Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fabric Art - Still Life

This is another of the small pieces I have been working on. It's about 10" x 12". I like the effect of using commercially printed fabrics and then laying mostly transparent color onto them.

After yesterday's post I got several questions about whether I was painting, what kind of fabrics I started with, etc. First, the fabrics are all commercial prints. I pick through my stash for what will work and choose them for the color, remembering that most of the color I am adding is transparent more or less.

For these small pieces I used pastel pencils. Not oil pastel--plain old chalk-y pastel. For larger pieces I usually use Seta color transparent fabric paints. I really like these paints, especially for large pieces, but since they are wet, they darken the fabric as you are working and it is a guessing game as to what it will look like when it dries, so when it's practical I like to use the pastel pencils.

This detail may give you a better idea of what is happening. The body of the bird started out as a light blue fabric with little black dots (it is actually the same fabric that is the binding on the New Orleans piece) and was colored with pastels. I think you can see clearly that the bowl was a pretty ordinary red and white calico-type print.

When I need to lighten an area sometimes white or light pastels will work (the light reflection on the inside of the bowl is done with white pastel pencil). Little white areas, like the reflection in the bird's eye, can be done using a bit of white fabric paint. The powdered sugar on the beignets in the New Orleans piece is white fabric paint which I applied with a toothbrush for the texture.

When I am finished with the pastels I set them by brushing very diluted acrylic matte medium over the area. That's a trick I learned from Maxine Farkas on Quiltart! You might expect this to make the fabric stiff. It doesn't. It changes the hand ever so slightly, but it is still easy to stitch through and has the look and feel of fabric, not oilcloth!


  1. I love these pieces! Thank you for sharing your process.

  2. I love your eye for subject and placement.

  3. Lovely art...and my favorite part of blogging is the sharing of your especially thanks for the post today...Ginger ( a neighbor from just south of you )

  4. This is wonderful. I, too, thank you for sharing your process with all of us.

  5. Wow! I love the subject matter here. It's surprising and refreshing. I wonder who just ate what from that sweet little bowl and whether they mind the visitor. And thanks so much for the description of your process. Fascinating.