Author Archives: arlee
12th Anniversary Sale!
PS, i going to try to keep posting again, as *I* miss it!Now i HAVE gleaned ideas and techniques to try with other textile arts, kept up with my natural dyeing and do talk to a few people, but i haven’t made anything really since Christmas 2020, at least not that ever got finished. And i used to post very frequently, as much as 4 times a day in the beginning of my blogging (2003!). I used to be rather funny, then i got whiney, then i turned mean and antagonistic, and then i started reading a lot of books and had nothing to say for myself… Looking now i see i have posted only NINE times since the end of May last year………………………………………….
SO, i pledge to post at least once a week–if anyone cares anymore because most of us, self included— are busy on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram than blogs now, but i miss blogging–it is/was where all the real work was shown, the sharing and the laughs, not just the dramatic staged “LOOK AT ME VALIDATE ME FOLLOW ME LOVE ME LOVE ME LOVE ME” photos with the short pithy or pleading messages—erk, i do
love like them still, they serve their purpose for a variety of reasons.
beauty is… (and a shop update)
…in the eye–and in camera in this instance–of the beholder!
Here’s another thing i love about natural dyes: NUANCE. These two photos are of the same pack of goodies! Taken at different times of the day, the light conditions really show the subtlety of the colour components that make up each dye. Below, these are mixed batches of cochineal, madder and solidago. HOT CRAYONS!
I can “replicate” these in a sense, knowing what’s in the pot, but when you use “leftovers”, you can’t be sure of the proportions. Just/trust letting the pots do what they will, is much more satisfying. Oh sure, there have been a few Muddyduds along the way, but hey, overdye to the rescue!
One of the other delights of these deep colours is that they will last longer. I cringe when i see some of the weak pale colours that are an IG “standard”. Some of them *are* pretty, but they’re NOT going to last–to me it’s like putting 1/16 of a tsp of cinnamon in the cinnamon rolls–it’s discernible, but barely. Are people not aware of WOF, or are they being too cheap with it, or do they think it makes their pound of madder last longer which cuts their costs??? Here’s a perfect example, “madder dyed”:
How long is this going to last, under ordinary conditions of wear and light exposure, even under following “special care instructions”? I’ve seen clothing lines blithely calling this (and that photo specifically!) naturally dyed, and then producing multiples of the garment–that to me IS cheapness of production. Ever noticed that samples from extant collections are (for the most part) still VIBRANT, or at least very indicative of the original colour?
And yes, i DO sell softer colours, but they are NEVER as insipid as the above! There’s still a good percentage of WOF in my work 🙂
Anyhoo, that’s my two cents. I have other offerings in the shop as well, if you care to peruse them, and thank you again to all the Lovely Blossoms who have the faith and trust to support my small endeavours.
the PHD post (Piling it Higher and Deeper), and shop update
I’m not hoarding, but it’s starting to look like that in my studio: piles and slipping stacks of various fabrics and colours, snarls and twangles of thread in more fibres and colours, and nowhere to move or work!
There’s so much here that i will never use–and never mind how much UNdyed i have still to work through! I’ve been putting aside small packs for myself with the intention of Making, but this time i slipped in notes and sketches so i wouldn’t forget what was so all fired fascinating about the selection at the time 🙂
So….threads and fabric packs now in the shop!
just messing around
I “re-found” a treasure! When my MIL died, the place was full of everything from 73 hand towels, make up from the 70’s, shelves of laboratory glassware from a pharmaceutical company she had worked at, etc etc etc plus a sewing room full of mostly synthetics, bland colours, and truly useless bits. (We donated/distributed amongst family/charities/dump a full TON of her stuff!) I did however find a bag that contained a couple good handfuls of 2 deconstructed wedding dresses–and the overlaid laces are cotton, which i put In The Safe Spot–and lost it for several months!!!!!! Quite fragile, i had to be very careful while scouring and handling it, but it is LOVELY. (And OH the gunge that came out of it, eeeuuuuw!!!) I see my European friends quite often showing off their “brocante” (second hand market) finds and obviously they are able to score a LOT of old linens, lace, embroideries and trims, whereas here in Canada, they are either long gone into other reconstructions, destroyed by time or snapped up at outrageous prices by collectors, so a find like this is very lucky.
(One thing i thought odd though was that the sleeves at the armscye seam had a thin uncovered very sharp wire enclosed! There was an apparent bloodstain there as well, so can only guess a weeping bride or a frustrated MIL trying to get it out!)
