Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Japanese Stencils

I bought some vintage stencils last year in Japan with a plan to stencil the designs on my hand dyed fabrics
This one seemed to have a great design so it was my first attempt

However - the action of stencilling with a small brush - my usual techniques took quite a while, used a fair bit of paint.
 I also felt like the circular motion I used had the potential to damage some of the edges of the stencil.
 While I liked the design, I feel it was probably more effort than it was worth so I decided to rethink

My decision was to scan the stencils and convert them to thermofax screens. This way I will be able to screen print the designs much more easily without damaging the vintage screens.
I'll post my results when they are done.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


I recently introduced a new workshop called Cityscapes and had a wonderful weekend teaching it in Berry so thought I would share it with you.

We start off with white fabric which is folded in half so the paint bleeds through and creates a coordinated backing piece
Students can paint any colours they like but most decided to stay with colours similar to my original.
While waiting for the fabric to dry we carved our window stamps and had a little play with them for practice as well as some stencils too.
Once the fabric is dry is it stitched into a tube and cut into strips which are then laid & then stitched together creating a city type layout
Window stamps are added then it is ready for more paint
Using my stencilled tree shape we then spray with more paint to soften the bottom of the quilt while creating a park like effect.

Everyone in the class got their quilt top finished and basted and some even started quilting in the workshop. 

Here are some others done in Dorrigo last year.

As you can see it is a fun and easy workshop and the end results are amazing.
I am teaching this in a couple of weeks at Stitched N Framed in Port Macquarie and there are still some places left if you want to join in the fun.

Friday, January 30, 2015


I needed to do a postcard (6" x 4" piece of textile art) yesterday and must admit I like working in this size as you can experiment with unknown techniques if you like and it really doesn't matter if you muck it up.

When I was playing with my Textile Journal last year I kept all the bits and pieces in a bag - how astute of myself.

I particularly liked the little squares of fused collage which I made using layered fabrics and a soldering iron. I had cut them up but didn't know what to do with them once I had so a double bonus.

Also in the bag were pieces of painted fusible (vliosofix /Bondaweb/WonderUnder) which also glowed.

I had already ironed some of the painted fusible onto a piece of red acrylic felt so that became the base.

Then I placed the squares on and stitched around the edges of the squares to make sure they were secure.

Then I used my favourite thread - 12wt Aurifil Cotton Mako in the perfect shade of purple - and  hand stitched with a running stitch. I love the way it sinks into the felted surface. I also use this weight of thread for machine quilting a lot when I want the stitches to show.
I fused the top and back fabric to a small piece of stiff interfacing with some Mistyfuse.

A quick run around the edge with a small zig zag stitch and a label on the back and it was done.

I have printed off a handful of my own labels with a custom thermofax screen (I can do one for you too) .

Here is the finished postcard. I really like it and now have more ideas using these simple techniques to create something larger. That's why I really like postcard sized projects and using stuff that is already on hand. I could actually make art for years without buying anything new but where would be the fun in that?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Shibori, Indigo & Beyond

I am making some samples for my new Shibori, Indigo and Beyond workshop.

I used a selection of indigo dyed fabrics and made a small quilt with 1 1/2" and 3" Quarter Square Triangles.

Colour changes are due to the internal and external lights

Using a Compressed Sponge stamp which magically (I love it when this happens) was a suitable size to match the larger of the blocks. The lines of removed stitching was from my first idea for quilting it. Horrible so I unpicked it. Note to self - only use quality thread. Trying to use up old cheap threads will always show.

Stamping with opaque metallic paint - I used a roller to roll the fabric on but the foam absorbed too much paint so next time I will use a hard brayer.

Then it was quilted in a free motion angular design with 12wt Aurifil cotton. I like to use a thicker thread when I want the quilting to be a feature.

It was OK at this stage but I still thought it needed more. Something with a bit of a shine but not over the top.

So I painted some fusible webbing with the same paint as the stamp and also some indigo and some bronze and left it overnight to dry.

Next day I cut my preferred red piece (the other was indigo blue and gold but didn't quite work) into squares the size of the smaller blocks and then into quarters.

These were placed (painted size down) and then ironed into place (paper still on top).

Once secured the paper was peeled off.

The facing is now on and I am happy.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Compressed Sponge Sample

After my recent video I decided to make a larger sample with a couple of stamps. 
I used the stamp I started in the video and changed it a little as well as the one I showed completed. As they were both the same size it made sense to just tile them.
I also decided that my fingers got a bit messy so decided to try using a roller straight onto the sponge rather than dipping it in paint and was very pleased with the result.
I used some of our beautiful Gem Paints (Rose Quartz). These are thicker opaque paints with a metallic sheen. Comparable to Lumiere but without the plasticers so a much nicer finish feel and look I think.

I rolled the paint onto a roller and then onto the stamps which I alternated onto a piece of white cotton poplin.
I do like the texture of the sponge on the fabric with all the irregular holes.
Once dried (which doesn't take too long) I overpainted the fabric with Fluorescent orange and pink and yellow Dual paints. These are transparent paints which cover the fabric beautifully and yet allow the opaque paint to show through.
I quilted with a heavier weight thread and at first used a thinner thread in the bobbin. This didn't work well at all so I finished the quilting by putting the top thread in the bobbin as well and was much happier with the result.

I hope you liked this and will have a try with the Compressed Sponge. It is available now on our website and you will have a wonderful time creating your own original designs as part of your Creative Journey.

These techniques and others can be seen in my ebook Creative Journeys - Fun & Easy Textile Surface  Design Techniques which is only available on AMAZON

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Blog Hop for Creative Journeys

Starting tomorrow - 8th December (Australian time) we will be running a blog hop about my ebook

If you have been wondering about the ebook, then reading about some of the processes by some of my favourite creative people will hopefully inspire you to get your own copy.

What a great present for your family to get you for Christmas - especially kids on limited budgets

8th December - Sarah Ann Smith - 
9th December - Lyric Kinard -
10th December - Erica Spinks - 
11th December - Susan Brubaker Knapp - 
12th December - Brenda Gael Smith - 
13th December - Judy Coates Perez - 
14th December - Shelley Stokes -

Of course if you want to just get your copy now to beat the rush here is the link to the Amazon page. There are some nice reviews on the Amazon page as well.

Thanks to all of you have supported me so far and please spread the word on your networks.