May 30, 2012 5 comments

Help is on the way, dear! (Burning Issues, Part Two)

How helpful and generous all of you are!

After my last post, I had several (nearly ten!) emails from people who privately offered me their collective wisdom in solving my "burning issues".  I'll start by telling you how I temporarily solved them, and then share all of their great ideas!

So, when I left you last, I was trying to figure out a couple of things:
a:     where to get lutradur/what to use instead in my limited time frame; and
b:     what to use instead of  Margaret Beal's heat tool.

The unspoken issues I had were:

a:    was it better to paint the substrate first and then put the fusible and then cut it out?
b:    should I put the fusible on before or after I cut and paint, or can it all be done at the same time?

To begin, when I asked Jennie where she got her Lutradur, she explained that, like me (I'd been looking for it for a project for Fire a couple of months ago) she hadn't been able to find it anywhere in Canada.  So when she was in the UK a couple of weeks ago, she got a bolt of it.

When she pulled it out to cut a piece off for me, I said "It looks like Pellon stabilizer!"
And SHE said - "It's made by Pellon".  And I smacked myself in the head, because I have three bolts of the stuff myself, in different weights, that I bought at the Creativ Festival a couple of years ago.

At the time, I thought I was going to do a lot more thread painting (I was very taken with an exhibition of it I had seen during Quilt National in 2009) but had never really gotten 'round to it.

When I got home, I realized that none of my weights were exactly like hers, but they were probably close enough to bright, so I went for it.

The first experiment was with the heaviest of the weights I had.  I cut it first, and then painted it, and THEN added the fusibile and cut it out a second time. (Which is the first pic in this post.)

Then I tried painting the stabilizer, and fusing it, then cutting it, but I couldn't see through it without a light box. I don't have one, so I used my drafting table (glass top) and a desk lamp underneath - but it's not a user-friendly option unless you have a lightbox, so I wouldn't recommend painting the stabilizer first.
And speaking of, what did I cut it with, you ask?  

Well, Jennie had very generously offered to lend me her burning tool to complete the project.

However, I had done some research, and decided that its closest cousin was the Dremel Wood Burning Tool Kit (which had an attachment with a very fine point - more on that later)

I also had a very light weight Pellon, nearly translucent, that had some fusible on it already. I had been fusing that Pellon to delicate silks and lightweight chiffons to enable me to work with them more easily in other applications in the past, so thought I'd give that one a go.

I knew that the small amount of fusible on it would be useless in this particular application, so I fused the Steam-A-Seam to it, cut it to size, and then peeled off the back, using that bit of sticky-ness to adhere it to the glass.

Then I slid the whole over my  image (I took the original sketch, blew it up and darkened it at a professional copy place) and commenced to cut.  It worked a dream! (And my head is already filled with other applications for my Pellon and my heat tool!)

You can see that I used the tool to make more marks to "scuff it up" as you may remember the orignal rendering looked very "abused" and I wanted that look rather than the "brand spanking new" look I got with other fabrics.

Here it is all cut on on the glass - remember, it already has the fusible attached!

Now - here are the hints from all of the generous people!

No sooner did I post, than Arlee Barr wrote me and suggested that I use the Walnut Hollow "Textile Tool", and a few people wrote and suggested the Creative Versa Tool by the same company. Liniecat sent me several emails with different suggestions for both tools and sources for Lutradur, and Beth Berman sent me info on how to enlarge my image. Others wrote me and made other helpful suggestions as well, from soldering irons to wood burning tools, a couple of you also suggested the Dremel Wood Burning kit I had already found.

Ladies - all of you - I'm truly touched by your generosity of spirit and helpfulness! Apparently, there's nothing we can't solve together. :)

As for me, after I cut my fused Pellon, I painted it - right on the glass!

To find out whether it worked, check back in on Friday.  Till then...

May 28, 2012 6 comments

Burning Issues - Part One

So, when I went to Jennie's house last Thursday, she introduced to me to her trick to make her precise work - Lutradur and her secret weapon!  Though Jennie's work often uses Lutradur as one of it's many elements, and though I had a chance to work with a bit of it as part of the challenge when I made "Ontology of A Rabbit", I didn't realize how amazin' the stuff is!

