Monthly Archives: March 2010


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Because I am using Paintstiks so heavily on fabric now, I started wondering if there is potential for damage to the fabric from the oils in the paint.  It seemed like a good time to do some research.  The “go-to” person for info on Paintstiks is Shelly Stokes who wrote “Paintstiks on Fabric” .  Shelly Stokes believes that Shiva Paintstiks are indeed safe for fabric and notes that they have been used on fabric since the 60’s – 45-50 years. 

Most oil bars contain linseed oil which is highly acidic.  Stokes reports that Shiva Paintstiks contain less linseed oil than other oil sticks, meaning less acidic content.  Additionally, the linseed oil in Shiva Paintstiks is refined in a way that makes it less acidic.  Smaller amounts of linseed oil allows the paint to dry much faster – hours instead of weeks or months.  Using heat to set the paint can speed up the drying even more.   

Although damage to fabric could take years or decades to show up, manufacturers do not recommend oil sticks to be used on fabric, except for Shiva Paintstiks.  So with a sigh of relief, I continue painting on fabric.

Here is another small piece for my “Impressionist Landscape” series.  This piece is just out of the wet studio and is in need of paint and stitching.

“Cattails I” (c)2010 Shelley Brucar


Filed under Art Stuff, Fiber Art, hand-dyeing, Impressionist Landscapes



“Suset River I” dye-painted

“Sunset River I” mostly stitched

The piece I’ve been blogging about is at the frustrating “where is it going” stage.  So that’s my sign to take a break from it and work on some smaller pieces I had started.  The images shown here are of “River Sunset I” which will be stretched over stretcher bars; finished size: 16″ x 22″.  The first image was taken after the piece was wet-dyed and dry-over-dyed.  The second image shows the piece with most of the stitching was done.  You can see that I used thread-painting to define the reeds.


Filed under Art Stuff, Fiber Art, hand-dyeing



Bringing you the latest version of “Mountain Views 4”.   Over the last few days, I played around with the mountains, adding definition and shading.  Then I turned to the blues and worked on the water and sky.  Here is an image of what it looks like now.

(c)2010 Shelley Brucar   “Mountain Views 4” in progess

And here is a side-by-side comparison of the first and current versions.

Comments always welcome!


Filed under Art Stuff, Fiber Art, hand-dyeing



To recap, I started this piece with white cotton fabric.  The first step was using foam brushes to apply procion fabric dyes onto damp fabric,  allowing colors to bleed.  The second and third steps were additional procion dyes and vat dyes screened and dye-painted onto dry fabric to achieve crisper lines.  Today the fabric paints (Shiva Paintstiks) came out, and I did some painting on the lower left and on the background water area.

You can scroll down to the first two “progress” photos in the March 10 and March 15 posts.  Comments welcome!


Filed under Art Stuff, Fiber Art, hand-dyeing



December 4, 2009, I posted about a new product to protect fiber from fading and sun damage, a product that hopefully will not damage the air we breathe.  I found it at JoAnn Fabrics, and it is called ForceField UV SunBlock. 

To test this product, I cut a piece of hand-dyed fabric in two and sprayed one with ForceField, not the other.  I have been keeping both pieces of fabric in direct sun – as much as one can find direct sun during midwest winter –  to see if the protected piece holds its color and to make sure the product does not in any way damage the fabric.

After 3+ months, I see only the slightest fading on the “unprotected” piece of fabric, so slight that I may be imagining it.  The good news is that there is definitely no fading or damage to the “protected” piece of fabric.  Three months is hardly enough time to engender total confidence for ForceField UV SunBlock, and I will continue to expose my test fabrics to direct sun; this will be easier to do as we head into Spring.  For now, I feel good enough about the product that I will start using it on finished pieces of my work.

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Filed under Art Stuff, Fiber Art



Working on the piece from my last post, two more layers have been added.  While the first layer was dye-painted onto damp fabric to allow colors to run and blend, the next two layers have been screened onto dry fabric for crisper lines.  It has been screened with a second layer of procion dyes, and then a layer of vat dyes.  Vat dyes put color in and discharge color simultaneously, giving a halo effect.  Most of the change so far is subtle.  Can you figure out what are the differences between the image in my March 10 post and the image below – before you scroll past the image for the answers? 

1. I have put in some darker waves to give the water depth.   2. I have vat-dyed the two mountains in the foreground to add texture and to make them darker, thereby bringing them forward.   3. The mid-range and left, background mountains have been given some texture as well; this may be difficult to see in the background mountain.  Again, it’s all very subtle so far.  4. There are some changes, added lines in the sky.

Next, I will get out my Shiva Paintstiks and start adding layers of paint.  I want more texture, more depth, more shadows and highlights for contrast. 

Since I have made this a “shared” project, any comments are welcome.  What do you see?  What do you like or dislike so far?  What do you think the piece needs?


Filed under Art Stuff, discharge dyeing, Fiber Art, hand-dyeing, thermofax screens



I participated in Alyson Stanfield’s art marketing workshop this week, and my brain is full!  She covered artist statements, mailing lists, portfolios and online media.  In fact, she covered enough material that I could say it was overwhelming, but she also had us work on our individual Action Plans which has provided me with the focus I need to put aside time for marketing that will be used productively.  I do heartily recommend a workshop with Alyson as well as her new book, I’d Rather Be in the Studio!  Thanks so much, Alyson!

Of course, one very important piece of business is creating work, and my 2010 goals include 2 new bodies of work.  “Messages” is described in my Nov 12, 2009 post, and the first pieces of this series are posted on this blog 1/15/10 and 3/5/10.  This series will be exhibited in July at Simply Chicago Art in Evanston, IL – more info later.

 The “Mountain Views” series depicts some scenes I would like to see from my studio window.  Since I live in the Midwest, these scenes are only on my design walls for the time being.  The first piece of this series is completed, just not photographed yet, and 3 pieces are in progress.    The 4th piece has just been started, and I decided to post images to show the progress of this piece. I’m thinking this could be a risky thing to do because the piece is just barely started, and I never know if I’ll really like it in the end.  But here goes…the first of many layers:

“Mountain Views IV”  (c)2010 Shelley Brucar


Filed under Art Stuff, Fiber Art