Kitting, playfully. A secret revealed.

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I have a secret to start talking about!

I am working to release a line of stamps, stencils and Thermofax screens, all designed to coordinate and print interactively with one another (of course each tool can be used on its own too, which when you think of it-exponentially helps to print a huge and varied stash).

As a kit.

In support of the release of Playful Fabric Printing

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I will debut these kits at Craft Napa. And boy am I excited to be going there! The people! The classes! The food choices! OMG, the food.

I can honestly say, I am really excited to begin showing -you- the possibilities tucked into the awesomeness that is Playful Fabric Printing

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I am working on the release date for my upcoming stencil line now. I believe this will be in February. My stencil line is with a well loved and respected stencil maker in our community! Stay tuned!

At the same time, I am working to manufacture clear plastic stamps and I plan to release these kits to you, good reader, at that same time. This has been a huge leap of faith for me. I have never ‘manufactured’ anything before. I am happy to say, I am employing Americans to bring you these items. I am crossing my fingers that you see the value in them!

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The thing I am most excited about? For a limited time, each kit will contain a hand printed fat sixteenth, printed by me! A Melly Print! I believe it is important for you to have an example of the possibility contained in the tools I am offering.

Through the years of working as an artist, whose primary media is Procion MX dye, I am amazed at what Carol Soderlund and I have created in Playful Fabric Printing. It is my hope, that in offering coordinated stamp, stencil and Thermofax kits, it will jumpstart your love of the dye application, and provide you the opportunity to learn about motif making and repeat design, through a backdoor approach. 

More to come on this topic.

In April, I will be teaching at Focus on Fiber. I am excited about the possibility of using these kits in the classroom because I believe it will free us to experience dye tendencies and its interaction with the tools we use to print it. We will discuss motif making and make some tools of our own too! Of course! 

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It’s all a playful plan to get you printing along with us! 

I am working feverishly to complete the kits, gather the items, print cloth and create the packaging, I will address the cost of the kits and how you might obtain one of your own in the coming weeks. Please let me know if you are interested by posting a comment. 🙂

Thank you.

Focus on Fiber Florida Style

I will be teaching at Focus on Fiber Florida Style this coming April 4-8, 2017, and I would love to see you there!

The You Can’t Resist This! class explores the use of soy wax as a resist, combined with Procion MX dyes and mono printing, to create vibrant and uniquely textured prints. Soy wax is a food grade product, it’s biodegradable and it needs no special care to remove it from cloth. It’s a pretty savvy resist. Combining soy wax resist with mono printing allows for some pretty neat variation in textures and layering too. And of course dye leaves the fabric soft and supple, so your cloth will have a nice hand and be easy to use. 

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Soy wax has magical qualities that can be easily pushed and manipulated to great effect. The attributes of soy wax are quite different from the traditional paraffin wax, but can yield very similar results with tweaks and hacks that I would love to share with you.

Monoprint, Resist and Stamp: A Vibrant Still Life is a class based on many of the processes contained in my new book, Playful Fabric Printing. We will make our own fun foam stamps while learning about printing and over-printing. We will explore preserving specific areas of the design by use of freezer paper resist while playing with mono printing. And, we will use some of my multicolor print sets to print in repeat too. This class has a bit of everything in it.

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You will walk away with an understanding of how to plan and print your own designs while learning to use a multitude of techniques.

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I do hope you will join me and take a class with Focus on Fiber, the center is very highly regarded, the food is great and the artistic community will be fabulous.

The sun will come out tomorrow.

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I am walking the city, doing my thing, enjoying myself as I go. I prepare for a full day of Playful Fabric Printing.  My dyes are mixed, my stamps, stencils and TFax screens are ready. I will begin printing as soon as I get there.  In the meantime, it is Thursday and I like to do self care on Thursday mornings.  

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I like that it appears I am growing out this clay persons head. This is my selfie for the day, so you take selfies?
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The above is a You Can’t Resist This! Soy wax batik sample.

