Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to paint a Seascape on fabric - Tutorial

Here's a quick tute for how to paint a shimmering seascape that you can use for further embellishment or simply frame as is (and if DIY isn't your thing feel free to commission a piece off me from $25 for a fat quarter size 50x 50cm). I love painting and fabric, so it only seems just that I combine the two frequently!
An example of the technique described below.

1. First wash and iron white cotton an inch or two bigger than your intended finished piece. It should be 100% cotton, washed to remove any sizing (coating) and then ironed to be wrinkle free.

2. Lay your fabric on a paint proof surface - I use a piece of metal or acrylic but you could use the glass from an old picture frame (put tape around the edges so they aren't sharp) or in a pinch work on a chopping board you've covered with a wide sheet of aluminium foil. Spray it with water until thoroughly damp and smooth down.

3. Decide where your horizon line will be. I like to use the Jacquard Lumiere acrylic paints as they have two tones in the one pot - where you paint thickly appears quite metallic and gold and where the paint travels and soaks into the wet fabric is quite matte and the alternate colour. For a sky over the sea I start with halo violet-gold straight from the tub and paint a line along the horizon allowing the colour to bleed out into the wet paint.

4. Add colours to the sky. I've added halo pink-gold, burnt orange and sunset gold. However using pink-gold by itself can create similar effects if you use it both watered down and straight. Allow the wet fabric to merge the colours and keep your paint lines mostly horizontal - the more angular you do them the windier it will look. Spray more water as needed.

5. For the sea bunch up that part of the fabric and paint over the top folds. I've used halo blue-gold.

6. The colour will soak down a little way into the fabric. After painting the visible folds with both straight and watered down paint (to get different effects) re bunch the fabric to make the white ares stand up. Using a different colour paint the now exposed white areas (i've used pearl turquoise). Lastly re-bunch the fabric again to show any remaining white areas and paint those (i've used the very metallic 'super sparkle' for these. Keep bunching and adding paint / spray with water as needed until you have covered the fabric and are pleased with the result.

7. Lay your fabric out flat and admire your work. Ta Da!

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Sewing Studio - ideas for making the most of a small space

I've just finished a 3 day clean up of my textile studio and between refolding all the fabrics to prevent fading, sorting colours and boxing threads I decided it was good timing to do a studio blog. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment of about 11 squares (about 102 sq metres) so innovative space consumption is paramount. Cost was a major factor too, so most of the storage ideas are budget friendly.

Click pics to enlarge.

The sewing studio in in a smallish second bedroom with one wall at an odd angle which made organisation a bit tougher. Here's the view from the door:

We live on a main road - so great lighting and an ever changing view. The downside is it's always of traffic and the heat coming in these east facing windows is quite amazing during the warmer months!

The desk is a Horn Magic box - both wings fold into the centre and the entire front and middle fold into the box the TV is on. This doesn't happen often though! The sewing machine shelf is height adjustable with an acrylic insert for flatbed sewing (my machine is currently having a holiday with a technician).
I've found most horn cabinets to position you to either side of the machine needle, I love this one as you can sit right in front and the cutout is large enough for the new, longer throat machines.

The Sew-Easy table and ironing board fit well inside the T shape of the Horn desk.

 A second Sew-Easy table in front of the window provides an alternate work area and also a good spot to photograph smaller artworks from.

 I had a friend make a full acrylic insert for one of the Sew-Easy tables, so when I'm quilting larger pieces there's no gap for them to get caught up in.

An open backed ornament wall display unit purchased from a home-wares store for $20 makes good fat quarter storage and all my fabric glues are kept on top.

Under the right wing a chipboard cube fits a woven basket for plastics while a present from my Mum - the Madeira Treasure chest fits beautifully on top. (All luck here, I made the chipboard cube as a stand for a record player when I was about 16!) The Madeira treasure chest comes filled with the most gorgeous collection of Rayon threads.

