Thursday, July 17, 2014

Printing and Padfolios

I've been working on padfolios this week. Tuesday started off with a bang - literally. I'd changed thread in preparation for stitching the closure on a second Autumn Trees padfolio, holding the top thread to pull up the bottom thread. I had the stitch on a setting that had the needle swung to one side, and I pulled just a little too firmly on that top thread - enough that the needle no longer angled into the hole but right into the throat plate - bam! Not the first time I've done this and usually the needle snaps, but this is a titanium one so I guess it only needed to bend itself into a bit of contortion. Never bodes well when this is how your studio day begins.

My first stitching through the elastic closure resulted in a bird's nest of thread on the underside. Taking a closer look, I'd managed to wrap the top thread around the needle. Or maybe it was the stitch I tried. I rethreaded, changed the stitch and had better success. This padfolio is pretty much identical to Michele's except for the button covering the elastic join and the stamp used in the first printing. On Michele's I used one that mimicked straight tree trunks; on this one I used one with more flowing lines - most visible on the lower part of the flap. Both were overstamped with a fan-like design in gold paint. This one is going off to June as part of our padfolio-for-painting exchange.

Top band from original jpg, bottom band from upped contrast jpg

However, I didn't think just ONE padfolio was a very fair exchange for the painting I received (Echoes From The Mongolian Rim), and I had another thought for a band that I wanted to experiment with, using a photo of a leaf I'd already played with back in 2011 (see this post). I took the tiled version and repeated it across the length of the band - a good start. Then not willing to let well enough alone, I tried a couple of mirror image repeats which gave a totally different effect. I printed these variations onto cotton sateen with my pigment ink Epson Workforce printer. Generally these things print exactly as I see them on my screen, so I ignore all suggestions about upping the contrast before printing. This time, I should have listened. The first set looked decidedly faded. I increased the contrast and printed again, getting a much more dynamic look.

I chose this image because I thought it might work well with the stamped fabric rejected for the Autumn Trees padfolios. And I was right. The faded one looked just right on one that had less bold impressions, and the upped contrast one held its own on the one where I had the stamp well-inked. The bands are attached with fusible web.

But both had lost some clarity to the outline of the leaf so some stitching was in order. I was so sure this grey and orangish/yellow King Tut variegated thread would be perfect for the faded one. Not only did it not define the leaves properly as the colors went from dark to light values and the stitch length I chose was actually too long, when I used it to satin stitch along the edge of the band, I discovered there was also GREEN in the variegation. Where did THAT come from? I tried convincing myself that it would look fine if I just stepped away from it for a bit. So I moved on to the other band.

The other thread I had out for consideration (but thought too dark for the first band) was a golden tan polyester - one of the first tri-lobals, or not your mother's polyester thread. I really do love it and it perfectly picked out the leaves and accented either side of the band. Success!

I'm not big on ripping out stitching but I knew I wouldn't be happy with this first one if I didn't. The satin stitching was easy (run a seam ripper under the wide stitches on the back and pull from the front - zip!), the other a little more tedious but worth it. The gold poly thread was not too dark to outline the leaves. It wasn't quite right for the satin stitching though, and I tried short runs of three other colors before settling on this Connecting Threads grey cotton. Actually, I'd ripped it out once, wishing for a grey slightly darker, but I had none. Black was just not right, the variegated grey/black too jarring with a striped effect. Once I got this on both sides, it looked perfect to my eye. So with fits and starts, Tuesday ended on a better note than it began.

Yesterday went much better as I moved on to choosing linings for the two. You would think a dark grey would work for both, but it didn't look right for my faded one. I found this fun batik instead that somewhat mimics the print of my stamp and whose brown is more similar to the color in the leaves than the picture would lead you to believe.

I also considered a black hand-dye for the lining - one that is the same tone as the grey of the cover and in the batik - but decided to use it just for the pockets. This one is done now, save for the closure, and tomorrow I should be able to finish the other. There are 4 more bands to work with but no more stamped fabric. Instead, I noted how good both the faded and stronger ones look on a commercial print I'd left out as a possible lining. Now I think I'll use it for covers instead.


June said...

I can't be reading this right. Two??????? Oh mercy. I reread it and I still think it means two for me. Mercy. I surrender. Sure. I'll take them. Oh mercy. My mercy me. Two of these. And you surely suffered enough in the making. All's well that ends well and this is certainly ending well for me --snort--

Chris said...

Wow I can't believe that needle! At first I did not know what it was in the photo. I love seeing your thought process and the steps as you make these. I also like knowing that I am not the only one that has stuff like that happen to them! Sorry....but it is true. Do you sell these ever on your site?

The Idaho Beauty said...

Glad you're not going to fight me on this one June. ;-) Just think of it as being the guinea pig for this particular group.

Chris, I do actually sell these although I haven't ever said so on the blog. Sales generally come from personal inquiries or when I have them in exhibits. I planned to put the rest of these leaf ones on a sale page here at the blog, so will announce that when it is ready. Thanks for asking.

Lucia Sasaki said...

Hi Sheila!
Beautiful padfolios!

Michele Matucheski said...

These look really nice -- despite the troubles you described in the making of them. The needle was amazing! Mine usually just break -- I've never seen one bent like that before. WoW! And your block prints look so nice layered on the fabric. I still like mine best, though! Makes me want to dig out the carving tools and make some stamps. I have the tools and supplies, I just need to sit down and do it!
There was a piece on NPR tonight about a new book : The Power of Two, about creativity and how people inspire each other. I was thinking about my old Art Quilt Group, and then of you and me and our challenge. Made me smile. I'm not quite ready to challenge you again, as I'm so far behind on other things I want to do. But if you throw down the gauntlet, I'd have to accept! Hint Hint!

Michele Matucheski said...

Here's the book I mentioned :

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