Today is another dance in public day. I must say, dancing in public is a public service. It is a smile generator!

Last week I was dancing in the subway. Two men were listening to big bubble headphones. The tall black man, who was so stylishly dressed, took his ear piece off to ask what I was listening to. I told him, ‘Shamir. Go buy everything he’s done’. 

I asked what he was listening to, Beyoncé’s Lemonade.  He was sheepish when he told me he was going to class and hadn’t listened to the music yet. I asked if he was taking a singing or dancing class, his response- no, a Black Lives Matter class. Now I want to purchase the album!

There was a scrawny white man wearing big bubble headphones too. He took his ear piece off to ask what I was listening to and I told him too. When I asked in return, he told me he was listening to Howard Stern. (Double YAWN), no dance possibilities there.

David and I are going to our first silent rave this weekend. 4 DJ’s, everyone wears headphones and dances. This means if we want to talk, we will be able to hear each other! Pinch me! This sounds like heaven on earth.  And! Disassociated dancing!

Hey!! Have you preorder a copy of Playful Fabric Printing? Please do.  I am cooking up some fun over here and I want you to play with me. I plan to create a teaser today! Stay tuned  

 

Pre-order your copy of Playful Fabric Printing!

Playful Fabric Printing has been placed for pre-order in the Crafting A Life, LLC shop! From now until January 10, the release date, you will receive the book free of shipping cost (within the U.S. using the code SHIPFREEUS at check out), and at a discounted rate. 

It’s quite the deal!!

This book is like no other book on dyeing in the market today. We present a color triangle of 28 colors, in four gradations. What this means is, we give you the recipes to mix exactly the color you choose. Repeatably!

We explain the use of motif or designs- printed in a free-form manner. Then we help you put those motifs into a repeat, which is a methodical way to build a stash of fabrics, we call this Speed Printing. Of course, we push these ideas further by showing you how to play with our ideas to make fabrics that pair well with one another. 

While you might think you need lots of space and technical equipment to do this? You don’t. In the book, we say you will need a card table, a bucket and some tenacity. This summer, I took to the streets of Manhattan and printed in public with nothing more than a 5 gallon bucket and lid, a spare few tools, and the will to do it! I call this Free Range Textile Printing. We understand you may not want to sit on a bucket to print, so we’ve made suggestions on how you might utilize the least amount of space, while still doing some great work, while using Procion MX dyes.

We want you printing the fabrics for and making quilts that are as unique as you are. And we feel assured that you will.

This book has been a long time coming and we are all really happy that the release will soon come upon us! We hope you take us up on the discounts and order your copy, TODAY!

 

 

 

Being inspired.

Sometimes I love nothing better than to open my eyes, and create the ability to see. What I mean by that is, when I go for a walk, I hope to see things the average ho-hum day might not reveal. I try to see peripherally, as if my sight was a one hundred and eighty degree bubble. I open my perception to what is all around me. I listen far, high, below and over. I challenge myself to remain fully open.

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When I came upon these bird prints in the sidewalk, pigeon prints, I assume, I was struck by how deep the imprints are. I imagined the surprise the bird must have felt as its feet sunk and smushed into the wet cement. As ever, I imaging similar footprints randomly printed on cloth.

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Our favorite local wine store is called Smith and Vine. We have been going there for years, they give us the local discount. 😉 We know the people who work there and laugh and joke around as we pay. Smith and Vine is moving closer to us. When the guy behind the counter told us about this, the painted tin walls popped out and became exciting again. I will miss this and I hope the next tenant values it.

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My good Man and I took a nice walk to Green-Wood cemetery this weekend, it’s my favorite place right now. We have spent many a great moment enjoying the quiet beauty of cemeteries, this is  a streak of calm within the realm of memory. Green-Wood is a particularly nice cemetery containing some historic remains, beautiful mausoleums, and interesting head stones. 

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The above two photographs were taken from the same head stone and we delighted in it. The oldest headstone (pictured in detail) was tightly surrounded by familial stones dating to today. This cemetery sprawls, gives great views of Manhattan, and provides quiet.

