Hard to believe it has been 3 months since my last post. We survived ‘Harvey’ pretty much unscathed. Lots of anxious moments but no real damage. Unfortunately, many of our fellow Houstonians were not so lucky. Spent lots of time getting ready for the annual Houston Handweavers sale. Made more shibori indigo napkins and small lavendar sachets. Also prepared some wonderful cards and bookmarks using my eco print papers. added some wonderful silk eco print scarves to the inventory.
But now the International Quilt Festival has come and gone and this year I took 3 workshops (not sure if I’m prepared to do that again, driving back and forth each day during the worst traffic times takes its toll!).
Monday I always seem to start with a workshop by Glennis Dolce(Shibori Girl). This year we began with a couple of the basic stitches.
I sampled a stitch that I had not used in my work before (the overhand stitch – just above the shell). I like the feathery look. Will try to incorporate in a future project.
There were 2 very interesting things Glennis incorporated into the workshop this year. One was providing us with some very different fabrics to experiment with. The first photo below shows a silk organza which I used for the arashi technique. Due to the nature of organza I didn’t expect it to do well in a vat situation. It surprised me. Because of its stiffness the fabric scrunched very definitively and created extreme white spaces but it also dyed deeply. The second photo below is scrim. Once again I was surprised. Due to the extreme openness of the fabric I would have expected a much lighter effect. These 2 fabrics will be on my to do list for future experimentation.
The next thing I tried was a vintage linen napkin. The kind with the designs all over them. This one had some flowers in the border so I added a small butterfly. After dipping in the vat, I realized this napkin needed no enhancement. Just dyeing it in the indigo gave it new life. The fabric was amazing; it had been washed so many times it felt like heavy silk.
The second very interesting thing in the workshop was Glennis’s collection of vintage Japanese stencils. I played with several of those and decided that rather than the way I was transferring my patterns to fabric using a stencil would be more efficient and cleaner. I transferred a few designs onto some sample fabric to stitch and also made my own stencil. Have stencil making items on order and look forward to receiving them.
That pretty much wraps up my first workshop (and, of course, I look forward to next year with Glennis). Will be writing about the next two soon.
I can’t believe how fast time is flying by this summer. Suddenly, every chore that should have been taken care of over the past several years is perking up and saying ‘do me, do me’! So, slowly, they are getting done but I can’t leave my preferred activities behind.
I found a bag of leaves that I had dried last fall. Decided they needed to be seen. They were printed on Crepe de Chine (as well as silk habotai) with a bit of iron to augment the coloring. Crepe de Chine has become my favorite silk for printing. I tried silk charmuese but it was just too shiny for my taste.
A month or so ago I found myself rummaging through some donated yarns and discovered some yarn that is typically used by rug weavers. Always on the lookout for unique yarns to use for my braids, I decided this yarn looked like a keeper. Not only does it have an interesting texture but it is also soft around the neck (very important). Have some more of this, slightly different patterning, and will be making another braid with it.
Crepe de Chine
Been busy this spring focusing on things other than my botanical printing. Have printed a few since the end of last year but some of them ended up looking like I had completely lost my ‘mojo’. The leaves I had dried or frozen just didn’t look like they were coming through for me. There were a few gems, however, that I was very pleased with.
Crepe de Chine
I just started using crepe de chine. I like the softness of print that you can get with silk chiffon but sometimes it is too soft. Crepe de chine still results in soft images but they are a bit bolder.
Also acquired some silk charmeuse. Have printed one and am very pleased. It is still resting before the wash. Will post the results later.
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.
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.
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.
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 Pits-Acorn-Tumeric w/Pomegranate
I think all the colors came out beautifully. I’m ready to do more.