Saturday, 11 August 2012

Text'art Retreat, Part 1

This week, the text'art group had an art retreat at Dianne's beautiful cottage on Lake Memphremagog. Text'art has seven members: six of them are participants in 12 by the Dozen, plus Lauma Cenne. We meet every month and have a fine old time mucking about with new techniques, or visiting local art shows.

One of the techniques we have been itching to try is inspired by Kerr Grabowki's DVD, "Adventures in Surface Design". At the left, you can see some of the results.

In the top photo, I drew directly onto the silkscreen with water-soluble crayons, Aqua Briques. I then pushed "extender" through the silkscreen to apply the pigment to the cotton underneath.  The original transfer is on the left, and the second transfer, the "ghost print", is on the right, when less pigment remains on the screen. So often the ghost print is more interesting.

The second photo shows what happened when I drew directly onto the cotton with the Aqua Briques. The result was made colourfast by applying a thin layer of extender through the silkscreen. This doesn't change the "hand" of the fabric.

The photos on the right illustrate another of our experiments, this time using gouache paint on paper. This exercise was suggested by Becky Koenig's book "Color Workshop".

The idea is that by desaturating colour, you can create a sense of distance. There are different ways of desaturating colour.

At the top, the red is made paler with white.
The second example shows how the red is made darker with black.

Then I tried to desaturate the red with dark gray,
medium gray, and light gray, always attempting to achieve a sense of distance, or "atmospheric colour", as it is sometimes called.

None of us are painters, but we can apply these lessons in colour to our work with cloth.
I hope that some of the other participants will share some of their experiments. Some of us tried silkscreening with fabric paint, using newspaper as a stencil. Another activity was using markers with permanent ink on cotton, and then creating a bleeding of the ink with a spritz of alcohol.

With great food and wine, swimming and boating, a birthday celebration and a demo of Photoshop, what more could you ask for?


  1. Thanks for sharing these two techniques with us - interesting exercises. You girls were busy.

  2. I am so envious of the opportunity you girls in Montreal have of getting together - and especially at Dianne's cottage - what a wonderful place to inspire creativity.

    I love the Kerr Grabowski experiments at the top - they look so inviting. Have you found a reason to use them yet?

    The second exercise using gouache reminded me of a class I did with Michael James many years ago using these paints. It was along similar lines and included saturation, luminosity and value. What a valuable workshop that was (Houston)! Gouache paints are easy to work with and give excellent results.