Searching for Quality Art Materials

  Supply shelves in my studio

I’ve discovered that good art supplies can make a huge difference in the quality of my finished works of art. Fortunately, I live in a town where art is very much alive and appreciated! I feel lucky to have access to a wonderful art supply store that is owned by a working artist with a great spirit, Scott Pope. Creativity and love of art is sensed when you walk into his store, The Loft.

Scott has been supplying Athens’ artists for over 30 years. I know, because I’ve been shopping (and dreaming, and finding inspiration) at his store for almost that long! I even featured The Loft’s Jackson Street storefront in an early exhibit, and you can still see the silk painting hanging in Scott’s store.

    The Loft #1 - 2002

At The Loft I can always find a) great supplies, b) great staff, c) an option to order what I need if they don’t have it in stock, and d) answers to my endless questions! The Loft can be found on the Web and on Facebook, but their real strength is in walking in the door, looking around and talking to a real (knowledgeable) human being. Leslie is especially helpful, she puts artistic signs all over the store, and I love seeing what she is up to with her own artwork. I can sense that she is a good manager, and that Scott can depend on her, but I also know that I can trust anyone they hire to provide good recommendations.

  Colors galore at The Loft     Canvas rolls at The Loft

For my web and mail-order needs, I use several different suppliers. I highly recommend each of them, and I have found that they are all very helpful if called upon with questions:

Dharma Trading Company has almost everything a fiber artist can use. Dyes, paints, blank clothing and fabrics - it’s your one-stop shopping place when you are beginning to dye.

At ProChemical and Dye, I buy Pro MX Reactive Dyes and the Pro Liquid Reactive Dyes; I use their chemicals, and sometimes I purchase their fabric. ProChemical and Dye has many other quality products and they are worth taking a look at.

Thai Silks has a great collection of silk scarves; they are often the first place I go for my scarves to dye.

TestFabrics is my preferred source of ready-to-dye material - their supplies are a little more expensive than some of the other places, but it is worth it when I am seeking quality. I first discovered them in 1979 when I bought white cotton batiste yardage to create my (white-on-white embroidered) wedding dress. TestFabrics sells a wonderful silk broadcloth that I am currently very in love with, and they also have a nice silk twill. Both are a little unusual, and have a nice weight and feel to them.

I am continuing to experiment with silkscreen, and silkscreen inks. I’m in the market for good inks, particularly sustainable/eco-friendly inks, and good screens. I am also struggling with the fixing process for silkscreening on textiles; I want to be sure my designs are not going to wash away. If anyone has suggestions or feedback, please let me know!

    Always a need for more supplies

A quick note: Tonight, the ATHICA Mystery exhibit opened. The reception was fun, and I saw quite a few of my friends there!  All artists submitted art in the same format, 8.5” x 5.5”, and the artist’s names were not revealed. The task of the viewers is to see how many artists can be recognize by their style. Over 100 Athens artists had been invited to participate in this exclusively Athens-artist event, and I was proud to have been part of it. See the exhibit before it ends on September 18, it’s quite a showcase of Athens talent!