dye painting tests

My Dharma order arrived 6 days after being ordered, but with the silly season upon us, those pesky spare five minutes’s available had to wait until after chripcrapmas………..

I ordered 4 colours (teal blue, rust brown, oxblood red and warm black), planning to augment the palette with what i already have (golden yellow, red, olive, violet and true blue), trusting i will be able to approximate the colours and blending shown on the acrylic painted paper mock-up (left in photo below). Didn’t use all of them though!

On cotton, right, previously soaked in soda ash, though i also added the soda ash *to* the Procion. These fabrics won’t be washed, but i still worry about fading or exposure to any elements in the air. I’ve never had any luck in removing all the alginate before (think icky snail trails…), so bypassed  thickening and directly “painted” on the cloth. I do know however, that though usually one wants super saturation with the dyes, this one is too dark, and MUCH too red! I still like it and will continue to work on the idea.

sketch-and-fabric-sampleI also did another piece:

neurons-dye-paint-1-bThe Procion “Rust Brown” has a LOT of red in it, shall have to tone it down. It was based on this, and in a larger scale, may become the background for something.


Mood/story board in the stoodio:




I also did a little ice dyeing, tshirts for the Son below and the Greyman (still batching).


Somehow fitting that i end the year with how i started the year!

Speaking of ice, my camera captured this, a trick of the light and of the time.

Dec 26 icicles in Inglewood


And then i remembered, fortunately in plenty of time, that i also need to dye some threads as well! The quantities i’m going to need precludes buying “ready made’ though i’m sure some will come by mail 🙂 Some i’ll do the same way as the cloth, painting bits on , and some will just be immersion dyed.


And the FybreSpace shop is now gone.

subtle or bland?

Can’t make up my mind!

Did some tests yesterday with some of the tansy and solidago in a leftover madder pot. Meh. Top is cotton, bottom silk, and the thread is cotton—though i do like the thread.

tansy madder tests

My old method did not work well with the ecoprint though:

eco over procion ice silk

The cotinus barely made an impression on the previously ice dyed (Procion) silk.

The cottons were a bit better in the baths (tansy/solidago/madder bath):

cotton eco over procion silk in tansyand the other side:

cotton eco over procion silk in tansy b

Just tansy:

cotton eco over procion silk in tansy cc

Perhaps if i used the method i developed on my own, i might have got better results. (No, i am not sharing that because as a friend says “every dyer has her own secrets.”)

I’m getting to the point with ecoprinting of giving up, quite frankly. There honestly are many who are doing a much better pushing of the technique (witness Irit Dulman’s incredible work and teaching), and i can’t afford to take a class with her, mostly because of the distances away. I’ll keep the process in the arsenal, as there are certain results i can predict, and use in my  own work, but the days are gone of pots bubbling for weeks on end with reams and yards of fabric coming out. I also do still love the natural dye colours, so will continue with that: any colour addition, whether natural or “synthetic” pleases me, as it returns me to the days of “making potions” as a child. As my mother says “fabric is fabric”, no matter whether it came new or from old curtains, so colour is colour!

I’m still in a rut with the making though. Lots of ideas, little inclination to spend the time bringing them to fruition, too much thinking  “it’s been done before”, and little desire to keep doing the same thing over and over. The rest of the summer will be spent just f*****g around in the stoodio, with no real plan. I need to give myself a break, overly ambitious overachiever that i am.

down in the dungeon

It’s been so hot and humid here, i’ve had to do my current ice dyeing in the basement! I did learn a lesson as well: silk just doesn’t give me the same satisfaction with colour breaking and pattern dispersion. Oh well, will just stencil or work more colour into this some other way. Though originally intended for some scarves, i think this one will become a flowy summer top for me.


The cotton “drop/sop cloth” under is lovely, destined to be a cushion cover.

cush 1

cush 1 b

I finally convinced my boss that it would be in her interest too, if she carried some of my “bread and butter” products–though i did have to explain that phrase as it doesn’t translate well into Farsi 🙂

I’ve also added a few more of the “res fabrics” to the shop, and thank you very much for looking and your support!