She had asked me to come prepared with my sketch of Travyon blown up for our experiments (here, it's about 14 inches x 10).  We taped the image to the table and then put it under a piece of glass, and then put a piece of Lutradur on top...

And then she introduced me to her secret weapon! A burning tool from Margaret Beal - with whom she'd taken a class a few years ago. Now since the tool is from the UK, we had to use it with both a converter (so it could be used in North American outlets) AND a booster so it would get hot enough, and it sure did.  "Cuz check it out!

Just from tracing the image through the glass with the tool!

I gave Jennie a big kiss and a hug, 'cuz she's totally brilliant!

Of course, IIII don't have any Lutradur, and I haven't been able to source any here in the past - not to mention - I don't have this handy burning tool, and also - the Lutradur is white.  So stay tuned for more problem solving...

May 25, 2012 10 comments

I had to share the terror!!!!

Okay, this post could not be me MORE unrelated to anything that I do, or possibly, anything that you're interested in, but, BUT - I  had to share these with all of you.

You know, like when you get an earworm and the only way to get rid of it is to sing it someone else? Like that.

You see, I'm terrified (TERRIFIED) of ventriloquist's dummies.  I once ran wildly into four lanes of traffic in order to escape two women who were walking down the street, in the business section of our fair city...

(not in some hidden-from-view-secret-place-where-scary-people-and-their-toys live), walking along, like, having a conversation between themselves and the entity-of-evil one of them was holding. 

Walking along, like their behaviour, was normal, like the terrifying thing with them was normal, like THEY (supposedly) were normal.

Anyway, I too was walking along, enjoying the sunny day, glanced over, and promptly ran into six lanes of traffic to get away from them. The only reason I survived, I'm sure, is because I didn't actually run but rather, flew across that street.

I was still shaking by the time I got back to the office.

And NOW do you see why they're so terrifying? THESE ARE THEIR TRUE FACES.

Let's all send collective blessings to my "friend", who thought it would be funny to garner these vintage images from the shadowy recesses of the interwebs and send them to me!

And believe it or not, I may have to do a quilt series on these in order to exorcize the fear. (Some day, when I'm brave enough to be alone with these images!)

In the meantime, have a nice weekend!

(Back to normal posting on Monday, promise, promise!)
May 23, 2012 5 comments


I am having  ISSUES.  lol

I continue to work on enlarging "Walking While Black" for the looming exhbition date, and because I did the original piece with encaustic and can't for this show, after spending 26 (yes, TWENTY-SIX) hours  making the background and handstitching down all the letters (because I am afeared that the fused letters will not stay on what with being packed and shipped and unpacked and hung and packed and shipped and unpacked and hung and... etc. for two years)...

I have spent a further 22 hours (so far!) trying and failing at different methods to a: enlarge his face and b: give it the distressed look of the original.  So far, no joy.  I haven't been photographing the process because I have (wrongly) assumed each time that it would work. 

So unfortunately, you can't learn from the carnage.  That said, I brought it to last night's Drunken Quilters meeting and Jennie Wood had some GREAT ideas which we're going to try out at her place tomorrow night.

I promise to photograph that process. 

And then, the large new piece that I was working on has ALSO gone awry. I'll show you pics of that tomorrow... haven't had a chance to upload.


May 19, 2012 26 comments

Bloggers' Quilt Festival time again!

I  wasn't going to join the festival this year as I have wandered away from making bed quilts for awhile, but happily for me, Amy has an art quilt category this year, so here I am!

Ontotlogy Of A Rabbit (c) 2012 Kit Lang

This little art quilt came about as a result of a challenge set by my contemporary quiltart group (The Drunken Quilter's Society - so called because our meetings occur over cocktails and dinner) - the challenge was to use the contents of a bag of scraps and embellishments given go us by another member; and to use something in it that we had never used before.

I lucked out on my bag with a beautiful rust-printed fabric and a stunning snow dyed poly-silk. The challenge part of the bag for me were the beads! Those who read my blog regularly know that beads are my Waterloo.  I am never able to use them in a way that pleases me, and inevitably, even if I spend hours and days applying them, I end up removing them in the end.

This time, I loved the beads, and so they stayed.

