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Staying True to My Quilting Vision

Brickwork ©by Dana Jones

Today, Day 4, of my Just Silk Screens class with Pat Pauly, I finally found my stride. While many of my classmates are making prints intended to be whole cloth quilts, I realized I needed to reclaim my love of pattern and piecing. I'm planning a quilt for which I'll need fabric and piecing to create brick and wooden walls. Once I worked to dye fabric with possible images for that quilt, I made work I like better than what I had made on Days 1-3.

The focus at Quilt Surface Design Symposium is exactly what the name says: surface design. It's odd that I've struggled with what that means for almost two weeks. Surface design — dyeing, painting, collaging, beading, embroidering and more — doesn't need stand separate from piecing. A much delayed ah-ha moment.

Detail of Brickworks

I made "Brickworks" by applying soy wax to my silk screen. It was basically drawing. I love drawing lines! Once the wax dried — it only takes a few minutes — I was ready to scrap thickened dye through the screen. I made the lines in some of the bricks with a cheap paint brush, the kind with stiff bristles that tend to separate and streak.

Brickworks made by printing the table

I will add subtle color to the mortar between the bricks, maybe tomorrow or maybe when I get home.

After making my red brick piece, I then printed the screen on the plastic on my table. This is called, quite logically, printing the table. Once you've laid down the image on the table, you can make additional lines, add motifs and more before laying the fabric onto the printed table. I used a tool that's designed for make grooves in tile adhesive to get more lines in some of the bricks, sometimes connecting bricks with my strokes.

The dye tends to develop tiny bubbles while on the plastic. While there are ways to prevent this, I liked the look so encouraged the bubbles to form to give the bricks more texture.

I printed the table piece on fabric I'd scraped with golden yellow and sun yellow dyes earlier in the day.

Clapboards ©by Dana Jone

My next challenge was to create fabric I can use to imply a rough wood exterior of a building. I used hot glue and cardboard to get a raised surface of lines to rub thickened dye over. I thought I wanted smooth lines, something I wasn't able to accomplish with the hot glue. Instead I got the beads you see. Turns out, I think I like that look better.

Working with thickened dyes is a process where it's best not to lock into expectations, especially when learning. You can think you know what the results will be, and you can be determined to get something exactly as you envision it, but you will get something different. You may be disappointed but more often, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

It's best not to discard anything that initially disappoints.

Detail of Clapboards

Aspen Whisper ©by Dana Jones

A Few More Class Experiments

Pat Pauly is a generous teacher who wants her students to learn as many techniques and tools as possible. In that spirit, I decided to try as many of her methods as possible in the time allowed. This approach has proved a good way to decide which processes I like and which work best for me.

I found I can make delicate lines by drawing with Elmer's washable, white school glue on silk screens. "Aspen Whisper" above was my first experiment with this technique. I will definitely use this glue in the future.

Barbed Wire ©by Dana Jones

Unexpected things can happen, some pleasing, some not so much. Earlier in the week, we were asked to create a one color ombre. Mine was green. It was hanging on my design wall as I was cleaning up today. I didn't want to toss the thickened dye that was on my table and would be spent by morning so I grabbed my hot-glue screen and began rubbing my lines onto the ombre with the reddish dye that was no the table.

When the lines were done, it needed something more. That's when I spotted the arrow stencil I'd cut from mylar earlier in the week but not used. By the time my table was clear of dye, this half yard of fabric had emerged. For me, the jury's out on what I think about it. Do you have an opinion?

Turning Toward Home

Quilt 35 (Vex), 2014 by Sanford Biggers

Antique quilt fragments, treated acrylic and tar on antique quilt.

Tomorrow is my last day here in Columbus. I'll head out when class is over. I've done some re-routing from my original plan so I can head to Louisville to see the Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch exhibition at the Speed Art Museum.

More on this and my third and final week of travel coming soon.

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Jun 10, 2022

I love All your experiments and your diving in to see “what if”. I am so glad you did all this. Your work shows your passion.


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