In May, 2016, my son and daughter-in-law told me that I was going to become a grandmother: I was absolutely delighted, and I immediately began to make a baby quilt. Of course, this could not have my usual embedded object technique, but maybe a patchwork? No, it should have the alphabet, and lots of fun details. So I came up with something different: I assembled images online, turned them into line drawings, printed those lines on paper and ran them through my thermofax machine. Using thickened dye, I printed the lines on cloth, then used more thickened dye to paint in the images. When it was all painted, I washed it and embroidered and quilted it. Say what?? Take a look:
So, for the letter P, for example, I gathered images of pencils, pandas, peacocks, pelicans, penguins, polka dots and piano keys, then assembled them into a single letter block. (my son has an interest in letter fonts, so I made each letter in an appropriate font (Palantino Linotype for P, Quadraat Sans for Q, etc)
Here's the letter block for P, and how it looks painted and sewn. I fit 4 letter blocks on each 8.5 x 11 paper and thermofax sheet:
I had to be very careful, since I was printing them all on one piece of cloth, and wanted more border around each box.
This next one is the only photo I took while the painting was in progress. Are you having trouble figuring out what letter spells firetruck and traffic light? This is the other side of the quilt, with Japanese hiragana, since my grandchild will be raised bilingually. (Hiragana is one of several Japanese language systems, along with katakana, kanji, and romaji. It's a complicated language).
Since this required very small quantities of different colors, I mixed my dyes in pill boxes:
I mix my sodium alginate the night before, pour a bit in each pill section, then add the dye powder and stir. Since the cloth has been soda ashed, the dyes last a few days.
At first, the color samples were just quick swipes on a paper towel. Then I got smart and made the cloth version (see previous pic) Old plastic containers for water and clear sodium alginate, and container lids and measuring cups as tiny palettes to mix my colors.
Some years back, my husband had large sinks installed in the basement for a dye studio:
I spent many delightful days in my basement studio, listening to NPR or classical music, drinking my tea and slowly painting in all the images. Once all the images were dyed and washed, I embroidered them:
After embroidering both sides, I quilted the 2 sides together. I enjoyed this whole process so much, that it led me to a whole new series of art, which you'll start seeing in the next post.
But wait! Where's the finished baby quilt? Well, my granddaughter has it, and someday, if she has a blog, maybe she'll share it. But it's not mine to share.