Listen with Your Eyes


The blog of designer-maker Laura Thompson who specializes in fibre art, including art dolls, bowls, art journals and artful clothing.  Creativity, kindness, understanding and patience. 



Small Fabric Bowls - Part II


Last week I explained how I construct my small Griffonage Bowls - the tiny bowls I love to make with my hand-lettered fabrics. In today's post I continue the story by explaining how I embellish the bowls.

Once the bowl is sewn together, I decorate the rim with one of my favorite products, gold embossing powder.

Embossing powder is a fine powdery substance, much like sand and it's traditionally used by paper-crafters. An image is stamped onto paper using an ordinary ink pad. If embossing powder is sprinkled over the ink right away it will stick to the wet ink and the excess can be shaken off. A heat gun or embossing tool is used to melt the powder, resulting in a lovely raised design. 

There are two kinds of embossing powder, regular and UTEE.  Regular is a very fine powder, while UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel) - is, as it's name implies, made of chunkier pieces. Both will provide a lovely end product, although the UTEE, has a thicker finished appearance. 


I use embossing powder on fabric in much the same way I do on paper, the only difference is the glue. Rather than ink,  I use white PVA to adhere embossing powder to fabric. Although regular PVA works just fine, I prefer to use tacky PVA because it has a lower water content, making it easier to work with. For my griffonage bowls, I run a small bead of PVA around the rim with my finger.  While the glue is still wet I dunk it into a pile a UTEE and shake off the excess. 


Once all of the glue has been coated with UTEE, I zap the embossing powder with a heat tool. The embossing powder melts, leaving a lovely, chunky finish around the rim. Note, a heat tool is needed to melt the embossing powder, a hair dryer is not hot enough. Just as you would with paper, hold the heat tool close to the powder and move it around with a slow and steady pace as the UTEE melts.  Be mindful that prolonged exposure to the heat tool may singe the fabric, so exercise caution as you would with any tool.

Next week, in part II,  I'll show you how I finish the bowls.