The last, last post…

September 4, 2013

Having a John Farnham moment… Yes, I’m back from Broome and Essential Textile Art is once again open to the public. I’ll be putting more items online as I gradually restock. As promised here’s my photo from Broome…camels

Yes, the camels were fun and the sunsets spectacular. Broome is a wonderful place to visit. Now I just have to work out what I’m going to do with the 10,000 images I took on the whole top end odyssey!! Keep an eye out over at my artist website to see what emerges…

The First and The Last

January 9, 2013


The image above is of Cable Beach at Broome at Sunset. Its taken from the website Perth Now. I intend to replace it with my own when I get to Broome, in about 3 months time. So this is the first and last post for 2013 and this blog. I’ve decided to move on and if I blog again it will be from my art website over at .

Going to Broome also means changes for my business, Essential Textile Art. From now until the end of Feb we’re running some great sales to reduce stock, so it’s worth popping over for a look. After February, 2013 we will be closing until about August when I intend to redefine what it is that ETA does.

This blog will remain so please enjoy it. I thank everyone that has supported my business over the past 6 years. It’s time for a break and a fresh start.

The Language of Nature – Sneak Peak: Nov 6 -14, 2012

November 5, 2012

Tricia Smout is opening her final exhibition for her residency at Mt Coot-tha, on Saturday November 10, at 2pm in the Richard Randall Art Studio, Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha, Queensland, Australia. It promises to be an exciting exhibition. As part of it I have altered a book created by Tricia and a sneak peak is above.  The exhibition features wall hangings, artist books, sculptural work and wearable art. It’s set to be a fabulous day and a great exhibition. Its on until Nov 14 so if you’re in Brisbane consider popping along.

Fabric Painting 2 – Transfer Printing with Ink Effects

October 9, 2012

Transfer printing is when you paint onto paper and then iron it onto the cloth, in most cases synthetic. Only certain paints will do this and generally only on fabric with lots of polyester in it. However Ink Effects Transfer paint changes that. It will transfer to fabric with 30% cotton in it and also you can buy a basecoat paint which allows you to transfer designs to fabrics with a higher cotton content.

Now in the past I have shown you transfer painting by splattering it onto paper etc, so this time I desided to do something different. Using a royalty free design from Dover publications, I printed it onto paper and then painted over the design using Ink Effects Transfer paint.

Ink Effects painted onto Paper

Ink Effects painted onto Paper

The true colour of the paint doesn’t show up until you transfer it onto the fabric. It’s a good idea to have a test swatch of colours printed onto fabric so you can see how the colour turns out.

Ink Effects printed onto Lutradur

Ink Effects printed onto Lutradur

In this case I used a heavy weight lutradur to recieve the design. You can see I printed the design twice across the fabric. Each time I print, I increase the time. 30 seconds for the first print, 45 for the next and so on. Now, you may be thinking that with synthetics you use a cool iron – not in this case! Use as much heat as you can to get the transfer to occur – I had my iron set on linen for example. Also keep the iron moving otherwise you print the steam holes! I also put down baking paper to protect the ironing board from accidential transfers of colour and if the fabric is larger then the painted paper. Its best to get the heat directly onto the painted paper, however watch the hot iron doesn’t touch the unprotected fabric.

Technique summary:
Paint Paper, let dry
Place baking paper on ironing board
Lay synthetic fabric down (light coloured), place painted design face down onto it
Have iron hot and baking paper around to protect any fabric not covered by painted paper
Iron painted paper with a continuous motion for 30 seconds
Remove paper, turn off iron.

Ink effects – great colour – great price too – see the range at my store Essential Textile Art. You can keep on printing until all the paint is used up, off the paper and then you have wonderful collage papers to play with too!

Fabric Painting 1 – Lumiere and Dye Na Flow Paints

September 17, 2012

I decided to do a few posts on fabric paints as they are an easy way to colour your colour without the fuss of dyeing. Above we have a few pieces that have the fabric paint Lumiere on them. Jacquard’s Lumiere paint is a metallic fabric paint which is water based, opaque and heat set. Taking each of those things separately water based means that you can wash up your equipment in water and also you can thin the paint with water. Opaque means that Lumiere has covering power. So if you paint over black or white fabric the paint doesn’t allow the colour of the cloth underneath to show through. Lastly heat set – this means the paint becomes permanent when you either iron the cloth or pop it in the drier. remember to allow the paint to dry first before ironing it for 2-3 minutes to set it. Once set, you can then wash the coloured cloth without fear of losing the colour.

How do I apply it? You can stamp it on as in the two pieces on the left side or you can apply with a paint brush, roller.. the list goes on – have fun and try experimenting with different things. Anything to watch out for? Only thin the paint to a maximum of 1/4 water to 3/4 paint otherwise the pigment starts to separate from the binder which means you get funny lines in your painting. Overall Lumiere is the best opaque metallic paint for fabric that I’ve used.

Secondly today we have Dye Na Flow – so named because it’s a paint that acts like a dye. Jacquard’s Dye-Na-Flow is a very watery paint which at first I didn’t like until I discovered how versatile it was. Dye-Na-Flow is water based, transparent and heat set. So as above, you can wash this paint out in water and use an iron to set the paint. Transparent means that you will see the colour of the cloth through the paint so its best used on light coloured fabrics. The watery aspect means that both sides of the cloth will be covered by the paint as it seeps through into the fibres. Both Lumiere and Dye-Na-Flow can be used on natural or synthetic fabrics with great results.

