Archive for the ‘Art Quilting Process’ Category

My Fabric Stack(s)

October 11, 2011

My hand-dyed fabric stacks

An Informal Fabric Stack Project

Last week on her blog, artist Lisa Call had a fun idea – have each of us that has stacks of fabric take photos of our stacks and post them on our blogs and then add a comment on her blog, so that we can all go enjoy looking at each other’s colorful stacks.

This idea sprung as a tangent of another similar project – the Paper Stack Challenge – that Seth Apter of The Altered Page posted on his blog.

The idea in either case is that multiple artists will post photos of their own “stacks” on their own blogs, and then add a link in the comments section of either Lisa’s post (if fabric artist) or Seth’s post (if paper artist), so that everyone can check out all the cool “stacks” we’ve all got.

One of my racks of fabric.

Yes, I’m a Fabric Junkie!

But really, what textile artist isn’t?  Ok, some of us are worse than others.  I currently have a (spouse-imposed!) limit of 4 (oops, make that 3) racks of fabric.  Actually, the limit is for my own good and I need these boundaries, otherwise, well, my studio would likely become over run with fabric and I’d be so overwhelmed I’d never get anything done.

Another of my fabric racks.

I’ve acquired quite a stash in the few years I’ve been working in textiles and I do weed through it on occasion and donate some of it to charitable causes.  I’m working mostly with my own hand-dyed fabrics these days, so some of those commercial fabrics I found at thrift stores don’t quite have the same appeal now that they did back when I first acquired them and I know others will put them to good use.

A mini stack - a textile painting waiting to happen.

And sometimes it’s just necessary to let go of the old to make room for the new!

If you have a stack you’d like to share, please do join in the Informal Fabric Stack Project on Lisa’s blog.


Along the Way in Deep Spaces

September 7, 2011

Deep Spaces Show Postcard

One of my textile paintings, Along the Way, is included in the  “Deep Spaces”  exhibit which opened this week at the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, OR.

"Along the Way" (detail) ©Ayn Hanna, 45"x18", Textile Painting

The Curator/Juror of the show, Larkin Jean Van Horn, has assembled 50 artworks, and created a stunning catalog of the exhibit, available for purchase with all proceeds going to support Doctors without Borders.

Deep Spaces

From the show’s catalog:

Curator Larkin Jean Van Horn selected the theme “Deep Spaces” following a conversation with friends about the limits of space and the photography from the Hubble telescope. While it was clear that textile art dealing with the cosmos would be an appealing exhibit, the title implied so much more. Artists interested in participating in the exhibit were encouraged to interpret the theme in any manner that suited them, and the entries were outstanding.

The artists went deep into space, deep underground, deep under water, deep into the woods, canyons, and prairies, and deep into the mysteries of the heart. Each artist worked in her own style, whether photorealism or pure abstraction or something in between. Holding all this wide variety together is a common size: 18 inches wide by 45 inches long.

The Making of Along the Way

This piece is the second in a series of discharged wholecloth black cotton fabric textile paintings.  Making marks by using various drawing techniques to apply color removal agents, these artworks evolve intuitively, through quiet meditative drawing and wordless conversation with the work itself.  This way of working aligned nicely with the theme of this exhibit, giving me good opportunity to spend some much needed creative meditative time going inward to the deep spaces within.

"Along the Way" ©Ayn Hanna, 45"x18", Textile Painting

I began by drawing with discharge paste, which after steamed to remove the color, created the “lighter/white” areas.  Next I drew with a bleach pen, which created the orange marks.  Once the drawing was finished, I quilted this top layer together with batting and a backing layer of fabric on my long arm quilting machine.

My artist’s statement for Along the Way

An inward journey, intuitive drawing, mapping of a mind, lost in thought, problem-solving, the time ticks away.

"Along the Way" (detail) ©Ayn Hanna, 45"x18", Textile Painting

Deep Spaces Exhibit Logistics

Latimer Quilt and Textile Center, Tillamook, OR – Sept 5 through Nov 6, 2011.

Sam Houston Memorial Museum, Huntsville, TX – Jan 10 through March 12, 2012.

LaConner Quilt and Textile Museum, LaConner, WA – March 28 through June 24, 2012

5 Easy Tips for Exploring Fabric Surface Design Techniques

March 10, 2011

"tribal" art cloth ©2011 Ayn Hanna, hand-dyed cotton fabric with silkscreen print

Early last month I got to attend Judith Traeger’s “Exploring the Surface” workshop which was a program offered through my local Rocky Mountain Creative Quilters’ Guild.  Judith is a very well-known, internationally exhibited quilt artist and teacher, and one of the group of founders of Denver’s Front Range Contemporary Quilters Guild (FRCQ).

It was such great fun to get to play all day long for 2 straight days with a myriad of fabric surface design techniques – stencils, screen printing, stamping, mono-printing found objects, and texturizing (with paint, paint sticks, rollers, sponges, texture plates).

