I’ve always loved surface design and being able to revisit it again is really fun. This time it seems to be more focused on painting, not hand dyeing or some of the other techniques I’ve done in the past.
Winter has a way of either getting you down in the down doldrums with cabin fever or frantically searching for an outlet. So I’m glad that painting has become that outlet for me.
Like I did last week, I painted my background fabric with diluted acrylic paints. This time I used a white cotton fabric instead of a canvas. The effect was pretty much the same except for in weight. The painted canvas was of course, heavier than the painted cotton solids. And the painted cotton solids heavier than their unpainted friends.
Printing Geometric Shapes
However, to add a little more interest to my background, I went a little further and printed some shapes onto my background fabric. Dipping the lids of circular bowls and jars into paint, I printed the circular shapes onto the fabric.
Well, just as with any creative process, things don’t always follow a defined path and they sure didn’t this time. My printed circles were too perfectly round, which isn’t the look I was going for.
Yes, I knew the look I was going for but I didn’t quite get there. So, in came another coat of diluted acrylics. A couple of light brushstrokes over the background fabric and suddenly, the printed circles were not so perfect anymore.
Adding a Layer of Texture to Background Fabric
Moving along, it was now time to add another layer of interest – texture. Using the printed circles as templates, I stitched quilting designs that fit right into the circles.
This did not only create texture but also added to the unity of the design. My printed circles and designs were both the same geometric shapes.
Drawing with Fabric Collages
And now to the foreground, I cut out hand dyed fabrics in curvy shapes to create the design I had in mind. I was going for a cropped version of another design I’d previously created here. I didn’t want to draw all the curvy shapes with fabric collages. So I marked some of the curves to draw with thread sketching later.
Well again, I hit a snag. At this point, the design wasn’t quite coming together as I’d hoped. There was too much negative space in the upper right-hand corner and it just wasn’t looking balanced. I tried to arrange the elements on the foreground as best as I could but it just wasn’t coming together. Hmm, what do I do?
Then. I remembered one of my old design tricks – the upside-down design technique. So I rotated my work and started arranging the elements in that orientation. And what do I know, it worked!
So the lesson here: The process of creating doesn’t always go smoothly. And of course, there’s no guarantee that the failures along the way will lead to success. But if you give up, you’ll never know what you may have created.
What lessons are you learning in your studio practice this week?
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