There was also Lutradur in my bag - and I had never used it before. I painted it and used it for the bunny's nose and eyes.  There was also Japanese paper, which I used to delineate the bunny's wings

Some background quilting and a a few of my own scraps from my stash, and I was done.

This little rabbit is very much outside of my oeuvre and unlike anything I've made before (or am likely to make again) but I'm very happy I did!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and do check out the other work submitted in the festival. Thanks so much to Amy for hosting again!


P.S. - Previous entries from newest to oldest are here here, here, here, and here
May 16, 2012 6 comments

Feathering my nest... (or Fabricpalooza!)

Now that the weather's getting warmer, dyeing season will begin for me - but these pieces were done during a oddly warm patch a little while ago.

I got some ink on an ecru silk blouse and couldn't get it out, so I broke it up into pieces and dyed it with some little bits of leftover dyes I had hanging around (months old so I was surprised at their efficacy), and then discharged with a water/bleach solution in a spray bottle.

a deep purple sleeve...

this was actually a mop up cloth of the lighter colours - a nice underwater fabric I think...

and a nice pale, greeny blue discharged piece...

For some reason, this one made me think of sharkskin, so I ever make a shark, I'll have the fabric!

What had started the whole thing was I had tried (and failed) at making some deconstructed screen prints - but I used the leftovers to try some arashi shibori (I think it's called that - too lazy to look it up - the pole wrapping kind of shibori)

These pieces are huge - 4 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 or so - and I think I'm going to make a skirt out of that green/pink version for summer.

I loved this piece too - this one is quite large as well - though not large enough for a skirt (!)- and it was just made by folding the piece of fabric various ways and then painting it with the leftovers.

Summers here are short and HOT and I must prepare my "nest" for the winter.  I have to make hay while the sun shines as they say, so I'll be doing a lot of dyeing over the next couple of months - however, I won't be showing it to you (I intend to do a lot of plain solids) unless something interesting happens.

In the meantime, (in real time, I mean) I am continuing the Whitewashed series - and I hope to be able to show you some progress on the next piece on Friday - right now all I've got done is piecing, gesso-ing, painting, and background quilting on the next piece and you've already seen all those steps on Walking While Black".

If not, I'll show you some shots of a quilt show I went to!

'Til then.
May 14, 2012 6 comments

Into The Night

Concurrent to working on my whitewashed series, I've also been working on a little something else  - more thread painting experiments!

I've chosen as my topic for these experiments a little harvest mouse - whom I've named Zachary.

I'm sure he'll pop up again.

See you Wednesday!

May 10, 2012 9 comments

Neither ghost nor dog coat nor apron am I...

Ta Da!!!

I'm a lunch bag!

(Ignore stray threads, they've been trimmed.)

I didn't quilt the outside as I thought it would be too hard to wrangle with the neoprene innards, but it does have bias binding on the uppers and handles so there's a little "quilt" work in there...

and speaking "in there"  - it's nice and roomy inside (not that you can tell by this picture!) and that neoprene will have great insulating properties!

Wanna come and join me for lunch today in the parkette?


Linking up with Michelle-Renaud through Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday!
May 8, 2012 12 comments

Having a little fun...

Not that working on my artistic pursuits aren't fun - I worked for hours after my day job last night (until 4:00 in the morning!) and I can honestly say I have rarely been more happy;

but that work takes concentration and since it's

1.  a reiteration of my Trayvon Martin piece (as I have to make it about 10 times bigger for the exhibit);

2.  it's my third or fourth night working that late (and I get up at six to go to my day job); and

3.  I'm so exhausted tonight I didn't want to risk working on it and somehow messing it up!


Tyler napped beside me as I worked on something fun (he's modelling his new summer cut)

And as he napped, I started out with these scraps' n strings...

and then I used these things (screen printing screen cleaner, a bottle of old acrylic paint, a fleur de sel container* and a container of procion MX dye)....

and then this.  Hmmm.

Things should be clearer now!

Come back on Friday for the "big" reveal! (I intend to have a nap in the meantime...)


Linking with the Needle and Thread Network for WIP Wednesday. Check it out and see what other Canadian bloggers are up to! :)
May 7, 2012 23 comments

The 411, news and information post. :)

Catch up time!!

