Spoonflower Experiments

Layered print on cotton-1I have been reading about an online company called Spoonflower. They produce fabric that has been designed by an individual. Not only do they make fabric, but they also make other products, such wall paper, wrapping paper, etc. I read about them in “Quilting Arts”. The Pixeladies also mentioned them in the class I took on digital fabric design a couple of months ago. So I decided to try them out by sending them 3 images.

The first image is for a 12” square block on Kona cotton (left). I made the image slightly larger to accommodate the quilting and facing. It is a design I created using Photoshop’s layering capabilities. I can’t even remember how many layers I used to make it. I was a little disappointed in the square I received, because it didn’t appear to be as bright as my original image. However, I am still going to quilt it (by machine) to see the impact of the stitching on the design.

The second and third images were intended for silk scarves (right). However, I decided to have 8” square samples made instead. It takes 2 yards of fabric for me to print 3 scarves, Scarf samples on silkand I thought it was too expensive to print it without testing it first. Here are my samples. I have the same concern about the saturation and intensity of the colors as I did in the 12” square above. If you know the secret to brighter colors, please let me know. I will also check Spoonflower’s FAQ section for ideas.

Dharma Trading Company – extraordinary resource

Dharma Trading Company is one of the best resources for textile artists. They have some fabulous pre-made blanks for t-shirt, scarves, shawls, dresses, pants, hats, and anything else you might want to dye or paint. These blanks come in cotton, rayon, silk, and wool. The variety is amazing. They also have all the dyeing chemicals for any type of fabric you might be interested in dyeing. One product that I particularly like is their Professional Textile Detergent, which I use instead of using synthrapol. It is a less harmful product and less expensive.

Recently, another Artists 7 friend, Marge Barta Atkins, gave me 4 of the Dharma brand of procion dyes for Christmas. Their names were Thistle Blossom, Orange Marmalade, Parakeet, and Dragon Fruit. Don’t these sound yummy. I tried them all out, and these colors were vibrant and glorious. I am now going to start using them instead of the previous dyes I had been using.

You can get a catalog from them at www.dharmatrading.com. They also have a retail store, which is located at 1604 Fourth Street in San Rafael, California. Did I mention that they were also very fast at filling orders? My orders go out the next day. Since I live so close, I get my products within two business days after I place my order. This is a standard that should be the goal of all of the other mail order companies.

The Art Store in Berkeley

One of my favorite art stores is The Art Store in Berkeley. Two of my buddies from Artists 7, Marge Barta Atkins and Cindy Sullivan, and I took a shopping trip to The Art Store not too long ago. We had some coupons and were ready to shop. We got wonderful service from one of the clerks in the stored named Colby. He was so helpful to all of us in finding the things that we wanted to purchase. We also couldn’t resist getting our portraits taken with this billboard of a French artist, striped shirt and all!

We followed this with a nice excursion down 4th Street in Berkeley, one of the most fun shopping/strolling streets in the Bay Area. We had lunch at Betty’s Café (yummy). There is a Paper Store, a wonderful Japanese import store, and a Japanese paper store right next door among many other wonderful little shops. The papers were irresistible, and I managed to find a marbled paper that was truly a work of art and a mulberry off-white paper that I had not seen before, plus a few other papers I desperately needed. It was truly a delightful day.

New Gallery in Half Moon Bay

There’s a new art gallery in Half Moon Bay, California. It is called JLim Gallery and is located at Harbor Village Mall, 270 Capistrano Road #34. It has wonderful contemporary art and gifts for sale in a variety of mediums: oils, metal sculpture, tables, and glass. They are now carrying mixed media with the addition of my mixed media collages. I am thrilled to be in the gallery. We had a great open gallery this last Saturday during the Santa Cruz Mountain Wine Festival that took place in the mall that we are in. This is an annual event that was attended by over 2000 people on this one day. They came from all over the bay area. It was wonderful to get to talk to so many people about my work. If you want to check out the gallery, it is open on Saturday and Sunday, 11:00am – 5:00pm, and by appointment on Monday through Thursday. The website is www.jlim.co, and the cell contact for the director, Rosalinda Herrera is 925-699-2815.

Designer Fabric

Just in case you were running out of specialty fabrics, there is a wonderful resource for you to try in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It is called FabMo.  The outlet provides repurposed fabric for the sewing enthusiast.  This fabric comes from the Design Center in San Francisco and consists of the samples that the manufacturers provide to the interior design studios to sell.  Once a week, the studios get a list of the discontinued fabrics from the manufacturers.  These samples are pulled out and are given to schools and to FabMo for repurposing.

They do not sell the fabric, but only ask for a donation from each shopper.  You have to make an appointment to go there, and they are only open about 3-4 days a month.  They provide shopping bags (repurposed, of course), and they only allow a reasonable number of people to be shopping at the same time.  The fabric is laid out on the tables and on shelves and in boxes on the floor.  Sometimes there is fabric on the bolt, which you have to pay a minimal amount by the yard.   This designer fabric is high quality upholstery, drapery and other interior design fabric.  Some of it sells for up to $200+ per yard, if you were to buy it from an interior designer.

I have already been there a couple of times and have barely dented my “new” fabric from FabMo.  I have been making gift items for my open studios such as purses, coin purses, eyeglass cases, business card/credit card holders, clothing, pillows, etc.  I will also be using this fabric for some of my art quilts and mixed media work.

They have a website (www.fabmo.org), where you can sign up to go shopping there.  They also have a number of other activities in which you might want to participate.  The address is 2423 Old Middlefield Road in Mountain View, California.

Great Quilt Store

Recently, I visited a quilt store I hadn’t been to in probably 10 years.  It is called New Pieces.  It used to be in Albany, but moved to Berkeley in 2008.  I was totally blown away by the quality of the fabrics in this store, especially as it relates to art quilting and “modern” quilting.  There are no Civil War prints or calicoes.  But there are a mind-dazzling array of batiks and Japanese-influenced designs, just to mention some of the highlights.  There are lots of other fabrics, but I don’t really know all the designer names.  I highly recommend this store for the serious quilter.  It is located at 766 Gilman in Berkeley.  It’s just a couple blocks off Highway 80 at the Gilman exit.