Announcing our first Playful Fabric Print-Along

I am really excited that Carol and I are announcing our first…

Playful Fabric Print-Along!

This is a  month long event. And just wait! We have gathered up some snazzy benefits to go with it!

What does this mean?   How do I participate?   What do I need to do?

Participation in this Print-Along requires the purchase and use of the Playful Fabric Printing book. Print-Alongs are participatory events. We will not be teaching you how to print, so much as printing along-side you. We will answer questions in the community group, of course, but we will refer you back to the book when necessary. 

We invite you to join our Playful Fabric Printing Community page on Facebook.

This is a closed and growing group of ‘playful friends’, who are working with our techniques and contributing to great discussion. We share photos, tips, video content and friendship in this  fabulous and supportive community. 

Anyone can join, whether you participate in the Playful Fabric Print-Along or not. This is the place we’ll have discussions during the Print-Along and this is where participants share results.

Also, Carol and I will be blogging throughout the Print-Along covering dye and print related matters. 

(This quilt top was printed with the Melly Marks Lace Swirl Kit. I will be blogging about this one soon, so please check back!)


Guidelines:

Each of you will make tools of your own or use favorite tools to create between 1-9 prints.

It may be that you print one gorgeous print or you might choose to “speed print” multiples (Playful Fabric Printing, page 90). We suggest you begin by perusing Chapter 4, and choosing a technique to explore, like Double Stamping (Playful Fabric Printing, page 69),or maybe “Printing Photo-Inspired Multicolor Sets (Playful Fabric Printing, page 96).

And then, follow your fancy while printing one to nine! (or more)

On April 28 we will have a ‘Show and Share Roundup’ within the Playful Fabric Printing Community page.

Bloggers who choose to shout out participation and want to show samples of their work through their websites and blogs are encouraged. We would love to collect ‘Pins’ of your work and web presence to our Playful Fabric Printing Pinterest boards. Check out Carol’s Playful Fabric Printing board, then head over to mine. We hope you’ll want the Pins! AND, please use our hashtag, #playfulfabricprinting This will help us follow one-another on our socials.

Let us know you are joining the Playful Fabric Print-Along inside the Playful Fabric Printing FB community page. 

And it’s OK to share this blog post on your favorite social media platform! We would love help in getting the word out. 


BONUS!!!! Coupon Bonanza! This is the snazzy part.

During the Playful Fabric Print-Along our good friends from PRO Chemical & Dye and StencilGirl and of course, Melly Marks are offering coupons to members of our Playful Fabric Printing Facebook Community.

Thanks  to PRO Chem, StencilGirl and Melly Marks for making this event even more fun! 

Lets get printing together! I can’t wait.

 


Check out these StencilGirl and Melly Marks commercials:

 

Lace Swirl Quilt Top

This last weekend was quite productive. I took Bucket to my twice yearly quilt retreat and made great progress while #freerangetextileprinting. Then, I came home, switched out the newspaper and tinfoil I had been using to steam (this is a link to Pokey Bolton’s blog related to our Playful Fabric Printing blog hop-who chose the steamer as a topic), and got to work. I now have about 39 Melly Marks Lace Swirl and 50 Chevrons printed and ready to cut and piece!

This is why I love steaming and boiling. Steaming and boiling is a transformative experience. I love seeing the prints pile up, all stiff like potato chips, then, I like seeing the final shade after boiling and drip dry. 

I think this is a great coloring of the Lace Marks multicolor print set. The swirl is printed in Medium and the innards is Light value (I can figure out which color number if you want this info!) Combined with the pale pink ground, I feel this color way really highlights the lacey design. 

Here is a pile of ready to iron handprints. They look like potato chips to me. They act like it too. I am so excited to make a new quilt top, I could eat these like potato chips! If only they tasted as good.

I hope at the end of making this quilt to come out with a ‘pattern’, that states how many prints, provides a color way, and breaks down the making the quilt. I hope you might like this idea. I would love to hear your thoughts about this.


Here is the “Insider Info” portion of today’s program 🙂

I am offering my first Etsy Shop coupon code, use the code MELLYMARKS1 to receive 4$ off an order of 20$ or more, in my new shop! This code will be available until March 28.

And, join the Playful Fabric Printing Community page on Facebook.

Additionally, comment if you would consider becoming a Sample Maker for my upcoming fabric line, to be release at Quilt Market!!!


I hope to teach at Schweinfurth Art Center in May, please join me. This class will expand upon the principle presented in Playful Fabric Printing.

