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Playing with Paints and Pigments

The first time someone mentioned painting on fabric I was pretty sure it was not a medium I was going to explore. My sewing space (the one in my house and the one in my head) was already full of fabric and thread and I couldn't see clear to adding more supplies to my stash. However, as necessity is the mother of invention, it turns out that painting on fabric can be a fabulous design solution, and absolutely therapeutic!

I tried fabric painting for the first time in a master class workshop. When it came time to tackle a large thread painting section, I was just too lazy to do all that stitching! A fellow student used a pearlescent textile paint on her project so I followed suit. It was such a great idea that I ordered a full set of paints and kept going! Here's how that project turned out.

Project is from Karlee Porter's Shimmering Symphony workshop. Our class focused on free-motion fillers and several embellishment techniques using her award winning design.

The project below uses those same metallic textile paints. I hadn't intended to paint this project, but it was on a table where I was resting my iron. The solution to getting rid of that tennis ball-sized scorch mark was to paint over it (and put another pad under my iron!)

The original free-motion quilting project was created in Karlee Porter's Graffiti Quilting master class.

As I practice free-motion quilting, I often end up with projects that go into the, "Maybe I can keep working on this until I like it..." pile. That was the case with the two projects below.

I had bought a set of Derwent Inktense pencils and was looking for a chance to give them a try. My first attempt left me wanting to get control of the bleed (below photo), which is always a consideration in working with water as a medium. Of course, the bleed also penetrated to the back of the project.

A suggestion was made to try aloe (the 100% clear gel available at the grocery store). The aloe provided great control without bleed on the front or back of the piece.

And below is how it dried.

However, this particular project resulted in a bit of a do-over for the following reason(s);

As I had originally only planned to use water, my thought was that I would heat set it and forget it. No additional steps since this was a test run to play with my new pencils. However, after heat setting, I didn't want the dried aloe gel sitting in my project. So, I went ahead and rinsed it.

As you might imagine, the wet aloe got pretty slimey...and rinsing took most of the color off with it! Yep, this happened! (I will also note here that since I hadn't originally planned on using any type of coloring medium, this fabric was also not "ready to dye" or "prepared for dyeing".)

Sooo...back to the drawing board...and my bowl of water. And after heat setting the pigment, below is where this piece landed.

For my next piece I went back to water, this time letting go of the worry about the bleed.

And here's how that one turned out.

Paints and pencil pigments have led me down a whole new road in my quilting journey, with endless possibilities! As it turns out, these types of media have served as great problem solvers as I create new projects. And also, to be honest, at the end of a long day or work week it's pretty fun and relaxing.

Happy coloring!



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