03 August 2013

"Earth Stories" quilt - printing landfill fabric

So today I really got rolling on my "Earth Stories" quilt that I mentioned in the last post. First up on the agenda is making landfill fabric.

Wha?? (Sounds really weird, I know.)

I plan to make the art quilt in my collage style and I want the foundation fabric to represent the paper cups that go to the landfill every year. (Statistics range from 58 billion to 12 billion. Quite a range in numbers but the key word there is "billion". Scary, right?)

Last week I painted the fabric to look like it has been coffee stained:

I did try using actual coffee but wow, talk about seriously wimpy color. I got creative and I'm really happy with the result. Ever since The Great Studio Purge of 2013, I've been secretly operating on the Buy-nothing-new-only-work-from-the-stash pledge. (Not so secret anymore, is it?) All that fabric came from the stash, had a lot of neutrals. And the nice thing is that even though they are all cotton, they all reacted differently to the paint. So there is some seriously nice color and pattern variation going on there.

In all honesty, I'm not sure if I have enough. Looks like a lot but when I cut the felt panels today, I got twitchy. (Cutting the panels to the right size is most likely the hardest part of this entire project for me. Exact sizes are not my forte but I got it done with minimal cussing.)

Here's another look at the grungy wild coffee "stained" fabric:

The plan is to print all these with several layers and then rip them apart like a wild woman to create the collaged background. (The ripping apart is great fun.) It's a delicate balance at this point because if I print too much, I back myself into a corner when it comes to printing more after it's put together.

And for a girl who likes to get carried away and print long after the cows come home, it's a little difficult. But I started by printing every piece with a sihlouette of a to-go coffee cup tattooed with the word "billions" on it:

(This is my first go at the Blick Textile Screen Printing Ink. Can I just say 32oz? Yeah, baby! So far so good, got a little sticky but the color is good and it has a nice consistency. Oh and did I mention 32oz?)

I printed a lot of coffee cups.

I flirted with the idea of actually printing billions of cups. But the quilt would either need to be ten times the size I'm making or the cups would be so tiny you'd have absolutely not idea what they are. Plus there is also the issue of my sanity so we went this route. These cups are about 3.5" high x 2.5" wide.

I did do some more printing over top of the cups but everything was wet when I walked out of the studio. I can't show you the final quilt but I can show you parts, like the fabric, and annoyingly cropped super close up details just to taunt you. Which I'll probably do.

I'm especially excited about the exhibit because SAQA really does know how to tour a show (this will be out for a couple of years) and it's debuting at Michigan State University in 2014. Which means I'll actually get to attend it! Woo!

And before you ask - yes, this will be a very brown quilt. I've done some monochromatic pieces in the past and to be honest, the challenge of it is really fun. It takes quite a bit of work to make sure that you don't make a one note hunk of solid color with no interest. The key will be varying the tones and shades and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of layers.

Layers. Mmmmmmm...

The printing shall continue! :)


Lisa Chin said...

The fabrics look awesome! I can't even imagine trying to print one billion coffee cups more or less a million. That would be insane. Although perhaps a print with teeny tiny cups would give more of the idea of how many cups that is. It would only have to be about a thousand (or maybe a hundred) cups to give the general idea. Just an idea. Thanks for torturing us with small bits of the piece as you go along. ;)

Shirley said...

I love seeing your work in progress. Thanks for sharing.

Carol R. Eaton Designs said...

The landfill fabrics are fabulous! The coffee cup design is totally cool and I can't wait to see more snippets of the project!

Unknown said...

Wonderful idea and one that we all need to keep in our awareness. I love the gorgeous variety of browns you have already achieved. Thanks for showing the process

Regina B Dunn said...

I love painting fabrics for backgrounds and then when you layer them with more painted designs they get even better. Yours look wonderful. I hope the SAQA tour comes my way so that I get to see it.

Robbie said...

As I mentioned on FB...I love this fabric!!! Can't wait to see the end result!

Lisa Flowers Ross said...

I love the fabrics. I was disappointed when I tried coffee dyeing, too. What colors did you use for your fabrics?

DCAja said...

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