new threads, and the hunt for the elusive lavender

YUMMERS.

Below lac, brazilwood (sappanwood), and onion, and combos:

 

A comparison of the previously dyed onion:

Some of these will be in the shop, announcement to be made when listed 🙂 Obviously being as delicious as they are, i have reserved some for a special person: ME!

The onion gives greener tones initially, but there doesn’t seem to be much difference when overdyed. My lac and BW however were a stronger WOF for these babies, so deeper shades resulted. YUM!

These are from previously used dyebaths, after doing cloth. I don’t waste a drop! From Lac, the natural dye that shows up in searches as anything but a natural dye: lac, lac with iron, and eucalyptus:

These above are included in a new fabric pack in the shop.

And a combination of the two (because with natural dyes, purple/pink and yellow don’t always make mucky brown):

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is euc-and-lac-and-combo-b-1.jpg

 

I have had through my dyeing days (years now, wow!) ONE skein of lavender thread. I don’t remember what i used, but i suspect it was cochineal, and the thread was silk. I’ve been partial to lavender as an accent with rust and neutrals since the days when i first started all the hand stitching. The ones i used below are commercial, but there’s no reason not to try for a natural version. The purples and lavenders on the fabrics however IS natural, from Brazilwood, and i covet those various shades!

Mother’s Heart, 2013:

The a Difference Between A Plum, detail, 2013:

Strange Soul Take Flight, detail, in progress, 2013:

(2013 was a very productive year…..)

The Mini Goddess Moons, 2018, lavender leaves on 3 of them. (These are *completely” done in natural dyes, both fabric and threads.) I like the way the lavender gleams amongst all the stronger natural dye colours.

 I suspect it’s time to get the cochineal out and try weaker solutions to get that glowing shiny shade!

 

 

i’ve been shot! and other good things :)

Had my first Covid vaccination on the 13th and happy to report very few side effects, for me no more than a regular flu shot: bit of dizziness, sore arm and LOTS of sleep with LOTS of fluids. I’ve never been so excited to get a needle before 🙂 I was also lucky enough to get the Greyman booked before the system crashed so we’re rather happy Chez Stately Barr Manor. We’re still observing physical distancing and masks though, as we ain’t stoopid. Honestly, it feels strange *not* to mask up when out and about.

I’ve been farfing around with some new natural dye colours —-LOVE Lac for its wide range of reds, purples and pinks, similar to my Quebracho Rojo results, but feeling somewhat warmer on the colour spectrum. I also simmered up a batch of dried out eucalyptus that i bought way back in August of last year, set on a shelf in some water and then promptly forgot it was there/anywhere—this is the first time i’ve got some warm yummy sunset-ty orangey yellows and am just in love with it. Of course, the next batch i will buy will be different! I’d tried previously and got a rather insipid butter so am rather chuffed with this batch, especially on the cotton lace trim. I think it will go nicely with some of the indigo dyed lace, cotton or rayon, and silk on the first wearable art piece i’ve planned. (That got sidelined a bit with Life Happening, but i have a desktop photo to remind me how much i love the idea, and to GET TO IT!

 

I wanted to use the open eyelet trim i had used on “Tower to the Moon”, partially shown in the mock up photo above, but haven’t quite enough so will go for the more flowery one i just dyed–still very very pretty!

Remind me to rev up the indigo again………..

I’m trying to build some purple vocabulary with the Lac–i desperately need some purple family threads myself, and am hoping to get some in the shop as well. (And other colours there too as “demand is increasing”, as they say 🙂 )

I’m learning with/about a new mordant as well: Symplocos, a plant that is an alum accumulator, so we’ll see how that does too.

 

As to the shop, i have finally decided to “standardize” the size of fabrics offered. My velvets have always been either 6×6, 6×12 or 12×12, and i think that’s the way to go–6×6″ are small enough pieces to offer a variety for a reasonable price and be big enough to use and appreciate, and the 2 larger sizes (still very reasonable 🙂 ) for more impact in your work. I cringe sometimes (OFTEN) when i see the mingy bits some offer for a lot more coin (and in US to boot) and with no identifying dyes listed, just “botanical/plant/natural/vegetable dyed”…………

I’m also very pleased to let you know that i am now on Jude Hill’s approved list of trusted resources  for fabrics and threads.

 

YUMSHUSNESS piles

I’ve been dyeing all week:

Swanky Panky: Packs of teasing texture in pearlescent cotton damask, mellow cotton velveteen, sultry silk habotai, crisp cotton and slinky silk/rayon velvet, naturally dyed in madder, quebracho rojo, lac, marigold and eucalyptus with historically accurate processes.

