Handmade Fabric Wall Hangings
Tips for designing your own fabric wall hangings.
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When Christie Dunning was 6 years old, she received a spool knitter from her mother. From that moment on, creating fiber art was like making magic happen--very empowering! Today she combines fabric, paper, photographs, dye, paint, found objects, and embroidery to create wall hangings (from 36" x 14" to 56" x 62"), one-of-a-kind books, mixed-media collages, and silk scarves. Her themes range from flora and fauna to current events.
Christie's use of techniques and media to communicate specific concepts are very original. First she dyes and "overdyes" her fabric using either fiber reactive dyes or transparent fabric paints. Overdyeing means dyeing the fabric one or two more times into another dye bath. Next, she uses fabric paint or thickened dye to print and paint on the dyed fabric using silkscreens, hand-carved printing blocks, stencils, brushes and spray bottles. If the work is "heliograph printed," it means sun printed. That's when she uses plants to obscure the sun from reaching the fabric underneath, which has been painted with the color-transparent paint.
At this point, Christie transfers photos (already developed) by copying them onto transfer paper and ironing the image onto fabric. The fabric containing the photo transfer is then sewed onto the dyed fabric by hand. Finally, Christie hand-embroiders her work using thread she has collected over the years (vintage silk, new silk, vintage cotton, and new cotton, rayon and metallic threads). She often embellishes with beads, artificial flowers or faux gemstones, depending on the content. Sometimes she uses additional fabric to bind the edges of her work or to create a "frame" around the central image.
Janet Taylor Pickett shares her design for a painted and beaded tote bag.