Wednesday, July 05, 2006

So I've Been Quiet...

…but the world is a much noisier place for me now. I just got my new hearing aids! They are so cool. However, I can hear myself walking and breathing. I can hear the refrigerator and the lawn mower a block away. The sounds of crackling paper, water running, and the beep of the microwave when it’s ready are really loud. Even my own voice sounds odd to me. I feel like I have to learn how to hear all over again. How to ignore the sounds I don’t want to hear and focus on those that I do? The birds are chirping!

Right now I’m only wearing them for a short while to get used to just having the microphones in my ears. At first they tickled unmercifully! The main part of the hearing aids goes over my ear which feels quite normal since I also wear glasses (and have since I was in grade 7 — back when dirt was young). That part doesn’t seem to clash with the earpieces on my glasses. They’re coexisting nicely. The biggie is the part that actually goes in my ear, but still leaving space for air circulation. My ear canals seem to be somewhat ticklish and sensitive so a program of increasing wearing time will help get them used to the feelings of having something in them.

I think in the long run I’ll only be wearing my hearing aids some of the time. After all, I spend a lot of time at home by myself. I don’t need to hear anything then except maybe the radio which I’ve been listening to less and less. I don’t get many phone calls or anyone coming by during the day. I can listen to podcasts on my Palm with the earphones on when I can’t wear my hearing aids at the same time anyway. So I’ll be wearing them when I go out or when I have company or when T-Man’s around. He gets tired of me saying “What?” all the time. That adds up to maybe less than half the time I’m awake total that I need to wear them. But first I have to go through the adjustment period so I’ll be wearing them quite a bit for awhile. I have another appointment with the audiologist in 2 weeks. She promised to find out how much the new coloured shells cost so I can change out my black ones if I want. Do I want purple, orange, or green? Bright or light? Decisions, decisions.

So you want some fibre content on this here blog? Enough of Damselfly’s personal afflictions? OK, how about a photo-tutorial on painting cloth with fabric paints? There’s a cool technique that I use quite a bit and it’s very easy. It works differently with different paints though so some experimentation is in order. Because I just recently got some Golden Fluid Acrylic paints and the accompanying DAC 900 fabric medium, I thought I’d test it out and see what it does using the scrunch technique. I also thought I’d do another piece of fabric at the same time with Pebeo Setacolor transparent fabric paint, which I know works well with this technique. The weather was cooperative too, being warm and sunny so the fabric dried quickly, which is the secret. Not the light, but the drying makes this work. Remember that fact. There’s erroneous information out there that says you need sunlight for “sun printing” of which this is an off-shoot. But you don’t. You need heat and dry air.

First I got out the paints and mixed them in small containers with water. I used quinicridone nickel/azo gold which is a lovely yell0w-gold acrylic and red ochre Setacolor. I didn’t measure sorry. Approximately ¼ teaspoon or so of paint and enough water to completely wet the pieces of fabric. Plus a few drops of DAC 900 in the case of the fluid acrylic. I put them on my tray and scrunched the pieces of fabric up with my fingertips, creating mountains and valleys in the cloth. Then I put them out in the sun to dry.

At first they looked all-over one colour. Pardon the variations in light in these photos — they were done over several hours and the light changed. It does that sometimes.

But as they started to dry, the colour started migrating up the mountains to the tops.

The mountains’ colours deepened as the valleys lost a lot of their pigment.

When they were dry, I flipped them over to see the other side. It was much lighter.

Then I ironed them thoroughly which both set the colour and got out most of the wrinkles.

The results were interesting: the fluid acrylic (left, gold) didn’t darken much more than at the very tops of the mountains. It was missing the middle tones and “contour” lines that I like so much with the Setacolor (right, red). Plus there are spots of pigment where I didn’t mix the paint and water very thoroughly. This piece of fabric needs more work to be at all exciting. I do like the colour but the hand is somewhat stiffer than the “real” fabric paint. I doubt I’ll be rushing out to buy more fluid acrylics unless there are colours that I just can’t get with Setacolor or there is a technique that works better with them. More experimentation needed. It'll be fun.

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