Next Time, Make it a Fabric Art Stay-cation

We just logged 1,800 miles and more than 30 hours of driving for a family vacation. We shared some good times with our extended family, and I wouldn't have missed a minute of it. (OK, I could have done without that last 6 hours in the car with the air conditioning failing in 95-degree heat.) But I think I might have had a more relaxing time if I'd opted for a fabric art stay-cation.

preparing to hand dye fabric
Quilting Arts Editor Vivika Hansen DeNegre
and Assistant Editor Kristine Lundblad
preparing to dye outside.

Yep, next time I'm going to take a few days here and there and stage my own private textile art retreat filled with paint, screen printing, fiber, and stitch. I will happily learn new surface design techniques, play with fiber art, embroider, and maybe make a fabric journal. If my family wants to join me, there are more than welcome.

I'll definitely want to make fabric dyeing a priority. Outdoors in the warm sun is the best place for dyeing. It's safer and less messy than doing it in my kitchen. And it keeps the dog from turning blue.

If you only dye occasionally, like I do, you'll want to have a quick and easy portable dye studio set up. It's important to think ahead and have everything ready. I can't tell you how many times I have dyed (or painted) something and then realized I have not provided a place to set it down while it dries, cures, or whatever else it supposed to do before the next step.

In the June/July issue of Quilting Arts Magazine, Robin Ferrier tells how to set up a basic outdoor dye studio. Note: this is just the work area set-up; it doesn't include supplies like dye, bottles, and protective gear.

Outdoor studio essentials
By Robin Ferrier

  • 1-2 large folding tables
  • Heavy-weight painter's plastic
  • Large plastic buckets
  • Water source
  • Clothesline (optional)
  • Rocks or bricks for weights (optional)
hand-dyed fabric art
The resulting dyed fabric, ready for textile art fun.

1. Position the dyeing table in an area that gets full sunlight. For practical purposes, I prefer to set it on a little bit of a downhill slant so that when excess dye is squeezed out of the fabric, it will drain away from where I am working.

2. Place an old cutting mat on top of the table, then cover it with a sheet of heavy painter's plastic.

Note: If you do not have a running water source available, such as a faucet or hose, be sure to have several buckets of water at the ready for rinsing gloves and supplies.

3. Position an extra table or shelf nearby to hold your supplies.

You now have a temporary dye studio ready to go! Gather your materials and prepare to master the basics of flat dyeing in your temporary work space.

Dyeing is but one of the many fabric art stay-cation ideas outlined in this issue of Quilting Arts. There's spin-art surface design, fabric journal bowls for keeping journey treasures, a technique for embroidering doodles, and even a stay-cation reader challenge.

Of course, you may have your vacation for this summer all planned out already. But if you get a subscription to Quilting Arts now, by next year you'll have a whole summer's worth of projects to try.

Beats sitting in a car for 30 hours any day.

P.S. Have you ever had an art stay-cation? What's your favorite summer art activity? Share with us in the comments section below.


Blog, Fabric Art


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.