Monday, December 5, 2011

Blocks don't do much for surface design

Last Wednesday I showed this photo.

I finally got around to gessoing the blocks and allowing them time to dry.

At the same time, I decided to play with a technique I saw on someone's blog (sorry, I don't even remember whose) where she used tarragon to color some fabric. Since I didn't have any tarragon, I decided to see if ginger, lemon grass, and a pepper seasoning mix would give me the same effect. After all, I had to wait for the blocks to dry, so what did I have to lose. Right?

I started by wetting a strip of old bed sheet, my favorite fabric, since I can get them for about $3.00 each (US) at my local thrift store. If you think about it, this is far cheaper than any yardage you can buy, it's pre-washed, and it's great for tinkering around with various surface designs.

While still quite wet, I added the three spices. Sadly, they were mostly all the same color, so it was obvious I didn't have much color variety.

To make a long story short, once the spices dried, they just flaked off and left no color whatsoever. I guess you could call it a failed experiment, but I learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes you have to use the exact ingredient, rather than making substitutes. Of course, I don't remember the gal showing her finished fabric and I can no longer find her blog.

Also, while I was in the basement, I tore four more pieces of bed sheet, and grabbed my Karo syrup. I wanted to try a new technique I had seen on the Quilting Arts web site, but had to get those other pieces dry and off the table, first. Although the blocks have nothing to do with the design of the fabric, they sure didn't do anything to help it, either!

So last Friday morning, while the weather was still decent (or what I call decent), I took the gessoed boards outside, thinking it would be a lot faster to spray paint them.

Boy oh boy, was I wrong! It took an entire day to get these finished. Two of the cans of paint I got at my Household Hazardous Waste Swap and Shop earlier in that week, were nearly empty, one didn't work after the first spray, one wouldn't give up its cap without a fight to the death, and one sprayed all over everything I had just sprayed. Luckily, I kept newspaper over the ones I had not yet sprayed.

I kept making trips outside, checking the pieces, and nothing dried for hours. To make matters worse, the temperature started to drop around noon, and the wind gusts became exhausting. It really got colder and windier as the day progressed. I had to redo two of the blocks, which added more time. In the end, I brought the blocks inside to finish drying and got enamel paint all over my hands.

I finally got the blocks dry enough to move to the basement. I plan to work on the fabric next, which will give me time to decide what I want to do with these pieces. So, please stay tuned for a fabric tutorial, which I hope to show on Thursday. In the meantime, have a good laugh and a stress-free day.

12 thoughtful remarks:

Halle said...

When I do my natural eggs dyes I use tarragon with the onion skins to get a color closer to orange than rust brown. Of course, that is boiling water so it may play a factor. I do know that tarragon stains...ever get yellow mustard on your clothing or countertop. Tarragon is the culprit.

Nancy said...

Your saga of getting the wood blocks prepared and painted made me chuckle (sorry). I thought that stuff only happened to me!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Ah the trials and tribulations of being an artist! I'm chuckling with you.

Healing Woman said...

I appreciate your honesty in showing accomplishments as well as mistakes or 'things that go wrong.' It happens to all of us. I couldn't help noticing the shoe rack you have behind your closet door. What a neat way to store artwork!

Dianne said...

we don't know until we try...that paint must have been oil based to take so long to long will your hands be 'artistically decorated' with paint? =) always an adventure to be found here with you! happy creating...

Marilyn Rock said...

I am just in awe of your artistic spirit Elizabeth! You are never afraid to try things and share the results - you're amazing! Love your posts and look forward to Thursday tutorial. Thoughts of you............xxoo Marilyn

Kezzy said...

Oh no, sounds like you had a mega bad creating day, they do look fab though already now there painted. Poor you, I can imagine the paper gusting all around lol, I'm sorry I shouldn't laugh, but it does remind me of when I was helping with a carnival and we had the same problem, the more we did the worse the whole thing got lol. Can't wait to see what your going to do with the syrup!!! Kezzy x

jude said...

Hiya hunni ,
Please could you email me at this addy:
your name and address.i was in pasttimes on saturday and bought you a wee gift!couldnt resist
hugs jude
hope to hear from you soon

Dandelion and Daisy said...

This looks interesting! Since I don't like licorice, I don't like tarragon for seasoning, but I might really like it as a fabric colorant. To bad we don't know someone with a plant, the stuff in a can is spendy. Can't wait to see Part 2 and, now, I really want to know what color you get from Tarragon.

see you there! said...

What a day you had... but the blocks do look ready to go.

I'm interested in the color tarragon produces too. I wouldn't have thought it would do much. I'll ber tumeric would give you a nice yellow tho. It sure puts yellow on my white dishtowels if it gets a chance, LOL!


elle said...

Ah, your life sounds like mine and those paint caps!!! :( Keep an eye out for duvet covers also. The older style is 100% cotton and some are cotton damask, a great texture.

Tracey Potter said...

Love the pink heart block!