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This lesson is based from the work of Susan Shie who is an academically trained painter and lifelong sewer and has been making unique and often whimsical painted quilts since 1980. She describes her art as “personal diary work,” and she fills in everything she paints with detailed spontaneous handwritten diary entries that record whatever she is thinking and feeling at the time. The diary writing, which Susan executes with an AirPen®, adds yet another layer of texture and meaning to her complex work.
If so, what are they? What will your footprint in the world be? How can the student represent these ideas visually using symbols, words or representing an action?
Just like Susan Shie, the student should strive to connect to their deeper self. Their artwork should utilize good composition practices and be bold in design.
Step 2 – Instructor can come up with a theme for the project of let students work independently in choosing a specific theme for their artwork.
Step 3- Students will create thumbnail sketches in their sketchbook or scrap paper, developing imagery that connects to their deeper self. Optional: Students can create a draft on watercolor paper first to get a sense of painting their design.
Step 4 – Instructor demonstrates how to tape plastic to cardboard and muslin over plastic on cardboard, emphasizing the importance of plastic and muslin being taut.
Place the muslin over plastic, tape all 4 edges with about ¼” of tape on muslin.
Cardboard Note: Copy paper boxes and lids work well for cardboard. Plastic wrap or discarded shopping bags can be used for plastic.
Step 5 – Instructor demonstrates drawing with Rub a Dub, explaining how it is formulated differently so it does not bleed on fabric.
Students can trace watercolor or use pencil first, but pencil will not erase off muslin.
Step 6 – Painting – Students can use watered down acrylic, or if budget allows, fabric paint. Colorless extender is used to thin out paint for value techniques. Students paint their pieces.
Note: I created an example of full-bodied acrylic to show how it is like plastic and will be difficult to stitch through. If using acrylic, watering it down works very well.
Step 7 – Journaling – Students use fabric pens to journal over painting. Journaling should be used along with an added design element to create pattern, texture, and add the visual interest of piece. Instructor reminds students to revisit the questioning process in Step 1.
Step 8 – Embellishing – Instructor demonstrates embroidery techniques to be used to embellish piece.
Optional: students can research stitches and then share with classmates.
Taut – tightly drawn; tense; not slack
Embellish – make (something) more attractive by the addition of decorative details or features
Embroidery – the art of working raised and ornamental designs in threads of silk, cotton, gold, silver, or other material, upon any woven fabric, leather, paper, etc., with a needle
Needle – for sewing in ends
Mixed media – items and materials used to bring the sculpture to creative life and in making additional elements that add visual interest
Muslin – lightweight cotton cloth in a plain weave
Embroidery floss – or stranded cotton is a loosely twisted, slightly glossy 6-strand thread, usually of cotton but also manufactured in silk, linen, and rayon