Saturday, 21 June 2014

Design and Print your own fabric - with Jane Dunnewold

I recently had the opportunity to review Jane Dunnewold's latest DVD - Design and Print Your Own Fabric. I have to declare that I am a big fan of Jane's work and teaching, and recently completed her 10 week Artist Strength Training Course. As someone with an existing print on demand account (Spoonflower is just one entity providing this service), I wondered what value add I would get from the DVD – because I am already very comfortable using the Spoonflower site and digital images to create and design fabric.
Jane’s DVD is like having Jane sitting beside you in the studio chatting about what might seem a daunting topic – how to design and create, upload, manipulate and customise a personal range of fabrics.  The focus is on improvisational design, as much as the how to of embracing print on demand websites and all they offer the textile and mixed media artist.
It is the improvisational design aspects that got me interested – using readily accessed, easy to use products already available to most of us – a camera, computer, thumb drive (USB stick) and scanner.
The DVD covers the creative aspects and functional reality of using a print on demand service provider such as Spoonflower.
Jane’s tuition on improvisational design took me somewhere new – and a whole new design world has opened. That alone justifies for me, the investment in the DVD. The ability to better understand the link between what can be created on the computer, through the use of an image manipulating program was a huge plus. In addition, the technical advice about use of images, explanation of pixels and ratios for exporting photos or images to the Spoonflower site is provided in a way that everyone can manage – something I’d previously found challenging. I particularly liked that I can listen to a section a few times – such as the demystification of pixels – then work “live” on my images while listening to the DVD.
Jane’s presentation is friendly, helpful and her explanations are suited to both the first time and experienced user of print on demand services. If you can’t have Jane sitting with you in the studio, then I think this DVD is the next best alternative.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Sunday morning collection

We went to collect firewood and harvest lichen this morning - a rare early morning when the setting moon hung over Mount Castle and the Main Range to the west and the sun simultaneously rose over the Teviot Range. What a delight to find the moss in flower! A charred log covered in electric green moss and the beginnings of one of my favourite lichen. While I can barely tell the difference between an Austroparmelina and a Xanthoparmelia, I am so looking forward to testing them as they convert to dyes over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Man from Aliquilts and marigolds

This is the man that grows the marigolds at Aliquilts - and this is how we spent yesterday afternoon, under the watchful eye of the Mighty Miss Midget. We used three different varieties of marigold, three different pots and different combinations of mordant. Lots of silk ... lots of lovely colours.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Piece by piece ... community cloth comes together

Piecing the community cloth from this year's Open Studio has been a both exciting and humbling - that so many people were prepared to contribute a little bit of themselves to the project makes me smile on the inside. It was interesting to watch - as with all groups, some were so keen they didn't worry about instructions and simply dived into the mark making experience. Others sought really specific guidance while some looked on from the sidelines - laying claim to not being possessed of a drop of creative juice. For some, we offered to do a print if they would simply like to put a name or initials on a square of cloth. We encouraged people to use stamps and prints made by those who had printed before, so there is repetition of some prints. Other stamps have been changed, added to or otherwise repurposed. Some people got carried away and made many, beautiful impressions - and these were shared with those who were not able to make a print. Some even asked to take their piece home with them - so we requested a second print - one for us to keep for the cloth.  In all the busy-ness and frantic moments, jostling around the table, rollers, brayers and spoonfuls of paint everywhere - it is fascinating to observe the sometimes  unobservable - everyone getting back to a state of playfulness and abandonment. It makes me smile on the inside.