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I couldn’t resist the colors in this twig arrangement, olive green, salmon red, taupe and density. Being inspired is an activity. It is something we conjure, it is magic, fuel, faerie dust. It is no small thing.

What and how do you go about being inspired? How do you lean into inspiration and open your person to magic? Inquiring minds want to know.

Every day for a month?

I am happy to have come upon Cheryl’s blogging challenge. I am going to give it a heave ho. I won’t promise every single day, but I will promise, as often as possible. Even if all I do is post photos. 

This house makes me happy because of the daisies on the roof. 

This photo looks at my feet.

 

This photo looks at my head.

 

This is my view from my coffee cup at a shop called, Roots. 

I am in want of this print.

 

And I have found a new coffee destination. The grits are great. The coffee is dark. This is my kind of shop and it is less than a mile from home. I feel blessed. How are you?

Playful Fabric Printing Cover Partay!

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Playful Fabric Printing is going to be available in less than 2 months time! #PlayfulFabricPrinting 

WOOT!

Carol and I have been working hard to ensure the techniques we present are ready to go when you get this hot title in your hands. 

I have to say, this has been an exciting time, creatively. I have loved learning to use our process to print fabrics for use in quilts and quilt tops! Usable, functional hand-printed quilts! I have been designing, printing, piecing and quilting up a storm, in these last months. I am ready to begin sharing these works with you.

I say this with nerve wracking excitement.  I love what we are about to unleash. This book, this offering has been coming to fruition for such a long while and I am amazed it is coming to life! We are amazed.

This is the first coauthored book I have worked on. I can confidently say, Carol and I are really excited about -the whole shebang-.

For the record, here on my blog, I will speak just for myself, not both Carol and I. Unless it is generalized as above. Carol will be updating her blog , so please keep checking there too. I could not have done this book without Carol. We really worked diligently to curate the pages of Playful Fabric Printing. We worked like mad scientists, really. We could even say this book was written by way of FaceTime! I am ever grateful to you, Carol. I think we’ve done great. Thank you for working with me to present this title.

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In a nutshell, we have broken down the multicolor print process to such a degree as to assure your success in using Procion MX dye and printing colorful fabrics, easily! We use easily obtained art supplies; carving rubber, fun foam stamps, stencils and Thermofax screen printing, some quick and easy textural explorations and more. We wrap it up with a gallery of stunning quilts. This is so exciting. 

I will be setting up a Thermofax Screen Print service accessed through MelanieTesta.com in the next month and more!

I will dust the web site off too. And as ever, The Clever Guild will open soon!!! I promise. I have been working as fast as I can. My email from The Clever Guild is broken, and I -just- figured this out. I need to tighten up the ship over here! Please excuse me as I fix and primp.

I have so many great initiatives in the works!! I really look forward to unpacking all the awesome things I have been working to bring to fruition. I hope you are interested!! Please let’s begin using the comments function here on my blog. I would like to keep my blog active and social media secondary to it. 🙂

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This jewel of a photo was stylized by Pokey and Indigo Perez. I love the vision of this grouping of fabrics. This would make for a very pleasing group of fabrics to both piece and quilt! It’s total eye candy.

Pokey Bolton has a new look and domain name to her personal website. AND!

Today she launched a cover contest for Playful Fabric Printing. Do not pass go! Vote! OH. Pokey will be giving 5 copies away, so make sure to leave a comment on her blog!.

Inspired Journaling

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Make no mistake, I love keeping a journal. I have years worth of journals, some with spines broken, some half filled, some with every page painted. I keep no specific rules about my journals, if I don’t like a drawing or spread, I feel no compunction to keeping it for posterity or the ability to prove to myself that I have grown in talent or skill.

Nope.

I paint over that stuff! They are my books, it’s my time, they are my supplies. 

