Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Using Inktense on fabric

Inktense on fabric by Gillian Cooper
I’m not sure why, but I was rather resistant to Inktense pencils and blocks.  I think it may be because that although people raved about them, when I looked at their work I wasn’t convinced.  It was either a bit pale and uninteresting or very dark.
Inktense on fabric by Gillian Cooper
However, I finally decided I had to try them to see what the fuss was about.  The first attempt my daughter and I made was not terribly inspiring, but since then I’ve become a real convert.  The colour can be intense or pale and adding the ink to wet fabric gives a lovely wash style effect.  They also work well on paper and have become my ‘go-to’ set of pencils for any drawing I’m doing as then I can wet the colour, paint it in and the draw more on top.  The colour is so much more intense than watercolour and is permanent on fabric once it has been wet.  They have a lovely range of colours that sit nicely with my palette.
I like Inktense so much that I wrote an article about how to use them for Popular Patchwork (January 2015) as part of my ‘Colour onto Cloth’ series, rather than just mention them in passing.  When I was offered a stand at this week’s Stitching, Sewing and Quilting Show at the SECC, Glasgow, I decided I wanted to do something active, rather than just hand out leaflets about my new classes.  And so, Inktense seemed liked the obvious activity.  Not too messy, instant results and fun.  People can come and have a sit down (very important if they are spending a day at a show!) and relax and try something new.  Derwent Pencils, the makers of Inktense, kindly responded to my cheeky request for some blocks and pencils to use and my friend, Luci, who runs an events decoration company, eventsdecor, has passed on to me lots of old white fabric she no longer requires.  It seemed simple, but of course, it requires far more work than that, not least, cutting and ironing all the fabric to be used!
Spare mopping up fabric - will be used in something else
Naturally, I also cannot find the samples I made for the article in Popular Patchwork and so have been playing at making some more, just using Inktense.  Normally, it is a layer in a process for me along with mono printing and paintstiks, rather than just used on its own.  This has been fun and the kids have all had a go too as today was a ‘snow day’ and there was no school.  This was a good activity after all the exertion of sledging!  The kids’ samples are interesting – they use the blocks so different to me and the level of mess was hugely more than my normally very contained area!   
Two of the kids hard at work

I’m looking forward to the Show, but am a bit nervous as it is the first time I’ve done this.  It will definitely be a learning experience for me.  As an incentive to visitors to the Show to sign up for my newsletter, I’m offering them the chance to win a set of Inktense blocks.  If you sign up for my newsletter before the end of Sunday 8 March, I’ll add your name into the draw too.  I promise no junk mail!
The Inktense blocks on offer

One of the kid's pieces hung out to dry

Another of the kids pieces - it's meant to be a solar eclipse


Jeannie said...

Thanks for the post about Inktense. I too have been hesitant to use them on fabric, but now I have to give it a try. Love what the kids created. I often think that we could learn so much from them about loosening up and letting go. Thanks again!

Gillian Cooper said...

Hi Jeannie,
Thanks for your comment. I totally agree about being inspired by the kids. My daughter is really proud of a picture she made that I admire but can't copy because she has the young loose-ness about her work and I am trying too hard to put the marks in the right place!

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