I moved back in September, and have been slow getting back into the swing of things. But today felt like the right day to push back and get back to work. Step one is figuring out how to photograph my fabric pieces now that I don’t have a dedicated just-mine work space. My desk has returned to it’s original life as a kitchen table, but there’s no reason why it can’t pretend to be my desk again, even for a little while.
I have to say, I’ve been drawing and painting tons of cats lately. Cats everywhere. Sorry If you don’t like them, I know my last post was about cats too.
First, I’ve continued doing portraits of cats. This is my best friend’s cat; he was rescued from under a house at only a few days old. He looks like a flame point siamese, and yes, his eyes do that- whatever the opposite of cross-eyed is. Wall-eyed, I think. He’s a pretty cute guy, even though he tends to hiss at me.
Next, I had an idea for a repeat pattern of all cats. I started drawing them all, one by one…
You can see on the top of the second picture how I started out with a sort of template, then customized each one when it came time to paint it.
Eight cats, some other bits, and a few hours sunk into Photoshop later, I had my pattern!
Those are catnip leaves and flowers all around them. I like how between the Siamese, the Scottish Fold, the Norwegian Forest Cat, the Japanese Bobtail, and the Cornish Rex, it became quite the international who’s-who of cats. I wanted to use a late summer/early fall color scheme (as even though it’s technically fall, it’s still dreadfully hot here in LA).
And finally, a different kind of cat- a quick drawing of some of the girls from the movie High School Hellcats. If you have Netflix instant, I cannot recommend this movie enough, especially if you’re a fan of campy older movies. Just be prepared to clutch your pearls.
I took a break from working with leather yesterday to finish a project I’ve had floating around on my desk for the last few weeks.
A pillow portrait of my cat! I’m sorry I don’t have process photos to share this time around, but it was basically the same as this project; start with an image, print it as a neagative on a transparency, place it over your dyed fabric, set it out in the sun. Done! I’ve had so much fun figuring out how to use the inkodye and brainstorming different projects.
I tried taking pictures of my cat and the pillow together to see if you could see the likeness, but he isn’t the most photogenic animal.
I’ve been on a gem kick lately. It started when my boyfriend and I decided to get membership passes to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. Every time we visit, there’s one spot I have to go- past the oarfish and the coelacanth, tucked away in the back of the mineral hall, are a few cases with raw and cut gems, side by side. There’s something wonderful about being able to see them together, the rough dramatic shapes and the smooth polished ones, each beautiful in their own ways. The last time we went I photographed my favorites, and settled back in at home to paint them.
I like them as stand alone pieces, but also wanted to try putting them together. I also went back and added plaques around their names.
Bigger pictures of the repeats can be seen here. I had my swatches printed on a super soft, silky fabric. I just wish I was better at sewing, I’d made myself a gem dress in a heartbeat. And probably wear it to the museum.
I’ve had a stash of Lumi’s Inkodye for a few months now, but finally got all the materials together to use it about a week ago. It’s pretty amazing! I’m still experimenting with it, but the process has been a lot of fun.
Step 1: Have something that you want to print. I went with some whales I painted a few weeks ago.
Step 2: Print out your image on a transparency. This is where I got a little hung up, as I had to buy new ink cartridges and find the right kind of transparency for my printer. The transparencies should be printed with the black and white inversed, like a film negative.
Step 3: Put some Inkodye on your fabric! But not too much. Just enough to get the fabric damp and cover the area you want covered.
Step 4: Place your transparency on top of the fabric, and get that baby out in the sun! The fabric will start changing almost instantly.
The blue started to appear after about a minute. I have my fabric and transparency sandwiched between two pieces of plexiglass and held together with bulldog clips, so there’s no way for things to accidentally shift during the exposure time.
Step 5: Wait. Seriously, wait. It’ll take about 15 minutes to get the strongest color. I brought a chair and book outside to keep myself busy.
Step 6: When you can’t stand it any longer, bring your fabric back inside to a place where sunlight can’t reach it, take off the transparency, and start rinsing. I ended up having to wash my fabric by hand for a few minutes, then run it through the wash twice to get all the leftover dye out. Which is something you really want to do, unless you’re cool with your fabric turning blue when you take it outside.
Step 7: Be proud! You made something cool!
I made one for myself, and a few for Etsy. I’ve gotta say, they’re great for small grocery store runs.
Yesterday, my roommate posted a link on my Facebook to a competition to design a scarf. Pretty cool. The catch? The deadline is tomorrow.
Bring it on.
First, sketch. The theme for the contest was “words”. Inspiration could be a single letter, a single word, or a quote. I chose “Le Chat Méchant”. The Wicked Cat.
Next, get to working on the real deal!
Things changed a little bit when I started drawing. I liked the idea of a border of eyes, but the scale didn’t look right. So I made them smaller and threw in the rest of the face. I liked the shapes the ears made.
Here’s another in progress photo, with a better view of the ears.
After finishing the base design, I did some text and extra shapes on a separate piece of paper, then scanned everything and opened it up in Photoshop. Wham bam a few dozen minutes later, I was finished! (Honestly, I just forget to take in progress screencaps when working on the computer).
Here’s what the layers looked like:
Their styles are multiply, overlay, screen, and multiply again.
Not too shabby in less than 24 hours! Here’s a link to the company holding the contest. Wish me luck!
My collection of snail fabric has arrived in the mail! I never feel like my patterns are really finished until I can hold them in my hands.
Over the past few years, my Mom has taken up quilting. She’s now well on her way to mastering traditional, geometric quilting, as well as landscape quilting (which I encourage you to look up- I had never heard of it before she took a class on the subject, and the quilts people create are absolutely stunning). While working on these snail patterns, I was inspired by her to do a collection of fabrics that could be used together in a project like a quilt. While it doesn’t really look like it in these pictures, the snails and polka dots all use the same color palette to make them easy to mix and match. A better look can be had here.