Archives for posts with tag: procion mx dyes

Start of a new year but as well as starting new work from scratch, I thought it would be a good idea to move some existing work along to reach its next stage, free machine and hand embroidery.


I had the inspiration for my Daisy Textile Art from my photographs that I’d taken in a beautiful garden we had visited during the ‘Open Gardens’ Event in Llangernyw, North Wales during the summer of 2014.


I lied the idea of combining both photographs together to be my starting point of my artwork. I firstly drew the design using pencil onto a ‘prepared’ vintage 100% cotton sheet. (fabric had been rinsed in a sodawash solution, so the dyes will develop). I then added my first layers of colour, by painting thickened ‘Procion MX’ dyes onto the sheet, similar to painting with watercolours or thin acrylics or fabric paint. I use dye, as I find it has beautiful translucent colour that when ‘layered’ with other colours where needed, make new shades or depth of colour. I also find that using dyes on fabric when set does not stiffen the fabric, unlike fabric paint (which sits on the top of the fabric), so they make the fabric much more suitable for further embellishment.


This final stage of painting has taken a long time to do, as I have been working on other pieces of work in between. I am now in the process of setting the dyes by heat. As I haven’t got a steamer to do this, I usually let the fabric dry after it has been standing for 24 hours or more between plastic sheets, then steam iron the work for 5 minutes. I then will rinse the fabric in cold water removing extra dye.

I’ll show you further progress once I’ve started the free machine and hand embroidery.



Lizard Poppies

Lizard Poppies

As you can remember, I’ve recently been on a very lovely holiday down to Cornwall at the beginning of July. I’m always on the outlook for inspiration for new textile art and took this photograph whilst on a walk in the Lizard. I love the colours and composition, although will probably get rid of the buildings in the background when I start drawing out the base drawing.

base drawing on silk with HB pencil

base drawing on silk with HB pencil

I’ve decided to use a thick silk for my base fabric instead of the usual vintage 100% cotton sheets to see if I can get brighter colours when painting with the dyes. (silk is still suitable for dyeing.) The drawing was very difficult to do as I realise now the complexity of all the stems and different shades of colours!!

base colour

base colour

This image shows the base colours added. I hand painted the thickened Procion MX dyes onto the areas where I need the colour, thinking ahead to what extra dye will need to be added to give extra depth and shades. I really love the colours made, but in this case, have decided to add more colour to show the beautiful bright colours that I found in Cornwall.

This is only the first part of the process to make my textile art….more to follow.

white daisy textile art

white daisy textile art

Been extremely busy today painting with thickened dyes onto a recycled cotton sheet, in readiness for another one of my textile art pictures. The picture needs to be ‘fixed’ and washed and dried before I can add my final touches with free machine embroidery.

I’m preparing a lot of different work including art and cushions ready for my Open Studio weekend on 6th / 7th September.


Completed Penguin Cushion

As promised, here is a photograph of my finished Penguin Cushion which I made recently for a customer wanting a different type of wedding gift for her niece who absolutely adores penguins.

I loved making this, although it took me ages to complete, and I certainly used up a lot of thread! My customer wanted me to make a cushion showing a group of Fairy Penguins, with a beautiful sunset sky, as this is when the penguins naturally come up from the sea.

I decided to make the image in two parts, the background, then make and attach the group of Penguins on top. My starting point as per usual, was a thick white 100% cotton sheet, which is excellent for painting or printing with the Procion MX dyes. I always use ‘thickened’ dyes, (where the dyes are mixed with sodium alginate) to make excellent, manageable colours that are easily controlled from bleeding everywhere and can be applied like watercolours with an ordinary paintbrush . I added the dye, like painting a graduated wash,….and hoped that the colour would come out right! I then placed the wet fabric between two plastic sheets and left it over night to ‘mature’ before letting it dry naturally on the washing line. Pegs are excellent for keeping the fabric flat!

background to penguin cushion design

This image shows the painted cotton fabric with the background design, drying on my washing line. Had to check that it didn’t start raining, as all the colour would end up running in the wrong places.When it was completely dry, I then ironed over the complete surface constantly for five minutes on the hottest setting available on my iron to fix the colours, before rinsing it out in cold water. Then I left it to soak in very hot soapy water for at least twenty minutes. (Yes, it is a long process!) After checking to see if any more colour rinses out, I then was able to put it back on the washing line to dry!

The second part of making the cushion design was drawing the group of penguins onto another piece of cotton fabric that I then painted (repeating the same process as the background fabric.)

painted penguins                                                                                                         which were then dried on the washing line again!

The next step was to cut around the penguins and iron them to the sunset background. (It is easier to keep the layers ‘stuck’ together by firstly ironing ‘bondaweb’ to the back of the fabric.)DSC04566Now comes my favourite part, the free machine embroidery! I love to ‘draw’ with the sewing machine needle using individual colours that eventually build up to make a dense covering. It takes a lot of time to do this, but I think brings the design ‘to life’ with the rich colours.

close up baby penguin partly stitched

close up baby penguin partly stitched

finished close up of stitching

finished close up of stitching

Very pleased to say that my client was extremely pleased with the finished cushion, and her niece had a very nice wedding day!

I am now looking forward to making further designs, especially where there is a lot of stitching added. It is a lovely, different way to present artwork.