What makes Dye-Na-Flow so unique? You can do a lot of different effects with it – for example the image above is all sunprinting with Dye-Na-Flow. Simply place an object on top – stencil, shells, washers and then leave the paint in the sun to dry. You can also create salt effects with it by sprinkling rock salt over the paint and leaving it to dry. The paint can also be sprayed onto cloth using one of the many mister or spray bottles available. You can build up layers of colour by heat setting after each layer of paint. Shaving cream marbeling is also easy with Dye-Na-Flow – messy but lots of fun!! Anything to watch for? Dye-Na-flow will travel to the most absorbant thing it touches so always dry your cloth on plastic.

Fabric painting – lots of fun and asy to colour your cloth. Check out more information at Jacquard’s home page. Like to buy some? Check out my shop at Essential Textile Art.

Derwent Artbars – fun on fabric!

August 20, 2012

Derwent Artbars

Derwent Artbars can be used on fabric in much the same way that the inktense pencils can however it’s possible to use them dry as well as wet. The artbars are water soluable wax crayons in a triangular form, making them easy to hold while working with them. A simple bit of fun to explore is to do a background wash on a piece of fabric.

Wash with Artbars

In this case simply wet the fabric with water and then colour the cloth with the Artbars, letting the colour flow across the fabric. The easiest way to apply is to snap off a small section and then hold that so one side touches the fabric, then sweep it across the wet surface.


Place a stencil or textured surface below the fabric and then rub the artbar across the fabric to bring the texture to the front. Rubbings are best done on DRY fabric so that the marks remain distinct.


For a bit of textural fun, after you have created your background wash and allowed it to dry, use a wet paint brush to flick paint onto the cloth from the artbar. Use the brush to wet the artbar and then with a smooth action flick the paint laden brush across the fabric. Don’t hold the artbar over the fabric otherwise you’ll get big drops of colour onto the fabris – or maybe you want this effect?!

Play, experiment and have fun! The bars do not leave a waxy residue or feel on the fabric. If you would like to purchase some then check out my store Essential Textile Art.



Wrapt in Rocky Open Morning

June 25, 2012

If you happen to be in Rockhampton, QLD on Saturday June 30 then pop into

Rockhampton Girls Grammar School

Cnr Agnes & Denham St


from 9am to 11.30am to see all the workshop stuff, tutors displays and of course traders like myself. For more details check out – and if you can’t come in person have a shop at for some lovely stuff. I’ll be trading on the Friday too from 9 – 6pm and I know TAFTA are having there last book sale there too so bargains are to be had!

The Dress Exhibition – Gallery M, Oaklands Pk, SA

June 12, 2012

“You are more than your name”, Mixed media on Canvas by Susan Pietsch

The Dress Exhibition is an exploration by eight artist on what the “dress” means to them. It’s on from June 8 to July 1, 2012. Artist talks are on Sunday June 17 from 2pm. The Gallery is adjacent to Westfield Marion  at 287 Diagonal Road, Oaklands Park, South Australia. Tha gallery has a cafe and the local library is there too. Check out there website at GalleryM.

Angelina Fibre and Film Article in Embellish Magazine

June 12, 2012

Embellish Magazine, Issue 10 (Vol.2) is out! It has an article that I wrote on Angelina Fibre and film, creating things like the wonderful texture above. Embellish is a great Australian magazine on all kinds of textile art and is packed with articles and projects for you to try. Check them out at Art to Wear Publication’s Page. I really loved combining tyvek and angelina film – a bit of a trick to get both to react with the heat!

Making fabric with Crash

May 14, 2012

Crash fabric is like crinkle lutradur. The crinkled fabric does great things with playing with the light that hits it when painted or coloured. Lightweight, similar to Lutradur 30, it gives a wonderful textured look to your work. However for some projects its good to have a fabric with a bit more body. By layering up Crash you can create a wonderfully textured Fabric to use for journal covers, bags and purses…whatever you like!

Gather your supplies: Crash fabric, WonderUnder Fusible Web, paints, gesso, iron, ironing board and baking paper. Step 1: Cut the Crash fabric in half. Lay half down on your ironing board. Step 2:  Lay down the WonderUnder over the Crash fabric.


Step 3: Tear up the other half of the Crash fabric into small pieces and place over the WonderUnder randomly.

Step 4: Place the baking paper over the whole pile of fabric. Iron on medium setting to adhere all layers.


Step 5: Move the fabric to a plastic coated table. You have a choice here – to coat with gesso or not. Go to Step 6 if you do not wish to gesso the fabric. A coating of gesso will give the fabric greater robustness for bags etc. Continuing with the gesso-ed example, paint the gesso over the whole surface. Allow to dry. Be aware that the paint will go through the fabric.

Step 6: Paint with your fabric paints or sprays. Allow to dry. Use lumiere over the surface with a fan brush to give the fabric a metallic sparkle. This technique is called dry brush because you don’t add water. Simply dip only the very tips of the fan brush in the lumiere paint and then brush across your piece at an angle of about 30 degrees to the fabric surface.

Fabric not painted with gesso being coloured with Tumble dyes

Painted Crash fabric – paints used are tumble dyes with Lumiere dry brushed over the top. It’s now ready to be sealed with Mod Podge, acrylic wax or even gel medium. The fabric is still flexible and is ready to be made up into whatever you like! Kits are available with Crash fabric and WonderUnder for you to play with, see my shop site for details of the Crash Kit.