During this time, I was always painting little pieces of fabric to give away as presents. A friend felt that I should paint fabric to sell as it looked completely different to other fabrics available... I gave it some thought and decided to take the plunge and Brush Rags handpainted fabrics was born in 2001...... Initially I painted on calico but eventually I was not happy with the quality of the cloth anymore and I switched to 100% percale cotton. It is a labour intensive process as the fabric gets washed and cut into fat quarters before painting, then gently washed by hand to get rid of all loose bits of paint and salt. Each piece of fabric is ironed 3 times - ironing is very important with fabric paint as it sets the paint. As I work alone, quality control is part of the entire process and rejects land in my scrap bag. Wet painted pieces must lie flat to dry and cannot be moved while wet as it smudges easily - so it is easier to only paint fat quarters. I love painting fabric, but I chose to keep a balance between quilting and painting as I feel I am a quilter and quilt teacher first and secondly I make fabric..... Pied Piper, the local quilt shop in Port Elizabeth kindly sells my fabric at the National Quilt Festivals, otherwise I sell at the monthly Dias Quilters's Guild meetings and from home.
|Samples of brush rags handpainted fabric|
|Boaz - detail from back of cloak|
Being involved in something completely different to what I normally do, was great fun. The cast members were great and we used rehearsals for fitting sessions. We made loose fitting tunic style dresses for the female cast with matching sashes. For the male cast, we made a very easy kaftan style tunic with a sash to give it some shape. For another scene, we made loose fitting pants, almost fitting like nappies. We were quite hysterical when the guys fitted the pants the first time - but somehow it looked the part. We used the linings of the old curtains and old sheets for the pants.... I decided to do duty backstage during the 3 shows should there be any mishaps with the costumes - something made me take my old little Bernina 807 and some sewing equipment, just in case..... During one scene of the the play, the younger men was involved in a fight and had a wonderful time on stage, but the threadbare pants could not take the punch.... I ended up in the dressing room of the guys, sitting on my butt fixing the torn pants with magic applique and scraps with the guys changing around me telling all sorts of jokes. The show had to go on and there was no other place close to a plugpoint for me to sit and sew.... The oldest cast member, a retired Reverend of the same congregation kept order and took care of me.
I was fortunate to be in the audience at the final show, I was immensely proud to be part of such a wonderful production which really added value to my life..... It was also a thrill to see my name printed on the programme.....