You may not know, but I have happily received several delightful and prestigious awards in Surface Design or similar awards over the years. I still find surface design and embellishment to be the most interesting part of making quilted wall art pieces.
Some of my quilts are entirely surface design and quilting, such as my deep space quilts. These encompass several techniques that often include multiple media pulled together, and are oh so fun to do.
So what do I mean when I say Surface Design and Embellishment? There may be a more formal definition among professional artists, but I personally mean anything outside the norm that is added to the fabric during construction of the piece or even a mostly finished piece to enhance the look or complete the design. This might include paint, decorative thread-work, lace, Angelina Fibers, beads, buttons, crystals or found objects, and even dimensional applique.
To me, surface design is like play. Over the next several months, I am planning on providing some demonstrations on my YouTube channel presenting some of my techniques and products I use. The first of these will be painting on a previously quilted piece. The various fibers and fabric weaves respond differently to the selection of the painting product. Over the years I have accumulated a nice variety of these products and kept them replaced when used up or dried out, although recently it did hurt my feelings to find I had a large percentage of my Setacolor fabric paints that had dried out. I don’t know why they did (I’m kidding), since they were only 8 or so years old and mostly less than a quarter of the jar left…LOL. So I threw a bunch out and rearranged what I have left to use for this project. I think I have not been making enough wall art over the past couple of years, probably because life got in the way for a while, but I am back now to full time work and feeling pretty good for an ancient fabric artist.
For the most part, the products I use are basically machine washable in cold water once heat set with an iron. Some do require a medium, such as GAC Fabric Medium or drug store pure Aloe gel, to make them permanent or even to make them behave right on fabric. I plan on doing a test or two for you to show the results on this blog. My goal has always been to use the product that helps me create the look I want without changing the hand of the fabric and that can be washed when needed. I want to be able to wash a quilt even if it is going to be a piece of wall art only. You’d be surprised how dirty a show quilt can get when it has been shown in multiple shows or hung for years. But they don’t need to be washable frequently in hot water, like you would if you are making a snuggle quilt for a child, for instance. I would not recommend painting such a snuggle quilt.
Anyway, I have been making a set of small quiltlets with spaces in them to paint and I am just about ready to start filming this work. It will be fun for me, I’m sure.
Sew happy everyone! Have fun in your studio!