AND
Earthing: A more rustic version of the Swanky Panky mix, each pack with a different fibre mix. Naturally dyed in madder, quebracho rojo, lac, marigold and cutch with historically accurate processes.

 

 

 

Making piles. Sorting bits. Prepping projects. Skeining threads.

And then it’s time to play!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

ice ice no ice baby, snow no, not either

ZUT ALORS!!!!!!!!!!

Much frustration the other day: i’ve been experimenting with different techniques and dyes (because some dyes behave differently than others), wanting a little more dimension and visual interest in the naturally dyed cloth i offer in my online shop, and thing just weren’t doing what i wanted/expected them to do.

So i XXXXXX’d and BBBBBBC’d and even XXXBBCD’d and then turned off the damn stove and lights and went to pout.

At the end of the second day, i had these:

 

Above, lac on madder (silk habotai).

Below, lac on undyed cotton/silk blend (not sure which was the higher content, but i had premordanted for silk).

Below, lac on tansy (silk habotai), hard to see any tansy left!

Below, the truer colour.

Today, i will be testing the method on cotton and linen, expecting “harder” definition, and with other dyes than the lac, on previously dyed and undyed pieces. Hopefully, by the end of Monday, i will be able to share some in the shop!

And no, there is not even ONE bit of snow or ice used in these. That’s all 20 feet away in my wintery backyard, and can stay there. (Or rather disappear in our projected Chinook for this week 🙂 )

And yes, i am keeping the method to myself. It’s up to each dyer to develop and progress with their own techniques. Those who think that artists of any ilk are obligated to share the whole process are sadly mistaken. I see that every day in dye, botanical print, embroidery and mixed media groups with some getting quite huffy when you won’t lead them from step A to B to M to Finished. Learn the basics then find your style/practice/method! I remember asking a local ecoprinter how she had done XYZ and she sweetly smiled, winked and said “Every dyer has her secrets”. That may smack of elitism or Guild nastiness, but it isn’t, and it encouraged me to immerse myself, paying attention to the journey. And i’m still friends with that dyer 🙂

Found on one of my river walks with the DogFaced Girl.

There will be “Broken Kaleidoscope” packs in the shop on Sunday Feb 28th. Not exactly as shown, as the velvets will be different, and I’m not sure how many packs I’ll have, but here’s a heads up! EDIT: Listing open, and going fast!

 

(drum roll, please) Unknown Sister is back

I love what i do,  but it’s time to add a new approach. I had a reasonably successful run as a wearable art designer (Albedo Artclothing) from ’93 to about 2001, and my big big studio was always humming with work. Over the last couple of months, ideas have been popping into my head as to how to translate what i do into something one would wear, fun, bright, unique but comfortable, un-contrived and mixable with a person’s favourite skirt, top or pants, not so over-the-top as to be laughable or “inappropriate” for an occasion, but still completely different from what every one else has.

I have NO idea how long each piece will take at this point of planning. Making art by hand is not the same as whipping up something on the sewing machine or serger, slapping on a few applique and some exotic buttons—not that at that time there was anything wrong with that–it was “of the times” after all, and there were not a lot of truly hand crafted pieces, unless you were one of the 11tybajillion dollar rich persons who shopped bespoke couture somewhere in Milan or Paris or some exclusive by appointment only atelier on a hidden street in Lower wherever……

Yes, there will be machine work to assemble, because the “hand crafted” aspect i’m talking about is the design, the fabrics and embellishments, and the embellishing itself.

AND it’s still going to be with natural fibres and natural dyes, because that truly is my passion in all of this. I’m rarely attracted now to commercial fabrics, and i never wear synthetics as they make me feel strangled, hot and stinky, as they just don’t breathe.

This piece is what started me thinking about wearables again:

Tower to the Moon, 8″ SOLD

I’ve culled other ideas from previous work too, most done in the last 2 or 3 years. I’m also going through photographs of the previous work i did as Albedo Artclothing, because i know there’s stuff there that can be distilled as well, without being re-hashes or cop-outs. I believe it’s just ambitious enough to accomplish but not so much that i get bogged down or lose interest. Waking up excited this morning tells me i could be right about this, as i haven’t felt this way for a lonnnnnnng time!

“Unknown Sister” was a separate online shop and blog for awhile, for wearable accessories, and i decided to resurrect the idea specifically for this again.

