euc in the house

I missed a week at ACAD–summer holidays with the Greyman, and some serious Garden Hard time, both necessary things, and also time to think on things. If the school studio is too cool now for my favourite processes, what else can i do?

My favourite eucalyptus in “in season” again–that means it’s an import, as it just doesn’t grow in Alberta! One of the perks of working in the fffFlower Mines means access to things that just aren’t available in my garden or neighbourhood. There *are* certain “go-to’s” i can pick fresh, but the majority of plant materials that give satisfying results are neither “native” nor zone 3 hardy.

Yesterday i stitched in the home studio while these were percolating.

Two euc “trees” 🙂


LOVE this silk:


It was a good day.




the heat is on

Not really. The heat is OFF, damn it.

My third “batch” of fabrics are totally disappointing. The studio now is air conditioned, so things dry out much too faster. Every previous year i’ve been in there, i’ve sweltered and dripped, brought in fans while i was working, and didn’t worry about amounts of water on things. This year, HA. I’ve had to dump pints and quarts on things to make them work. Day three results are now actually day four results, because i had to leave things for 48 hours instead of the usual 24, and they were still SHIT.

Sigh. There’s going to be a lot of overdyeing. The largest piece was supposed to be for my res end exhibit piece, but i’ll have to rethink that now. I am reminded of my first res tip back in 2009: “Make a plan for what you’ll do, half it–and half it again”……………..

I guess i’ll be doing the majority of this technique at home in a hot sunny back 40, fighting the wind and bird poo instead! But there are other things i can do at the school stoodio, so with three months in this res, i’ll be trying a few different things. I have time to experiment and mess around, refine other processes, and just get dirty.


My deadline for Tabula Memoria is looming, the end of July, and while i have put in time with it, and am actually at a point where there technically is little left to do on it, it still needs to be worked on. (Phew, that’s one hell of a run on sentence…) I’ve been taking it with me to the fffFlower Mines (Day Job), and to the residency, so i can work on it—while doing the hurry up and wait thing!

The moon area was completed several weeks ago, and the standing figure is almost finished this week.

I can’t attach either figure until the other stitching is all done, because i don’t want to snag anything.

I started shopping around for a suitably sized stretched canvas to mount it on. The variance in prices is astounding! I’ve been quoted from $60 (seems way too low!) to $168 (way too high!) for a uniquely sized 41×43 frame, and might just end up building it myself. I do a wrap around technique, so though the actual work started at 48×46, stitch “shrinkage” had to be accounted for as well as the wrap around.


res exhibit ideas

At the end of every Contextural residency, we have an exhibit of work (hopefully) done through the summer. (Some people put whatever they like in, done wherever and whenever, which to me is pointless…….but we won’t go there.)

Being as this is the 10th anniversary for Contextural, and even though i’ve only been a member since 2009 (though i missed one year), i thought i’d look at my own work done 10 years ago.

Seriously? Very little i did then is show worthy really. Futzing about with mixed media, extraneous details, overloaded with technique and colour, the only value they have now is as samples and whatnottodo-whatthehellwasithinking’s! ICK. Fortunately (?), most of them are photos only, lost, tossed or given and flooded away (2013), so i don’t have to store them 🙂

But i did find this:

Above, the finished page, below, in progress shots:

A page i had done for an international fabric art journal exchange, i could work with this. I can incorporate the indigo, ecoprinting, rust and potassium permanganate and create something new. Looking back can take you ahead.

day three res

Of course, usually by the time i post, it’s another day, in fact two days past, but………. This is part of the game, of what i do, hurry up and wait, no instant gratification, nightmares (yes!), anticipation and hoofies crossed SO tight.

(These are a mix of the two day’s results.)

Most are detail shots as that’s where the devil beauty is.