First of all, as promised, I'll tell you about the meaning behind each of the elements that were part of my Travyvon Martin piece; and then I'll tell you all the news!

So, here goes!

The brick background represents several things: a metaphorical walls:
  • walls that keep us out
  • walls that keep us in
  • walls that prevent us from seeing
  • walls that keep us from knowledge
  • walls that prevent us from feeling
The colourful patchwork of the wall represents the life that is lost - not only Trayvon Martin's but all of the people: women, men and children whose lives are lost
  • through death
  • through lack (of education, equal opportunity, and the like)
  • through waste (imprisonment, drugs, apathy)

The wall is then whitewashed, because that is what we so often do, as a society, and as individuals when we cover things up, or brush them under the carpet; when we don't want to see what's right before us, when it's easier not to see, when we simply don't want to see.  (And that goes for all of us - people of all ethnicities are guilty of this behaviour.)
And then, there's "making things colourless".  And what I mean by that, is when someone says to me "I don't see colour", it is the most infuriating thing - the statement leaves me feeling frustrated and blocked, because "nice people" say it - or at least, people who think they're "nice" people. But it's not "nice" to not see colour. 
If you don't see colour, you don't see me.(a global me, representing all oppressed populations).  You don't see the individual and institutional racism that is pressed upon me, you don't see what imperils me and you don't see the ways that you contribute to it OR the ways you can help. 
If you "don't see colour" you're a part of the problem, not the solution,. 

You're whitewashing. 

When I heard the recording of George Zimmerman that night, and I heard him say as he left his car: "These assholes, they always get away."  my heart swelled with fear for my own boys.  Mr. Zimmerman's statement is indicative of so many things, but the two things that stand out the most to me are that his use of "these assholes" indicate to me that he already had his mind made up about Trayvon (and by extension, my sons, my brothers, myself); that we are criminals or potential criminals, unwanted, a danger, a threat. 

And by saying "they always get away"; he was implying that THIS time - it wasn't going to happen. 
The circles near Trayvon's head - yes, they're a halo. Not because Trayvon's a hero or a martyr or a saint, but because to me, he represents innocence, needlessly sacrificed.  And that seemed best represented by a halo. 

The clock represents time: the passing of it, the seeming fruitlessness of our fight through it and the fact that as time relentlessly goes on, nothing changes.

The clock being on it's side represents broken time.  Trayvon's time being ended, and a call for all of us to end what caused his death.  Not only George Zimmerman, the events of that night, and his gun; but the deeper issues that allowed (caused?) those things to happen. 

The names in the clock are of course, four of the black children who have died from 1955 to 2006, and whose death's caused an uproar and calls for justice and change, and yet, here we are still.  I hand stitched those names - in fact, all of the red and black stitching was hand done, and done roughly for the following reasons:
1. I wanted it to look like someone young did it as a kind of "in memoriam"
2. I wanted it to look like someone emotionally distraught did it
3. More than any of that, I wanted it to look like a human being did it - I wanted imperfection and roughness and human fallibility, as we all are, in this world together.
The jagged lines are gunshot.

Trayvon himself (done in encaustic) represents not only himself but all of our youth of all ethnicities, and the red wax is of course, hyper-real blood.  

And now for the news!
I have ten new pieces (TEN!) which will be exhibited at the Rochester Contemporary Art Centre, in June. (I'll show them to you when it's over.)

My Trayvon Martin piece drew the attention of Susan Shie, who contacted me and asked me to be part of her group called Fiber Artists for Hope, who exhibit internationally and create fiber art to provoke thoughtful dialogue, instigate positive social change and promote the pursuit of justice and equality. I am currently in the process of remaking the piece as it has to be about ten times bigger than it is (lol); but it will be in an exhibit called "American Spring: A Cause For Justice" which will travel the world for two years. I will also be producing other work for the group for other, upcoming international exhibitions.

My piece called, Passage (one of my very first art quilts), will be a featured prop in a play in Philadelphia, with acknowledgement in the playbill and  to be used as cover art for the playbill! But I also had to make THAT one bigger. (And the take away from this is, class?  lol)

And last, but not least, I've been asked to join the International Quilt Challenge group - a group I wanted to join for quite some time!

Phew!  Now do you see why I've been so busy?

See you soon! xo