The images above and below are a large yardage of fabric that I created by screen-printing a single stencil repeatedly in a “registered” sequence, to create an all over pattern on the cloth (above) and an experiment of printing 2 different stencils randomly around 1 piece of hand-dyed fabric (below).

art cloth experiment with 2 silkscreen stencils printed in repeats ©2011 Ayn Hanna

5 Tips for Exploring the Surface

I have a pretty extensive printmaking background already, so much of all the great information that Judith covered in the workshop wasn’t really new to me.  This was a 2 day gift I gave myself to be able to meet Judith, experiment and play and enjoy being around other artists from my local guild.  I did learn some new things and was reminded of some things as well.  Below are some tips that I thought might be helpful to others:

  1. The best needles to use when quilting tops that have a lot of paint on them are either top stitch (90/14) or jeans/denim (size 16) needles.  Either of these should adequately handle stitching through painted fabric.
  2. There are a wide range of water-based paints that can be used effectively with a silkscreen.  Any paint that has a polymer plastic base will do (including regular old house paint).  We used water-based pure pigments mixed with a polymer base. The key is to adjust whatever paint you decide to use to a proper consistency (using appropriate base/medium) to be able to print with it.  When acrylic paints dry, they are permanent and will long outlast the lifespan of the fabric they are printed on.
  3. Sunlight dishwashing GEL can be used as a discharge agent to remove color from fabric.  Once the gel is set, you need to wash it out with water and then soak the fabric in white vinegar either Anti-Chlor, Bleach Stop, or Hydrogen Peroxide to stop the bleaching action.  See this webpage for more details about ways to neutralize bleach on fabric.  (Thanks Nora for this corrected info!)
  4. When preparing your silkscreen frame by taping all around it with duct tape to protect the wood frame from water/warping when you wash the ink out of it after printing, it’s best to let the screen sit overnight after taping and before printing, to allow the tape to “cure” before getting it wet.  I also think using the new “gorilla” water proof duct tape is most preferable to use for silkscreen frames, since it truly is waterproof once applied.
  5. An effective way to create depth in a 2D art quilt is to start with a pieced top base layer (background), use silkscreen, painting, and stamping to create a middle ground, and add applique, stitching, and embellishments as the foreground.

my first silkscreen stencil on fabric ©2011 Ayn Hanna

And above all else, (as Judith says), always bring a sense of humor to what you are doing.  I sure enjoyed the workshop and Judith’s refreshing approach to teaching – Take one of her workshops if you get a chance!

The Eagle has Landed: Navy Textile Paintings Done and Delivered

October 19, 2010


"Keep Your Mach Up, Always Check Your Six" ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 41"x42", Textile Painting (Cotton Fabric, Fabric Paint & Ink, Cotton Thread, Cotton Batting)


It feels like graduation, and like working in a factory.  After several weeks of emails, web research, sketching, designing, dye-painting, carving, stamping, stenciling and stitching, the Navy textile paintings are done.  And, just like the other textile pieces I’ve completed this year, as soon as the last stitch was tied off and trimmed, the pieces were out the door on their way to a show.  No time to sit back and enjoy or critique them, just get ’em done and send ’em on their way.

You can view the progression of completing these Navy textile paintings on 3 earlier posts: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3.

The Details – “Keep Your Mach Up, Always Check Your Six”

The title of this piece (pictured above and detail below) is a Naval Aviator phrase from one of the stories Captain Bill related to me about Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) tactics developed by the Navy.

In this situation called “Loose Deuce”, two working together in a coordinated “high energy” manner have the potential of beating an adversary flying better machines with a number advantage.  “Keeping your mach up” refers to high energy/kinetic energy and always having an altitude advantage over your enemy while “check six” is the responsibility of each Loose Deuce member to check that his teammate’s vulnerability zone is clear of enemies.

Text from the label I created for the back of this piece:

As a Navy Test Pilot, Ops Boss, and Squadron Commander, Captain Bill had opportunity to pilot well beyond 15 different types of aircraft ranging from  supersonic fighters (Navy, US Air Force, Royal Air Force) to Dehaviland Otters and Beavers (Canadian Outback birds), to Gliders, multi engine Army and Navy machines, and Helicopters.  Many, (but certainly not all) of the aircraft he flew are abstractly represented here, along with my liberal interpretation of the many gauges and dials that confront the pilots in those planes’ cockpits.


"Keep Your Mach Up, Always Check Your Six" (detail) ©2010 Ayn Hanna, Textile Painting


To make this piece, I used some of my own hand-dyed fabrics, along with dye-painting, stenciling and stamping techniques.

I first cut some stencils of several of the airplane types that Bill flew and used them to stencil/dye-paint the orange background and then also to apply shadows/definition to airplane shapes that I cut and appliquéd to the surface.  I drew and cut out some stamps of the gauges and dials and printed these on 3 different colors of yellow fabric and then fused them to the background and also fused 2 pieces of blue/green fabric, cut to surround the “dashboard” of the cockpit.

