Friday, January 9, 2015

Stitching Rice Paper Batik Watercolors!

Back in November I took a class with artist Kathie George at Art of the Carolinas in Raleigh, NC.  I came home with this very cool painting of a school of fish done in watercolor on Ginwashi rice paper.      The process involves layering wax and watercolor, working from lightest to darkest values.  At the end you iron off the wax.  The resulting product is a very fragile, almost translucent painting.

I immediately began to ponder the implications for quilting using this process.  I knew that the rice paper would shred if you stitched it without some sort of stabilizer.  

I wondered if you could replicate the process on various fabrics.

Time to experiment!

I chose one of the fish from Kathie's illustration, and made some small samples. 

Upper Left:  Cotton and Setacolor paint
Upper Right:  Cotton and watercolor paint
Lower Left: Silk and watercolor paint
Lower Right:  Ginwashi rice paper and watercolor paint

I was surprised that all of them worked out just fine for creating the batik painting.  I did not think you could use watercolor paints on dry untreated cotton, but you can!  I think the Setacolor had more intense colors than the watercolors.

I also took one flower from Kathie's Sunflowers kit that I purchased, and used the regular process of wax and watercolor on Ginwashi.

 I backed the flower with Pellon Ek 130 Easy-Knit Fusible Interfacing and Underlining.  I ironed it on per the Pellon instructions to the back of the painting.

Then I did some outline stitching with black thread on just the Ginwashi with interfacing.  Great results- no tearing!

Then I made a quilt sandwich and heavily quilted the whole piece.  Again, great results!

Next, I stabilized the Ginwashi fish with the same interfacing, and quilted it.  No problem!

I tried applying matte medium to another Ginwashi fish to see if you could stitch through it without any other stabilizer.  

I found that the matte medium dulled the intensity of the colors and made the surface feel less soft.  It was difficult to use shiny, sparkly threads through it, but I had good luck with this variegated rayon.  That piece is now quilted without using any additional interfacing.

I think the matte medium would be a good choice for using these Ginwashi paintings in collage, mixed media, or perhaps as journal covers when you would want to add a layer of protection.

So...yes, you can stitch through rice paper if you stabilize it with interfacing or apply an acrylic medium to make it stronger.

I have already interfaced the large school of fish painting, and started machine-quilting it on my Janome!

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