Tyvek Innovative Uses Blog, by Material Concepts

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fiber Artist Working With Tyvek - Paulette Lancaster

Recently we found the Art Dust blog of fiber artist Paulette Lancaster when she posted about working with Tyvek. We asked Paulette to do a guest post about her Coral Series work and post images of some of her work. Here is what Paulette wrote about her work with Tyvek, with photos used with her permission:

Being a fiber mixed media artist I am always on the alert for new materials to use in creating my art. Upon reading Chapter Two: Creating the Surfaces - Tyvek Film and Fabric in Gwen Hedley's book, Surfaces for Stitch Plastics, Films, and Fabric, I wanted to try incorporating Tyvek into my work. On my search for Tyvek , I discovered 10" x 13" Tyvek mailing envelopes at my local office supply store where I purchased a package.

To prepare the Tyvek, I used a pair of paper scissors and cut down one side and a cross the bottom of the envelope. Opened up it gives me a 20" x 13" piece of working fabric. I choose to use acrylic paints to color my Tyvek because of the quick drying factor. I tend to favour metallic acrylic paints because of their sheen and richness of color in my art work but my subject matter can also dictate my choices of paint color and their luminosity.

The inspiration piece in my Coral Reef Series was a hand dyed fabric that I used as the background in each art quilt. The play of colors on the fabric suggested sunlight shinning down into and through a body of water. A school of fish and a coral reef was all that was needed to complete the scene. I researched coral reefs to learn their shapes, structures and colors before I picked orange and peach colored acrylics for my coral colors. These I painted onto one side of the Tyvek and let it dry. I experimented to find the best coral shapes by cutting out pieces of the painted Tyvek and placing them between sheets of parchment paper which I pressed with a warm iron. When Tyvek becomes hot enough it changes shape rapidly. You must be vigil and check the progression of shrinkage often or you'll be left with nothing but vapour.

After arranging my selected pieces, I machine stitched them to my presewn quilt tops. Fish cut from a commercially printed fabric were wonder undered onto the quilt tops as well. Wonder Under is a fabric adhesive. Embroidery, beads and shells were used as embellishments. The quilts were finished with hand quilting and then bound.

I have exhibited my art quilts in several venues. My second art quilt in the Coral Reef Series was exhibited in the Indiana State Fair where it took a third place in the embellished art quilt catagory.

- R. Paulette Lancaster

Many thanks to Paulette for sharing how she works with Tyvek. We'll feature more about her work in another post in the near future.

Of course, you don't have to cut up Tyvek envelopes for art work - You can always buy Tyvek online from Material Concepts in many styles.

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