Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Layered Look

Over the years, I've taken several classes, watched numerous demos, and read endless books on dyeing, painting, stamping, and stenciling and the information is typically the same. What makes the difference is play and practice. You learn to do the work by doing the work... but first you have to want to.

My friend Patti has a lot of experience with surface design techniques and is thrilled to share what she knows. I find it valuable to observe different people work. Everyone has their own way of doing things that I can learn from. Patti is far more addicted than I'll ever be - VBG - although I must have a substantial tickle of some kind to have spent the effort to learn what I've learned so far. Perhaps it's moment just hasn't come yet ? ? ?

Yesterday, we played on the covered deck in Patti's back yard, just outside her studio, with a lovely view of the hills across the valley. It was hot out but in the shade, with a breeze, it was the perfect place to play and - as you can see - she has lots of toys.

We focused on the layered look building up different colors with sponging and stencils. Above is my first piece with six or seven layers. It's 11" x 20" and needs a final steam to set the colors. The base was white cotton.

This piece is 9" x 35" and also started with a white cotton base. I splotched turquoise, burnt sienna, and yellow on top using a damp sponge. I like the way the colours bled and spread. I'll set them before deciding if I'll add more.

At the workshop, Marcy gave each of us a 16" x 20" piece of canvas. I've used a combination of stencils and stamps to create the look above and plan to over-dye with a light wash - probably in green - before adding further details.

Even though I've done a considerable amount of paint and dye work over the years, it's never been something that really grabbed ahold of me. I'm getting better each time I play and I'm a lot more spontaneous than I used to be and even so, I'm far more inclined toward layering fabric bits with fusing and thread than I am toward layering paint which is why...

... I'm debating how to add fusing, metallic touches, fabric bits, and thread to take the canvas piece in a more "me" direction. It's big enough to become a purse. Learning how to combine surface design and thread work would be fabulous for creative wearables because - in the end - I'm first and foremost a thread girl. I absolutely LOVE thread.

Years ago, I met Kristin Chursinoff, a textile artist from who builds her work with embroidery stitches on canvas. She was in town visiting a friend and came by my studio for coffee and a visit and brought several of her pieces to show. GORGEOUS. I was reminded of her work yesterday while I debated canvas plus thread. I love how dots connect in our lives.

Patti took several pictures of me painting - as evidence that I did indeed do it - only when I got home and downloaded the images, the ones of me weren't there. Too weird. I'm not at all sure what happened but I definitely saw her take them. Technology is tricky - LOL ! ! !

This morning, I'm off to Vernon for the day - about 1 1/2 hours away - to see my friend Lorraine. We'll talk fabric, go to a wonderful boutique nearby, and have lunch at her house. I'm looking forward to the visit. Next Monday, Barb is coming for five days and the week after I hope to visit my daughter and her family in Calgary for a few days before going down to Vancouver on the 22nd for my first course. In August, Caroline is coming to sew in my studio for a week, my daughter and grandson are coming for a few days, and - if all goes well with the first course - I have another hairstyling workshop at the end of the month. And in-between there'll be visits with other friends nearby. Since I have no idea what the future looks like, I'm determined to be out and about this summer and have as much fun as possible. What are your summer plans?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - learning


  1. Looks like lots of fun and such beautiful results! Your summer of fun sounds awesome - a great mix of visiting and learning!

    1. We did have a lot of fun. I'm not totally sure about the results but I think they can become something if I work with them a bit more. Visiting and learning are a favourite mix.

  2. What a lovely setting to spend such a fun day.

    1. And the view was really gorgeous.


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