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Texture is the Trick

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The appearance of texture is what makes fabric really zing! Do people still use that word? Anyway you can do some really awesome stuff with a little bit of imagintion. You can simply paint design with acrylics, tea juice or fabric dye, but remember that you will be cutting it into little rectangles or triangles. I prefer to do something a little less well defined, like tie-dying for example.

How about scrunching–sort of a tie-dye technique. You’ll need metallic acrylic paints, fabric, rubber gloves, foam brush, spray bottle filled with water, newspapers or newsprint, and iron and ironing board.

Here’s where the creativity comes in. You can use a piece of fabric that is already colored for this one. Then use the basic method I talked about in the previous post to coat it. While the silk is still wet, wad it up into a ball starting from the middle f the silk. Then carefully unfold the fabric and rewad ittwo or three times. Each time you wad it you add more texture. After the last “wadding” leave it wadded up to dry. As always, iron the back side, once it is dry, to set the paint.

Or you could salt the fabric. You’ll need the same basic ingredients as above with salt added to the list.  This time, you’ll want to put the fabric on a sheet of plastic. You need to have water sit in puddles for this to work. After painting, while the fabric is still wet, sprinkle salt on the surface. Then spray just a little bit of water on the fabric. Don’t drench it or you’ll ruin it. Let it dry completely, brush off the dried fabric and iron the back side of the gabric.

Now you’ve got two cool techniques for making texture on fabric.

With that done, I’d like to talk about inspiration–the best part of creativity. Our art is inspired by this beautiful desert we live in. We are surrounded by mountains and hills that have hidden treasures. These treasures are in the form of really wonderful red rock that is painted with petroglyphs. Some of these were done 10,000 years ago and I always get a sense of wonder when I pick up a piece of chert. I realize that it was handled by the ancient ones as they created arrow and spear heads.

Then I see the figures on the wall created by these ancient humans and wonder what their lives were like. No one really knows what the figures mean because there is no rosetta stone to break the code. We can only guess.

Where we often picnic.

I’m going to insert a photo that either my husband or I took, but here is a great link:http://indra.com/~dheyser/ . If you search rock art or petroglyphs, you can find tons of info.

I love the color here and they tend to be what I use in my jewelry, although I do use other colors that I think people might like.

In The Beginning There Was Fabric

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So sorry. I just wrote an awesome blog post and then lost it. How does that happen? Let’s try one more time.

My aquaintance with fabric began when I was about 5 years old. I learned to embroidery and then at 12 graduated to making my own clothes. I love fabric, always have. That must be what led me to the interior design field where I specialize in window coverings.

Anyway, I said I’d give you some tips on creating fabric beads. While it looks easy, it does take a little practice and effort.

First you need some inspiration. I get mine from nature. I love our desert southwest with it’s vivid colors and exotic plants and animals, so I mostly create in earth tones, but can be coaxed into creating with pink or purple by a needy friend or relative. Fortunately, others love these colors too.

Painting fabrics gives you the chance to express your creative urge or make just that perfect color for a project you have in mind. I am very fortunate to have oodles of fabric to choose from, so I don’t often have to do this, but I have been known to embellish what I have wih metallic paint, glitter, crystals, wire or beads.

Next you need cotton or silk fabric about a foot square–a little goes a long way, acrylic paints, foam brush (about 2 inches wide), spray bottle filled with water–a little hand sized one, newspapers or newsprint and an iron and ironing board.

1. Make sure your paint is the consistancy of skim milk. If too thick, add a little water and shake well.

2. Now, lay the fabric out on several sheets of newspaper or newsprint and lightly spray with water until evenly wet, but not dripping. Wet the foam brush also.

3. Now comes the fun part. Squirt spaint on the fabric and spread with the foam brush. Continue this process until the fabric is evenly coated.

4. Once that is done, place the fabric on a new stack of paper so that soggy paper doesn’t stick to the back of your fabric, or you can hang it to dry. Step away from the fabric. You can’t hurry this process. Maybe now you want to paint a new piece a different color.

5. Now that the fabric is completely dry, iron the back to set the color. You are now ready to embellish the fabric.

Time to begin thinking about what you want to happen with this fabric. Think about items you can use to create texture, such as sponges or wire grid. Or maybe you want to paint a design directly onto it. Keep in mind that only little bits of the design will show after you cut and roll it. Next blog will explore this process.

Note: I am so very lucky to have inherited lots of leather samples when one of our furniture stores closed its doors. So sad it closed, so grateful for the samples. We use them on our Cliff Spirits and for beads. We also inherited many Southwest fabric samples for the Cliff Spirits. How lucky we are to be able to recycle or reclaim them so then don’t go into the land fill.

The following picture is of a Cliff Spirit made of reclaimed and recycled materials. Enjoy.

Coyote Man

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Coyote Man

This Cliff Sprit is made of recycled materials and is about 18 inches high.