September 27, 2008

patience is a virtue or my babushka's tablecloth

How's that for a confusing title? I'll explain... I inherited several tablecloths from my grandmother, all in various states of disrepair. My babushka was the ultimate recycler, these table cloths are full of patches and mending. Anyone else would have thrown them out eons ago. I, on the other hand, have decided that they will make perfect base cloths for the rest of my Pagan series.

Two weeks ago I started painting the first one with Prismacolor water-soluble crayons. I start by sketching my basic design on the cloth, then spray it with water, wait for the colors to come a live and blend together and then let it dry. I steam iron it to set and start all over again until I reach my desired result. By the time I reached that stage with this tablecloth it had become quite holey... So I pinned it to batting and now I am in the process of mending all the holeyness with my favorite variegated cotton threads. I didn't like the pictures I took of my process up to this point so I'll have to do that better next time, meanwhile here are some pictures of mending in progress. This could be a long process as I do this in my down time usually in the evening in front of the TV. Good thing the batting is wool, it'll keep me warm through the season.

After my playdate with Vivien the other day, I decided to paint the second
tablecloth differently. I also didn't want to waste any paint.. I made several layers of fabric, various pieces of muslin, silk chiffon, silk crepe de chine and cotton sateen. On top I put my tablecloth folded in half, partly because I wanted to have two somewhat matching halves when I was done and partly because my table could only fit half. (I learned the original painting method from Sonji Hunt's blog a long time ago and have tailored it to my needs. Thanks Sonji!) I sprayed the whole sandwich with water and let it sit for an hour or so until it soaked through, then started painting with Jacquard Dye-na-flow paints, just my usual swirls and curls on a giant scale. I sprayed it with water and then added some dots and doodles with the Jacquard Textile paints. Then sprayed with water again and let sit for another hour. Good melding of colors started to occur.Then I again painted into it with various swirls and dots using the textile paints. When I decided I was done, I went to town with my spray bottle (industrial size) and soaked everything again. Look at the lovely blending that started to appear. And this is were the "patience is a virtue" part comes in. You've got to let this whole thing sit until it's almost dry to achieve the effect I desired. No peeking until it starts to dry and even then only a tiny bits can be picked up for a look so you don't disturb the process. I was greatly rewarded this morning, here's the tablecloth and take a look at each progressive layer as I peeled it back - gorgeous I think... and look at those lovely drips.. and here's the top layer table cloth unfolded and ironed. Most of these fabric will be used as a back ground for other projects, some I might just embelish for small works and mostly they will look quite different when I am truly done with them, but if you look closely you will be able to pick out the original details.. I'll keep ya updated..


Vivien Zepf said...

OOOhhh, how pretty! I'm sitting at home with a major head and chest cold and I'm so glad you posted. These perk me up. Hope your exhibit reception's going well. As a cesspool of contagion, I can't be there; sorry!

Kristin L said...

Gorgeous is right! I particularly like the cross stitch combined with your goddess. I have a 40s tablecloth with some stains. I was prepared to cut it up, but now I may rethink that.

Gerrie said...

I want to see this up close and personal. I love what you are doing. I went to a show titled not your Grandmother's Doily or something like that. But most of the work was old embroidered work that had been reworked in this way. Loved it.

Annica said...

Great way to paint fabric! Thanks for sharing!

my croft said...

I cannot wait to see your new pagan. This is amazingly beautiful (and now I have something new to try).
thanks, Natalya.


sukipoet said...

Amazing process. How wonderful you are using your grandma's old tablecloths, bringing new life to them. Thanks for sharing step by step (even though I really don't quite understand but that's okay.)