Since i have no idea how long it will take to finish something like this as a wearable, i am projecting the first project won’t be done until the end of March. I’ll be keeping a log of sorts about time spent on it, so i can pre-plan future pieces, and re-learn time management (not a strong suit anymore!). Maybe it will be done before that deadline, but that IS the deadline, so we’ll see!

Let’s have some fun!

Shop update

Mixed fibre packs (linen, silk, silk/rayon velvet,cotton lace, cotton) now in the shop: Ecoprints! Sprinklies! Solids! Bright colour for accents and enhancements! Malleable pieces of texture will delight your imagination and your needle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assorted natural dyes done with historically accurate processes, from prep to mordant to dye. (Indigo, madder, quebracho rojo, marigolds, tansy, osage, cochineal and rhubarb.)

Just a nobody who ain’t gonna take it lying down

I am fucking PISSED OFF. I received a notice this morning that a piece of my ORIGINAL art was removed from RedBubble, due to a “copyright violation” reported. I own the original artwork that is MINE, i have in process shots of it, documentation and sketches and other venues i have shown the art in. I received no prior notice of this but for the shocking email this morning. If in fact, venues allow artists to be removed like this, with no proof from the artist, you are going to lose a lot of your artists. (Of course you DON’T get any notice beforehand: you have no recourse to defend yourself until after the “offending” work is removed.)

In all honesty, i have never HAD a sale from RedBubble, Society6, Print All Over Me, Blurb or any of the million “print on demand” sites. (Spoonflower has been okay however…) That ain’t the point though. Someone or somebody is either being nasty, or is micro-managing something that has nothing to do with them, reported my work as a trademark infringement and BOOM. It’s gone and all i can do is file a counterclaim. Sure i could completely deactivate my account—but that’s cutting off your nose and taking the ball home because no one is playing by your rules. It solves nothing, even if i’m vindicated, and do after the resolution.

*This* is the removed artwork:

“Spinal Tap”, 2011

Now, HOW THE HELL does this have anything to do with a parody band??????

SERIOUSLY???????????????????? Do you/they really think that any sale of a PRINT of MY artwork is going to affect their bottom line? How petty is that?

My artwork has NOTHING to do with the band in any way shape or form, no reference to them, no depiction, no imagery reminiscent of them, no branding, zip, zero, zilch. You know why? BECAUSE IT’S NOT ABOUT THEM, IT’S ABOUT A MEDICAL PROCEDURE AT THE LEAST, AND AT THE BEST A PIECE ABOUT *MY* SPINE. From the RedBubble site: “A NOTE ON FAIR USE: You might be able to incorporate someone else’s copyright or trademark into your own work, if you do it in such a way that that is considered “fair use” or in such a way that qualifies as another permissible use.” SO, tell me, HOW does this “hurt” the band’s trademark, image, etc????

I didn’t even use the term in a QUOTE parody, satire, critical commentary UNQUOTE use, as it has NOTHING to do with the band. Are they going to sue the Mayo Clinic, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, etc etc etc who use/d the term? HOW do you trademark that in the first place? As stupid as a Kardassian trying to trademark Kimono for her crap underwear…………….

So, i contacted both RedBubble through their initial email, filed a counterclaim on their DMCA page, left a public message on their FB page, AND left a message on the “group/band” FB DM. If nothing is resolved, i will file a complaint with the BBB.

I’m pretty sure nothing will be resolved, but i can’t just lie down and take this. It’s the principle. In the grand scheme of things, i’m a Nobody: i have no real power, no weapon, am not enriching anyone (especially /including myself) and neither the “band” or RB will truly give a shit or fix this. Basically, i am just pissing into the wind, with no hope or realization of anything but wet pants and anger.

Still, ya gotta stand up for yourself. No one else will.

Edit: Feb 25/21 Of course i have heard nothing from RedBubble, either by email saying they were wrong, not on Twitter, not on FB, not on IG, not by any private message, phone call or letter. I have subsequently filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (which won’t show for 5 days from this date apparently so they can make sure i’m not all sweary and troll-y…..).

Their post says this: “We’re still coming to terms with life after Schitt’s Creek. Thankfully, @bexrocks has got our back with these awesome hand lettered quotes. We’ve partnered with ITV studios so you can have your Schitt’s Creek fan art officially licensed to sell on Redbubble.” Well, that’s all fine and dandy BUT I DIDN’T USE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE DAMN BAND, so why should i/anyone pay for license agreements????????????????

