Sunday, October 30, 2005

Working Smaller

Debra posted to her blog about Leslie Riley's recommendation to work smaller in order to get more feelings of accomplishment. I have been thinking about his as well, as I hand embellish my Gold Madonna. I bought a couple of fat quarters of metallic fabrics, which I casually pinned to my design wall, with some other things I had at hand, and look what popped out! I let it sit there for a week, and then thought to myself, well, sew it together! So this week I did. I'm still beading the gold piece, but I also zipped out this quickie madonna (no, this will not be her name). My big breakthrough is using unfinished edges. I did seam the two larger background pieces of fabric, but the long brown strip and the picture are raw edged. I'm also going to do an experimental binding, as I know that inside corner is a challenge. I bought a wavy-edged rotary blade, and I'm going to improvise the edge. We'll see what comes of this.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Treasure Box

I'm beading my Madonna quilt, still not quite sure what the final product is going to look like, but I'm moving ahead on pure faith. I've attached the surface of the quilt to a piece of flannel, and I'm beading through both layers, adding beads to the original beaded bodice, and to the New York Beauty sections I added. I've designated a space for the Madonna image, but I haven't chosen one yet. Here is a look at how I "organize" my supplies. Everything I'm using goes into a box, and I pull things out as I use them.

I found these cute little bottles to hold beads at the thrift store yesterday. You can't tell their size, but they're about 3" tall.

And here's a glimpse at what I'm doing. I'm making it up as I go along, which is the way I like to work best. --Barbara

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Madonna Transfers Again!

Mommy! Mommy! I did it!

Photos of my transparencies for the Fall Madonna piece!!!!

I will do the transfers to fabric tomorrow. I want them to dry & I have tickets to the Astros game today!

Mucho exciting possibilities with the transfers. Why was I so resistent????? It does help to have the right kind of transparencies. .. .

Main Image

Madonna Images

Madonna Images

Friday, October 14, 2005

Plots and twists

I'm working on my Gold Madonna, designing around that beaded bodice. It's so eye-catching that everything else has to work around it. It occurred to me to add some New York Beauty patches.

I really don't know where I'm headed with this, but I've got a beaded bodice and I'm determined to work smaller than I did last time. I also really want to avoid using other people's patterns, so I decided to draft up my own NYB patches, and this turned out to be a very straightforward process. I found a compass in the kitchen junk drawer, and I used a ruler. I drafted one and then reduced its size and made copies on a photocopy machine.

I didn't make whole blocks, but just the spiky middle section, and I like the way they came out. It looks like I'm going to hand sew all this down, and then embellish. As I was making this up, I remembered that one of the things the Virgin of Guadalupe tells Juan Diego is to build her a temple. That's what I feel like I'm doing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I have joined the 21st century

I have added my own blog to the cyber universe. Please check out the link to my new page "Thinking Out Loud."

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Raw Ingredients

The wheels of my brain are spinning. I'm thinking about my next Madonna quilt, which I refer to as my Gold Madonna, because I've decided to use gold as my predominant color. Of course some of my best supplies are recycled items from my inherited stash and from my thrift store adventures. Here are some of the goodies I'm working with.

I found this beaded silk East Indian tunic a couple of years ago. The tunic has some grease stains on the front--I'm sure this was someone's party frock, but the beading is fabulous. I think I'll cut off the beaded section and use it as a kind of temple structure over an image. I think I'll use the good parts of the silk as well, probably with interfacing because it's quite thin.

These lace bits are a recent thrift store find, and the circular beaded thingie was a recent score from Big Lots.

And look what I also found the same day I found the lace: a partially-embroidered Virgin Mary. I kind of like her in her partially-constructed state.

This linen and gold thread napkin would be a great canvas for a photo transfer. And I have a whole jar of the gold buttons with lady heads on them in my stash.
So here's what's going into the soup. Let's see how it comes out.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Butterflies transferred to 3M Transfer Sheet

Butterfly Burnished to Muslin
Butterfly Burnished to White Muslin--used Picture This! medium

used Transfer
The Used Transfer--I was able to get almost all the ink off--much more predictable than the paper method

I had to post my butterfly results as soon as I did them! Very cool! And, I like the fact that you can see through the transfer and tell if you have gotten all the ink off.

Now, I need to find transfers that will accept my home printer's ink.


Madonna Transfer
The best transfer fully washed

Madonna Transfer
Much better--the fuzziness may be the camera---it is sharper in person

Rubber Stamp
Rubber Stamp of a Leaf

Detail with Elements Pinned
Some of the Elements Pinned in Place

Ready for some serious Handsewing

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Transfer Update

Yesterday I did a little experimenting (emphasis is on little) with the transfers.