I threw some with other cottons in my 2 year old dried tansy pot (um, that would be just the tansy 2 years dried, not the pot 🙂 ) and just about screamed: look at that ORANGE!!!!
BUT, i do know that what you see in the dye bath is NOT always what you get on the fibres. (I’ve had a purple dye bath dry to green, for instance!)
I was right however about the colour but did however get a reasonably medium to deep yellow this time, as for a couple of years for some reason, my tansy was giving weak colour. (Perhaps because it was picked from a ‘contaminated” area, an old gas station?)
Also combined older pots of lac and madder:
And quebracho rojo!
working with velveteen
My new favourite type of cotton!
Cotton velveteen has wonderful texture, is firm but malleable enough to manipulate and soaks in natural dye in vintage ways. (It takes a LOT of pre-dyeing steps to get it to absorb dyes correctly, due to the nap.)
Oops, put the wrong size of coral moon on the end of the top row–better go through those storage jars and check sizes! This was my sample piece, and i see a few areas where my measurements were a *wee* bit off. Three colours of velveteen used in above and two in the second piece below:
Much better seam matching, and the silk velvet circles are even across *their* colours. These two chunks are 8×10″. I haven’t quite decided yet whether they need some simple embroidery or some beading to accent the circles.
Crazy still lives here
What a stream of sour months there has been in this household! This “normal” has not been. Teeth bared, claws unsheathed, hackles raised. No blood, no permanent damage, but learning that once a big trigger/doubt/fear/issue/worry is dealt with, there are probably a few more buried to deal too!
Suffice it to say, i won’t go into details, but with some help, things are getting back on track. Even the studio has seen a bit of activity this week. I’ve read over 700 books since May of 2020, and i think my brain is now sufficiently stuffed with enough words that i can focus my focus on Making things, Doing things. ANY Things creative! Sketchbooks have been dragged out, i took an online course on natural printing and the house has actually been “ret up” and is decent again.
I AM actually stitching again, hoping to show a bit of handwork, nothing special, but some prototyping and physical doodling at least. Christmas is not that far away and i’m not sure what’s going in the shop this year for the season!
To that end, i have new listings in the shop–i better have since “Somebody” ordered SO MUCH FABRIC this year!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve “started” again in there with a few scrap packs and some “fat quarters” that have been waiting since the beginning of Sept to be noticed and dealt with, but there will be much more listed as it gets done.
I love these larger pieces (a fat quarter is 18×22″), plenty of scope for making things from, or using as a base/background. In the shop at https://fibrespace.bigcartel.com/
(>insert clever title here<)
I lost several months here on the ol’ bloggeroo—–travel, doctors, eye surgery (lasers!!!!!!!!!!), family time, Black Dog weeks, soul time, summer stuff, but i’m hoping to be back regularly now. Can’t believe i haven’t posted in almost 4 months!
Well, here’s a revelation. Looking through the work blog, i see no big projects planned. None. Not for a few (three?) years. Not even progress on Samara. What does that say? I guess that means i’ve officially lost my license as a struggling Canadian textile artist who wanted to work Big, and say Things. Most of it was just for me, though a few pieces have found homes elsewhere, and my walls are deliberately spare (indeed my whole home is) so there’s no point anymore in the Big Plans. I love my natural dyeing, i like sharing it in my shop and seeing what other people do with it, i like making small art these days, i love all my little plans for little things. Maybe i’ll go back to the time of sharing posts 4 times a day, when all the little things excited me. Because in the end, size does matter. (I obsessed for years about Big Art, one day in 2011 wrote in my sketchbook “well then just do it!”, love what i *have* done, but that day is done. I won’t worry about scale anymore: it really doesn’t matter.) (Some of the old angst still hands on, clutching and choking…)
I’ll try to finish Samara, but since she’s been on the go since 2016, i won’t be holding my breath.
I have many piles however of small stuff. What to do? I’ve started stacking them with new bits of fabric, thread and trims, hoping to kickstart some new ideas—sometimes it takes only ONE MORE element and a thing is done/perfect/good enough (to please).. You can only do what you can do.
THREE days left for discounts!
THREE days (including today) left for SALE in shop. ENDS June 17/21.
Please read the listing itself for advice on how to add the discount code to your basket. Don’t add this listing to your cart A. that’s why it’s priced at a thou (as place holder!) and B. it has nothing in itself to do *with* the discount code 🙂
I will be constantly listing through this period, so keep checking back. Don’t miss out on what you want either though–whatever is already listed when you check, is all there is of that item.
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