Sunday, September 20, 2009

Indian Corn

Indian Corn (2009) 14 x 11.5"

This is a small piece I just completed this weekend. At Monday’s Pandoras meeting, I created a stamp of the corn pattern using Fun Foam mounted on a cylinder (see previous entry for explanation of this process). I created stamps using both the positive parts (kernels) and negative parts (spaces between the kernels) of the design.

I stamped on muslin, using Liquitex Soft Body Artist Color and Liquitex Professional Acrylic Ink, mixed with Liquitex Fabric Medium. I cut some of the stamped muslin apart and stitched it back together. You can see this in the upper left section of the photo above, and in the detail shots below.

On some of the images using the stamp with the kernels, I drew around the kernels with a purple Derwent Inktense Pencil and then used a wet paintbrush to soften the pencil lines.

When I quilted it, I stitched in some kernels along the edges that weren’t there originally, and filled them in with the Inktense pencils. My intent was not to make them look exactly the same, but to draw attention to the stitched line and the transition between the two pieces (which you can see in the photo below, almost right down the middle):

and in this shot, horizontally near the top:

On the stamped images using the stamp with the space between the kernels, I used the Inktense pencils to color in (using cross hatching) the kernels. Or I simply did the cross hatching with thread. You can see this in the photo below, on the left side:

I quilted in lines suggestive of dried corn husks around the corn, using a variated green/tan/brown thread.

I had fun with this piece, and learned how to use some new materials I had not tried before. I really liked the Liquitex materials, especially how the inks and paints worked with the Fabric Medium. Liquitex makes some metallic colors, too, which I have not tried yet, but will in the future. The Inktense pencils would be nice for a soft watercolor effect, or a subtle wash of color.

I like trying out new techniques and materials, because I find that it forces me a bit out of my comfort zone, and makes me more creative. It also adds skills and materials to my arsenal, so that when I get a great idea, I can choose those best suited to the subject matter.


  1. Thanks for showing how you are developing your ideas. I was intrigued with the original stamping idea, but I love what you've done with the "fabric" you made as much or more. I loved the corn silk filler a lot.

    Did you choose your ink, thread colors from items you already had? What do you recommend for a "starter kit" of pigment tools?

  2. Great questions! I had never used the Liquitex materials before. When I find out about something new, I try to test it out.

    When I first started doing surface design, I didn't have many materials, so I went out and bought what I needed for each project. At this point, I have a lot of this stuff, so I can just go to my studio and find what I need, or most of what I need.

    If you are just getting started with using non-traditional materials, like paints, inks, etc., in your art quilts, here are some things I'd consider buying as a starter kit:

    1. Flat or metallic acrylic paints in a fluid form - not tubes - such as the Liquitex ones I used in this project, or Golden Fluid Acrylics. Or paints specifically for textiles (Jacquard Textile color, Jacquard Lumiere, Stewart Gill, Claudine Hellmuth). You want paints with a high pigment level; the cheaper brands won't perform as well as the ones I've listed here.

    2. Fabric medium - this is white stuff you can mix into acrylic paint not designed specifically for use on fabric. It makes the paint easier to work with on fabric (less bleeding, more control) and helps retain the "hand" of the fabric, so it is less stiff when you are done.

    3. Inks (such a Tsukineko or Liquitex). You can mix the Tsukineko inks with pure aloe to make them thicker and less likely to bleed. The Liquitex did great for stamping and painting when mixed with their fabric medium.

    4. Paint brushes in various sizes designed for working on fabric. These have stiffer bristles, so you have more control when painting on textiles.

    5. Ink or watercolor pencils (Derwent, Lyra, Caran d'Ache Neocolor II).

    The big box craft stores have some of this stuff, but not all of it. Good art supply stores will have some of it, too. Great online sources include Quilting Arts/Interweave, Dick Blick, and Joggles.

    Hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions.

  3. I loved the way you added the thread color to accent the corn kernels. This is a beautiful technique and perfectly appropriate project for the season. Thanks for playing with our new Surface Design Center products from Liquitex. – Mary @ C&T

  4. Susan:
    Gorgeous! How cool that you re-visited the corn and tried other things with it. I love all the different looks you achieved and it definitely seems like you're having fun!! Go, go, go!

  5. Stunning! I loved the stamps but to see the concept transition to the corn - thanks for the share!

  6. How lovely and just in time for autumn!

  7. I absolutely love that you saw the inner sweet corn of the fun foam heart. I've been using sticky-backed fun foam to make stamps for years and I was just thinking to myself today that after layers of acrylics, inks and dyes and years of loving use, some of them start to look like miniature works of art, themselves!

  8. Susan,

    I love what you did with the pencils and thread work on your corn piece. the stamps are ingenious, especially mounted on a cylinder. I tried stamping once using a corn cob and paint. I did not get great definition.

    I've used the fun foam before (the kind you heat, right?), but how did you get the positive and negative images of the corn? Thanks.


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