The Images, The Album Art, the Tshirts, the Technique

As much as the music and lyrics were behind the Steam Punk series, the art and logos found on the liners, on those black rock shirts was just as much a part of the experience for me. The task was to scale those images to tea cosy size! I tried a few different techniques with varied success.

FullSizeRender1For the more complex photo, I tried Mod Podge as it seemed to be one of the more reliable methods out there.

IMG_4261 I reversed the images as necessary, tried a few sizes as I didn’t know what I wanted and just followed the instructions.

The greyscale photo transferred really well for what I had intended but there were a few patches that didn’t register. I suspect that the goo was a little thick and just didn’t cure sufficiently. It was kind of like creating an iron-on decal right on the surface of the shirt.



The crazy quilt style of the Steam Punk pieces means that I was able to maneuver around the bare patches.

The other technique involved soaking the paper in solvent and burnishing it straight onto the fabric but… it didn’t work, not even a little so I don’t have any pictures of it. I’m game to try it again as I suspect that I used the wrong type of printer to produce the transfer images. I’ll write about that one when I get another run at it!

That Super Secret Project I May Have Mentioned


Each of my Steam Punk pieces begins with temporary musical insanity. When I’m immersed in a piece, the regular music playlist becomes a single song on a loop, then maybe just a phrase as I sift through images and racks of clothing for scraps of memory to use.

I Live By The River. 2014. 8 x 9 x 6 inches, quilted and embellished textile.
I Live By The River. 2014. 8 x 9 x 6 inches, quilted and embellished textile.

For the most impressionable of my impressionable years, my mother ran a record store in an isolated Northern town. Because she had a lifelong love of all things musical and an apparently boundless enthusiasm for new styles, the punk music was the soundtrack of my days. I roamed free range through the store, practicing reading from liner notes and rearranging the vinyl in the racks according to my artistic tastes of the day. Album art and concert stills an indelible backdrop to so many rites of passage.

She Just Couldn't Stay. 2015. 6 x 9 x 6 inches, quilted and embellished textile.
She Just Couldn’t Stay. 2015. 6 x 9 x 6 inches, quilted and embellished textile.

The lyrical language that I soaked in gave me the vocabulary that I would need after she died much too young. The well meaning hospitality and murmured condolences offered by women of the community did nothing for an angry pre-teen who already chafed at the isolation of the small town.

In its day, crazy quilting was considered rebellious, rejecting the traditional patterns and symmetry of the time, the creative freedom that it allowed was a danger to both health and home! In the same spirit, I use salvaged fabrics and embellishments to recall the songs that taught me that a wall of noise could drown out the murmur of tea and comfort when needed. I hope that my work allows the viewer to recall and reconnect with the music that gave them permission to scream and flail and stomp when they needed to.