That photo above is one of my silk applique designs. I have a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine, took me a hours and hours to learn to digitize my drawings and water colorings. Whenever I spend time learning a new tool the angst horrible. I have to say that when it comes to computers it is doubly so. Using a digital pen, or drawing on a screen is one step too removed for me to ever feel very comfortable. I guess I am just old fashioned, pencil and pen feel best. But for all the hair pulling, and head banging (a natural occurrence when I use computers), the results are worth it.
The cutting machine is finicky about which fabric it likes best, but is very cool once you get it going. It likes certain silks better than others, silk satins are too thin for the iron backing, Shantung is nice, crisp and easiest to cut. In fact the crisper the fabric, the more smoothly it cuts. Cottons tend to snag and leave little threads behind.
I am not entirely sold on the iron-on backing I need to use to get fabric through the machine for two reasons. Firstly it makes the fabric stiff, like paper. This is good for the machine so it can cut it, but with some of the thinner silks the iron backing seeps through to the front and it develops a very plastic-like feel. What is the use of using silk if I proceed to make it un-silky? With other silks it works just fine. Really one needs the Goldilock’s of fabrics.
Secondly the backing doesn’t work well when trying to use the silk cut outs in felted collages. Essentially it is a layer of glue that melts into the fabric. It acts like a barrier and keeps fibers from felting into the silk. What I am THINKING I shall have to do is stitch the edges of the designs into the fabric and THEN cut out the patterns by hand. I am undecided if this an act of insanity or not.
I am using these cut outs more and more in my fabric collages for pillows and purses. I am hoping that if I combine the appliques with the felting that I will be able to get some really wonderful, shadowy patterns in between the layers for added mystery and depth. There is much experimenting to be done.
Goodness only knows how it will all turn out. But don’t worry I am only too happy to share my results with you. Join me next time for a psycho-analysis of “The Process”.