Friday 26 July 2019

Art in the Garden

Art in the Garden

I’ve been busy tending my garden, which is the inspiration for this blog.

Plants are often used as inspiration in textile design but they can literally, be used to design fabric and I wanted to try out the convenience of the Colourcraftpretreated coloured sun printing fabric squares.

(I have previously used cyanotype chemicals to pre-treat my own fabric for sun printing and found it tricky finding somewhere dark to dry the fabric and it produced lots of fabric, for a large project)

It helps to have a sunny day, the more sunlight and the faster the process. On a dull cloudy day it’s still possible, just leave for longer. Also, it's good to experiment as overexposure will create different results.
I left my pieces on my garden table for 30 minutes as it was a typically British cloudy summers day.

It helps to use a sheet of glass (NOT UV protected) and I have some pieces of glass that I have protected the edges of with tape to protect me from cuts. I use these for mono printing, and even just for mixing paints so it’s worth the effort of protecting.

Remember! The chemicals used to treat the fabrics are photoreactive, so you want to keep them in the lightproof bag they come in as long as possible, and set up your print in dim light. I went under the garden table and used my body to block out more light!

I chose some nature-inspired items to "print" with.

Leaves & flowers from my garden
floral stencils, such as the  Colourcraft "flower Frenzy" Mylar 15cm stencil (there are lots of stencil designs and sizes to choose from so have a look at the drop-down options) 

The items placed on the fabric act as a resist, so the part of the fabric that doesn't get exposed stays the original colour of the fabric. I used the bright coloured sun printing pack to reflect my garden theme.

My printing station consisted of a chopping board with a piece of paper on top. I placed a couple of the pre-treated cotton squares on this and then added my leaves and flowers. I placed my glass sheet on top of this and then slightly tilted it using a stone as a prop so it faced the sun.

After 30 minutes I rinsed the fabric in cold water, I then left it in the water for 15 minutes to make sure all the chemicals were removed and to ensure a deep colour. It's hard to see from these photos, but the colour did get deeper during this time.

It's great the pretreated sun print fabric is pre-washed so it won’t shrink.

I then hung them to dry and over the afternoon I collected five sun printed squares all hanging in a row.

Note: before using these need to be ironed with a warm, dry iron to set the colour.

You maybe thinking, like I did that these cotton squares are cute, but what do I make with them? I decided to make some potholders. I think they would certainly look great in the garden for a BBQ.

The 15cm squares are a little small on their own, plus I thought patchwork would help bring out the beauty of these mini sun printed creations. Any fabric used to make a potholder needs to be either 100% cotton or linen. Synthetic fabrics, like polyester, can’t handle the heat so check any fabric you use is 100% natural.

Thermal batting is also an essential part of a safe pot holder. It includes a layer of metallized fibre to protect your hands from the heat. Please do not try to use quilt batting alone without the thermal layer!

1. Cut out the following pieces from fabric piece stash. You can decide which fabric designs to use on each part.
  • cut two 22cm squares from fabric, one with the sunprint design incorporated in patchwork, one is a plain piece that you will only see a little of.
  • cut two 22×16cm rectangles from fabric
  • cut one 22cm square from thermal batting, such as Insul-Bright
  • cut one 22cm square and one 22 x 16cm rectangle from regular quilt batting. I prefer cotton and bamboo blend.
2. First, make the inside rectangle piece:
Place two fabric pieces right sides together. Place batting on one wrong side.
Sew along one long side of the rectangle.
Trim corners at 45 degrees and trim the batting close to the seam (to reduce bulkiness at the edge).
Turn to the right side and stitch 2 – 3 lines of quilting. I sewed across from one corner to the one diagonally opposite, to make a cross. I then used these lines as guides to continue quilting a chevron pattern.
3. make a hanging loop from a fabric scrap or some cotton webbing.
4. Layer up:
thermal batting with patchwork sun print face up on top
the rectangle of the quilted fabric on top of this with the raw edge along one of the squares edges
plain fabric square face down on top of the rectangle, with regular batting on top of this
Poke the hanging loop inside this from one corner and secure with a pin
5. Pin and sew around this layered square, leaving a gap on one side to turn the potholder out.6. Turn out and press.7.Sew topstitching all around the edge of the square on the top. I used cream thread for this but feel free to go wild with contrasting or variegated thread!

that I’ve only got one finished potholder to show, but the garden is proving to need a lot of tending to prevent a jungle effect! I have chosen all the pieces from my fabric stash but they are still laid out waiting to sew. Maybe once the garden is tamed, I could take my sewing machine outside?
I’ll post the other finished pot holders, showing all the five different sun printed colours on my Instagram feed, so you can check them out there.
Helen x

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1 comment:

  1. Wow, gotta try this. So cool. Love the orange one. Was that a stencil you used on the first one?? Hugz


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