Saturday, 2 June 2007


Back in 1999 I was doing Part 2 C&G in Patchwork and Quilting together with other sample books and a history folder I put together a "Maths" folder. I did a lot of work on tessellations and was fortunate enough to take a class with Jinny Beyer in Houston, her new book on Tessellations had just been published. This was a wonderful addition to my work. I drew lots of tesselated designs and then reproduced them in fabric. I never make just one sample of anything I make a good few that way the technique sticks in my mind.

Here's another one. The drawing of the "birds" is on the previous picture and this one shows it in fabric.
The "maths" folder is a huge piece of work with so many samples of different mathematical sequences like Fibonacci and of course tesselated designs amongst others. Here's a simple one I drew, I cut it in half and dropped one half down to give what looks like a very complicated design, when in reality it is very simple.
Here it is pieced in fabric. I used foundation piecing for this which was very tricky but fun to do.

Many years ago I took at class at Quilt University on Tea Dyeing by Marjie McWilliams. Did I tell you I was one of QU's first students way back when it first started? Whilst I was working through the course I had one of my "What if.......?" moments. What if I used flavoured teas? This is the front page of my notebook for that class. I dyed cottons, braids and those little embroidered flowers. I put one of each of the colours I dyed on the front of the book.

Inside each page contains details of the process, date of the project, tea used, amount of water used and I have two similar samples but each have been dyed for different amounts of time to see what the change in colour, if any, would be. You can see I have also written on the fabric itself details of the process.
Here's another page from the book. Now when I want to do some tea dyeing I can refer to my book and know what flavour of tea I should use to get a particular colour. The time spent in making these books is time well spent and I learned fo much from it. One of the great things about tea dyeing using flavoured teas is the aroma - the house smells gorgeous when the fabrics are "brewing". If you haven't tried tea dyeing then I encourage you to try. You can use papers as well as fabrics.

This was a sample book from a course I did with Maggie Grey a few years back. The cover of the book is hand made papers, painted and heated tyvek and machine embroidered.

The page on the right is paper painted black and then bleach discharged using a commercial foam stamp. The idea was to try a technique on paper and then use the same technique on fabric. The picture on the right is black velvet, bleach discharged and then I coloured in each leaf with a Dylon fabric felt tip pen. Two of the leaves (top and right) have had no colour added.
The right hand page is painted paper. The left is hand dyed cotton. I printed a Paisley design onto overhead transparency and cut it out using a hot stencil cutter to give a very delicate stencil. I used various Stewart Gill paints and then machine embroidered it. I used this stencil last year as the basis for one of my Journal Quilts but I used a different technique - glue and metallic foils - it worked a treat.
The left hand page was painted in black with silver webbing spray applied on top. The fabric rendition was black puff paint on black cotton machine embroidered with silver thread.

It was a few years ago that these books were created but because I took careful notes the techniques are as fresh in my mind today as they were the day I did them.

I am often asked how I can get so much done, I think the answer is I have laid down a good foundation of techniques and with good record keeping I can easily recreate something I tried a while ago - always with a added twist of course!

I have enjoyed sharing a very small selection of my work with you I hope you have enjoyed reading it and will be inspired to keep records of your work. I can't tell you how beneficial it is to keep good records you will reap the rewards for a long time.


SuZ said...

thank you Carol for sharing your wonderful technique books with us...I do see that it is a great advantage for us to record our experiments with paper & fabric...most of my stuff just gets put in a bin...vbg...but I am now going to strive to change that bad habit...I love these artists books & why not create my own!thanks Carol...

Tonniece said...

what a lady, Carol. Great post love seeing your processes and organizational skills. Hopeing some of that will sink in and rub off on me.

Sandy said...

I love seeing your work. Notebooks are definitely a good tool. I used them all the time when I was teaching. Sandy in La Center

Papoosue said...

You've convinced me to be more organised Carol! A little extra time spent now will save ages later when I'm trying to remember how I did something! Thanks for sharing all these lovely books.

About Purple Missus said...

These books are such a wonderful record of all your experiments Carol. They are works of art in themselves. I like the way exhibitions seem to be heading at the moment where the sketchbooks to back up the piece of work are put out on show as well. Its always very interesting to see other peoples workbooks. Thanks for sharing.

English Rose said...

thank you so much for sharing these pages with us Carol, I for one am a nervous and reluctant sketchbooker, and find I am almost frightened to start the process, which as you know is a neccessary thing for C&G. seeing these pictures has given me a possible way in.
oh, and congratulations on passing your one year mark, that's great!

Carol said...

Great to get a peek at your sketchbooks Carol,
I always loved looking at the sketchbooks more than the finished piece when visiting C&G exhibitions

Carol said...

Thank you ladies. I am so pleased you enjoyed seeing a little of how I work.

Sara The C&G course I just completed was a one year stand alone course. I did Level 1 creative computing in 2005/2006 and this was a level 2 Creative Computing I started in 2006.

Jacquelines blog said...

The pages are looking lovely Carol. My favourite is the paper one with the tyvec. I love the colour.

Carol said...

Hi Jacqueline, When I have my paints out since it takes time to get set up and organised I usually paint tyvek etc at the same time so that when the muse strikes I have things ready to use.