Monday, June 4, 2012

Fabric Design With Markers and Alcohol

My heart, art-wise, is in fabric design. But getting original designs on fabric without stiffness, stickiness or high cost is always a problem. My friend Janice Paine-Dawes introduced me to the idea of drawing on plain white cotton with permanent markers, then using alcohol to move the color around and create a watercolor effect. It worked like magic! The fabric remained soft and the color bright. The effect was a little hard to control, but it was fun to expect the unexpected, just as I do with watercolor on paper. I scanned a section of the design, then gave it a paint daub filter in Photoshop to make it a little more interesting. The colors were super bright, so I fiddled with it some more, adding a watercolor filter and adjusting the contrast, which made it look very different. With the darkened design, I created some ATCs. The original design was about 9" high x 18" wide, but I reduced it to fit in a 2.5" x 3.5" atc. I added a pale white rectangle across the center with the words "do what you love. love what you do" which is a variation on my favorite Buddha quote: "your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it." In my heart I feel that with fabric design, art quilting and mixed media, along with my paying career of layout design/writing I have found the work that I am supposed to be doing. The ATC looked a little boring still, so I experimented some more, adding embossing powder with a variety of stamps, heating the powder until I got a shiny, enamel overlay. I finished the ATCs with some gold acrylic on the edges. These atcs are very "me" and reflect many things I love, with the original fabric design, some words that are very close to my heart and the two embossed stamps--one lacy and romantic, the other the symbol for the meditation word "om"...not that I meditate often enough, but the ATCs are a gentle reminder of the tranquility that you can achieve through meditation...which is something I need to do more often.

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