Archives for 2014

Painting with Adirondack Color Wash

I LOVE Adirondack Color Wash by Ranger Ink. I have used it for years. The qualities are amazing. Not only are the colors rich and beautiful but they also blend without making “mud”. They come in a 2 oz. spray bottle (originally a 4 oz. size). I have been using them full strength but recently I saw a you tube video that showed how they can be diluted. That is a great idea as they are very potent.

There is another advantage I discovered over the years and that is the mystery of the medium.  Color wash is considered a craft product. None the less the qualities are high; it is acid free; however,  unfortunately it is a disburse dye; it can be reactivated with water or any medium with moisture. This is a detriment for sure. One I had to find a solution for  to continue using them. I found a product that seals  the wash making it permanent and  a huge bonus! After the sealant is applied the colors POP! The mystery is the results of the art I  have  made with it.  The  medium(s) are undetectable as well as the methods.

My favorite application is to spray color wash on to several layers of papers capitalizing on the intensity. There are many options for application. I usually follow these basic steps:

  1. Dampen the paper first and then apply color wash. This enables the wash to spread nicely.
  2. Spray the color wash on first and then spray lightly with water. It is amazing to watch the color move and blend to make unpredictable colors.
  3. Dry with a heat tool or air dry.

I never tire of the experimentation with color washes.

I use color wash to make various components to make (serious) fine art, fine crafts and casual things like notecards. They also work on fabric somewhat. The best results I have had is with lace, seam binding, silk ribbon; heat setting is a must.

Fine Art

Art Components-Paper Cloth, fabric and embellishments

Mixed Media-Title: Leaf CollageThe process has several steps.

Step 1 Paint Papers

Step 2 Backgrounds added

Step 3 Collage-Layers of painted papers

Final Details-Accent “line” with machine stitching with black thread

painted_tissue_paper_300 Collage_multiple_1_300 Sea Shells

An assortment of painted papers to work with. Collages in progress. Finished collage 5×7.

Tin_Heart1_300 Tin_heart_detail-300

Title: Tin Heart 15×20″

Multi layer-Composite

Focal Point: Heart-Impression from antique ceiling tile; sapphire blue ink defines the design of the tile. Surrounds-Layers of painted papers with color wash.Two side panels with areas cut away to expose fabric behind. Embellished with small hearts, bits of painted lace, pieces of piano player paper. Fringe top and bottom edge.

Fine Craft

Glass Luminaries-Glass is wrapped

with thin painted paper. When the

luminary is lit the light shows the

beauty of the translucent papers.


Three examples of Luminaries made by students.


Luminary Example 2

Paper Cloth_full sheet_600

A large sheet of paper cloth.

Paper Cloth-A layered composite made of muslin, bits of paper, white glue, tissue paper and color wash. I have used paper-cloth in various applications.

Paper Cloth painted with Adirondack color wash

Take out Box made with paper cloth.

Take out Box made with paper cloth. Simply open the box out flat to use as a pattern. Make a piece of paper cloth large enough for the pattern.

You have the perfect opportunity to learn more about using Adirondack color wash ink in my new online course through Academy of Quilting.

Title: Mixing Up Media

Open for sign up NOW here.  Start date March 6th- 5 weeks $50

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A Movement: Textile Art vs. Fiber Art

What is the difference between TEXTILE ART  and FIBER ART? Is there any difference at all? These terms are debatable. Today I decided to change my title from TEXTILE ARTIST to FIBER ARTIST.  Why is this important to me?

Festival Triptych

Fiber Art by Deborah Babin
Title: Festival

I do not relate to the term Quilt Art. I rarely if ever, say the word quilt. I do however, include the act of quilting in my work. I am not making a quilt or a blanket. I am making art. What I make is actually rooted in the history of quilts. This I acknowledge to myself. I have decided to not include this term when discussing and describing my work. Why is that? The main reason is to distinguish between those that make art with cloth and sometimes quilt it.  I explain what I do with respect to the traditional quilt world and qualify that I make contemporary art. When describe what Fiber Art is the terminology has to be specific; however, many times I am looking at an expression of confusion. The progression from traditional quilts (blankets) to current day contemporary (fiber) art is at a snails pace.

