Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Unfurling Ideas

Carol here.
This summer I purchased a Thermofax machine (yes, I jumped up and down when I saw the ad!).

I had been thinking of looking for one for a while and wasn't fully committed to the idea when I looked at a local "Craig's List" ad.
There it sat.
Only one for sale.
Only 20 minutes from my house.
Only a few hundred bucks...

What's a girl to do?

I decided that it must be Fate at work and made the phone call.
I made a few calls and inquiries about the machine, calculated the cost of getting it up and running and made the leap.
I had to invest a little more money on maintenance, film and a belt but I still got a good deal.
Now I am the (ecstatic, jubilant,over joyed) owner of my own Thermofax!

One of the things that I wanted to do was offer screens of my line drawings.
And I will, it may just take a couple of more weeks for that.
In the mean-time, I wanted to share the unfurling of an idea that involves the Thermofax.

My husband recently took on the chore (and I do mean chore) of re-doing our bathroom.
Now our house was built in 1864 so you can imagine how wonky it is.
We always say this -

"The more you look, the more you find".

And it isn't always a good find either!
But - he did a great job replacing walls, floor, toilet, tub and whatever else he replaced while I was in Colorado Springs.
Smart man - doing this work while I was gone, huh?
So now we have a really clean and white bathroom.
We decided to put in one of those rounded shower curtain rods (which are awesome!) along with the snap on curtain that you can get for those type of rods.
The only color options were white, brown or gray.
So I decided that I could alter the white one with a bit of color.

That was the seed of an idea.
Barely shaking in the fertile ground of my mind...but beginning to take root none the less.
I began thinking about colors, shapes and tried to decide if I wanted to go with a "theme".
At this same time, Clinique was having one of their bonus buy events at Belk's.
Yep, you're asking what in the world does that have to do with her bathroom and making art??

(Stay with me, it will all come together soon)

My husband (he really is wonderful about doing these special little things btw) went by the store and got one for me, brought it home and sat it in the bathroom.

(you really need to see both sides of the bag)

Well, well, well...
That little seed of an idea just had a growth spurt!
It was unfurling, developing, gaining ground in my mind.
I want to take a second here to talk about the creative process...how creative ideas are developed.

The above story is a perfect illustration of how I get ideas.

Ideas for any art that I make - whether it's a painting, a collage, a mixed media piece or a pen and ink drawing.
I see something that triggers another idea, which triggers a different idea, which triggers...
You see what I mean.
You must learn to pay attention to your random little thoughts.
You have to allow these thoughts center stage.
Let them unfurl.

I tried a couple of different ideas for the design of the shower curtain.
Like this one that I sketched out in my sketchbook.

This one is hand drawn, painted and then free motion stitched.

It's nice but not what I had in mind.
Then I drew a simple flower shape. A line drawing devoid of a lot of details.

Then I made a Thermofax screen from this drawn image.
I printed the image on a piece of green hand dyed batik using a green paint. Sounds strange but I had a plan.
I cut the fabric out around the screened image, leaving about 1/8 inch around all edges.
Then I printed the same image on a piece of orange/yellow batik. I cut each petal out separately, along with the center of the flower.

Oh – I forgot that I fused Misty Fuse on both pieces of fabric. I love Misty Fuse because it is so thin and fine. You can fuse two (or more) pieces of fabric together and it is still so soft...it's almost impossible to tell that there is a fusible between the layers at all.

After all the pieces had fusible on them and they were cut out, I placed the orange/yellow petals on the green “background”.
This is what it looked like.

Looking better...getting there.

I'm thinking of adding a long skinny stem to each flower on the curtain - like a flower garden of different colored shaggy daisies.
I'll post more as my ideas continue to develop or unfurl.
I'd love for you to hang around, to tag along with me.
Sign up on my blog to be a “follower”, I'd love to have you!


  1. Oh wow, Carol, you got one!!! Can't wait to see the wonderful things to thermofax with it. Let us know!

  2. You are AWESOME! What a riot! And a great image, great idea, fabulous unfurling process.

  3. Do we get to vote? I vote yes to stems on the flowers...would really work on a ripply curtain. Lori W at Art Camp for Women

  4. Great use of the bag for inspiration.

  5. A friend of mine (Patsy Thompson) is dyeing some green fabric for me...as soon as I get it, I am making the long skinny stems to audition.

  6. Really lovely Idea. I can't wait to see it finished.

  7. I know you will have lots of fun with your new toy. And thanks for sharing your story. I'll bet you love your new bathroom.

  8. As a thermofax owner, I can tell you that you will never regret the purchase! I loved the description of your thought process from idea to images. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Awesome project...absolutely gorgeous!

  10. lucky you to find a thermofax machine - I'm jealous! Love reading about your unfurling process and I can't wait to see the finished curtain.


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