I copied the same pictures onto transfer film and they are still wet. There must be a trick here I don't know. . . .so back to the drawing board on that one.

But, what I did discover is that the images transferred light in some areas on the transfer sheets too. So, that clued me in that the image was transferring to the fabric with the transfer medium that I had used. The "thin" spots really did have an image on them but it was just pale. The trick may be to pick darker images. I took those fabrics out again and rewet them. I just kept running my finger over the surface until it wasn't gritty anymore. When I took the pictures, that fuzziness is the paper sticking to the medium. It will come off but apparently it takes some real washing. Except for the one image that was incredibly light to begin with, the "new" images are very crisp and I am using them.

What else? the transfer medium that I slathered on the thickest has the nicest results. The directions say to cover the image until you cannot see it. I believe it now. The medium dries into a rubbery surface with the image copied onto it.
I looked at the Madonna postcards that Barbara sent me and my images are very similiar to the consistency of her postcards. I believe those were made with the transfer paper.

My uneducated guess is this is the same medium.

I am pleased. I do think the transparency will be better because I won't have to keep peeling away paper but I will have to address the drying issue.
Also, I decided to fuse one of the Madonnas (the best & thickest one) to my wallhanging and it did heat up the transfer enough that it bubbled. It is OK now but that is another consideration.

Scientist Debra reporting from the field. . .

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Madonna Transfers

One thing that I have noticed lately about my work is that I seem to have a hierarchy of quilts. I am spending quite a bit of time this year either working on new techniques or refining some old techniques. Subconsciously, quilts are ranked by their importance to my overall scheme of plans.

The Madonna Idea is at the uppermost rung of the hierarchy. Below it is the ARTImage Challenge. Below that are the Fabric Postcards.

The Fabric Postcards are experimenting grounds for future ideas and techniques. This last round featured rubber stamped images. This in itself is not a new technique but it is new in that it worked! I actually got the images to be stable.

For this month's ARTImage Challenge, I wanted to include at least one Madonna with child. The piece will be a memorial to my oldest son who died in 2001. I have a wonderful image of the Madonna holding a red haired Jesus. Will was a redhead and the image reminds me of him. I don't recall where I found it but I know that it was from the '90s when I first started collecting Madonna images.

The image was printed on some heavier paper so I was doubtful that it would transfer well. Special note here: you could fill a thimble with my knowledge of photo transferring.
During the '90s I also became interested in photo transfer and Hobby Lobby had this special transfer medium for white or colored fabrics. When it went on sale, I bought 4 bottles of it. Recently, I decided to try some manual photo transferring again.

I plan to do some photo transferring for my fall Madonna piece so I wanted to experiment on this month's ARTImage Challenge. Do you see how the hierarchy is working?
Transfer Medium

I printed some images that I have collected on-line to try also. They were printed on regular paper.

Directions (abbreviated):
  1. coat the image with the medium ---on the face of the image---herein lies the trick (I am beginning to think)----the amount of medium is what actually becomes the "piece" that is the transfer
  2. lay it down on the fabric---medium to fabric
  3. press out the bubbles
  4. let dry overnight
  5. wet a sponge and begin to "wipe off" the paper--herein is the next trick---be careful not to wipe off the image too! I think if you have enough of the medium, which has dried into a base, you are OK. If not, the image disappears.
  6. let dry and repeat as needed. The directions suggest twice. I have had to go in 3 times and the last time I just held the transfer under a stream of water. At this point you are trying to get the paper off the transfer image.

Below are my results:

Madonna Transfer
My favorite image and the one that came out the most clear. I think it also looks blurry due to the photo too. It's better in real life. I think I used the heaviest amount of transfer medium on this one.


This was one of the regular paper transfers. I think this is a case of washing off the medium/image with the sponge--a little too vigorous here!



I like this image but you can see that it is not very clear. I like the jagged edge but it's also an indication that the medium didn't cover the whole surface.


The lightest of the transfers; probably due to the lightness of the original.

As you can see, this technique is less than perfect. But, as I look at the decreased images that transferred, it rather reminds me of my relationship with my son. I am not sure I have the courage just yet to explore that idea but I also see some value in how the images manifested themselves.

Unless I really perfect this technique, I doubt that I will use it for the fall Madonna piece. It is just a little too unpredictable. I tend to be impatient with experiments. I want predictable results!

I have been pretty successful with photo transferring directly from the computer but with 4 bottles of this Transfer Medium I would like to at least use it up!

Any suggestions???