I researched this topic and found a detailed report on the difference of these two terms: TEXTILE ART and FIBER ART

What I was not aware of until I read it was the regional definitions. In the UK artists that make art with fabric or cloth refer to this as: art textiles

In an article titled Defining a Movement by textile writer Jessica Hemmings 

Fiber art is seen as an American term; art textiles a British one. Are these terms useful? Dated? This snapshot reveals some of the deeper issues surrounding perceptions and directions within the field.

When Fiberarts asked me to investigate the use of fiber art and art textiles I was, at first glance, tempted to assume that fiber art is simply the American equivalent for what the British, and some Australians, call art textiles. But as I found when I began to question various individuals whose disciplines help define the terms—art historians, curators, educators, and makers—things are in fact far more complicated than a quibble between British and American language preferences.

Continue reading the complete article here

I agree with Jessica, Fiber Art is a movement.

Further research led me to a rather in-depth twenty page report titled: The Descriptive Challenges of Fiber Art by Lois F. Lunin


Fiber art is both a new and an old art form. “The use of fibrous

materials as a medium for art works is not new; woven, knitted,

printed, and otherwise treated materials have long appeared in the

history of mankind” (Henning, 1977). Traditionally, however, they

appeared as functional objects. The term fiber art, sometimes called

art fabric, was introduced after World War I1 to characterize new

art developments in textiles. This article deals only with the fiber

art developments since World War I1 and the challenges presented

in describing that art for inclusion in text and image databases.

A movement…..I like knowing this. Next time I am asked what it is that I do, what kind of art I make, what kind of an artist I am I will include and emphasize that I am a part of a movement, one that is on the move and moving forward.

Are you part of this movement? Do you relate to this?






Paper Shibori-Indigo with a Twist


Memory On Cloth by Yoshika Wada


I took a workshop with Joan Morris in August. She is an expert on natural dying and various resist methods. She developed the fabrics for all of the costumes in the Broadway production Lion King. Miles and miles of gorgeous fabrics! This accomplishment is covered in a book titled: Memory on Cloth-Shibori Now by: Yoshiko Wada. It is a beautiful book to have in your library.

Photos along with a presentation of how the costumes evolved for specific characters of Lion King are included. Joan conducts a very efficient course. She is specific and intent on the execution. She has very high standards for herself as an instructor as well as artist. She delivers more than one could possibly absorb. I truly respect that. You can see her amazing work on her website.

I chose to focus on the resist methods in the workshop; how to arrange fabric to create unique and beautiful patterning from the planned resists. Resist dying is when sections of the fabric are constricted so those areas will not absorb dye. This can be done with any dye. Methods for resist dying are ancient and were developed in multiple areas of the world. I learned a lot in this course; however, I did not come away with successfully completed examples. The natural dyes that we used call for certain steps some of which I didn’t get right thus, the results I have are too pale. Resist methods can only show up with high contrast.

I’m glad I took the course and I did learn what NOT to do when it comes to natural dyes.  I doubt I will ever use them except maybe indigo, someday. I prefer procion mx dyes and I am not up for another learning curve.

I enjoy working with paper  as much as cloth. After the course I decided to try some of the resist methods with paint and paper. The paint I like to use often is actually a dye paint: Adirondack Color Wash/Denim. This product is in a spray bottle and is concentrated. The color: Denim is very close to indigo.  I tried several kinds of paper: Lotka, Rice and Mulberry. These papers are hand made from very strong fibers. I am quite pleased with the results.

The steps I used:

1. The paper was scrunched up into a wad and then opened several times. This breaks the fibers and makes the paper soft almost like fabric.