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Sometimes, I gather items together with no plan about how I might use them. This page began in this manner. When going through my ephemera, I came across a hand typed page with the date, July 2, 1937 on it. A quick trip into the land of internet showed me that Amelia Earhart went missing on this -same day-. I have always admired Amelia for her unconventional nature and beauty, it was an exciting connection to tuck into and explore visually.

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And sometimes, I just want to play around with a page, see where it goes without focus or a will to make the page balanced, composed, or meaningful in any way. These pages are like a stew of All-The-Things! Scribbling, stencil use, written words, playful patterning all contribute to completing the page.This type page will often help me open up to new methods of using the same old tools.

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This page is a complete and total cover up!! Twice over! I like to daydream about what a forensic restoration artist would find, were they to dig deeply into my journals and paintings. But I already know. They would find drawings under paintings, under collage with some more paint on top. 

This page must have been awful, originally, because I first collaged newsprint, then boldly applied black paint atop that. I remember thinking, ‘where do I go from here!’ Well, when using acrylic paints, the sky is the limit! All the while, Arrow, my cat at the time, was putting his glamour on. It was easy to ascertain my subject matter from there!

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And you know? Sometimes, I just draw! Because it feels good. Because I need something to do. Because I like to. 

When I am creatively stymied, looking through my journals helps to bolster and shift my perspective. Some journal pages serve to inform new pieces of art. Some help me create new motifs. Some are studies for larger works. Others are just crappy meanderings in the funk of my brain. And that is OK! So long as I pick up the latest journal and continue to get ideas on the page.

Interested in learning from me and with me? I have 8 spots left in my Inspired Journaling class at Craft Napa.  😛 

Teaching: Focus on Fiber Florida Style

I am very happy to say, I have been invited to teach two classes and give a lecture at Focus on Fiber Florida Style.
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My first class is called, Monoprint, Resist and Stamp: A Vibrant Still Life. This class is based on my Live your Brightest Life contribution to Yvonne Porcella’s tribute of the same name. While this may look complex, the class will break down the steps necessary to build and layer similar imagery while utilizing mono-printing, freezer paper resist and stamping methods together with Procion MX dyes.

And here is my finished tribute, to show what you might do with your printed works! 

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My second class is called You Can’t Resist This! and is a class that combines soy wax resist with the use of Procion MX dyes. This class is my most popular class, especially when I teach it with dyes. Soy wax is a great resist, easy to wash out, it’s inexpensive and provides great result! 

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I will be giving a lecture on what it takes to present a craft book proposal too!

I have only heard good things about this retreat. The facility is supposed to be great, the food gets positive reviews and they bring some pretty great teachers together. I do hope you will sign up!

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I need a little help getting the word out about this, so I am going to do a give-away!!! Maybe you or someone you know would like to take a class with me, maybe you have friends who live in or near Florida, or who might travel with you to attend the class!  I would love to work with you. And your friends.

This is a two step sign up:

1. Please share the link to THIS post to Facebook AND tag me in the body of the post.

2. Please leave a comment to this post too.

and well, here is what I would like to give away:

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6 pieces of Melly Prints! These are 9×11″ (or so) and all are original handprints! Please share and comment!

Playful Fabric Printing


All the work we have been putting in is coming to fruition! My coauthored book with Carol Soderlund has a name, Playful Fabric Printing, and release date (January 10, 2017!!! With the ability to preorder soon), I am in Houston hoping to find editorial placement for what feels like a boatload of goods. In true quilterly fashion, I went to the NYC Metro Mod Quilt guild and asked my fellow members to help me make quilt tops from my hand prints. I am so grateful!

I have also been busy making my handprints into quilts! In the last two years, since we started writing Playful Fabric Printing, I have accrued quite a lot of printed cloth. And why print cloth, if you don’t make something out of it! In preparing for Quilt Market my main goal in quilt making was to show how to combine hand printed cloth with commercially available fabrics. Above you see Leslie Tucker Jenison’s Urban Artifacts line combined with my prints. Of course Leslie’s new line goes well with my handprints! They both have a fabulous painterly feel.

And I am really happy that the Genderless Fae Quilt is complete!