Tuesday, 20 January 2015

FOG Goes Heavy into Metal

Our January session was quite productive, so much so that I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked for this posting.

Our topic was metal – foiling, dry embossing, cutting, colouring, etc.

It’s amazing to see what can be done with product on hand – dare I say that we are all pack rats? One of the favorite items to dry emboss and colour were the inside foil lids from cottage cheese and yogurt containers.

Jan and Karen brought their Big Shot™ and Cuttlebug™ dry embossing and die cutting machines and they both got very major workouts. If it could be run through those machines we did it.

Several interesting products were tried – real metal DUCT tape (not Duck Tape) – this is purchased in a dollar store or hardware store. It is a sticky backed aluminum tape making it great to use on paper products for cards or it seems to be robust enough to apply to fabric and stitched on with long stitches on the sewing machine. It can be coloured with alcohol inks and other alcohol based markers as well as being embossed through the machines.

Chris brought one of the more interesting products called ÉTAL™. However, a quick internet search only turned up an old Etsy listing so perhaps the product is no longer being made. It is a cross between paper and a fibrous material which has some metal content. It dry embossed through both machines very well and could easily be hand or machine stitched. A light rubbing of a colour of some sort over the surface would enhance the dry embossing.

Left: ÉTAL™, Centre:  ÉTAL™ dry embossed,
Right: Con-Tact Brand - Metal FX

Jan brought along a sticky backed roll of Con-Tact® Brand - Metal FX® which cut and dry embossed very well. Jan brought the Stainless Steel version, though it also comes in Copper. This product also coloured nicely with alcohol inks.

Foiling proved to be very popular and is easily and quite inexpensively done. Chris did some foiling on hand dyed silk and I did some foiling on marbled cardstock that I had previously done using the shaving foam method. I think that most of us that did foiling used a type of fusible web such as PellonLite EZ-Steam™, Wonder Under, Heat ‘n Bond™ though there are foiling adhesives on the market also..

Foiling on shaving foam marbled card stock using Pellon Lite EZ-Steam and copper foil.

Foiling on hand dyed silk.

Lastly, Karen dry embossed metal disks that she had found in a scrap yard here in town, proving that no place is too strange to search for mixed media supplies. They coloured well with alcohol inks and will be great additions to any paper or fibre project.

Dry embossed metal disks.

Monday, 5 January 2015

January Arts Club – Take Those Crayons Out of the Box

Our first project for the Calgary Public Library Arts Club this year was a bit of a nostalgic one, for me at any rate. Its funny where inspirations can come from and for me this project was based on a tinted and stitched pillow that my mother-in-law had in her house. From the research that I did online, I believe that it was likely a tinted Vogartembroidery piece, certainly from the 50s, but perhaps before then. From searching on the internet I discovered that some of these pieces had the colour printed onto the fabric, while others may have been coloured with crayons.

I also collect vintage linens and the collage photo below are ones that are of a similar nature to that pillow and the inspiration for the stitching project for the Arts Club.

Vintage tinted embroidery pieces.
As with all of the projects that Jan and I teach, we do prototypes mainly to gauge the time and materials that it will take for the students to complete the project in the limited time that we have and to give them other ideas of where they can take the new stitches that they have learned. The photo collage below shows a couple of the samples that we did as examples. We also provide a kit for each person and for this project the finished item was a card complete with an envelope to mail to a lucky recipient.


We chose the simple owl motif as it was quite small and had interesting areas to colour and to stitch. Prior to the session Jan copied the motif onto the cotton/linen blend fabric using an erasable Frixion pen by Pilot and stitched a decorative border around the piece. Frixionpens are erasable and can also be removed by the heat of an iron.

Frixion lines on left, heat removed on right.
It's a bit difficult to see in these photos as the black threads on the right ghost through the fabric.

We opted to use simple stitches based on a running/straight stitch, though we also showed them how to do a French knot as the owl needed an eye.

To complete one of these for yourself, first colour the using Crayolacrayons and a light hand. Once the colouring is complete, stitch around the motif using a running stitch and two strands of floss. (A back stitch or stem stitch could also be used for a more solid outline). Once all your stitching is completed, lightly press the piece with a hot iron to remove the Frixionpen lines and to heat set the crayon pigment.

The participants were all quite intrigued by the project and had a great time completing them. Their projects are below.

Works in progress.
PS The February Arts Club is on February 7 at the Central Library. Registration is required. We will be doing a mixed media project and all supplies are provided. Register here.

Monday, 15 December 2014

FOG Tuesday Collage Exercise

Well, this is our final Principle of Design in our series of Elements and Principles of Design. We've enjoyed the time spent on these collages over the past months and have learned a lot about design in the process. The Principle was Depth and Space.

Unless we work in 3 dimensions, work on a canvas is only 2 dimensional. We can only convey space and depth with visual cues.

