Lucky me was treated to a Mixed Media workshop as my Christmas present from my parents. It’s run at the MAC Birmingham by Emma Jackson, and is my 2 hours a week of grown up time.
I’ve not been feeling particularly crafty of late due to a slightly broken brain, but I’ve made my peace with it and this course has really got the creative juices going again!
The workshop began in January, and we were told by Emma that we’d be making Faux Chenille. But not quite the type of faux chenille that you typically see if you google it. We started with a large piece of cotton, and used open screen printing to colour the fabric and also do some mark making. This was with a mix of dyes and manutex.
At the end of the first session, the room was awash with beautiful colour!
The following two weeks was screen printing with stencils and image transfer. I felt that the image transfer didn’t fit in with where my project was going, so I did a lot of stencilling instead.
The next week was probably my favourite week; foiling using Golden Regular Gel Gloss Medium. I love the effect it produces and how vibrant the colours are.
The foil is transferred using Golden Medium, and creates a beautiful effect, especially if the foil has already been used once. I used my previous stencil to apply the Golden Medium with a brush.
We also painted some interfacing for the base of the project, and painted bondaweb in preparation for the following week. The bondaweb and interfacing were painted on top of newspaper, so that the resulting painted newspaper could also be used in the project.
The week after was the final week of fabric preparation using bonding techniques. We created beautiful little sheets of fabric using heat responsive angelina fibres, and then attached these to our layers using the painted bondaweb. I also used the painted bondaweb to attach small pieces of cellophane which had a circle motif printed onto it, perfect!
By this point, I now had a selection of co-ordinating fabrics with lots of different effects.
Initially I cut and stacked the layers into one pile, but it was so thick that I decided to find an additional base fabric and make two pieces instead of one very, very thick piece.
I pinned the layers together, and continuing with my theme, I began sewing circles using free motion embroidery. Considering they were 7 or 8 layers thick and a mix of fairly heavy paper plus fabric, it was surprisingly easy to sew through. My main concern was breaking a needle, but I know now I’d be confident to do this on my own machine using a standard needle.
Next came what would be the hardest part of the project; cutting between the layers. I was cutting through all but the bottom layer, and it was really tough going because of how thick it was. Because of the size of the circles, I had to cut using a small pair of embroidery scissors and I think it’s safe to say I’ve blunted them just from cutting the first piece. I’ve definitely bruised my thumb!
Emma had suggested using a toothbrush or gentle wire brush, such as one you would use on suede, for distressing the fabrics once cutting was finished. I didn’t think we had a wire brush, so I went ahead with a cheap and nasty hard toothbrush. It had some effect, but it just wasn’t quite enough. The Husband said we had a wire brush in the shed, but I think it was a wire brush for cleaning alloy wheels, which means it would have been too harsh and filthy so I opted for a harsh scourer from Tesco.
“Do it gently”, Emma advised. Oh how I laughed. I’ve never quite abused my work in the way I did with this scourer, but I loved every minute of it!
I stepped back and looked at my work once I’d finished scouring. I had a lovely pile of fluff to keep for the next part of the workshop…
Something wasn’t quite right. It wasn’t as fluffy as I’d hoped. It looked a bit ‘gappy’. It was time to bruise my thumb a bit more and cut between the circles. A bit more beating with the scourer, and it was finished.
I love the way the blue and silver foiling pokes through. I’ve absolutely trashed it with the scourer, but I love how it looks.
Lots and lots of lovely texture! I really wasn’t sure I would like it as we were going through, but I absolutely love it. And even though my thumb is sore, I can’t wait to finish the second piece! I need to decide how to mount it for hanging, but that’s a minor technicality. I’ll definitely be making some more, and i’ve started looking at little screen printing sets you can get to use at home. I’m not sure The Husband would be too happy about that….