We move forward from two successful exhibitions in 2016 in Prague and in the USA to the challenge of an exhibition in the Netherlands in the Autumn. We continue to work on A2 sized pieces in portrait format and will be producing four pieces over the year with the theme of 'Freedom'. An essential part of our art is working in series to a common format which does give us all a framework for our creative endeavours.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Under the Surface - Reef

For my fifth piece in the Under the surface series I used an image of sea anemones on the Great Barrier  reef as my source.

 I have been trying out and playing with discharge pastes for a long time and used both the standard discharge paste and a new powder mix paste from Holland to try to get the effect of the depth of the rock formations under water. The base fabric I started with was medium weight cotton that I had dyed an indigo shade. The first discharge took the 'rock' down to a brown shade the second down to an aqua color. I applied the discharge through a simple silk screen with a roughly cut plastic template of rock shapes underneath. I find it interesting to see how different discharge brands reveal differing base pigment colours in the same fabric. 

For the sea anemones I had wanted to achieve a rough print of a vague Anemone shape to them develop differently for the various images on the piece. By chance I had been trying out with some friends silk screening with Inktense blocks through a stencil so tried this method as I had wanted some variation of colour for the shapes; whilst I tried this method with fabric medium as the carrier,  it did change the handle of the fabric and I had better results using aloe gel and cheap hand sanitizing gel. The results were permanent after heat fixing with an iron.

I overlaid the Anemones with dyed silk organza and machine stitched though the sandwich then cut back the organza; the intention was that the organza over the print might give the 'jelly like' texture to the anemones -on reflection I could have left more of the anemone stitched without the organza overlay as I was quite pleased with the prints.

Original print using Inktense block and aloe gel through simple silk screen and stencil

Whilst the finished piece is below I am still pondering on whether to embellish the anemones with beads and seeding.... not sure..........




  1. I love the result you got. Don't think I would use too many beads on it. Can you tell a bit more about the new powder mix paste?

  2. The discharge powder dilutes with water in a 1:10 ratio. The company selling the product at quilt shows - I bought mine at veldhoven in May, has website

    It is easier to handle than other pastes and reveals differering pigments to the standard discharge paste or decolourantjjean

  3. Wow Jean you are certainly the discharge queen! I could learn such a lot from you about those techniques and products.Difficult to see any quilting in the photo and have you put a binding round it? I visited that stand last week and bought some (more) stencils. They had some unusual products and were the only stand to have them. Did you draw your own stencil? I imagine so. Will love to see it in real life. Elaine.

  4. Yes there was a lot of machine quilting around the rocks and to attach the organza over the print of the anemones before I cut back the organza. I hacked and old stencil of an ammonite for thee anemone to my liking and used old screens for the rocks.

    Did you buy the transfer paint from the same booth at Veld oven?


  5. No, I already have some transfer paint, not that I think to use it much. But I did give in and buy some more stencils! (Did I need more? No, but I could not resist some more of Julie Fei-Fan Balzers. I use them in my Art Journal.) Hope you are enjoying Houston, wish I were there with you!. Elaine.

  6. Wow Jean - this looks fabulous. Complex and oddly realistic! Well done.