dye week again

The shop is empty of fabrics, so it was time to gear up again. I used an old piece from 2009 as a colour inspiration guide!

I do need to revive my indigo vat though for some blues and soft greens, and wind and prep some more thread skeins!

 

Well, these are a *bit* more vivacious than the “source” πŸ™‚ , but oh oh oh, such eye candy delights. It’s grey and smokey outside, neither summer nor fall, with only a liminal edge that says “day”, so i’m spending a lot of time in the Dye Dungeon. It’s therapy, passion, joy, science and chillin’ out all at once in these times πŸ™‚

Madder, cochineal, onion, marigolds and quebracho rojo on cotton and silk

Listings will start appearing in the shop on Sept 18. Live! Now! πŸ™‚

Pick, girl, the roses

“Collige virgo rosas”, a Latin phrase found serendipitously on my birthday yesterday–i’m a Virgo, though i don’t believe in that either :)–it loosely is a carpe diem style saying for young people, but any of us can stop and smell the roses.Β  This will be the second of the Ensphere series. (First was “Sotto voce” in a previous post.)

I fell in love with these velvet dots when i was working on some of my moons a few years back, and woke one night with a whole series in my head. Of course, in daylight, all i remembered was lots of dots and Latin. I’m no completely dotty Yayoi Kusama, or a minimalistic Judy Martin, both of whom i admire greatly, for/from different perspectives, or a very organic Jude Hill, another of my absolute favourite artists (I’m sure you all know who she is, an article i wrote about her here), and circles crop up an immense amount it seems in Women’s Work (as the trope is….). I think with enough years put into one’s work, one eventually experiments with simplicity, and this is my time.

It’s not just the tidy shape, it’s the colours, textures, depth and light effects.

My start:

Look at these colours, swoon, natural dyes on silk/rayon velvet:

Madder, cochineal, and quebracho rojo, threads of cotton, silk/wool blend and silk in cochineal, madder, quebracho rojo, and no doubt some indigo with tansy, solidago or osage, for greens.

Sotto voce part 2

After smashing our trusty Nikon D90 last month, i’m still trying to get used to the new Settings and Things on the replacement, a Panasonic Lumix FZ1000. Apparently i need to read the manual, go figure πŸ™‚

The Nikon would allow me on the automatic setting to get the most beautiful daylight shots that showed texture, true colour and fine detail. The Lumix does fantastic close-ups on several settings, but the light effects are not the same. I suppose i should be thankful though that testing it doesn’t ‘waste” film, HA.

So, with 4 different settings (that i of course did not take note of), here’s “Sotto voce” again with different looks. None of them portray it properly, so i guess that’s this evenings reading, and tomorrow’s testingΒ  on the to do list.

And those green dots are coming off, changing to the tawny fox and peachey colours instead. I have a few things more to do to it, and then it gets mounted, hopefully for a virtual exhibit. (If anybody from the fibre group i’m in ever answers my emails and FB questions that is………………………………….)

it (all) is what it is

Marigolds, indigo. I’m not that fond of yellow usually, except as smeeny accents, but if ya make ’em, ya should use ’em.

 

I slapped some paint on a couple of pages of my sketchbook, and there are tiny areas that got my juices going a little bit. No ” damn the torpedos, full speed ahead”, but small can be a reboot of sorts.

 

Finished, for a friend:

Thank goodness for small mercies, as i have the attention span of a gnat right now. Just sticking with small steps.

And also a teeny at 2.5″ square!

In the shop too πŸ™‚

 

 

madder returns, and baby blue hopes

So………………..this is the culmination of 3 and a half years of growing madder. There were 4 winters in that time span, and the first three i had the good fortune of a large garden, where the huge pot could be heeled in (buried and well covered in other words) for our harsh winters. Not so with the recent move and downsizing though: i kept the pot against our sunny house wall by the heat escape vents, wrapped and covered it well, but no growth at all when spring started. Time to “harvest” roots, regardless, as madder is good to dig up in at least it’s third year (5 is optimum apparently).

I dumped the pot, and pawed through it, working as fast as possible because there was a new ant home in the bottom (i HATE ants: they creep me out, have done since i saw Salvador Dali’s “Un Chien Andalou” when i was 16…..) and was very disappointed. Not only did the roots never get below the depth of half the pot, but they were SMALL, stringy and unfortunately, had started to rot. POOP.

