Monthly Archives: October 2020

Church Quilt part 6


I am printing designs onto to the plain pieces of fabric I dyed last time.

Compressed sponge is wonderful stuff. It is flat when you get it which means you can draw and cut out your design easily. When you put it in water is expands and can be used like a sponge (kids find this fascinating). Stamping with these gives a unique look, although some of the prints can turn out imperfect (which I like). I have cut out some shapes to use as a template. Here I have used the choir people and some birds. Again, I may not use any of this, but it gives me choices.

I have cut the sponge out carefully, so I can use both the positive and negative parts. This has not been put in water yet.


I have stamped with pearlescent fabric paints and like the way the white paint under is still showing through. I am looking for an ethereal quality with the people.

These sponge stamps can also be used with other processes such as discharging. Discharging takes the dye out of the fabric. Some artists don’t like to use this process in their quilts as it is a bit toxic and it may not be archival. I soak my fabric in anti-chlor and wash it thoroughly.

I also like to use ‘found objects’ to print with. I choose ones that might fit the theme. Here I am using an old lemon squeezer with the discharge paste.

Commercial stencils are lovely to use, but I try to limit these, as they are designed by someone else and I want my work to be original as I can. These ones look like stained glass windows.

I have also made two thermofax screens. These are low tech printing screens that can achieve very fine lines. One is a piece of music photocopied straight from my Dads copy of Handel’s Messiah (this is quite poignant as he is no longer with us). The song is “The Trumpet Shall Sound”. Viewers of the quilt will probably not realise the significance, but I will! The second one is of the dictionary meaning of the Messiah. People will not be able to clearly read the text, but will hopefully, see glimpses of words like ‘Jesus’, ‘Saviour’ , ‘promised’ when they look closer etc.

Again, this printing does not turn out perfect. I don’t mind at all….this is a hand crafted, not machine made fabric design. I will also be able to fussy cut pieces out, leaving anything too messy. Furthermore, I know that the overall master ‘window’ design is very geometric with clean lines. I want to offset this with more ‘organic’ elements. Some of the compressed sponge figures (above) are printed over the second thermofax print.

Church quilt part 5



Dyeing and overdyeing the fabrics

Layer one is a very pale tint of the colours. I have used an open screen with thickened Procion dyes and tried to vary the saturation by adding some weak darks/complements. I want to get rid of all the white, but retain some value contrast.

Here I have added a resist to some of the pieces using some soy wax with a tjanging.

The one in the front is done with a pastry cutter.

Overdyed with a stronger solution of the same colour palette. These are lovely, but perhaps a bit busy- I may not use them. I have still plenty of plain overdyed fabric I can experiment with.

The cats think I’ve made this little cubby house for them, but its really for batching the fabric!

Church Quilt part 4



I have decided to use hand dyed fabrics for this project. I like the way you can mix and control your own colour palette and I am comfortable with the process of screen printing with thickened Procion dyes. Dyes have a lovely translucent quality and can be manipulated in a number of ways- overlaid, discharged and broken down.

To test the dyes I have screen printed them in different tones and saturations, onto cover paper and cut out swatches. I did try to use the thickened dyes on a geli print plate, which did not work.

I have tried to stick with a limited colour palette: blue, orange, and violet. But couldn’t resist trying a little yellow and red.

Next blog I will be trying out some surface design techniques with imagery.