PanPastels, Why?

I love taking a tone-on-tone fabric and adding a bit of color.  I’ve done this frequently with stitches pre-programmed in my various machines and again with machine embroidery.  This last few years I’ve experimented with many mediums, dye, thin paints, markers and my favorites Inktense pencils and Fabric paints.  I enjoy all these techniques but I can complain about each.  Creating a design for machine embroidery is time-consuming. The scan and stitch methods are never satisfactory for me.   In fact, the way I’ve done it, I can spend more time creating a design than the garment’s life.  I like fabric paints. I use acrylic paints which are quick to set up, use and clean-up. But I do need to set-up and clean-up either of which can take longer than actually painting my design.   (Stenciling takes even longer, but I do like it too.) Also, I’m confined to working downstairs in the area which is prepared for — uh– the expected and unexpected activity of paints.  I loved the ease of using InkTense pencils. So neat. Transportable. Could be used while sitting in my easy chair. I loved the  final effect of Intense Pencils too. The hours spent  adding color to this vest:

didn’t seem long; but I needed nearly a week to  layer colors and scrub the pencil tip into the fabric covering it with ink.  It was a wonderful experience, which I’ve always wanted to repeat. Except my arm ached from the hours of dragging the pencil back-and-forth over the fabric imparting color.   I concluded that the pencils were wonderful for detail, but not for covering large areas.; at least for me.  I did try the Ink Blocks. They tend to break, make a mess on my hands and being big don’t work well in small detailed areas.  I also tried wetting a brush, stroking the block and applying the brush (with liquid ink) to the fabric. I did like the result. I was working wet-onto-dry (fabric). The ink would spread easily or could be controlled and confined to small details.  Adding Inktense Pencils  before applying Textile Medium, allowed me to add all the extra detailing I thought needed. Problem? I like to work on these projects in my easy chair while watching TV.  If it’s a wet-medium, I need a sure-to-be-spilled liquid next to me. I considered projects and delayed because I would need to buy more blocks and pencils. Individuals or sets was the question.  Per piece, buying individuals was 1/3 to 1/2 as again as much as sets. Sets however were a big initial investment, especially since I would want one set of pencils and one set of blocks.  Also sets are guaranteed to contain colors I don’t want to use.

So I dwaddled, until I came across a quilter who uses PanPastels to color miniature quilts and hangings. I can’t find my link or her name so I can’t give credit as I would like. I sat and watched in fascination as she neatly painted using pan pastels while seated in her comfortable chair.  She used a small brush which she dipped into water and then brushed across her pan to pick up color. Intrigued, I searched the net to see how others are using PanPastels. Not unsurprising, scrap booking and art journaling are the two top choices. The variety of ways PanPastels are used was astonishing, including that many times users preferred dry medium which would then be finished with a fixative.  In each video, the mess is minimal. Not at all like my experiments with chalk pastels in my art student days.   So I just had to try…..

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