There are a number of ways that you can do this incorporating many of the Element and Principles of Design that we have done over the past months.
Warm Up Collage
Design Principle - Depth and Space
The most common ways are:
·        Overlapping objects to suggest depth.
·        Creating shadows.
·        Size of your subject matter, sometimes in conjunction with a known object.
·        Colour can suggest depth, where warm colours appear to advance and cool colours recede.
·        Depth of field. If your object is out of focus it seems that it is further away.
·        Where an object is on your page or canvas. Towards the bottom they will appear larger and smaller towards the top.
·        Use perspective to indicate depth or distance.

Stay tuned in 2015 to a new series of warm up exercises that we will be working on during FOG Tuesdays.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Calgary Public Library - Meet the Maker - Session Update

The Calgary Public Library is offering a number of “Meet the Makers” events over the next six weeks and Jan and I have been invited to lead two of the sessions.
These sessions are a chance for library patrons to meet us and for you to learn a new skill with these easy make-and-take projects.
No registration is required and all supplies are provided.

Wire and Bead Pendant Session

This session has been rescheduled to Tuesday, December 16 from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM at the Central Library downtown.

Wire and Bead Pendant: Monday, December 15th from 1 – 3 PM at the Central Library downtown 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Calgary Public Library Sharpie Marker Dyeing Project

This past Saturday was the last of 7 sessions for the Calgary Public Library using Sharpie Markers™ and rubbing alcohol to create a lot of interesting patterns. Our original project, a cotton scarf, often morphed into just having a lot of fun making marks on the 100% cotton fabric and adding 99% alcohol with an eye dropper to see how the Sharpie pigments moved. 

Let me tell you about our 2 main supplies – we did use Sharpie™ Markers for this project, but any alcohol based marker will work. Bic Markit™, Copic™ and Spectrum Noir™ are others that you can use. Sharpies™ and the Bic Markit™ alcohol markers can often be found on sale at Staples here in Canada.

The second ingredient is rubbing alcohol, and if you read our post in June of this year you may remember that rubbing alcohol comes in three main strengths, 70%, 90% and 99%. We used the 99% for this project and used an eye dropper to drop it onto the marker ink. Rubbing alcohol (perhaps due to its therapeutic use) also has an expiry date, so it’s probably wise to buy a fresh bottle for this project. Costco here in Canada has the best price and does sell the 99%, where many pharmacies do not.

The rubbing alcohol pushes the marker pigment concentrically away from the drop location so you can experiment with where you are making your alcohol drops for different effects. If you want to repeat a motif, it’s not a bad idea to do a sample piece with your motif before and after dropping the alcohol so that you remember how you made it.

Other supplies needed are 100% cotton, an eye dropper, a table covering and a good supply of fresh air!

We also did this project at our June FOG group on silk scarves, so visit that posting if you want to know more about doing this process on silk.

Although many finished a scarf during the session, we only had the pleasure of seeing one of our participants wearing her creation as she brought the finished piece to another session. As you can see from the photo below, she folded the 54” piece of cotton in half lengthwise, sewed around it, right sides together and then turned it right side out. She then did a beaded fringe on one end only and lovely beading up the seam side. Folding it gave it a nice feel and the beaded fringe some nice weight.

Carleen's finished Scarf with beaded fringe

What follows are some awesome examples of motifs that our participants came up with.

In each pair, the motif before the alcohol was dropped is on the left,
after the alcohol was dropped is on the right

In each pair, the motif before the alcohol was dropped is on the left,
after the alcohol was dropped is on the right. In the bottom example,
the drawing was enhanced with black marker lines after the alcohol was dropped.

In each pair, the motif before the alcohol was dropped is on the left,
after the alcohol was dropped is on the right.

Other uses for the decorated cotton could be quilt blocks or small fringed pieces for the fronts of cards.

Joan's southwest sunset.

Once all the decoration is completed, let your cotton dry thoroughly overnight and then heat set with your iron set on the cotton setting. Once heat set, they are washable and the colours will not run.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Calgary Public Library:Meet the Maker Sessions

The Calgary Public Library is offering a number of “Meet the Makers” events over the next six weeks and Jan and I have been invited to lead two of the sessions.
These sessions are a chance for library patrons to meet us and for you to learn a new skill with these easy make-and-take projects.
No registration is required and all supplies are provided.
Our sessions are:

Wire and Bead Pendant: Monday, December 15th from 1 – 3 PM at the Central Library downtown This session has been rescheduled to Tuesday, December 16 from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM.
Recycled Jean Journals: Monday, November 24th from 1 – 3 PM at the Central Library downtown

November 24 Central Library "Meet the Maker"
Two decorated and completed recycled jean journals.
Journals were bound using a 3-hole pamphlet binding.

We hope to see you there and we’ll be back in 2015 at the Saturday Arts Club at the Central Library with 4 new projects!
Recycled Jeans Journals