30 June 2013

I Found my Marbles

Today I'll show you my recent explorations into fabric marbling, but first let me show you what I did yesterday. It's become a tradition for a friend and me to go to Fiskars Village every summer (yup, that's where the world-famous orange scissors were born) and look at Finnish art and design, and to enjoy the yummy cakes at Petri's Choclate Room. (The cakes are prabably the main reason we go there, to be honest...)


Then let's return to the subject of marbling fabric. I've wanted to try it for some time, but haven't had the right equipment. Then I found some instructions that made the technique sound super easy, and I had a go. The only things you need are fabric, silk paint, wallpaper glue, and a flat-bottomed pan (dedicated to crafts). You mix the glue, pour it into the pan, drip silk paint onto the surface, make swirly-whirly patterns with e.g. a toothpick, lay down the fabric over the paint, lift the fabric immediately, scrape off the excess glue, let it dry, heat fix the paint, and rinse the fabric to get rid of the rest of the glue residue.

However. Things that sound easy-peasy are usually not as straightforward as they seem. It will take a bit of further experimentation before I'm 100 % happy with the results. But having said that, I am pretty pleased.

Below are pictures of the process. What surprised me the most when I started was the way the paints behaved. I had expected them to float out in a wide circle, like I've seen in other people's videos. But not with this technique. The paint drops stayed pretty much were they landed, and spread slowly in a lichen-like fashion (Swe: som lav):

I was pretty taken aback at first, and didn't quite know what to do. So I just aimlessly dragged my toothpick through the paint shapes in the hope of enlightenment.

Interesting, but far from what I had expected. So I tried adding a bit more paint, if that would encourage the paint to flow out more.

Nah, it didn't behave the way that I wanted it to. I felt pretty disappointed. But as they say, if you can't beat them, join them. The paint had obviously a mind of its own, and I would just have to play according to new rules. So I filled the whole surface with lots of paint drips, and dragged the toothpick through them in a much tighter pattern, and that's when magic happened:

This was a whole new ball game, and I was finally getting excited. Next, I tried to make spirals:

Gorgeous! More spirals!

What I now need to figure out is how to get stronger colours. I don't know if it's the scraping away of excess glue that causes it, but the colours on the back of the fabric are much stronger than on the front:


I guess I could use the back as the right side, but the pattern is less well-defined on the back, so I'm hoping to find a way of boosting the colour on the front. There's obviously more experimentation to be done, but I feel I got pretty far already. Something which felt pretty disappointing at the start turned into something really exciting. That's what makes the creative process so rewarding, isn't it? You never know what fabulous discoveries hide behind the next corner.

Thanks for reading this far, and see you again soon! - Annika

22 June 2013

Purses and Pouches Galore

It seems I've been into bags, purses and pouches lately. I've produced quite a collection for different purposes, even on commission. Here are some of them.

Paper fabric purses for an upcoming mixed media class (in September):
(i Nykarleby: så håll korpgluggarna öppna för mera information, ni som bor i området!):

To create the paper fabric, I've used the methods described by Beryl Taylor in Mixed Media Explorations and Kelli Nina Perkins in Stitch Alchemy. There's more to explore, so I'm sure I'll return to this subject later in the summer.

A waist purse to hold my keys while I'm out jogging (much needed, and accomplished at last!):

A batch of coin purses to sell at a craft fair this summer (the fabrics are my own hand dyed fabrics):


And a pouch for smartphones, also for sale at the fair (again, my own hand dyed fabric). So far I've only managed to finish one of these, but I'm probably going to make more now that I've worked through the original construction method and made some improvements:

That's all folks! Have a great weekend, and I hope to see you again soon! - Annika

19 June 2013

Baby Wipe Shibori Revisited

For the last couple of weeks I've kept my sewing machine and fingers busy. I finished a skirt and a blouse that've been hanging around in my sewing basket for quite a while (how satisfying!), I've experimented with paper fabric (and there will be more, rest assured!), I've made a batch of cards, and I've sewn some small purses for an upcoming craft fair. I'll get back to these projects in my next blog entries, but this time, I thought I'd share the cards with you.

A friend asked me if I could make her some cards, and that inspired me to make a whole bunch of them in a technique I enjoy. Here's a sample:

You've seen the backgrounds before, in this blog entry, which was a direct result of this blog entry. As you can see, I've made good use of my shibori-style baby wipes. I've drawn the motifs myself, scanned them, printed them on cardstock and cut them out, before attaching them to the cards with thick double-sided tape for a 3-D effect.

(Oh, and of course I added a bit of glitz with craft foil. That goes without saying.)

Thanks for dropping by! - Annika

9 June 2013

Poppy Love

After not having been very active on this blog for so long, it feels a bit difficult to get started again. What should I write? How should I start? Should I apologise to you, my reader, for my inactivity? Well, I think I'll just say that there's a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens, and with so many things going on and such a big change in my life over the past year, blogging had to take second place. But I missed sharing my projects and discoveries with you, so I will make an attempt to breathe new life into this blog now. And I will start by sharing a little piece of quilt art that I finished recently.

I started working on this mini quilt in December, and I've shared a couple of process images before here. It was basically finished and part of an exhibition in January (link), but I wasn't 100 % happy with it, so it's been hanging around looking a bit forlorn since the exhibition, until I took pity on it and added what I felt was necessary. And now I'm quite pleased with it. I attached it to a canvas frame, which will make it easier to display, as well as make it look less like a little potholder on the wall and more like a proper piece of art.

Ok, enough talk. Here are the images:

The size of the mini quilt itself is 15,5 x 15,5 cm (6" x 6") and the techniques include monoprinting, stencilling, fabric markers, fabric collage, Free-motion machine quilting, hand embroidery and beading. The name of the quilt is Papaver (2013). Papaver is the Latin name for poppy.

Thanks for reading! More to come soon, because I'm bursting with projects and new things to try. :-)