I ended up with 65 grams of “fresh” root, which as i understand means they would dry down to about one sixth of that, not quite 11 GRAMS…… I can see a red tint to them, but am not hopeful for good depth. I will use as soon as i can because they don’t *have* to be dry to use, though it’s suggested that letting them “age” develops more of the alazarin. (Although as i hit “publish” on this post, i note they have been drying now for 32 days, admittedly a far cry from drying for a year πŸ™‚ ) I won’t be trying to grow it again as our new garden space is too tiny to heel anything in, and seriously, the “return” on all the effort was not worth the effort… If i ever win the lottery, and have my big space in the country and a proper greenhouse, well, then we’ll revisit that.

Most of the Indigo suffruticosa seeds i planted did pop up. I lost a couple to drying out, because of the winds we’ve had lately, and due to the fact that Calgary is very dry at the best of times. I’m not assuming these will get as big as they grow in Texas at Deb’s though (SHE”S HARVESTING ALREADY!), because we have a shorter growing season, much cooler nights (due to our altitude) and so far this season not a lot of heat….. They did manage to get through 3 hail storms unscathed, probably because they are so tiny! I’m going to cloche them for awhile, trying to keep some heat in, and hopefully they will get big enough that i can get something. I still have a very tiny harvest from my first indigo Persicaria tinctoria attempts at the old house–a handful stored dry since 2015! (Edit: Even cloching these babies didn’t do much though they did double in size in a week. Still pretty teeny! And i don’t know if a bug/virus got them, or it’s the cold weather, but they are all spotted.)

I’ve decided in future, i won’t be sharing much about the actual process of natural dyeing, just the results. I get a fair number of hits on my “how to/how i did it” posts, but since 99.9% of readers don’t acknowledge even with a simple “thank you”, it seems rather pointless. (I’m sure it also bores the hell out of my readers that don’t care about that part of the process.) I seriously think schools have done a poor job teaching anyone HOW to research correctly, but i ain’t getting into that. All i can say is “just because it’s on the internet, or “popular”, doesn’t make it true”.

DD, part 3

Remember scale, visually and physically! I do like these dainty details, but i’d like them to be stronger. But i don’t like that indigo circle because it’s too strong!

I’m thinking too those deeper “grey” diamonds need only MINIMAL stitching as they are actually purpley ecoprints.

I still want the slightly aged effect i got with my first Suzani inspired piece:

Have to find the rest of that indigo cotton i used above. *That* is more the effect i want, a bit fadey, uneven, softer, more vintage. The deep indigo velvet i used in the top photo is beautiful, but i’m preferring more the “weaker” and the “mistakes” i’ve done πŸ™‚

I need to do a quick sketch or two to size up motifs. I usually do a printout of this and pencil in ideas, though i don’t always follow it slavishly. It’s kind of a free association exercise to see what i *could* do when i can see the whole.

the DillyDally coat

My muslin base, a heavier weight than i would have deliberately chosen, but since it came in this form and was scrounged for free, it is what it is:

Whomever had made this originally obviously got confused about seaming for right side/wrong side, but since it will all be covered, it doesn’t matter.

 

I’ve been “mapping out” what i need, as *i*am larger πŸ™‚ 😦 and the muslin base needs to *be* larger than it is. Wow, tried it on, it’s fine except that it needs some underarm gussets and a bit of sleeve widening so i can wear things under, and a 3″ extension on either front edge so i can wrap and tie. I’ve decided to keep the colourway in the terra cotta, red, orange, redder browns range with flashes of yellow, and indigo as an accent. Linen, a bit of velvet, some cotton certainly, i’m looking through what i have, and will also rev up the natural dye pots again–i adore the terra cotta resulting from madder over marigold (top of the photo above).

And pockets, gotta have pockets!

I want to try a few things i haven’t ever done, and a few that i haven’t done in awhile. Because OMGZ, i was so bored i dug through a box in the studio that i hadn’t seen in years (HOW did i miss that in the move??) and it was full of ideas, sketches, photos, instructions, patterns and ephemera from both my Cap College day in ’93 to ’95, but my first year in “Deadmanchuk”*** (’03) and WAHOO! I love lush surfaces, both visually and as tactile texture, so some bits that were previously done as “samples” (ie bits that never made it to finished work, or were aborted work!) may show up, along with new ones. (AND I FOUND MY YULE GHOUL PATTERN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

 

 

 

***Deadmanchuk (also Deadmonton, Edmonchuk, The Chuck)–slang for Edmonton Alberta, usually used by people who hated living there…..