but everything was boxed and binned carefully so it could go back into its proper home.  HA!  What a fool I was.

The first thing to go into the netherlands was a box of dye. I waited and waited after Easter for all the egg dye to get marked down to a dime.  Then I filled a cart, checked out and when I got home I disposed of all the boxes so that I had a tiny box of those magic acid dye tablets. Along with that I put all my packets of Kool Aid from the warehouse store.  GONE!  Completely and totally gone.  Not in the studio, the dye room, the pantry or any nook or cranny.

Right before Christmas I washed, dried and folded fat quarters ready to go into mordants for natural dyeing. GONE ! Completely and totally gone.  Not in the studio, the dye room, the pantry or any nook or cranny.
I told my friend Liz that I hope when this particular creature dies that I will be able to find my stuff. She said she has one living at her house that has a wicked sense of humor. Maybe the next time she comes to play a stow away will find its way into her bag and go off to play with her brownie!  If you want to read more about these creatures, check out this blog.
"What a messy room! Don't worry. I'll clean it for you."

Monday, December 23, 2013

Reduce Reuse and Recycle a Paint Rag

 I am forever the recycler and saver from the trash heap if something looks promising for another use.  Ron had a wonderful paint and stain rag that he was getting ready to use for a different color paint.
STOP I said as I snatched it from his hand. The dark stain had great texture and with a textile paint overlay it spoke Bittersweet to me. Bits of the  paint rag that are left are in the photo.  

Then I bought a carved India trivet that was broken. I bought it because of the honeycomb design and thought it would make a good stamp. Bingo!  The bonus is the leaf shape that also stamped well.

I sure wish there was more of that paint rag. I'll have to keep my eyes open next time and think about shopping in his workroom more often.