2. The paper was dampened slightly and then wrapped, folded or clamped. Stencils and wood shapes (blocking) were used on some pieces.

3. Color Wash: Denim was sprayed on mainly to the edges on the surface.

I applied the paint sparingly to observe the absorbency of each type of paper; more color was applied as needed.

The papers were left to dry with a fan circulating the air; they dry fairly quickly. It is always a surprise when a bundle is opened…and I love this part.


Wrapping around a pole-The paper is wrapped and tightly scrunched on the pole to set up creases that act as channels. Minimal paint will seep into the creases thereby creating a resist. Depending on how the paper is wrapped the design will differ; no two are alike. Often the fabric and in this case paper, continue to hold the creases.

Arashi Shibori

Step 1-The paper is damp and will be rolled onto the PVC pole on the diagonal.


Arashi Shibori

Step 2-The paper has been scrunched up tight. Twine is wrapped around to hold it in place.

Arashi Shibori

Step 3-A minimal amount of paint is sprayed on at first.

Arashi Shibori

Step 4-The paper is completely covered with paint.


If the result is not satisfactory (not enough paint, not enough design) the same process is repeated.

Arashi Shibori

Arashi Shibori



A spot on the paper is selected, pinched and shaped to make a point. Starting at the point, thread is wrapped tightly around and down (as far as you choose) and then back up to the point; secure with a knot.. The longer the length of the wrapped point the larger the design (spider web). The dampened paper was pliable similar to fabric. I decided to make various sized webs on this piece.


Step 1-The thread has been wrapped securely around the point and knotted.


Step 2-Five points of various lengths are secured.


Step 3-The first application of paint is light.


Step 4-More paint is applied both on the front and the back.

The results are good.

The results are good.

Collectively, the various methods proved to work well on the papers.


Five successful results.

Top left: Itajime-Clamping, Top right: Itajime and wood template, Center: Folded Accordion style, Bottom left: Kumo, Bottom right: Arashi  (two applications).

Adirondack Color Wash Denim

Stencil Designs with Denim color wash.

Alternatively, stencils are effective with color wash paint. I used two stencils here. The top design with a circle is once. First the paint is sprayed over the stencil, second, the stencil is flipped to utilize the paint on the surface of the stencil. The design on the bottom was done the same way.


Painting Watercolors on Location in Nice, France

Recently I traveled to Nice, France to join a group of ladies for a week of painting watercolors on location. My experience with watercolor ended about 2o years ago. I painted for a few years and never really achieved the level of expertise I desired. I stopped painting when I discovered textile art and I have not painted since. When I heard about this opportunity it appealed to me for a number of reasons. I love Nice, I wanted to meet new people and I thought it would be fun to try painting again especially on location and what a fabulous location it was!

Instead of painting a complete scene we narrowed the focus down to small vignettes on 5×7: paper. This enabled editing and minimizing which took less time (and helped me to not overwork it).

I had a great time. Each day we went to a different town and setting.

The first day we painted at an outdoor antique market, which is held on Mondays. The other days the market has flowers and vegetables. FM_1

Walking around and in between the tables to find interesting items to paint was challenging as some of the vendors were not pleased to have someone blocking the flow; I had to work quick. Several vendors told me to move on. I was surprised that I was able to paint at all. It was very tempting to stop and shop…but there wasn’t enough time. I spotted some beautiful linens that I would have bought for sure and I manage to return the following Monday to shop on my own. There were fabulous things displayed unlike what you would see here in the US. I spotted a collection of antique perfume bottles which stayed in my mind. When I got home…I did a search and found some to buy on line. I plan to paint these in the future. They are charming and I think they will make excellent subjects.

The ceramic bird was the first item I spotted and quickly started to sketch and paint it.

There were two of them and I quickly bought them and moved on; now I can paint them over and over.

