Indigo Pillows

Have gotten my pillows made for the annual Handweaver’s Sale. The pillow above had little space for embroidery but I did get a bit on it. Didn’t think about the addition of stitching when I sewed the strips together. Was more concerned about getting the most interesting strips maximum exposure.

This pillow had a bit more ‘in front’ space for a bit of embroidery.

The embroidery on this pillow is a bit more subtle. This was the only pillow with shibori designs on both the front and back so embellishment was kept to a minimum.

This is the patchwork pillow and despite all the patterning I decided to add a lot of stitching in a lovely dark orange. This pillow is not going to the sale and is very happily sitting on my couch.

I’m now adding more shibori stitched fabric to an increasingly large pile to get ready for another indigo dye session. Stay tuned for those results.

Also trying to get a little eco printing done. The results so far have been less than spectacular. Think I’ll just concentrate on the indigo for the moment and when that is off my mind I’ll focus on some eco printing.

Paper Fun

Due to other projects I haven’t spent much time the last month doing botanical printing on scarves. Paper printing, however, doesn’t take the same amount of time for preparation so I’ve managed to get some of that done.

Paper printing is a lot of fun. Each piece becomes a miniature work of art. And like art, some are exquisite and some are just nice. The same processes can be be followed but Mother Nature also has a hand in the process. When the prints are ‘just nice’, adding some watercolors can help enhance them. (The papers pictured have not been enhanced in any way.)

These prints were all done on 140lb (300g) watercolor paper that had been dipped in aluminum sulfate and steamed for 2-3 hours.

They will make lovely cards. Perhaps a couple may end up in small frames.

First Spring Batch

Started my resist stitching last fall. Took my time and ended up with a small basket full of fabric.

Finally made up my indigo vat (was waiting for the evenings to be not as cool as they had been) and dipped my basket of fabric. Didn’t wait to iron my pieces before I took the photos below (although they are washed).

Loved these. Tried several stitch options. They are destined to grow up into a couple of pillow covers.

Another interesting piece. Maybe this design on a couple of larger pieces. Would make a lovely top.

Can’t decide which side I like better. Maybe good for a pillow cover. Each design on a different side.

Only did one clamped fabric. Now that all my stitched pieces have been dyed I’ll clamp some pieces for my next dye day.

At Last!

It’s been way too long since my last post but I do have a couple of interesting botanical prints to write about.

One of the more difficult fabrics to offer up interesting prints is chiffon. The fabric is such an open weave that the most one can hope for is some interesting (and it usually happens) color. This time, however, a small piece of silk chiffon fooled me.

The hamelia leaves as well as the sweet gum did themselves proud. The annatto seeds provided a bit of color. The very vague and disappointing print is a grapefruit leaf. Otherwise, very nice result.

The other piece is one that I had promised to publish a couple of weeks ago. It is the scarf that was covered by the iron blanket I wrote about. It is a beauty. Don’t know that I can part with this one. The oak leaves and the onion skins are a perfect complement to the red of the madder root.

Humble Beginnings

Sometimes those things relegated to secondary roles become amazing and first rate themselves. Above is a small piece of old cotton (was a sheet once) that was used several times as a wrap over scarves when I didn’t want the wrapping string marks to show on the finished piece. Under the final prints and dye bath color can be seen shadowy shapes and colors from previous uses. This piece will now be set aside to be used as a backdrop for some stitching. It will grow up to be greater than it was.

This piece was an ‘iron blanket’. In my workshop it is a piece of cotton (a piece of old sheet) dipped in a diluted iron solution then placed over the top of a scarf before it was rolled up for the dye bath. This piece has even more interesting color and shadow prints than the wrap above as this was placed directly over the leaves on the scarf before it was rolled up. The last time it was used there were some beautiful oak leaves and a dye bath rich with madder extract. This beauty is destined to be a wall hanging.

‘Felt the Need’

Even though it’s a crazy time of year, I felt the need to do some printing. Above I used some eucalyptus, hamelia (hummingbird bush)leaves, and a bit of sweet gum.

Here I used sweet gum, maple, rose leaves, a couple of sprinkles of tumeric, oak and sumac berries. There was so much tannin the overall look is brown.

My favorite is this one. The scarf is covered with rose leaves, hamelia leaves large and small, some sweet gum and madder root.

I’m very happy I ‘felt the need’ to do these as the supply I had at 18 Hands Gallery was almost depleted. I took these and a couple more I had forgotten before down there today. I am very thrilled there are so many people interested in (and buying) my work. Next year I’ll try doing fewer scarves and do more table runners, pillow covers, etc. And of course, I’ll be doing a lot more indigo shibori.

It’s been a good year. I’m looking forward to even bigger and better things next year.

More Fun at 18 Hands

This Saturday, December 12th, the “Normally in January but
why not in December” Earring Slam Jam is being held at 18 Hands Gallery. The show is from 11 am – 5 pm. 18 Hands is located at 249 W. 19th St in the Heights. Phone Number is 713-869-3099. There will be champagne and chocolate fondue.

Below are some of the earrings I’ll have there and there are also some of my eco print scarves available in the gallery.

A sampling of my scarves.

New Textile Book

As soon as I saw this was available, I treated myself.  It was all I expected it to be. There were no ‘little projects’ to be found.  There are just some interesting ideas to get me thinking about how I could expand my eco printing and natural dyeing projects.

In the book, Alice includes ideas about collecting found objects. I know there are a lot of books containing that subject but it is good to be reminded periodically. She talks about collecting ‘colors’, how to make natural ink, how to select items for rust printing, weaving and twining with natural materials, combining techniques and more. In addition to all that, it is a pleasure to look at. It is one of the books I don’t store on the bookshelf but keep out to review.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in using natural materials and found items in their textile work.

Tried Something New

I have been following several eco print groups on Facebook. There are lots of great ideas, beautiful results and helpful people in all these groups. Every now and again there will be a tip or trick that I feel I can apply to my work. Sometimes they turn out and sometimes they don’t.

The scarves on the left side of each of the above photos are an example of a very interesting tip. After the mordant prepared silk was soaked in vinegar water and covered with foliage, I covered the whole thing with a piece of cloth soaked in ferrous sulphate (iron water) before it was rolled up for processing. Amazing what happened. The scarves on the right were processed as I would normally process eucalyptus leaves to maintain the beautiful color.

I decided to take this idea one step further and try it on a couple of scarves that did not turn out satisfactorily the first time.

Now the sweet gum, eucalyptus, and bamboo really show up. The color is great.

Here the oak leaves provided a great resist.

The results were wonderful. It made me go back through all the scarves I had processed so far to see if any of them could use a little boost.

Been Too Long

I can’t believe it has been over a month since my last post. I have been busy with my eco printing and testing more indigo resist patterns. The scarf above is silk printed with rose leaves, Purple Heart and some woodland fern with a few brushstrokes of indigo.

Unfortunately, I also had a computer crash so many hours were spent trying to find all the software and drivers to reload. Thought maybe the computer experts could copy my disk drive to a new one but the best they were able to do was load the operating system. Well at least I had a bit of warning before the crash so, in spite of backing up my data daily, I made a special backup with my ‘can’t do without’ folders and pictures. Experience has taught me now to have a copy of the system image (at least updated weekly) and to do backups that make sense. Finally back in business.

This week I plan on a heavy indigo session. Have several scarves with sewn resists done and plan on starting to prepare the shape resists today.