Sunday, 4 June 2006

fabric books

If my Ladies Who Lunch group are reading this STOP NOW and DON'T LOOK, ya hear??!!

In January 2005, our little lunch group decided to have a fabric book round robin
(hate to admit that I was the one who came up with the bright idea)
15 of us decided to take part, we would work on it all year, each of us making 15 pages, then we'd exchange pages in December at our xmas party.

Except that like all good plans - in December no-one was ready, so we decided to have a Christmas in July 2006 party and exchange pages then.

So what am I doing? 17 months since the birth of the bright idea and one month away from the party..... making pages of course.

My problem is I keep changing my mind about them, I don't want it to be a mish mash of unrelated pages, I want to keep a theme running through all the pages.

I started off with a crazy quilt theme like these:
crazy quilt
crazy quilt

but after making 3 of them I decided they weren't *me*

then I tried something like this

fabric book page

but couldn't think of enough to keep the *play* theme alive through 15 pages, and I would have gone barmy buttonholing around 15 sets of letters

next was one of my favourite techniques - squishing little pieces of fabric around while stuffing wadding under them and free machining over the lot -

At first I thought of doing a different one for each lady according to the area they lived, this was one of the beaches.

fabric book page

this was for one of the gardeners
fabric book page

then I just started on landscapes generally:
fabric book page

fabric book page

you guessed it...
I went off that idea
what next?

I started messing with painting on the fabric, this wasn't as easy as I thought, it is so hard to get a *flow* happening with the paint, I couldn't do nice sweeping brushstrokes as you do on paper, the fabric *grabbed* the paint, which is why artists gesso their canvas first, but I didn't want to finish up with a stiff hard canvas surface, I wanted a soft paged book.

These were the first attempts:

fabric book page
fabric book page

fabric book page

so at last I think I have a theme and a technique I'm happy with, I have a definite "Lunching Ladies" idea happening.

Here's the process:
The pages are painted, padded with wadding, backed with another piece of thin fabric then free machined embroidered around the outlines. (the thin backing fabric is so the wadding will not catch in the machine)
Then I add beads, sequins and hand embroidery - the stitches (french knots with 5 twists) are done in thick crochet cotton and are really hard to pull through the layers of paint and wadding, I've been using pliers to pull the needle through each stitch, which is really hard on the hands.
Once all the surface decoration is finished, then I'll add a separate backing and binding.

fabric book page

fabric book page

fabric book page

fabric book page


arlee said...

Please please more more more! These are fabulous! I love seeing how you developed them, and isn't it amazing how tangents lead to wonderful paths???

Digitalgran said...

Oh, I do agree with Arlee. I haven't enjoyed a blog as much as this one in ages. Thanks for sharing.

Erica said...

thank you both, it was good to finally find an idea I was happy reproducing 15 times

Sheeprustler said...

It's all so wonderful, it puts my beginners' attempts at textile art thoroughly in the shade! Your blog is so inspirational and I love to read it and look at your pictures, I just hope I can aspire to your heights one day!!

Micki said...

Loved seeing how you worked through the prospect of what to do for your RR. These are absolutely great and I think you hit upon a great theme.

Anonymous said...

Three words: acrylic flow medium. Jo Sonja makes a good and affordable one - it gets over exactly this problem - when you mix it with the paints (and it doesn't have to be Jo Sonja paints, I've used it with everything from the cheap "Folk Art" bottles from Spotlight to my professional quality Atelier acrylics) you get a more viscous liquid without losing any of the colour (if you dilute with water you get very pale paint). It really helps on fabric!

That said - GREAT WORK!

Erica said...

thanks everyone,
Caity! haven't seen you for ages, I've just added you to my bloglines feed, I lost track of a few people when I moved from LJ - just as I had nearly finished painting all 15 pages I discovered I had a bottle of textile medium hidden away (is that the same as acrylic flow medium?) I'll experiment with it next time I'm painting

Jennibellie said...

These are absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! I'm gob smacked at all of your fabric books, just stunning x

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