Flime ties!!!!!

Where have i been? Nowhere. Like most of us. I did manage to get my arse shuffling faster for the Christmas season in the shop, but that stopped mid December, with Dog Duties taking precedence.

I made a plan, yes i did, on the 2nd of January. It looks looked good, but as of the 28th, i haven’t taken it to heart. As of today however, i’m going to. I like what i do, when i do it, so what’s the dealio? I look at the calendar and all of a sudden it’s the 25th, and precious little has happened. A little has happened, but rare to show and some mostly unfinished. Reading has been the stopper on the creativity bottle (not a terrible thing in itself), but not conducive to any expressed rather than just internal imagination. Might have to pretend the computer is broken, as my escape is all ebooks online though our public library!

The Ragmates2020/DillyDally Coat is still in my stitch corner, and somewhere along the way since August (?), i did do some work on it. I’m going to switch out one section from the sleeve to the back when i saw that most of the work would be hidden on the inside of the sleeve against the body. Shall have to be less flamboyant there 🙂

I’ve been fiddling with Itty Bitty Beaded Bits, thinking the focus might help. Mmmm, i do ♥♥♥ the look of these!

(In the shop!) Two more are still in the studio be be completed!

I’m trying to figure out a way to make my own studio space more enticing too. Is it that the sun doesn’t pour into this one? Oh i miss that sun in my eyes! 🙂

DogFaced Girl has done very well through her convalescence and healing period, with no problems with the incision or the use of the leg. We have concluded however, that Madame is a Madame, apt to whinge and whine, pretending things are worse if she doesn’t want to be bothered! Perfectly capable of going for walks and excitedly bouncing when “go get ready” is mentioned, but oh what a Prima Dona when told breakfast is IN the kitchen and will not be served to her in bed, a mere 10 feet away. She does need help getting into the car, but that’s a confidence issue with ice and a bit of height.

Not an issue now, that last sentence 🙂

She can easily get into the back of this one, just like coming in from the patio to the livingroom! It looks rather “posh”, and is incredibly sporty, our “Bruce 2.0”. A 2018 Honda Civic CRX SI, we were looking at “new cars” lately because the Saturn we inherited from MIL a few years back is on its last wheels. It’s serendipity that we saw this one and amazingly, got a stupifyingly incredibly clutchthepearlsandsqueal far from a new vehicle would cost deal on it. We knew buying again, it had to be used and that it was something that would have to last the rest of our (driving) lives, because honestly, let’s face it, both of us are not *that* far from retirement age. (And i still haven’t learned to drive and never will now…) The bonus is this baby has only 18,400K on it, was serviced within an inch of “AGAIN you’re bringing it in for care???” in the time the first owner had it, Hondas have fabulous resale value, even years old and both of us are Honda fans.

So, back into the studio and off the arse!

Return of the DogFaced Girl!

Nessie, the DogFaced Girl is home! She faces doggie physio, lots of meds, massages and short short walks in the next few weeks, and REALLY wants to go shopping today to buy an inflatable post surgery collar–we *all* hate this one!!!!!!
She says a big thank you to all those who “chipped in” by buying Mom’s beautiful fabrics and art, and sends lots of Doggie Kisses to you Blossoms.

Shop update, fabric packs

Who doesn’t love stitching in a cozy corner, especially when it’s snowy cold and grey outside?

 

 

So far, this what i have on hand, in the shop, and am hoping to get some new ideas implemented as well!

 

To that end, i’m having a dyefest in the next couple of days, to keep the stock replenished, for work for myself and because the DFG goes in tomorrow for her major knee surgery and i need to keep busy! The poor girl is very much a hopper right now to get out for her daily needs, (thankfully one step only into the backyard!) and the rest of the time is spent looking woefully at me as she positions herself at my feet (or as close as she can!) so i don’t “forget” her. We have the floor covered in blankets so she doesn’t slip, a petrifying possibility both in her mind and ours, and there’s not much for her to do as she of course is not interested in playing, can’t go for walks and is now on a diet. She will spend the night at the animal hospital and from what we understand, a few days after she comes home, will be going for short 5-10 minute walks (with a sling in my hand on her back end)–vets like their patients to get back at exercise as soon as possible too., It helps the bones heal faster, and improves the mental outlook too! Recovery is expected to be up to 10 weeks long, especially since she will then have a plate and pins in her right knee.

She’s SO patient, good natured and sweet, no matter what happens with her……………………………