The second item was the vase. It was porcelain delicately detailed with flowers and very intricate metal work for the stand. The third item was the perfume bottle. The seller came over to see what I was doing. She smiled and seemed pleased so I could stay longer at that spot. I wrote the name Caline on it, as this is the name of one I have and bought in Nice many years ago ( I still have the bottle). The fourth item was the  porcelain basket. The handle was made of fragile rope like strands that wove together. The edges had delicate ridges. I really should have bought that one, but it was very fragile. I added a bit of wrought iron that was visible. The name of the market was Cours Saley. antique_market_painting



The next day we took a train to Ville Franche and walked to the Rothschild estate.


What an amazing place! Everywhere I looked was beautiful. The estate and the grounds were fabulous. I painted from 10:30 till 5 p.m. I spent the first 2 hours painting random flowers.

After a fabulous lunch there, I spent the remaining time painting a collection of features. A rose, a small landscape and a beautiful stone pot. The design on it was very intricate. I simplified it but it still looks intricate. I plan to add something more on the top open space.

rothschild_paintingThe next day was spent at Menton. This was my favorite day. The town is know for citrus and I love anything lemon. I became interested in the shutters which were on every window. They were a similar shades of aqua green. I started to take lots of pictures of shuttered windows.  My painting began with the one window and shutter as I ate lunch at the Le Balico . The building was on a corner and was rounded. The window was on one side of the curve and the shutter opened onto the opposite curved side. This proved to be a challenging perspective. The shadow helped to explain the curve. Next I became fascinated with a stone statue nearby. Menton_statue2

I tried to decide what color stone would be? What colors should I mix to get the effect of stone? This was intriguing. The sun was shining just perfectly from behind and over the shoulders to highlight the details. Later that day I added the all important lemon.

Menton_paintingThe next day was spent on an island off the coast of Canne, Ile Saint Honorat. This island is small and has only a Monastery and vineyards.  A stop at the farmers market in Canne prior provided an opportunity to buy fruit. I decided to paint the fruit; fresh ripe figs and apricots that was the brightest yellow orange ever. The inside of the figs were rich shades of coral red. The view was beautiful. On the walk back to the ferry, I took some fabulous photos of the vineyards and the coast. Both had a wonderful fence with very old and narrow pickets. I knew these scenes would make great subjects to paint. saint-honorant_fruit_painting

The remainder of my stay was spent on the beach. I painted there too. I used photos which was totally different than painting on location. I definitely liked painting on location the best. The elements that come into play add to the experience and make it real.

The main benefit I realized was that painting on location required lots of editing. This is good for me as I tend to over work when working with watercolors….and this is not a good thing.

My stay in Europe spanned 24 days. My travels took me on to Majorca where I found additional subjects to paint. I was inspired and motivated.

Now that I am home, my vision is expanded; I see plenty to paint right here in my yard and nearby. The Seattle area is full of glorious scenery. The component that compelled me to go on this trip was the allure of Nice, which is definitely worth experiencing; however, travel is expensive and has its challenges. My eyes are open now and I see my surroundings in a completely new way. This awakening is great as most of my time is spent in the studio.

I still struggle with the tendency to overwork the painting though. My goal is to overcome this; only time will tell.

I have ideas about painting on location here. It would be fantastic to bring some like minded people together and join me. If you are interested, let me know.



This drawing is a design that developed spontaneously. It makes me think of sunglasses.

Stacked Rocks

Stacked Rocks

Stacking rocks goes back to ancient times.  This art form is amazing. The simplicity is prime. This drawing represents this simplicity.



Method: Layered word journaling.

This word expresses a desire and joy. I cannot sing… I love singing and I wish I could sing to express myself.  

Peace and Healing

Peace and  Healing

Method: Layered word journaling.

Certain words communicate my state of mind; in this case, Peace and Healing was on my mind.



Method: Layered word journaling.

Manifest is one of my very favorite words. Favorite words are continuously written and then rotated. In this composition the word was written on the top and bottom, creating a box. Each word develops a unique rhythm.

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