In Your Dreams was inspired by a poem by Japanese poet Basho.
The full moon’s light!
Round and round my pond I strolled.
All the moon bright night.
Other influences have been my study of psychotherapy, dreams and subconscious searching including Freud’s “the Interpretation of Dreams”
I explored several techniques that were new to me..
Ink Jet printing
I initially did tests with T Shirt transfers, but I didn’t like the shiny “rubbery” texture
Then I explored direct ink jet printing onto fabric, tested and researched which were the best inks and printers to use, as I have access to an Epson, Lexmark and HP printer. I was particularly looking at test results for colour fastness.
I decided to use the HP printer as HP make Vivera inks which are specifically designed for permanence and specifically mention fabric printing on their website.
HP Printers: How to print on fabric: Discover how to create and print your own designs on fabric using your inkjet printer.
I ordered two types of fabric recommended for ink jet printing.
Organza and Cotton Sateen.
I made up own fabric sheets using the fabrics, freezer paper and Bubble Jet Set 2000, a liquid fabric soak that helps set ink.
Then I did tests to see what was the largest sheets that the printer could print on. This turned out to be panorama A4 (or 2 A4 sheets end to end)
The moon was printed in 3 strips. This was very fiddly to get it right.
Having printed it with a white background, I then decided to overprint with a black background. But to my horror, unfortunately the last one was overprinted the wrong way round, ruining the strip.
The three then needed to be printed again as it was impossible to match exactly. So three more sheets were prepared, soaked, dried, ironed on to freezer paper and printed.
This worked fine until the last strip when one of the colour inks ran out creating a red strip.
Having got two more ink cartridges. ( as it wasn’t clear whether the black or colour ink had run out) then yet again three more fabric sheets were prepared
Finally it printed successfully.
Ironically when I came to use it on the quilt I decided to cut off the black background, the printing of which had caused all the problems.
I did many photo and inkjet tests with figures and faces for the section with swimmers, but decided not to use them due to the limitations of size of the A4 printing. The swimmers were designed and cut as paper patterns, then cut out in fabric, ironed onto freezer paper to give stability. Then I painted them with acrylic and shaded with Markal sticks. This then needed to be dried for 24 hours and then heated with an iron to make it colour fast.
Other inkjet printing was used for some of the tree trunks, the figures of the climbers ( from photos taken of my daughter climbing in Norway) and the solitary small standing figure (from a photo of my son)
When I ran out of fabric for the tree trunks. I scanned my fabric and then printed more with Ink Jet.
I printed this larger so the trees would appear larger in the foreground.
I took many photos of clouds, birds and trees, but in the end decided to do these graphically.
However I did use the photos as source ideas for the quilting.
I carried out many tests, particularly with the intention to produce a sea like effect, but decided that it was too difficult and unpredictable to use on the large areas I needed for my quilt. I also didn’t want the sea area to appear different to the others four sections. It would have spoilt the overall effect.
Virtually all of the fabrics used have been hand dyed. I experimented with a range of tie dyeing techniques. The main background to the quilt is a single large tie dyed cloth which has been cut and recombined so that tie dye effects radiate from the central moon image. Appliqué Stitch and tear
I use stitch and tear as a base and for the pattern pieces when appliquéing the sky and snow sections
I am a keen photographer and took numerous photographs of cloud formations, trees, birds etc. to use as sources for the design. I also collected many photographs from magazines, papers etc.
Most of the work on the quilt was undertaken using a new Bernina sewing machine and a large quilting frame.
Initial unfamiliarity with its operation and technical problems with sewing, caused many delays in the quilting, including over 12 hours of unpicking of repeated faulty stitching.
Another major difficulty has been the frequent technical problems with the Bernina Sewing Machine. Changing threads caused it to sew incorrectly each time. Taking up to half an hour to re adjust the machine.
It has been an interesting journey, that has seen me pursuing lots of avenues to get the effects I’ve wanted. I’ve experimented with dyeing, ink jet printing, batik, tie-dyeing and marbling.
And finally it was all worth it as it was chosen for exhibition at the NEC.
There was a lot of interest.
and here’s the finished result..