I’m also planning these again–the Hippie Chick Packs are now an annual summer offering!


damn damn, double damn

GRRRRRRRRRRRRR. I don’t know why i keep *&^%ing up with the background for the largest Leighton work. I try things and they don’t work, so again today i will pick out stitches. It might be time to alternate with some new stuff as well, stuff that doesn’t involve domesticity 🙂

I was looking at these yesterday, a treasured watercolour from sweet Serena, and an old fabric journal page from 2006.

serena work C

i sing the body electric 2006And these ice dyes:

ice 4 2

ice 3 2

Still loving that moon thing that has been happening, so they will undoubtedly pop up here as well.

ice moon 2

ice moon 3

ice moon 1

ice moon 4

ice moon 5And the texture on this older sample gives me some ideas as well.

red moon

I *do* tend to obsess over possible multiples, but in the end, only a few will make the cut–that short attention span for a motif still crops up. Even so, looking at them this way prompts other uses, techniques, and stories.

I’ve subscribed to Seth Godin’s blog, and today quite resonated with me:

The focus that comes automatically, our instinctual or cultural choice, that focus isn’t the only one that’s available. Of course it’s difficult to change it, which is why so few people manage to do so. But there’s no work that pays off better in the long run.

Your story is your story. But you don’t have to keep reminding yourself of your story, not if it doesn’t help you change it or the work you’re doing.

she grows slowly

Back to the serious stitching. Some photos due today for the exhibit promotions!

she grows slowly

Third batch of ice dyeing was mostly BLECH, so disappointing that my camera ran away after taking a shot of the one piece i like. Lesson learned: the fabric i used for the first batch was the best.

ice 3 1

ice 3 1 detail


second batch ice dyeing

While it may look i am on a binge right now, that’s not the case 🙂 I have one more batch soaking in soda ash, and when that is done, there will be a hiatus as i still have lots of stitching to do with Leighton exhibit work! I do however need to rebuild the stash after clearing out a lot of old fabrics that simply are not “me” anymore. (And besides, it takes time to make more ice cubes!)

These are the second batch done yesterday:

ice 1 2


The mandala effect on the one below SUX, for whatever reason…..

ice2 2


I must have discharged or not washed out enough of a resist on this one at some point, because look at those spirals!

ice 3 2


Screen printed scrap:

ice 4 2


Another piece with discharged or resisted spirals:

ice 5 2

Strange how on the one below, that the satin face didn’t take as much dye as the back side of the fabric, a very solid matte:

ice satin face

Not as successful as day one, but there are areas that are definitely very pleasing, and will certainly get pressed into use. The fabrics i used were different from yesterday, one being softer and almost having a nap, the other (previously screen printed) very crisp, and possibly some polyester content? I “batched” as usual, so method is not the problem.

This time i used warm black, violet and red, and i know with this one that because i used “base” colours, there wasn’t as much colour variance, but i also expected the red and the violet to be more saturated. My first batch was using a new warm black, a very old golden-yellow and a very old scarlet, which all struck beautifully. You’d have thunk i’d used many many dye powder rainbows! All grist for the mill, nonetheless, and obviously i’ll be using more of the “mixed” colours. I suspect my “pure” (base) turquoise is not going to be very striking either 🙂

My old Procions are from a garage sale score about 15 years ago, and i don’t know how old they were then! They survived floating around the basement during the 2013 flood, with half dissolved labels and rusted on lids as the only “damage”. I gotta say those lids are TIGHT because the powder was/is dry as a fossil. I don’t know about the shelf life of these powders, and am assuming some potency would be lost, but will see what happens when i use the new i have.

And now, i’m gathering again in the thrift shops, as i need to replenish my stock of dyeables—i have lots of ideas for the upcoming ACAD/Contextural Residency 2016, involving my usual rust processes with natural dyes.