Saturday, January 05, 2008

Texturizing Experiment

I belong to an on-line surface design group that has a New Year's Kick-Start challenge going on right now. Oh, alright, it was MY idea to have the challenge as I really felt the need for any kind of kick-start. I have so many ideas that I intend to try and never do. Sometimes a deadline with a group of people waiting for your contribution is just what I need to get moving.

I chose a technique out of Exploring Textile Arts that texturizes fabric through shrinking. It's a simple concept exploiting a fact that most quilters know: cotton fabric, especially muslins and flannels, will shrink when washed, so if you mix washed and unwashed fabric in a piece, you will get uneven shrinkage and puckers. Of course, if you are making a traditional quilt, you want to avoid this like the plague. If you're an art quilter, you may want to exploit this fact.

I started with a piece of muslin that I'd painted. I'd overworked the blending of colors and ended up with something I didn't like very much. It was an excellent candidate for further play. I layered it with a piece of muslin that had not been washed and zigzagged around the outside and through the middle.

Next, stitching is done throughout the piece. I wanted to see what different effects I'd get with different types of crossed and parallel lines so each quadrant is stitched differently. Here you can see I penciled some guidelines on the back.

With yellow cotton thread in the bobbin, I stitched along the lines from the back. The yellow is already making this piece look better.

Last step is to wash the piece in hot water and dry it in a hot dryer. The unwashed muslin on the bottom shrinks up while the piece on top does not, creating the puckering that provides the texture. This piece started at 15 inches and finished at 14 inches.

I wasn't sure how much the thread would actually show - from the picture in the book, I thought maybe not very much. But as you can see, it does show, so if I were to do this for real, I'd be a little more careful about those straight lines. There wasn't as much texturizing as I had imagined (it looks more so in the picture than in real life), and I'm wondering if curving overlapping lines more closely stitched would do that. Perhaps even a meandering stipple might work. Just stitching the two pieces of fabric together started to pull the piece up and provide a little texture.

This piece isn't done. I think the next step will be to apply more paint - either to pool in the wrinkles or to highlight the ridges.


Nikki said...

Oh, I like this! One way to get more extreme texture is to use hot water soluble fabric for your underneath layer. I've played with that, but I like the more subtle texture you have here. I think I'll try this with some things I've been playing with!

The Wittering Rainbow said...

How interesting! Your post set my mind racing with ideas...sewing the shrinkable layer on in strips with raw edges...rollering paint over the top...cutting away...stuffing bits...all sorts. Certainly a kick start to the new year.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Ooooh, you two have given me more ideas! I don't know if that's good or not...;-)

Someone on my list also suggested sewing bits and pieces to Tyvek, Then covering the tyvek side with parchment and heating it with an iron. Knowing how Tyvek shrivels, I can see how that would give fantastic results.