A Daily Blog on Textile and Garden Adventures

18. Feb, 2020

I have used quite a few teabags in my art work over the last few years. While I could go and buy a box of teabags and make these into a large tea, I prefer to genuinely recycle and use the teabags that have been used to make tea in the family. So my kitchen windowsill usually looks like this. And at the end of the bench is a container where I am also collecting onion skins for dying - not a good way to have a tidy kitchen bench! I like to let the teabags dry so that I get the lovely tannin staining patina on the bags. When they are fairly dry I cut carefully around three sides of the bag and empty the used tea leaves into the worm scrap bucket. I let them dry further before I smooth off any still attached leaves and store them. I am working toward colour dying more with procion dyes in the microwave and playing with coloured teabags - maybe over our winter. I know that some teabags are constructed differently to the ones we use but I haven't tried working with those very much to date. But this weekend I am going to a workshop with Judy Coates Perez from USA. This is the lady who first got me interested in messing around with teabags from an article in Quilting Arts many years ago. She does some different stuff to what I do so it will be interesting to add her techniques to the mix.

17. Feb, 2020

A Friend gave me four amazing stencils of NZ flora and I added some that I had and begun a new quilt so she could see that I used her gift. As we had journeyed the use of teabag art together I decided to use teabags as a background to the stencilled images. Here are a couple. I think I have the stencilling thing down pat now. I use a stencil brush and dab it first in fabric paint and then on a lid so the brush is quite dry. Then I use a vertical stabbing motion building up layers first along the edges of the stencil and then into the middle. This way gives good strong stencil images without the danger of the paing/ink blurring at the edges/ Once the stencils are dry I coat the entire teabag surface with gel medium. I usually use golden mat medium but this time i was out so I used some modge podge for tissue and it turned out to be gloss so this lot looks a bit different - still has the appearance of aged leather which I love. I use the gel to seal and protect the teabags and it makes them stronger for the intense quilting I often do on top. The joimig stips are the foil insides of coffee packets with random textured yarn and black organza over the too of the foil and then quilted over in a series of figures if eight/ The warm/cool contrast and the bits of shiny foil showing through the yarn makes a pleasing contrast. Note in the picture these are just sitting next to one another. The tabag squares - teabags laminated onto lightweight vilene squares using misty fuse haven't been squared up yet for joining

16. Feb, 2020

This print was made using a fairly solid scrap of lace, unmordanted and dipped in a natural dye and placed over the hydrangea leaves before steaming. You can sort of see where the shape of the actual lace ends and the dye has "run into the white areas. I think the lace effect would have been more apparent had I used a more open lace but it has given thought for more use of this type of process should I want to use it again in the future - especially the idea of using an unmordanted dye carrier to colour the background.

15. Feb, 2020

And this piece - remember this is the series is the one soaked in soy milk - of the purple cotinus leaves strews across the page. The dark dots are the ends of the stalks of the cotinus leaves and maybe I should have cut them off but I am happy with the natural colour obtained and the precision of the actual leaf prints.

And this piece - remember this is the series soaked in soy milk - of purple cotinus leaves spread across the page. The little black dots are the ends of the stalks and maybe I should have cut them off and just used the leaves themselves but I am quite happy with the natural colour and detail in the leave impressions here

in soy milk - of purple cotinus leaves spread across the page is just lovely. the little dark dots are the ends of the stalks and perhaps I should have cut them off but I was pleased with the natural colour and overall print quality of this piece

14. Feb, 2020

Here is another print using Forest Pansy Leaves from the freezer. This time I put printed tissue paper over the leaves. You can see a few pieces of print transfer (mainly blue) but I had hoped for more. I wondered why the tissue paper print was so indefinite. This is what I think happened. To get a good print from eco bundles you need good contact, properly prepared fabric, moisture and heat. It is important when trying to get highly defined prints that the fabric is not too wet or the prints will be blurry. I think using the watercolour paper helps to control the amount of moisture on the print surface by absorbing excess moisture into the watercolour paper. I tried this process with some sketchbook paper and it wasn't successful at all. In this case my misting of the fabric layer was not enough to dampen the tissue paper enough to get the effect of a transfer blanket. I think I should have spritzed the tissue paper more so that it was damper and able to transfer its pattern around the leaves. It is still a subtle colour addition. I might have to retry this option at some time