More dryer sheets – colouring the barrens

My hands have never been able to keep pace with my mental processes. For that matter, my mouth has a hard job keeping up, too, which is why I sometimes appear to make quantum leaps from one idea to another, connecting ideas that have no discernible link to the average mortal but which have, through some fearful symmetry, been linked by my mortal eye.

To sum up, as the ineffable Montoya said, I frequently have more ideas that I know what to do with. When creative juices start a-whirling, it gets even worse. Yesterday I was finishing off the five thousand and one little things that go int completing a body of works for a show when I realised that the sky pinned to my design wall and the rocks lying on a nearby table went together perfectly with some green fabrics I’d painted recently. Even more cool was a piece of painted silk that somehow transformed itself into a pond.

As the layers started falling into place, I realised that this was becoming one of the original pieces that I had wanted to do for the show when first I started planning two years ago. I’d never been able to wrangle the right design, somehow. So here I am now, with a week to go before everything has to be in and a new piece is starting itself somehow. Why do I do this to myself?

Preliminary sketch:

barrens 2

It’s a piece about the Witless Bay Barrens (or any Newfoundland barrens, come to that) at dawn. Any of you who have seen northern heath, be it in North America or Europe, will appreciate that it never quite looks this clean and smooth. I needed texture and, given certain time constraints and my basic impatience, it had to be achievable quickly.

More dryer sheets were called for and my mother-in-law Sylvia and my good friend Shelley were able to supply me with just enough (I think). I painted them last night and rushed up to check on the results this morning. Using Pebeo setacolour transparent paints with a touch of pearl, I was able to paint quite a nice assortment of colours and textures. I’ll get to attaching them later today, as they need another little bit of time to dry. I flipped them over so that the backs would get some air exposure. The paint tends to flow lower as it dries, so I try not to move them or rumple them up too much while they’re in the initial stages of drying.

texture 1

texture 2

texture 5

texture 3

The great thing about these is that, while they have to be attached firmly and all, they don’t fray and can even be melted for additional securing of edges. More pictures as the piece evolves!


4 Comments Add yours

  1. sarai says:

    My gosh, Vicky, that looks fantastic. I am excited. I can’t wait to see what comes of this!

  2. Kim says:


    Thank you for posting the close-ups. Until now, I wasn’t getting the fascination with using dryer sheets. But, oh my goodness, I sure get it now! Wow.

  3. Pat Spiller says:

    I am so pleased to have found your blog….what terrific fiber art you do! I’ll visit again. Pat

  4. Cynthia Nichols says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I’m off to try it. (Got to do more wash). It’s the first time I have seen rocks and ledges that I like.

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