Monday, March 18, 2019

Valley Fiber Art Guild: MONOPRINTING Workshop

A happy Marie with her monoprint!

The first day of the workshops for the Valley Fiber Art Guild in the Green Valley area south of Tucson, Arizona, was MONOPRINTING.  This is a technique that is part of the surface design portfolio and specifically uses some type of printing plate.  
Combination of trace monoprinting and a
brayered leaf resist (Jennifer's)
Trace Monoprinting

My choice of printing plate is always a plexiglass plate.  Some people love gelatin plates but I find them too limiting in size and I don't care for the squishiness.  I gave my gelatin plate to away to a friend, including the bottles of glycerin that I was going to use to make the glycerin/gelatin plate that keeps indefinitely at room temperature.  I've collected a huge number of very different sized plexi plates so I can make both small pieces as well as huge (3' x 4') prints.

Monoprinting was new to the Valley FA Guild but they requested this part of surface design as their first workshop and were very enthusiastic about diving in and learning.

Using a firm brayer with thick textile paint (or thickened dyes) is the first requirement.  (My textile paints are ProFab that come from ProChem (ProFab paints).  Too thin a paint gives only a minor brayered texture.  A smooth rolling motion gives an organic lined texture (like a duck or a swan taking off from a pond).  If you stop in the middle you get a line----maybe what you want but maybe not.

Many techniques can be used for reductive printing (taking paint away by using something like Q-tips or a chopstick to create lines) or additive printing by adding more paint and drawings after each print.  Trace monoprinting is an exciting way to create a lined drawing.

My favorite technique is to make a print (plexiglass turned onto the fabric, pressed with your hands and then lifted off), then spray the plexi plate with water, and take another print.  The sprayed water liquifies the leftover paint and creates tiny dots that seem to jump off the fabric.

Marge experimenting.

Anita used paper to do a lot of her gelatin
 Monoprinted pieces are perfect for adding stitched work because of a lot of the amorphous areas created by brayered areas.  This worked perfectly for the last workshop on Friday, Contemporary Embroidery.
Ann produced a huge amount of gorgeous
fabric monoprints.

Margalis uncovering a trace monoprint.
Assistant Peggy made a doll out of the
printed fabric on the left.

Sue used a large stamp.
Kathe paints the back of a fig leaf to
create a leaf print.

Linda used a finely carved wood stamp
to create an all-over print.

Arizona Images: Agave, Cacti and Landscape

Century Agave
I didn't have time to do a travel diary while in the Green Valley area, south of Tucson.  I was teaching a different workshop each day, standing up for almost 8 hours each day, and then in a car being driven around to see the sights.

I did take photos--- a lot of them and as many as I could without being intrusive or annoying to my hosts.

I was so amazed by the mountains as West Michigan is rather flat.  A drive up to Madera Canyon gave me a chance to photograph the mountains a little closer up.  I wish we could have gone as far as the observatory atop one of the peaks.

The cacti, though, amazed me the most.  So many kinds, close together in so many varieties.  The towering saguaros are probably the most imposing.  Towers of pale green with spines along the ribs can be interrupted with a bubble at the top or side, the beginning of a new "branch."  Birds are often sitting on top of the saguaro and don't fly away even if you walk by.
Saguaro Cacti
Dried inside of a saguaro cacti.

Purple Prickly Pear Cacti

Hole made by a bird for a nest on
a saguaro.
Old arch entrance to an adobe house.

Jumping cacti---- don't get close as
the spines are said to jump out like darts.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Postcards from Arizona!

I don't have an image of my trip in Arizona yet so you
get this fantastic tapestry by Nancy McRay which is
now part of my collection.
I'm on my way to Arizona very early tomorrow morning to teach a week of workshops (a different one every day) for the Valley Fiber Art Guild in Sahuarita/Green Valley (somewhere between Tucson and the Mexican border).  Check out the workshops here.

I was reading part of Cas Holmes' newest book, "Textile Landscape: Painting with Cloth in Mixed Media" published by Batford in London, and she's talking about travel diaries.

I did one for my last trip to Japan (see posts Postcards from Japan, October/November 2016).

So, I'm going to try and take the time outside of the workshops to write about my first time in Arizona, the landscape, people, plants/birds/animals, and more during next week.  Maybe I can make my travel diary into a textile piece or more!

Friday, January 11, 2019


Five Leaf Postcards (each 4" x 6")
Again, I'm doing the Muskegon Museum of Art's POSTCARD SALON.  I love working small and the 4" x 6" size they require is just right for me.

The first long image of five 3-D leaf postcards was my entry for the 2018 salon and now is at the LowellArts Member Show (through Feb. 9).  Check out their fabulous gallery here.  Once I have the unsold postcards back from the show (each can sell at the MMA for $30 with a 50/50 split), I mount them on 5" x 7" pre-stretched canvas frames.

For the 2019 POSTCARD SALON, I went back to using shibori stitched and indigo dyed fabric with a theme of Indigo Sunsets.  I really love the ones that I put together:

Postcard 1:  Orange Indigo Sunset
All the fabric have been dyed in indigo as the last step.

Postcard 1: Top part is mokume shibori on my handdyed textured cotton; bottom is the same but on black dotted white cotton.
Postcard 2:  Indigo Sunset on Pink Water

Postcard 2:  Mokume shibori on white cotton on the top and bottom; white rayon previously dyed with some pink then mokume stitched.

Postcard 3: Indigo Storm Sunset

Postcard 3:  Top is mokume stitched stretch cotton (with Spandex) that was coral colored (warp is yellow and weft is pink)--- fabulous fabric to work with and the Thiox in the pre-reduced indigo often gives a halo effect; also the indigo can be transparent enough to make the blue and the base yellow become green on the final fabric.  The bottom fabric is a tan/rust cotton knit that was stamped/printed with textile paint and then arashi shibori striped.  The top mokume section reminds me so much for that strange sky when a bad storm is coming.
Postcard 4:  Orange Sunset with
Indigo Clouds

Postcard 4:  Top is a purchased cotton gauze that came with lots of orange and yellow random dyed areas.  The bottom is a damask cotton napkin.  This piece was the only one that I machine stitched crosswise and the effect to me is not as good as the vertical stitching, maybe....

Postcard 5: Pink Sun in an Indigo Sky

Postcard 5:  The bottom was my Mom’s old cotton sheet (fold over section at top) that was first dyed pink from deconstructed screen printing and then accordion folded for indigo dyeing; top section is white and very fine turquoise cotton knit printed pink with textile paint with round sponge stamps, then kumo bound on the circles and indigo dyed.

I did all of these within only 3 days--- a really short time but fortunately I not only knew what I wanted to do but I had all the stitched and dyed fabric on hand!

The next pile of shibori stitched fabric ready
to dye in indigo!