We were tired of living in a house and the finer points in the life of a #freerangetextileprinter

I couldn’t rush my current Speed Print! I would really like some Chevron single color prints to fill out the use-ability of these hand prints in a quilt top. I had previously hoped to steam and sew this coming weekend, a retreat weekend.

But. I have decided to slow down and do it all.

Check out the last quilt I made at Retreat!! The Peacock Quilt is also on page 125 of Playful Fabric Printing!!

But, this time, I will be printing the fabrics for a quilt and not lugging my sewing machine. I have taken out and am dusting it off, the Free Range Textile Printers bucket. I am taking this show on the road!

Peach inspected all sides of the #freerangetextileprinter ‘s Bucket. She admits it lacks necessary tools and will require re-inspection prior to launch.

I love retreat group. I miss these gals and I look forward to getting away, even for a short while.

I don’t know how many pieces of fabric are in this Speed Print session, but when it comes time to piece and make a quilt top, I will be one content quilter.

Are you a member of our Playful Fabric Printing community page on Facebook? We post videos, answer questions and participate in discussion about member work! There have been some great fabrics printed and shared, recently! You are welcome. Please join.

Take a long sigh, steam and boil.

This week in Studio Melly, processing has been happening, it is time to steam and boil fabrics! I kind of think about these things as, designing, printing, processing. And right now, I am at the processing stage. The studio needed some clean up and neatening too. So I went through my backlog of printed fabrics, and liberally placed as many pieces in the steam pile as possible. I got through most of it. I have one more soak and boil, and I will be done for a while. Phew.

I boil fabrics, I prefer it. I am an apartment dweller and we do not have a washer and drier. It is just easier to soak and boil fabric, if you ask me. 

While sorting through my back log, I came across this gem, it is a ‘rag’ or trial piece. A piece of fabric where I try out dye viscosity, stamp ideas, ghost printing, whatever crosses my mind. I curate these pieces and tuck them away from myself judiciously. 🙂

I think it will lend itself nicely to embroidery! …Do I feel an embroidery fit coming on?

I came across this print, featuring a Loggerhead Shrike. I drew this bird, originally, from the pages of Birder’s World magazine. I have used this image in so many different and varying pieces, I love working with the same image over time and in series. This Shrike print was featured in a quilt seen in the link above.

And I have a Speed Print session drip drying in the shower. The tiles make that snapshot a bit yellow, but I assure you, the colors are much more bright and snappy than what you can see here.

You know, this is part of processing!

This weekend in Studio Melly

It started with tickets to Jazz at Lincoln Center , a happy couple, and some great lighting.

The show was amazing.

My weekend continued with a request by my Man to change my cellphone lock screen to this image of David Bowie. And I couldn’t agree more. I remain ever grateful to have walked the earth during David Bowie’s lifetime. When he died, all of them died.

Long live the many lives, and personal recreations of David Bowie.

I am working on my Threads of Resistance piece. It speaks to women and ‘the female body’, using recent news headlines to highlight matters of gender oppression. Decorative elements abound, of course.

This is a work in progress, I will update the blog about it as I progress it. It will measure 20″ square and will have a knife edge finish. It will have machine quilting, and (I hope) embroidered elements. I haven’t made a piece in this manner for a very long time. This is fun!

At the same time, I am printing up a storm with Melly Marks Kits.

Sunday, I gathered as many printed items that could be steamed together. By the end of this week, I will have processed a new batch of color triangle swatches, a Speed Print session related to all the Melly Marks repeats, and more. I love steaming, because it means lots of printed cloth, ready to use!!

So? How about you? What were you up to this weekend?

 

 

Considering Color and Placement

In learning to use the concepts Carol and I present in Playful Fabric Printing, I have done a lot of experimentation (we both have). In retrospect, as I ponder  my approach to using dye paste and printing as is described in our new book, I would say, at first I was exuberant, I threw caution to the wind, I tried every combination of color and value. And I made many printing errors and color missteps in the process. All of this experimentation has had the effect of helping me build color preferences and forge an understanding of how value adds a visual pop to a print.

In Playful Fabric Printing, we illustrate how to mix color in four gradations, Dark, Medium, Light and Pale (Pale is my favorite). In the above prints, (using this Kit), the purple print uses color much more judiciously than the right red brown print. For one, purple and orange are complementary colors, they reside opposite one another on the color wheel. Because of this, the color sizzles, the purple and orange push one another around, seeking dominance. Also, where the purple is a Medium, the orange is a combo of Pale and Light values, which adds to the zing.