I had 3 untreated pin bookcases made and delivered for around $150 each, adding them as I needed the extra storage. The first holds my cotton fabrics, the second threads, synthetic fabrics and yarns and the third all the other bits and pieces. A built in wardrobe with mirrored doors helps to create more light.

All the cotton fabrics are stacked in colour-ways. Handpainted and multicoloured fabrics have their own stack as do very long pieces. The white woven crates hold dressmaking fabrics.

Setting them out this way means I can find a value or colour very quickly and it's easy to see any missing colours - right now I'm low on oranges, bright sky blue and lime greens.

To stop fading i've made a curtain from 100% UV block out fabric and drawn a design on it. I've also made curtains to fit the room with a layer of this block out under a layout of thick upholstery weight fabric. It helps to keep the heat down as well.

The top of the second bookcase has tubs of threads sorted into type (I have separate tubs for cotton, wool, poly, metallic, decorative extra-thick, spools, bobbin weight, viscose, silk and rayon). Rayon felts are on the top shelf with synthetics and organzas underneath.

I use very sheer organza for layering and doing heat work. These are too slippery to stack so they are folded according to shade and pushed tightly into plastic boxes. This makes them easier to take out to the kitchen which is handy as I use the flat glass hot plates to do my heat gunning and soldering iron work.

More threads boxed according to type.

Thicker synthetics I keep on a separate shelf and are often used mixed with cottons for art quilts or in my burnt works. These shelves could do with a re-fold too! Being slippery it's hard to get them perfect.

Boxes house yarns for the embellishing machine and couching. More woven crates  hold upholstery and fabric samples plus clothing items from opshops etc that can be repurposed in burnt works.

The third book shelf has plenty of boxes from a $2 store that I have labelled. These hold notions, UFO's, roving and the like.

My Babylock overlocker and Pfaff embellisher sit in the bookshelf when not in use.

Scraps have been organised in snap lock bags according to colour range and then put in these tubs for doing small fused pieces and confetti quilts.

A coat rack found in the bin room on our floor makes a good hanger in a space that would be otherwise too narrow to use for anything else.

An old stretch canvas painting forms a makeshift pin board for displaying some of my smaller works.

I've tacked a large piece of white flannelette to the wall to use as a design board. I love how most fabrics just cling to it without pins and it helps me to keep an eye on the bigger picture while making components for a work. When not in the middle of a large project I can use it as hanging space.

The floor lamp is a $30 uplight that was capable of taking a 100w globe from Bunnings and is essential when sewing at night. I've also put a fluro tube above the middle bookcase.

Even behind the door is utilised with hooks for handbags (there's just no-where else to keep them!) and large watercolour paper. The polystyrene is used to bounce light for photography when there's not enough even light naturally.

On the left hand side of the wardrobe a repurposed bedside tables has stacked racks on top holding all the silks i've collected while travelling. Sadly these have to share with my hubby's pants as the wardrobe in the bedroom is stuffed tighter than an emo band lead singer's pants.

The top of the wardrobe shares towels with Coco the wonder dog and rather inexplicably a basketball- all my wool fabrics and synthetics that don't seem to fit in anywhere else are stuffed into a crate here.

The bottom RHS of the wardrobe fairs a little better - battings and anything else on bolts or in rolls fills up the corner including Lutrador, Tyvek and bamboo sheets for felting. Novelty fabrics are folded into a box on their left which sits on the very large pieces or white on white and black and black backing fabrics I have.

The top of the wardrobe has flannelettes and a box of mending.... almost out of sight out of mind :)

Colorbond Steel fabric painting area with brushes in stainless cutlery containers and paints in CD shelving (both Ikea).

For painting fabrics I've set up a panel of Colourbond Steel in the lounge room. The coating Colorbond has means it won't rust and gives the metal a nice smooth service to work on. It's non porous so paint and water sits on top and nothing sinks in - so while it can stain it's easy to clean. To make it sturdier I used silicon glue to adhere two pieces of L shaped aluminium tubing from the widest part at the bottom to the centre of the top. This cuts down on wobbles and ensures it stays in place. Wet fabric can be smoothed onto the steel and stays in place even when dry - but to help ensure it doesn't start to peel off I use some magnetic vinyl strips or other fridge magnets. A sheet of thick clear plastic sits underneath with the length rolled up in front. When the board is in use it's simple rolled out to protect the carpet.

