Tuesday, February 26, 2013

QuiltCon, part 2-- Printing on Fabric

When I registered for QuiltCon, I was so tempted by so many of the workshops. But in the end I decided I really wanted to learn new skills that I would actually use back at home.

I signed up for two textile printing classes-- Block Printing on Textiles with Lizzy House and Textile Printing with Lotta Jansdotter. (My other workshop was an incredible freezer paper piecing course with Penny of SewTakeAHike that will get it's own post.)

In Lizzy's full day workshop, we spent the first half of the day sketching ideas and carving our blocks. The sketching part was the hardest, I think, for everyone. My sketches were crap. I know that's not the way we should regard things during the process, but they really were. I ended up going back to my sketchbook for old designs that I wanted to explore.

Lizzy had sent a supply list of what we needed, but I wasn't totally clear on which blocks I'd like the best, so I brought a bunch of options. In the end I only carved on the basic unmounted linoleum. I loved the amount of detail I was able to get. My elbow ached by the end as it's a lot harder to work with, but it was definitely my block of choice.

The afternoon was all about printing. I brought different types of fabric to see how the oil-based ink soaked in. It was great to experiment with how much ink I needed too.

I really learned so much that day. Lizzy is an amazing teacher. You can tell she loves what she does-- as soon as she started talking about printing, she got this "glow" about her.

My workshop with Lotta was a half day. I was lucky to be able to sit with Faith Jones and Violet Craft.

I also finally got to meet Rossie, plus there were quite a few other recognizable faces in the room. Martha Stewart even had a crew in there taking photographs, so maybe there is a magazine feature in the works?

We used completely different materials in this class-- softer speedy-cut blocks and Pebeo Setacolor inks.

As someone who loves improv and does not seek perfection when quilting, I was really surprised to find that I needed perfection in my block prints. I got frustrated that I couldn't make my sketch look anything like what was printing out. I didn't like the softer blocks, and I didn't like using water-based inks. In the end, I didn't like what I produced.

Stenciling was more satisfying, but not something I could see myself doing on a large scale.

You might read this as me saying that Lotta's class was a flop. Not at all! Lotta is an incredible inspiration. Just hearing her story about how she came to do what she does, and learn her process of design, was invaluable. I also love her work. And so many people were making beautiful prints. The methods just weren't for me. I see it as a huge and important learning experience, as I had assumed prior to QuiltCon that this would be the style of printing I would want to pursue the most. It helped solidify my direction.

As I was writing this post, I went down to a storage closet and pulled out my high school art portfolio. I went through a phase years ago where I threw out so much of my old work. I remember thinking that some of the paintings and drawings were ugly. Boy do I regret that. I'm grateful I had some things left, including the lino cuts and prints from a semester of printmaking.

I loved that course. LOVED it.

One of the projects I am most proud of is this multi-color print of me in the doctor's hands after my mom gave birth.

It's just funny how things work out. I feel like my printing classes at QuiltCon, particularly the one with Lizzy, brought me back to something that I felt so passionate about years ago but had pushed aside, thinking I needed to pursue a more practical life. I can't wait to do more. Lots more.


Leslie Keating of Maze & Vale, handprinted fabric artist extraordinaire, is hosting her third Handprinted Fabric Swap. Sign ups close this Thursday. If this is something you've dabbled in or have been wanting to pursue, think about joining! There's no better way to learn and explore than having a swap where you HAVE to produce something that you're proud of.


Amy Friend said...

These images are all so wonderful. You are clearly a talented printmaker--I look forward to seeing more!

arajane said...

i love your prints... that textured circle is particularly gorgeous! and i'm so interested in hearing your recap of the printing classes. i was in the lotta class with you and had a really hard time with my prints, too. i like precision and couldn't seem to create what i had in my head with those soft blocks. and my stencils were a hot mess that i don't even want to talk about. i think i might try the harder unmounted linoleum, maybe that will be better for me. thanks, krista!

Leanne said...

I sure like your prints, and the classes sound fun, thank you for sharing them.

Jenny said...

Looking forward to following your journey!

felicity said...

I loved reading this, Krista! And your printmaking is just incredible. Thanks for sharing it all!

Angela said...

sooo interesting. I love that you took both classes and were really able to compare the techniques. What a fabulous craft to learn.

Dianne said...

Your lino print blocks are lovely, I particularly like the circle. seeing the art you created earlier on I can see how you became the quilt artist that you are. I look forward to seeing where the tools you came home with take you, Aren't new directions, or new old directions as the case may be, fun?!!

bulabean said...

So interesting. I can see the difference in the prints from the 2 classes. Those 2 black prints from school are amazing! You obviously have the talent for this type of thing! Go girl!

Jenny said...

thanks for this post krista. really interesting to read about these techniques. bonne chance on your road to printmaking!

Rossie said...

I love that textured circle! So great! And I'm so glad we got to meet in person, if only for a brief time!

Tracy T. said...

What a great post! My eye was totally grabbed by your lino cuts for the printing - I loved them. So clear and graphic. Plus, I think I need to get my hair cut like Lotta's - so cute! Nice to live vicariously through QuiltCon with this post - thanks!

Tracy T. said...

What a great post! My eye was totally grabbed by your lino cuts for the printing - I loved them. So clear and graphic. Plus, I think I need to get my hair cut like Lotta's - so cute! Nice to live vicariously through QuiltCon with this post - thanks!

Jenny said...

Such beautiful prints!!

Block beauty said...

Oh just superb stuff! Beautiful. I have always been in love with block prints.It is just amazing how much talent/patience one must have to do this type of work.
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