Thursday, January 24, 2008


I have tried to find a word that aptly describes the sorts of things that have been going on in my sewing room during January, while I have been free from some of the normal routines and comitments. I cannot say I have undertaken much in the way of creative projects, either large or small. It has been a time of playing, experimenting, testing new techniques, looking for possibilities. Neither dictionary or thesaurus could come up with the right word, certainly not one which conveyed the sheer freedom of trying something without fear of failure, and the delight and excitement of new discoveries.
So I have come up with "Frolics and Fancies" - and here are some of them!

Carolyn from Wanganui made this "window" card which was given to me by her sister Jenny. I was intrigued by how she achieved it, but did not feel it was right to beg her to give away her secrets. After all, as an artist, who sells her work, she does have rights of "ownership" of any discoveries she may have made herself.
Moreover, I felt that even though Carolyn would be generous enough to tell me, it would be "cheating" on my part.
So I did some experimenting.
First I tried sandwiching snippets and sequins between sheets of Lutrador(fabric paper), and fusing them. I suspected it was going to be too opaque, but might become more translucent with some gel medium.
This piece has silk fibres, threads and sequins and gold glitter fused between two sheets of Lutrador, and I have overstamped it with inked bubblewrap.

This piece has silk fibres, small siver sequins, threads and dried pressed hydrangea flowers.

The resulting pieces certainly have nothing of the delicacy and transparency of Carolyn's piece - however, I am sure I will use them in some project.

I then sent off an S.O.S. to the Thread Studio in Perth. In their catalogue, they had something new called Textiva film, a fusible film which came in a range of transparent colours. On enquiries, Dale told me she had some old stock of a film that was clear and colourless, and offered to send some.

Here is the result. It is far more shimmery and translucent, and I can think of many uses for this technique. But it is quite firm and stiff, and was still not anything like Carolyn's.

By this time I had realised that what looked like snippets of fabric in Carolyn's work were actually little splodges of paint. I added some glitzy poly-fibres and some flakes of metal leaf.

To discover what had been used to entrap these things, I started to look closer to home. I had a flash of inspiration, and dug out some freezer bags, and tried the technique with them. It proved difficult to get the iron to just the right temperature, so the two layers of plastic would fuse, but not melt.

I was really pleased with the result in the end..... it had the softness of the original piece, even though it was slightly more cloudy. I would use more delicate colours of tinselly fibres in future attempts. These are a little stark! But I knew I was getting closer.

Now I have saved the blue plastic that was wrapped round our Christmas Pacific Oysters. That is the trouble with being in a creative mode - you start to see possibilities in everything!

Since then I have heard from Carolyn, and she has Kindly shared the secret. But I am not going to tell you what it is.

It it is much more fun to find it out for yourself!

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