Besta CD/DVD storage from Ikea makes great fabric paint and marker storage. We have gone digital files only with CD's so it was nice to find a second use for these shelves.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

'Brunelleschi's Broken Bicycle' 12x12" Art quilt

I made this quilt for the Aus_NZ Art Quilters yahoo group challenge. We all agree on a theme at the start of the year and then aspire to make one quilt per month to this theme. The best 5 of each person who wants to exhibit will be seen at next years Australian Quilting Convention in Jeff's Shed.

click pics to enlarge

For my first quilt for the year (hey I'm a late starter and arranging a wedding got in the way a little!) I chose  Italy and Florence in particular. One of the things that surprised me while honeymooning over there was the sheer number of broken bicycles that littered the streets - generally still chained to bike racks. Some corners had four or five formerly very expensive bicycles with wheels kicked in or bent frames.

To make this I:

• Cut bikes from a pre-printed fabric and fused them with fusible web to a backing fabric, I pleated and creased them before ironing down to abstract and 'break' the bikes.

• I made a bike wheel with Expander Paint (by Setacolor), I put some into a folded trough of aluminium foil, added a little black Jacquard Dye-na-flow paint and mixed. I stamped the bike outlines using a bamboo cooking skewer that I bent into arcs for the wheel.

• I ironed the Expander Paint to raise it (it's like 80's puff paint on steroids!) and then painted the middle of the tyre with gel medium with a tiny amount of gold paint mixed in followed by a gloss varnish.

• Rather than conventional binding I sewed around the edges and then bordered them with leather tonging that has been couched down. I figured leather was something else quintessentially Italian.

I wanted the worn look of stamping for the tyre as so much of Italy is, while beautiful, very old and worn without a lot of the upkeep that we saw much of in places like Paris. This was very noticeable in the main museums over there when compared with places like the Lourve.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Only 3 sleeps until my 'Hot Stuff #1' textile art workshop in Melbourne on Saturday. Book now!

The 'Hot Stuff #1' textile art workshop run by ATASDA VIc is coming up quickly! We still have around 5 places so if you are interested in learning how to distress synthetic fabrics with a heat gun, how to colour and distort Tyvek and how to incorporate products like Angelina Fibre and Textiva Film (fantasy film) into your work book now!

To book for Saturday call Barbara on  0419 396 695. For more information about the workshop please see the flyer in my last blog post and feel free to ask me questions in the comments section on this blog. All the textile art materials are available for a materials fee of $5 per person so don't fret if you don't have any Angelina or the like at home.

A sample of the type of heat distressed mini-quilt class participants will be making. This piece incorporates synthetic organza and satin plus Angelina fibre, metal leaf and Textiva foil. It's machine stitched with a metallic rayon thread. We will cover how to freemachine these sorts of works in the class though they can be just as effective when sewn with a straight stitch grid.

A close up of the above quilt. Click to enlarge each of the pics.

This unremarkable looking work is the same piece before being selectively heat gunned.

We will be painting and heat distressing some Tyvek too. (click to enlarge the photo!)
From top clockwise:
1. Tyvek painted with silver acrylic then put through and inkjet printer, stitched and ironed. 2. Tyvek painted with Lumiere paint and then stitched, solder cut and heat gunned. 3. Tyvek painted and embellished with fused organza snippets and ironed  4. Painted and stitched Tyvek, ironed.

You'll go home with lots of ideas for how to use your heat tools and heat alterable products. The workshop runs from 11am through to 3pm and costs from $40 per person, however for full details please see the flyer below. Materials lists are emailed on booking.

