Indigo Project Complete (Almost)

Project Complete

Finally, all the dyeing (for the items I had) is done for the ‘big project’. The picture shows them still wet and they took over 2 days to dry. Fortunately, I had a nice large plastic cover to protect them from my feathery visitors. Now they just need to be untied and let rest for several days before their first washing. I’ll try to remember to take a few pictures to share the results. They can then join the others, already done, for their final wash and pressing (groan – I know there are those who think ironing is a great way to get instant gratification but I’m not one of them). Anyway, I now look forward to working on my personal projects; shibori and indigo dyeing is included.

Natural Dye Experiments

Haven’t had much time to do any eco printing recently but still had the need to do ‘something’. While reorganizing my studio spaces after the new flooring, I came across some botanicals I had stashed for a play day. I had a lot of acorns and a pile of avocado pits (I had to take out of my freezer to make room for food. Can you imagine!). I also had a stash of pomegranate rinds.

I had purchased some linen and used aluminum acetate as a mordant. The first things I ‘cooked up’ were the pomegranate rinds. They were covered with water and simmered for an hour or so. I got a nice brown solution. I ripped off a piece of the linen and simmered it in half of my pomegranate solution. After an hour of simmering I let the fabric sit in the pot for a day. After drying the fabric sat for a few days before washing.

pomegranate feb 2017

Pomegranate

I read that tumeric will become a bit more lightfast when combined with pomegranate. So I added some tumeric to the rest of my pomegranate solution. The fabric simmered for an hour, sat in the solution for a day, was dried and allowed to sit for a few days before washing. To test the lightfastness, I have torn off a strip of fabric from the sample. Half of the strip is laying on a north facing windowsill. The other half of the strip is in a dark drawer. Will check them in about 3 months.

acorn/tumeric-pomegranate feb 2017

Acorn-Tumeric w/Pomegranate

To the left of the tumeric fabric, in the above photo, is the fabric I dyed with acorns. I had 2 gallon sized zipper bags full. I put all of them in a pot, covered them with water and simmered until I had a beautiful dark brown solution. Using a third of the solution I simmered a piece of linen for about an hour. I let it dry and sit for a couple of days before I washed it. I don’t think the photo shows what a wonderful golden brown the fabric became.

avocado pits/acorn feb 2017

Avocado Pits-Acorn

In the photo above, to the left of the acorn fabric, is the fabric dyed with avocado pits. I had about 50 avocado pits which had started to develop a nice mold. I covered these with water and simmered them for about an hour or two. I used about one third of the resulting solution to dye this piece of fabric. This fabric was also allowed to rest after drying for a couple of days before washing.

In all the examples, the plant material was processed in a stainless steel pot. The solution was obtained after straining off the plant material. All the solutions used were diluted with water to allow for the fabric to move freely in the dye bath. The fabric was also processed in a stainless steel pot.

avocado/acorn/tumeric/pomegranate feb 2017

Avocado Pits-Acorn-Tumeric w/Pomegranate
Pomegranate

I think all the colors came out beautifully. I’m ready to do more.

At Last!

A few years after moving into our house, I set up a home maintenance piggy bank. Anyone living in a house will know exactly what it’s for; houses are greedy things. The house was new and automatically came with, at that time, carpeting throughout. In a couple of years everyone knows what happens to that kind of carpeting, so we began to replace the carpet on the first floor with nice hard, easy to clean surfaces. Many years went by and the second floor became my studio space as well as storage space for show supplies. The place was packed full. Every time I looked at those floors, with their now really old and yucky carpeting, I didn’t know how or when I was going to get those floors redone.

Old flooring (ugh!):

new floors before

Finally, last fall I made a decision; it was now or never. So I called in our flooring people and we looked over the situation. It was suggested that they could find some packing help for me. I considered it very seriously but then thought, I would have to be with them all the time anyway to help sort so why not just do it myself. There were 3 rooms involved. With all that was in those rooms there was no way they could be done at one time. I started with the main studio and largest room. I packed and moved and packed and moved. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw the room so empty. The room was now ready to be done and the work started immediately after the first of the year. They leveled and installed the flooring in a whole lot less time I took to pack! I told them to come back in 2 weeks to do the other 2 rooms. So now I unpacked (and half put away) and then packed and moved and packed and moved.

new floors packed 1

new floors packed 2

Once again the installers leveled and installed the flooring in slick quick time. The floors looked great. The walls looked like crap. Painters came in. Now there are 2 rooms with fresh paint. I’m still trying to get things unpacked (in all 3 rooms) and put back where I think they should be.

