Monday, November 23, 2009

Surface Design Center and Jane’s new book

A few months ago, I was invited by C&T Publishing to test drive some products they were considering for their new Liquitex Surface Design Center. I created my Indian Corn and Hosta pieces using these products, and they are now touring around the country publicizing this new collection of professional acrylic colors, mediums and inks.

C&T designed this Surface Design Center as a way for quilt shop owners to bring surface design materials into their shops, making them more accessible for quilters who want to explore making art quilts. The Center will include Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic colors and Professional Acrylic Ink! colors, Liquitex Fabric Medium and Matte Gel Medium, and Winsor & Newton brushes.

These are really cool products, and I think you’ll enjoy using them. I had never used the Liquitex Acrylic Inks, and they are really great.

The Surface Design Center debuted at Quilt Festival in Houston to an enthusiastic response.

In conjunction with the Surface Design Center, C&T is releasing a great new book by Jane Davila that teaches you how to use all the products in it. Jane Davila’s Surface Design Essentials (72 pages, $16.95) will be available in January 2010. You can pre-order autographed copies from Jane by e-mailing her at

This is a smaller format book with a covered spiral binding that will be a helpful reference for fiber and mixed-media artists. Through 15 techniques and 7 projects, it shows you how to use acrylic paints, mediums, acrylic inks and water soluble pencils on fabric and some unusual, mixed-media surfaces.

In addition to Jane, the following fabulous artists contributed samples for the book:

Natalya Aikens
Terry Grant
Lynn Koolish
Jane LaFazio
Judy Coates Perez
Virginia Spiegel
Elin Waterston

I’ve had a number of questions from people curious about the Liquitex Professional Acrylic Ink! (and yes, the exclamation point is part of the brand name). I’d never used them before this. They come in little bottles like India ink that calligraphers use, with an eyedropper:

Here’s a sample of the inks used in a calligraphy pen on off-white muslin (I mixed the yellow and red in different combinations as I added more ink to the pen making these marks):

What’s really cool about them is that they don’t bleed at all into the fabric.

Here is the ink painted onto the surface of white Kona Cotton. The yellow band at the bottom of the photo was done with watercolor pencils to achieve the bleeding I wanted there; the other marks were made with the inks:

And here are the inks mixed with a bit of Liquitex Fabric Medium and stamped onto Kona Cotton:

The fabric medium acts as an extender (makes the inks go farther), and also keeps the hand of the fabric a bit softer.

You can also dilute them with water and paint on fabric to get a nice watercolor effect, where they bleed out into the fabric.

I really liked using these inks, and plan to buy them in a bunch of different colors and experiment some more.