Soy Wax, Paint and Teaching: Craft Napa

I will be teaching, You Can’t Resist This, a soy wax resist and paint class at Craft Napa in coming January 7-9, and I would love for you to join me. In this class we will explore what resists mean, how to layer and build color stories that work with your chosen motifs, and we will explore differing methods of working with paint to achieve pretty, layered, vibrant, unique and textural results. 

You Cant Resist This!

You may wonder what the differences are between paint and dye. A basic definition is that dyes bond with the very fibers of the cloth, while paint sits atop those fibers. Both are a good way to apply color to cloth, the biggest difference between the two being that with dye, the original feel or ‘hand’ of the cloth is retained because the dye binds with the fiber of the cloth at a molecular level. Paint, on the other hand, needs binders to adhere to the cloth, these binders can lend a stiff or heavy ‘hand’.

Oh, that green!

Paint binders have improved tremendously over the years and there are some paints out there that are really quite good. Paint also allows for easier access to workable, beautiful cloth without the learning curve associate with the use of dye. Don’t get me wrong, I love dye, it is my medium of choice, but as a teacher I understand that paint is a great entry into making original surface designed cloth, and that students have great success in using it.

Reminds me of eggs.

 

A video posted by Melanie Testa (@mellytesta) on


 

craftnapa-color1

I will be teaching:

You Can’t Resist This, where we will use soy wax as a resist along with paint on cotton fabric.

Small Works, Big Impact, where we will make small works while exploring the use of the sewing machine and some pretty nifty techniques.

Journaling with Embroidery, where we will make a Gather your Sew-plies!! purse, so you can sew, wherever you go!

 

 

Plastic paint (I mean acrylic).

I am project surfing to be sure. I am doing a bit of this, some of that, and enjoying myself. As I have said previously, I don’t have a lot of experience with acrylic paint. No problem there, it just leaves the playing field open, allowing me the freedom to try new things. I am looking forward to replenishing some of my supplies, which will give me a chance to check out mediums. Fun.

   

At the moment, I am at a cross road. This painting of a Green Heron is a nice start. I have placed my lights and darks, the details are missing, the bird is overshadowing the background. Whenever I come to a crossroad, no matter the media I am using, it is time to take a photograph. This is the ultimate way to compare and think about the image. It allows me to look at the work as if I am seeing a thumbnail sketch. Comparing the snapshot to the painting helps illuminate value differences, shows drawn inaccuracy, it is just helpful.

  

What caught my eye when comparing the photographic inspiration to my painting is the value difference between the bird and the greens it flies among. My painting appears much more stark, with the bird being a heavy force, on a light ground. I am not so much interested in the color green, as I am wanting to merge the background with the bird in my painted rendition. I will start by working with the lower right corner of my painting. I envision some decorative elements placed there.

 

This will give me time to figure out how and what detail will help the Green Heron really pop and will help place those wonky bird feet!

Gather your Sew-plies, sew where you go.

   

I am here at 61 Local, or at least that is what I think the name of this place is. It might be Public House 61. I am unsure. It has free wifi, an offering I will be coming to value. You see, I need to get out of the house. I have been a bit of a shut in, and I need to change this storyline. 

Last year, I moved to a new apartment, while writing a book that ended up being canceled. That was a lot of work, that also, by necessity, kept me indoors, in my workspace, making. Although the book was cancelled three months ago, I am still recovering from the loss. I had to put that artwork away until I figure out what to do with it. That left me with a blank canvas, literally. So now, I am picking up the pieces.

  

This has been a challenging time to be sure. I have not experienced this many creative hits before. I am in a bit of a creative stand still. I put a shout out on Facebook, asking what my fella artists and comrades do when faced with creative quiet. It was an interesting discussion. Many folks said they walk away, apply their focus elsewhere for a while. Others said they try a new media, some take a class. 

At the moment, I have three quilts that need binding, a Meadowlark quilt top in the making, I am working with acrylic paints and I have gathered several handwork projects, where I can use my Gather your Sew-plies! Purses to sew, wherever I go. I am also preparing to print cloth for sale directly off my blog. 

(I am dabbling in everything, it seems).

 

To help myself along, and to change the scenery, I am going to embrace the change in weather, while sewing wherever I go. My plan is to find coffee shops with free wifi, so I can sew, blog, and see new faces and places. I do love being able to get out of the house, while still being able to do a bit of this and that.

Paint, sand, paint.

  

I have been feeling creatively stifled, lately. And when I think about what might help move the energy and spark change, painting with acrylics keeps coming up. 

   

I don’t really ‘know’ how to paint with acrylics, which is good, it means the playing field is wide open and I get to make the rules. When beginning any painting, I just fuss, paint around and lay color down. I have fallen in love with painting thick layers, one atop another, then sand layers away to reveal previous layers and color.

 

I would say this is a decent and interesting start. To what, I don’t know, but that does not matter. At the same time, it has made me want to play around with the idea while playing with heavy body gel mediums. I appreciate the Sparks that occur when you try things out without expectation. That works for me.