Hi – Carol R. Eaton here for the month of June! This is a fabulous month in New England with light baby rains alternating with full sunshine. Memorial Day signals me that it's time to get my outdoor studio space cleaned up and ready for a summer filled with surface design in plein air. How many of you work outside? I posed the question to some artist friends and found that many people take their work outside = love! I’ll spend this month providing tips on setting up your own outdoor creative space and I’ll also share techniques that work best outside. I’ve enlisted the help of fellow artists, Sue Reno, MaggieVanderweit Meredith and Lorie Hancock McCown – check back each week as they share their approach to working outside and the art they produce there. I’ll set a fat quarter aside each week and on June 30th a lucky reader will win the fabric! All you need to do is comment on the blog and you're entered into the drawing.
Over time my outdoor space has evolved into a permanent area in the yard. Due to a losing battle with the deer I dug up a good sized garden. I covered the ground with landscaping fabric to keep the weeds down.
The boards will last many years unless you bend them causing a big crease or drive over them (yes – I’ve done this!). In my defense the tire imprint makes an interesting design element!
Now that your space is set up let’s have some fun! Have you ever tried ice cube painting? This is perfect for a nice sunny day. You really just need a flat surface and a place to leave your fabric undisturbed for a while. If creating a large table is simply not an option you can scale it back to covering foam board with contact paper or plastic. You can get these items in a department store or office supply company.Today I’ll use fabric previously dyed a robin’s egg blue. I have pins to keep the fabric from catching a breeze (HINT: even if there is no wind pin the fabric. There can be a sneaky little breeze that will flip your fabric over just at the wrong time!). The pins stick easily into the insulation board and won’t leave a hole big enough to cause any problems with the plastic. I use SetaColor transparent fabric paint diluted with water. Here I have 2 containers of blues, a paint brush, a pail of water for rinsing the brush and a spray bottle to mist the fabric.
I'm told that I never stop talking when I’m excited about a project! OK - it's true!
Place the fabric somewhere it can be undisturbed until the ice is completely melted (like a hot driveway). I leave the fabric on the board for 24 hours to allow the paint to cure. The final step is to press with a warm dry iron. This step sets the paint so don’t forget to do it. Painted fabric can be washed delicately but the preferred method would be to spot clean as needed. Paint sits on the surface of the fabric so it can lose its brilliance if treated too harshly. With that being said I made a painted silk bandana for hiking that I washed all the time and it was fine but you should experiment and decide for yourself.
Here are some results using the ice cube painting technique. Give it a try and share your results on the blog! If you have any questions, please feel free to start a dialogue and we can all get in in the conversation… and don’t forget to comment on the blog for a chance to win a pack of fat quarters using all the techniques we’ll discuss over the month of June! The winner will be announced June 30th!