Hope to see you there!! 
- Neroli

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

'Hot Stuff' Heat Tools Workshop Flyer

Here's the flyer for my upcoming 'Hot Stuff #1' textile art / multimedia workshop on Sept 3. It's only just over 2 weeks away so book now if you want to go. You'll learn how to colour and distort Tyvek plastic, how to use, layer and heat alter Angelina fibre, Textiva (fantasy film), synthetic sheer fabrics and more.

For more information see my last blog post.

To book call Barbara on: 0419 396 695.  Click the flyer to enlarge.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

'Hot Stuff #1' ATASDA Workshop Sep 3, 2011. Learn how to use heat guns, synthetic fabrics, Tyvek, Angelina fibre and Textiva (fantasy film).

I am pleased as punch to announce I'll be running my first Heat Tools textile / multimedia workshop for ATASDAVic in a couple of weeks on September 3rd. We will be painting and distorting Tyvek and then layering synthetic fabrics with Textiva (fantasy) film and Angelina fibres, stitching a resist and using heat guns for impressive (and easy!!) results.

You will leave with your own heat distressed mini quilt and a knowledge of how to incorporate each of those materials and techniques into your own work.

Hot Stuff #1

Date: September 3rd

Time: 11am to 3pm


Hartwell Church Of Christ Hall, cnr of Milverton & Highfield Rds Hartwell. (off Toorak Rd)
Cost: $40 for ATASDA members, $45 for non-members.  $5 materials fee if needed.
Materials lists will be emailed to all who enrol.

To book call Barbara: 0419 396 695

You will be making something that could look like this:

And turning it into something that looks like this:

some close ups:

When you're done you may want to turn it into a purse, use it as a background, a book cover or a stand alone art quilt. Here's my demo piece pinned into a purse:

I really hope to see you there! It's late notice and ATASDA Vic's first own workshop, so they've kept the costs down. Take advantage and book in!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Making 'no carve' Stamps with Perspex and Silicone glue (or trying to)

I recently found a blog with what seemed like a totally brilliant idea for how to make your own 'no carve' stamps. It entailed using 3mm perspex as a base and silicone glue (or filler) to draw with.

It seemed simple enough and since I'm demoing (among other things) Lumiere Paints on fabric at the upcoming Melbourne Craft and Quilt fair on from tomorrow, a rather timely find.

Here's what I learned from my attempt:

1. if you have long hair put it up. Don't ask me how I know.

2. Silicone glue is not your friend. Unless you want a line as thick as your thumb, or, after trying to use a thin hole in the end of a nozzle a sore hand and a burst glue container. (Again, hair up could make the clean up of the last a little easier)

3. If you need to cut 3mm perspex don't expect to score and snap it like they do in the blog. Instead, after giving that up for a joke bribe your husband to do it, with a jigsaw and then allow 3 days for filing the resultant miss formed shards. Of course if we had a fine blade or a semblance of how to cut perspex this may have ended differently.

4. Cotton buds are your friends.

5. So are tissues.

6. Thank the powers that be that you can draw well and don't need to use stamps often.

Now admittedly I couldn't find the type of silicon filler they used in the blog post in Australia and my equipment (and muscle strength) may have not been up to par. I'd love to hear if anyone has more success with this - the idea really does sound like a great one!

The tutorial on the blog I found is:


Saturday, April 16, 2011

All That Glitters - all about adding bling to your work with Angelina Fibres, Textiva, Crystals, Foils and more!

Am more than a little excited having just had my first major magazine article published in the current edition of Down Under Textiles magazine!!!

My comprehensive 6 page article features a host of very easy ways to use all the wonderful bling-worthy products that are now available and gives tips on how to get the most out of each one.

You can buy both hard copy and digital editions from here!

The article covers Angelina Fiber:

Polyester Film:


 Metallic Paints:


Textiva Film:



Metal Foils:

Shiva Sticks:

Crystals and Decals:

And lots more!!!

Hope you enjoy the article! Please leave any comments, feedbacks or further ideas below in the comments section!