Next I painted in the black areas around the gauges to complete the dashboard.  Once all of these elements were in place, I loaded the wholecloth onto my long arm quilting machine and quilted this top together with the batting and the backing layers.

The Details – “Cat”


"Cat" ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 40"x40", Textile Painting (hand-painted cotton fabric, cotton thread, cotton batting)


I covered most of the process that I used in making “Cat” in an earlier post here.  Once the images were all painted, I appliquéd the flight suit name tag at top and cockpit gauge on lower left, then loaded this piece onto my long arm quilting machine and quilted the top, batting, and backing together.

Where to see the Navy Quilt Displays throughout 2011

Many of the CONA (Celebration of 100 years of Naval Aviation) events across the US during 2011 will include displays of the Navy Quilts from this challenge. Preliminary travel dates and locations for all of the displays are still being finalized and can be viewed here.

A selection of 80 of the quilt entries will travel in small groups to over 100 events throughout 2011.  While many of the events will display a subset of the total, the entire group of 80 traveling quilts will be on display at a few of the events; the Centennial opening event at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL on Nov 12-13, The Road to California Quilt Show, Ontario, CA on Jan 20-23, 2011, and the Centennial Closing Gala, Dec 3rd, 2011 at the National Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Fabric has “history”. Paint does not.

September 22, 2010

High Peaks Camp, Estes Park, CO

During this past weekend, I got to attend an Art workshop at the High Peaks Camp in Estes Park.  15 other textile artists and I spent 3 days learning from Leslie Gabrielse, a fabulous fiber artist from The Netherlands.

I have admired Leslie’s work from the first time I saw it, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to take this workshop.  Leslie creates his fabric art quilts 100% by hand, constructing each work by layering pieces of fabric on top of a backing/batting foundation, stenciling in places with acrylic paint, and then hand stitching the fabric pieces in place using perle cotton and large doll needles.

Leslie holding up one of the many demo pieces he created during our workshop.

Leslie’s work is so refreshing – really original and wonderful.  His amazing drawing skills are evident in every piece.  Each one is so inviting and fun, in part because of the strong compositions and colors he uses, and because of  his imagery and technique – the use of chunks of interesting fabrics combined with stenciling, the hand stitching techniques, and  juxtaposition of collaged imagery.

Leslie describes why he prefers working with fiber rather than paint, “Fabric has history, while paint does not.”  He often re-uses his own, or friends’ clothing in his pieces, so each piece has a very personal history to it.  And it seems that every piece of fabric he works with has a story unto itself, again bringing such a personal edge to each work.

A weekend workshop is just enough time to get a small sampling of an artist’s oeuvre, and we did our best to glean as much as possible.  Leslie shared so much, giving us demos throughout the days and presentations in the evenings as well.

My paper stencil composition from the workshop.

The primary goal was to learn about Leslie’s way of making a fabric piece and then get a start on 1 or 2 small pieces of our own.  We began by playing with stenciling on paper, with a goal of creating an interesting composition.  Above is my paper stenciled piece.

I was able to get just 1 small fabric piece started in the workshop – these hand processes do take a bit of effort to pick up (especially for me since I’ve never really done any hand embroidery before).  Below is a photo of my small fabric piece:

"Wall Drawing#3" (in progress) ©2010 Ayn Hanna, 18"x18", Textile Painting (fabric, cotton batting, acrylic paint, cotton thread)

Notice the many many pins that are holding all the small fabric pieces in place. Right now they are the only thing holding this all together.  There is quite a bit of stenciling with acrylic paint included in this piece as well.

The next step is to add the hand embroidery with perle cotton, to both hold the fabric pieces in place and also add some more definition and line variation in the piece.  Here’s another photo I took as I was selecting various thread colors that I’m going to add to the piece:

"Wall Drawing #3" with perle cotton threads that will be added to it

I’ll post another photo of this piece once I finish it.  I am very excited to incorporate these new techniques I learned from Leslie this weekend into other future pieces I make as I really enjoy the hand techniques and the “human” presence these bring to the work.  I have also started a larger piece (another one in my Triathlon series) using these techniques and will post images of that as it progresses as well.

Navy Quilt Update

No new progress on the 2 Navy Quilt pieces this past week, since I was attending the workshop.  I now have 8 days left until the due date for those so I’ll be busy at night and this weekend working to finish those up and will post pictures of those over the next week.

Big Printmaking Show at Art Lab Fort Collins

Reminder for those in the Fort Collins area, my prints are on display until 9/25 at the Art Lab on Linden St. in old town.  The gallery will be open Friday 9/24 from 6-9pm and Saturday, 9/25 from 1-8pm.  There will also be live printmaking demos and workshops at the gallery on Saturday.

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