Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pumpkin Pillows

We have a LOT of pumpkins around here lately!  And sunflowers in odd places .... 

and this is the culprit, a helpful little Douglas squirrel we call Friendly.

We're not sure just how many of the sunflower seeds she runs off with she actually eats, based on the number of sunflowers that come up everywhere.  Then last fall things got a little crazy busy and the last pumpkins to turn got left in the garden longer than usual.  When I cleaned them up, I noticed there were hardly any seeds.  It seems that Friendly must've stashed them in all corners of the garden ... and the orchard, and the lavender.  We did have our best year ever for pumpkins, though!  Who would've thought they would even grow hanging from apple trees?!

So I was primed for pumpkins when I opened the autumn catalog from one of my favorite home design companies that has the initials PB and saw the gorgeous pillows.  Yes, I could've bought one, but I like to paint and haven't been doing much of that lately.

- off white cotton fabric - I used a loose weave muslin type called osnaberg that I usually can find at Joann
- paint tape
- acrylic paint:  Burnt Sienna, Beige, Burnt Umber, Barn Red, Antique Gold (not metallic), Ivory White, and Burnt Orange
- fabric medium - I used Liquitex's
- assortment of fabric painting brushes - these are a stiffer brush.  Be sure to have a large flat brush, and an angled brush (not pictured) is very helpful
- something to mix paint in - I like to use those small bathroom cups
- to make a pillow, you will also need a 20 inch pillow form and a 22 inch invisible zipper

I highly recommend painting several pumpkins on paper before starting on fabric - the one to the right was my fourth practice one.

When you're ready to try on fabric, tape a 22 inch square piece of fabric onto a flat surface.  Paint will leak through, so if your surface can't be wiped off, put newspaper down underneath first.  Draw a line to mark the halfway point on each side.

1.  We'll start with the stem - I'll paint it first on paper so it will show up better than on the light fabric.  In the middle of your fabric with burnt umber paint and a large, flat brush, paint a curve shape.

2.  Add four lines curving down from the first curve. Paint over the lines with beige.

3.  Fill the stem in with beige.

4.  This is how it looks to this point on fabric.

5.  Repaint the stem lines with burnt sienna and blend into the stem.

6.  Now play around with adding highlights and shading.  I blended in some ivory, then gold, then more burnt sienna and burnt umber.

7.  Next we'll work on the pumpkin.  Using barn red, roughly paint curved lines to form pumpkin sections.  Don't worry if they're not perfect - you have a little leeway here.

8.  Working one section at a time, paint a heavier line in barn red.

9.  Then paint the section with burnt orange and blend the barn red into this.  If you want a more watercolor type of look, use less paint and spread it thinner. 

10.  Add a little burnt sienna along the edges and blend into the center, then move on to the next section.  Leaving some areas white will help add dimension.

11. Keep painting in this same way until all the sections are finished.

12.  Then go back and add and blend more colors until you're happy with it!  I decided I needed to deepen the creases in the pumpkin with more barn red and burnt umber and the ridges on the stem with burnt umber.  I also added more burnt orange and burnt sienna to the pumpkin sections to make them look rounder.

13.  The last step is to add curly tendrils coming off the stem.  I used burnt umber and a rounded brush.

I painted several of these fabrics - this one's my favorite!  To set the paint, iron on cotton setting for 30 seconds in each spot - use a pressing cloth between your iron and the painting.

If you're making a pillow, follow the instructions in this past post.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Inspiration - Nature

If you've read this blog for very long, you already know that I get inspiration for my work from nature!  I'm fortunate to live surrounded by forests and forest creatures and love to spend time photographing them.

And when I look to other fiber artists for inspiration, I'm drawn to those who are also influenced by the natural world around them.

I recently discovered Scharine Kirchoff's eco-dyed work and have fallen in love with it!  The patterns and textures she is able to get are amazing.  She talks some about her process here.

Finding Lotta Helleberg's cyanotype print leaf quiltings reminded me that cyanotype is a printing technique I have always meant to experiment with more.  The different shades of blue have an indigo quality to them.  She also works with eco-dying - see more of her work here.

Every once in awhile, I discover an artist using a technique or medium that I had never thought of.  Jenine Shereos' leaf skeletons from woven from human hair definitely fall into that category!  I've read about her process and am still amazed that it would be possible.  Those knots are so, so tiny!  If you'd like to learn more, there's a good interview with her on the World of Threads Festival website.

Ann Woods sews all sorts of fabric creatures - vegetables, dolls, cats, and, my favorite, birds!  I love her songbirds with their bits of different fabrics and tiny stitches.  She does offer patterns for many of her creations, but unfortunately not those.  Check out her website to see more.

And now I'm off to batten down the hatches before the remnants of Typhoon Songda hit my little corner of the Pacific Northwest tomorrow!

Happy Creating!  Deborah