The red brown print is quite nice, but the color choice is a bit flat. These colors are analogous and close relatives in the color wheel. A more effective background color, one that pushes the daisies to the forefront of the design would make this print even better. I am not saying that you ought to work on opposing sides of the color wheel in order to make a great print, though. Rather, a cleaner color choice within the analogous range or a more effective use of value might help propel this design forward.

These two prints, (using this Kit) are both quite pleasing, in my opinion. The differences in color choice are quite interesting. The left most prints’ background is a crisp cheddar while the print on the right is an earthen ochre. The print on the left is bright and chipper, with its flash of light green, while the print on the right has a bit more muscle. Would I use them in the same quilt? Perhaps. It would depend on their fellows. Just looking at them side by side though, the print at right makes me want to create a quilt top with an autumn appeal, and the two would not go well together, if that were to be the goal.

I am happy to say, all the the experimentation I have done has lead me to a more purposeful and considered use of color. Being exuberant has helped me to understand the difference between printing green on top of a crisp yellow-even before I apply dye paste to tool and then print the cloth. Which is why I encourage you to play, experiment and try out every combination you think up.

Printing away the day.

This is a day of off-set printing and I am using the StencilGirl L498 Vine Swirl to do so. 

As an aside, when I was at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I took a screen-printing class. I loved it. My first print was a design based on shoes and I got to cut rubylith, which is such fun to do. My teacher was disappointed in my final print because he felt it would benefit by off-set printing. Or printing the same image, one on top of the other, but offset slightly.

He gave me a B+ for my effort. SD 181 (Surface Design 181) at left, its more recent interpretation (at right) went on to live among its fellas in the Meadowlark by Windham fabric line.I love seeing the original artwork alongside its current interpretation.

At the same time, I am playing with some hand cut stencils too. It was been fun to experiment with the many ways to apply dye through a stencil in order to color cloth. My current favorite method is by way of squeegee-ing dye through the stencil. I find this really saturates the cloth and allows for great penetration of dye.

So, I think perhaps I will be playing with value/color choice and off-set printing. (I would like at least 8-10 more of this print, so I gotta get busy.)

Using a white foam roller works well too. (Page 82 PFP)

Please note, I love using tags here on my blog. If you have questions on a specific topic, please search this blog, there is a search bar at right. A very handy feature.

And! Please join the Playful Fabric Printing Community page on Facebook! It has been so much fun to see what my fellow textile design artists are doing while learning from Playful Fabric Printing.

 

Lace Swirl print job (almost) complete.

There is some crazy mad Speed Printing going on over here. Thus far I have printed 29 Lace Swirl. Not all are pictured here, there are reds and purples that didn’t make the photograph. I need to round this job up to 30!

This multicolor set has proven to be an easy 3 layer color application. It was easy and meditative to print this many. I think printing is extremely medative. Repetition is satisfying. New approaches to using tools reveal themselves easily. There is exploration and release all at once.  It is easier to print 12 than 1, if you ask me. 

Earlier in the week, I tore through swatching all 28 colors in the Playful Fabric Printing color triangle. As such, I have gads of newly mixed custom colors. My goal has been to keep this printed grouping mostly in the reds, orange, purple and yellow area of the triangle. I did throw in two turquoise and two Kellie green(, also not photographed). But I can withhold them if/when it comes to making a quilt top with this.

I may steam and put these samples in my new Etsy shop! (Even if I am also feeling greedy… and wondering what quilts could be made with them.)
I just need to say, I am so excited about my emerging store front! Please bear with me as I learn how to input, weigh and manage the shipping of items. I will always refund overages when they occur and as quickly as possible. I have been daydreaming about supporting myself as a textile printer and designer and this initiative is part of that effort. I hope you are interested in my wares. I don’t know if you will want my handprints, but I honestly hope you do. I will soon post some watercolor prints for sale too. 

I look forward to sharing all of this with you. 

 (I am thinking of hosting a Motif-along, soon-ish. Please leave comments about what you would like accomplish or learn in joining and doing such a thing. What you think of this idea? Do you have a blog? Insta? Do tell.)

 

Stencils, Stamps, Thermofax, oh my!

Earlier this week, I started a Speed Print job using my Lace Swirl Kit and I spoke about the difference between using the L498 StencilGirl stencil and the Thermofax screen to color the swirl portion of the design.

So, today, I wanted to update you and show you the difference between the two.

