Sunday, 5 September 2010

A new dimension

I've never done anything like this before - carving a lino block and then printing it on fabric I had coloured myself

Yesterday came like a breath of fresh air - a day in between travelling when I could forget schedules and play. I attended another workshop; it was more than play, it was a revelation and added a new dimension to my creative endeavours. Tutored by the gifted Rachel Anne Cronin, the theme was 'Making Sketchbook Techniques'. It was so well structured, planned so that materials could be drying whilst we got on with something else. I learned so much that I can now incorporate into what I do already - in fact more than one new dimension.

Book cover number one: left (back cover), right (front cover with image transfer); the back cover is hand-painted over the furnishing fabric and  now awaits stitching and embellishing. It will be backed by the 'green leaf' printed fabric below which I also made in the workshop yesterday.

We added image transfers to plain and printed fabric, experimenting with gel medium which gave a much better result than the method I had previously been using. We used decorator's acrylic primer to 'gesso' the surrounding fabric (much cheaper than gesso) and then - for me - the two highlights of the day: first colouring plain polycotton in shades to complement our chosen theme, for which I used thinned down acrylic paint with splashes of acrylic ink, screwing up the wet fabric to amalgamate teh colours; then secondly cutting lino blocks (we used 'Easy Cut' which is so much easier than the hard stuff I used back in school) and then overprinted the by-now-dry and coloured polycotton using not sticky printing inks but acrylic paint. Magic (well it was for me).

A close-up of part of the green-leaf print I made from the leaf block I carved.

The image transfered fabric piece, once embellished, will become the outside cover, whilst the backing will be the decorated polycotton, the two fused together and edge stitched. I prepared two covers and two linings. Then papers of various sorts, or other transferred and decorated pieces, will be hand-stitched into the covers to complete my books. I came home full of ideas for incorporating what I had practised into my many mixed-media projects; now to create the time to do so! Have a look at Rachel's blog on for inspiration and some of her own finished covers.

My second book cover created from an image transfer for the front, and badly painted topiary trees for the back. This needs a lot doing to it to embellish it! It will be backed by the 'pink' more Autumnal leaf fabric as shown in the first picture.


  1. The fabric which you created using your leaf block looks very like the beautiful batiks which I began collecting during the last few years of working at the quilt shop.
    I'll be watching for updates on the several projects mentioned here.
    Both time to work and space to keep the supplies are at a premium. My mental list of quilts and such to tackle is a long one and the finished pieces small by compariosn.

  2. Really lovely photos of your work Ann. It was great to teach a workshop where so many people came from a textile based background, coming from a fine art background I always learn so much about materials I would have never encountered otherwise! Acrylic wax for exmaple. I'm off to the Art Van Go website now.

  3. oh my goodness! what a joy this class must have been! i'm going to go check out rachel's blog now. thank you...

  4. Okay, that lino is so gorgeous! I love that image. yum!! And I've never seen a transfer on fabric like that, and they look so great! Really inspirational.

  5. Your sketchbook trees are gorgeous. The leaf prints reminded me of a wonderful quilt project Sharon did last year.