Actually, there were a lot of ‘wins’ from this exercise. I managed to clear out, while packing, things no longer used; some will be sold, some will be donated. I am doing the same thing while putting things away; finding more things to ‘re-home’. Now maybe I can get back to working on my projects. Lots to do for me and lots to do before the CHT conference in June.  I’m ready for a lot of creative time.

A quick peak at the floor:

new floors

These kinds of projects just make one feel righteous!

Japonisme

Another wonderful workshop at the 2016 International Quilt Festival. This one was with Houston’s own Ginny Eckley. What a talented artist she is as well as a great teacher. Our topic was ‘Japonisme’: the Japanese influence on art nouveau. This was my first foray into silk painting and silk screening. These things are way outside my comfort zone. I was, however, determined to give them a try and see what happened and what techniques I could, perhaps, transfer to my current endeavors.

Below is my test piece. The goal was to find out what colors worked, the required saturation and their effect on one another.

Below is my second and final piece. I decided to go for minimalism: color and details. Someone in our workshop had done, for her test piece, a sample using dark grays. I liked the look but wanted the colors even lighter. Because my colors are so muted they were difficult to photograph. The upper left corner is a green gray. The lower left corner is gray. The fabric was then washed with a pale yellow. My butterfly had a little too much ink on it but it turned out okay after I added a few bits of yellow and orange to the body.

IQF 2016 Japonisme 2

Not sure these processes are in my future but, who knows, I may be able to combine techniques in a way I hadn’t considered as yet. And the workshop was worth getting up at 5:30!

Mandala Magic!

International Quilt Festival Houston 2016 is about to begin. The workshops started yesterday and I braved getting up at 5:30 so I could get to my first workshop on time.

Glennis Dolce didn’t disappoint, as usual. We were supplied with 3 packets of folded silk (along with instructions on how to fold our own fabtic). We were also supplied with some dissolving thread and instructed to draw and then sew our designs on each packet of silk. Once that was done, we were given some silk dye (which doesn’t require heat setting) and a couple of pipettes. Thus armed, we began to paint our designs. After the painting was done, we dissolved our stitching and opened up our “masterpieces”.

I am very fond of my “firstborn”. Glynnis only let us use 2 colors for our first piece.

My second piece was a bit overwhelming to me. I had intended for small sections of black but the black dye has a mind of its own.

IQF 2016 Mandala Magic #2

My very favorite was my final sample. I like the colors as well as the resulting shape.

IQF 2016 Manadala Magic #3

Next workshop is in a couple of days. It is with the very wonderful and talented Ginny Eckley. Looking forward to it (even if its another 5:30 morning!)

Getting Ready for the CHH Annual Sale

I was gathering together the items I had selected to be in this year’s sale. When it was time for me to pick out a few of my eco print scarves, I came across one that I kept going back to look at. Many eco printers strive to have perfect prints of each piece of foliage they place on their fabric. Their results are very stunning. I, however, like to have a few identifiable leaves in my work but enjoy the shapes and subtle colors of the other botanicals (not all will produce color or distinct patterns) that are also used on the same piece of fabric. To me, this gives the piece a great deal of depth.

This shows the outline of pine needles to the left and the leaf ribs on the bottom.

More leaf ribs and subtle color.

Leaf shapes everywhere especially a magnificent oak.

16-4-1-1 A

A sweet gum drifting in the background.

The more I looked at this scarf the more I knew it was not going to go to the sale. It has moved to my closet where I would be able to select it to wear whenever the muses strike.

P.S. The CHH Annual Sale is November 17 – 19 at the Guild House. Check http://www.weavehouston.org for more details.

Printing with Hamelia

The leaves of the hamelia (hummingbird bush) have always been a reliable source of green when printing.

This piece was printed with only the leaves of the hamelia and a few annatto seeds.

Add some eucalyptus and a bit of tannin (with a small assist from a bit of iron) and the hamelia still peaks out with a bit of greeen.

Add a bit more tannin (with an iron assist) and the green is still there.

How can anyone help not love this plant(its also a favorite of bees and hummingbirds).

P.S. Always use a bit of copper when printing hamelia. It helps bring out the greens.