I have to start thinking about what will come of all this for the end of residency exhibition. This is Contextural’s 10th anniversary, but the theme is open this time, as we all work so differently. And i also realized that this is my 6th residency! (Although my very first one in 2009 was a self induced bust….i signed up for 3 months then too, all excited and drooling, and showed up TWO days, because i had NO idea what i wanted to do!!!!!!)

EDIT: got my idea/s last night as i was falling asleep 🙂

On Monday, i’ll be firing up an indigo vat there (two at home already, but impossible for me to transport by bus and train ), because, because, believe it or not, OMG, there are some participants who have never done indigo!

PS The rabbit showed up again, and was offended because i had nothing Rabbity to share, and YAWNED at me! Henceforth, he shall be Paul Bunyawn, ’cause he is a big rabbit 🙂



indigo plans

I didn’t realize how much indigo i have until i was totting up what i need in the way of dyestuffs for residency this summer. Almost 3 pounds, and all the adjuncts too, for chemical, henna and natural vats! So, if we’re going to be serious about this (though i do not label myself an expert, or a Master, like some truly are), i figured some fabric twangling might be in order as well. Not just dipping and clamping this year, i really want to get into some interesting patterning for use in my own work. And yes, there will no doubt be some ending up in the shop 🙂


And wonder of wonders: i ordered this on the 28th of this month, and arrived home from the fffFlower Mines just 10 minutes ago, and it was on my doorstep! Canada Post must have slipped up, because i have never received *anything* EVER in 3 days, no matter how near or far!

residency plans again

This year, i decided to take the 3 month slot at ACAD for Contextural’s summer residency. It usually takes me a week or two while there to really get into the swing of it anyways (and i always regret not having more time), but i figure for the extra money it will cost (minimal in comparison to a one month slot), i might as well be really serious this year, develop some new skills, brush up on old ones, and truly enjoy myself —*and* expand the cloth arsenal.

a telling sign

Continue your journey

(This also means there will be LOTS of fabrics available in the shop, for my faithful followers and customers! Note: there are a few listings going in there within the week, from cloth made last year.)

I’m re-reading my faithful dye Bibles (all of Jenny Dean‘s books), and using highlighters, post-its and scribbled side notes to brush up, and focus on new things–and old things tried and tested that i haven’t done before. I’m collecting fabrics, prepping fabrics with mordants and stitch, making my lists, assembling the suitcase of necessaries, and getting more and more excited!

This year again, i’ll be working with my old faves of indigo, rust and potassium permanganate, along with dyes i haven’t had much success with, like madder. Madder has always fought me, giving only oranges and peaches, and the occasional oink pink (though i kinda like that fingerslip “oink” descriptor! 😉 ). The only time i ever got red was from the cotton bag used to hold the dye stuff, a tiny 4″ square, way way back. I do love the corals and oranges though so am also going to work with annato, tansy and rhubarb again. This year i also want THREADS as part of the stash! I’ve done a few along the way, but except for the indigo, never really dyed enough to be worthwhile.

I’ll be doing a “regular” indigo vat at home, and hoping to start a 1-2-3 vat at the school with henna–i like the more green tone of this one. (Or maybe it was just greener because of so many using it and dipping strange things in it…….Yoshiko Wada workshop in August of 2014)


I’m planning on doing some ecoprinting again, something i haven’t done much of in the last 2 years, as it A. started to bore me, and B. everyone else is doing so much more beauty than i could. Of course, all those workshops that some can take do help, and yes i am SUPREMELY jealous. I think i’ve found some ground to stand on though, and will try some new things. If you learn something new every day, you know you’re not dead!

I want to try more shibori, and pole wrapping, more combinations of things, and more deliberate placements of dye and adjuncts like rust and leaf.

I shall be donning my goggles, rubber apron and tin foil hat, as the Mad Textile Scientist makes a long anticipated re-appearance.

Of course, i always remember words of wisdom imparted at my first res orientation back in 2011: “Make a plan, half it, half it again, and expect to not get even that much done.”