The StencilGirl stencil allows us to color a single swirl. This gives these prints a bit of a unique appeal because they take longer to complete than the Thermofax layer (speed print-able), but this very fact also means, that I can use a diverse selection of color to complete each print.

And as such, these prints stand out when it comes to using them. (I get very excited to use these unique prints when it comes time to sit in front of the sewing machine needle.) 

But you know? Squeegee-ing two colors through a Thermofax repeat layer is a pretty snazzy way to add visual jingle too! 

This, is Playful Fabric Printing. Where we push the limits of our tools by printing sparkling, playful and surprising bits of cloth, that is so much fun to use! 

(Please use our hashtag #playfulfabricptinting , that way, we can find you and your work.

Carol and I are keeping Playful Fabric Printing Pinterest boards and we would both love to pin your posts into our boards (we want to build community)!!! Please check check our boards out!

Also! Please join our closed Playful Fabric Printing Facebook Community page, we now have 200+ members and many are doing great work, asking interesting questions and uploading photos of their work! And its some really good work too!

 

A video posted by Melanie Testa (@mellytesta) on

Lace Swirl: printed & book giveaway winner announced

First off? Julie H, comment #37, won my giveaway copy of Playful Fabric Printing!!! I am waiting to hear back from her now, Congrats Julie!

As you know, I have released a line of stamps and am working with StencilGirl products to release a line of stencils. I am selling Kits (and soon individual stamps) though my Etsy store. In the coming weeks, I will feature and talk about the use of these tools, the printing of cloth and the making of quilt tops. I do hope you will stick around. 

The above stamp is called Lace Swirl and it has relationship to the StencilGirl stencil L498

L498 contains a single motif, seen above at lower right, which can be used individually or to color a portion of the Lace Swirl print.  

Conversely the Melly Marks Lace Swirl Kit utilizes a Thermofax screen to color all the the swirls at once. In this way you could use the stencil to color intermittent swirls, or you could use the Thermofax to color every swirl.

Later this week I will post images depicting the difference between these options. 

For now, I am really happy to have opened up a speed printing session using the Lace Swirl Kit. I have printed 29 (9×11″) pieces thus far and colored the background of just 5 of those. In all I have printed just under two yards of cloth. I like this print so much, I think it would be a good idea to print even more. Perhaps 2.5 yards of the Lace Swirl in total.

I would like this batch to be super chipper as well as bright and tingly in color choice. I see some light blues and greens in my printed future too.

It may take me a while to close out this print session, but that does not worry me. In the meantime, I will take notes on color use, day dream about the additional colors I would like to use, and explore how I might go about using these prints. Already, I have begun to ponder what textural tonals and semisolids might help push these prints forward. This is my favorite part of the print session, it is the the moment when all the possibilities swirl and eddy, before settling in becoming an established idea.

So tell me, have you begun to read Playful Fabric Printing? What excites you? What do you want to try first?

Melly Marks Kits, StencilGirl stencils and my new Etsy Store!

 

I am quite happy to announce that I have opened a store through Etsy, called Melly Marks Playfully.

At-the-same-time? StencilGirl is releasing a line of stencils in my name!!!!

In the coming days, we will announce a print-along in the Playful Fabric Printing Community Facebook page. I would love to print along side you as you learn -to use- Playful Fabric Printing. And Carol is excited about this too!

So please, join us!

This print along will not be akin to an ‘online class’, but rather, remain reliant on your ability to work through the pages of Playful Fabric Printing on your own while being able to draw upon a community of playful fellow printers and textile designers alike.

At the same time, I am offering Melly Marks Kits, coordinated textile designs offered through stamps, stencils, and tFax designs. All, for your printing pleasure. Video content in support of this will be provided through the community page, so please join!!

I am selling Kits, StencilGirl sells individual stencils. 

(You are encouraged to make your own tools for this print-along, rather than use the offerings I present in this post. Purchase is not required. I would love if you worked with my offerings though!) 

I take pride in saying, I am manufacturing with companies who employ American people and work on American soil. As a result, my retail price points are not as low as I would like them to be, but if you show me that you like my offerings by purchasing these kits, I promise to do everything I can to lower these prices as much as possible with my next offering.

In the meantime. pick up a copy of Playful Fabric Printing, make an order at PRO Chem or Dharma, and let’s get ready to have some fun!! 

NOTE: In the upper right corner of my Nav Bar? There is now a tab that opens to my Easy Store! I hope to sell handprints and artwork though this store too! Please, stay tuned.