Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Get your fiber on

I recently ordered several books from Amazon about fiber arts. Each is interesting and useful in its own way, but I've got to tell you about this one: Fabric Art Workshop: Exploring Techniques and Materials for Fabric Artists and Quilters by Susan Stein.

This book is the fiber-art equivalent of Claudine Hellmuth. Simple, straightforward, well-photographed, step-by-step techniques using readily available supplies. The text is clear, direct, and helpful for the most part; but you almost could follow these techniques even without words.

Many of the fabric-altering methods will be familiar to paper-arts enthusiasts: forming beads, monoprinting, sponge painting, resist techniques, stamping, bleach discharge, image transfer, even shaving-cream marbling. But a few of the techniques are new to me and I'm dying to try them. In particular, I'm eager to try my hand at rust dyeing, distressing felt, screen printing, and playing with angelina fibers, silk products (cocoons, carrier rods, and hankies), fusible web, and Shiva paintstiks.

Susan Stein makes every technique sound doable and fun. One of her recommendations: experiment with small pieces of cloth and then bind them into a little book. Some of the examples in the gallery at the end of the book are...okay. But some are exquisite.

I wish my big lottery win would come through today so I could retire, go home, and play with fabric till I dropped.

By the way, Annie and I have signed up for an ACAC workshop on screen printing. We'll get to work with commercial screens. It will be interesting to see how these compare to Susan Stein's homemade, affordable version. I'll let you know.

If you're interested in this book, it's available at a discount from Amazon right now. Go grab one!

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