just a day

Here’s proof that pink calms dragons as well 🙂 He then flew onto my shoulder to say hello, before he went off on business.

How can one ignore inspiration from one’s own garden? It wasn’t just the yellow shouting of these Ligularia flowers, it was the indigo shadows underneath as well, due in part to the smoke still hanging here.

gimme the ticket, i’m guilty as hell

This morning’s madder mess was easily cleaned up with a bit of a bleachy scrub, something that was still out, as earlier in the week i also had an exploding indigo stock solution on the kitchen counter……… Yes, my kitchen could have been red and blue, naturally 🙂

I quickly scurried the pot out to the patio, and with temps being in the high 20C’s and set on concrete, it stayed hot all day. I hucked some cloth in there, just to see what was left, and am glad i did.

Top, tansy dyed first, then a rusted piece that had been treated with titanium oxalate, an undyed piece, and an indigo over tansy and madder, all previously mordanted with tannin and alum, all cottons:

Below, left to right, the TO/rust, the tansy, the undyed:

I’d loosely scrunched the undyed–LOVE it.

Waste not, want not!




mining the past again

That’s a page from a 2007 “fabric art journal”, a time for me of experimenting and heavy machine embroidery. “Kirlian Hand” is a portrayal of the so-called phenomena of a person’s “aura”. Named after Semyon Kirlian’s accidentally discovered observation in 1939, that if an object on a photographic plate is connected to a high-voltage source, an image is produced on the photographic plate—- and touted in the 70’s as captures of the human spirit! (My ex was heavily into this, Hollow Earth theory, pyramid power, Chariots of the Gods alien conspiracy, and the whole “new age” crapola of the time….used to drive me nuts…but then *he* was/is.)

Anyhoo, i did like the design possibilities of this, so wth. The hand was cut from screen printed fabric, all of the embroidery is by free motion and the abalone shell piece was attached with glue and beads (i think..the page is somewhere in a box with other relics of the time, in a little room at the back of the house so stuffed i can’t get into it. Note to self: do something about that this weekend, there’s some Good Stuff in there too…)

It’s interesting to look at old work and not only remember how and why it was done, but to go forward with it as well, in a new direction. Yeah, some of the results from the way back machine are either embarrassing or weak, but some of it is still valid, good, intriguing, and touches a chord. Let’s roll with it!

As i mentioned in a previous post, i’m working on improving my ecoprinting skills, and while my little tests are very quite promising, i’m not completely satisfied yet, BUT, i can still use some of the bits in the Summer of Madder Study project 🙂 I’m going to “condense” the above layout a bit, due to the size of the moon i want to use, because the original layout would make too big a section to work on comfortably, considering the scale.

I’ll have to be tender with the moon too: a silk, i always have problems with stitching on this fabric, by hand or machine, as the threads of the fabric tend to “pull” when the needle goes through. I’ve tried finer threads, and smaller eye bulbed needles, but haven’t solved the mystery yet, so minimal stitching on the moon. Given though that the details are so fine and so delicious, less is more anyways: not everything has to be encrusted!

And the potential layout–just pretend/imagine the fingers are separate so the moon shines through 🙂

It’s now time then to set up the outside stitching corner!


while the water’s away, arlee will stitch play….

Some idiot at the major BRT construction site last night hit the water main feeder that supplies our two blocks. We’ve had no water since 7PM last evening, and nothing was done until about 10 this morning, because of course first priority was a fight between the city and the construction company about who was responsible for fixing it. ASSHATS. An emergency water services thingie showed up sometime in the night, and we have to lug big bottles in to flush, wash and water the animals. No word either as to when it will actually be DONE. Better i suppose than having to lug a bucket down to the river——which is impossible at the moment anyways, as the riverbank is unreachable now due to the construction of a new bus bridge and remediation of the banks after the 2013 flood………………..probably a good thing also because i have a hard time keeping a DogFaced Girl on a leash out of the river and balancing a bucket on my head at the same time. Things slosh.

SIGH. So, dyeing requires water. Ain’t got none. Pause in the dyeing escapades then, perhaps a good thing, as i am capable of other things in the studio.

I pulled out the threads again, and have almost finished the first section of the garment for the Summer of Madder (Study) project.

I have a few leaves left to do, a bit on the yellow strip, and have decided that the big floaty roses that worked as big floaty roses on the pocket, need to be “grounded” on this section.

I love these little figures!


Well, hell, i mean *i’m* on fire, at least in the dye department 🙂

Cochineal on silk, and on wool threads:

OOPSIE, i’m not sure why there are areas of gradation in those, as they were all mordanted properly and dyed by swishing around regularly, but it does make the colours more interesting to use.  (I think though that the greyed areas in the silk are oxidization that occurred during the night, when the fabric probably bubbled up.) And i realized with the cotton results–that i won’t show :)–that most of my cellulose results, barring threads, have been rather weak, so need to play a bit with that still. Strange, since cochineal LOVES cotton, as witnessed by Central and South American dyeing……


I’ve been doing a lot of exploration with madder this summer, my “study” for the year. This week, i (accidentally!) discovered softer pink toned fabrics and threads by using soft (filtered) water, instead of our regular hard tap water I had still dropped in the ol’ Tum’s tablet, recommended to add that “hardness” of calcium (carbonate) to the bath, but for whatever reason, i used the filtered water this time………… (Too much on my mind lately…)

I’m making green threads today, not something i ever dyed a lot of, deliberately or accidentally. The current project demands them, for leaves and vines. Time to fire up the osage, privet berries and logwood.

And maybe (gasp), the indigo that has been hiding in the Dye Dungeon for 2 years at least…


Admittedly, i overthought this section, but i’m happy anyways with the results (still in progress). The idea/execution however is getting a bit *too* “figurative”! It’s time to think of texture and effect as well as the “embrilting”.

As soon as i finished the wing on the upper right figure, i flashed back to 2014, when i was working on “The Weight She Carries”. At the time, though i wanted redder madders than i was getting, i used synthetic dyes (Procion/Rit/Dylon, whatever was in the drawer) to get a range of reds. (The coral/peach “puffs” in the photo are the madder results i was getting at that time.) The feathers on this wing are a textural smorgasbord, and perhaps i can draw from these, literally, in shape, and figuratively, in feel.

I could see wings on the back of this garment,  but that might be a bit much! I can’t/don’t want to make them smaller to fit in a section either, as they would be too fiddly to work, and would lose the point and effect. Perhaps a few scattered?

parts for the whole

It’s time to start other sections of the garment for the Summer Madder Project, so today i pulled the booty out and started laying out areas.

I couldn’t resist adding a slice of the purple, madder overdyed with logwood (and iron). The left top is cochineal over madder, and the right top is sandalwood over madder, because “it all madders”. Ha.

I knew i had better also start using the actual pattern i want for this, a Tina Givens that i’ll have to modify somewhat, due to the construction details and sizing. I don’t want to be trimming too many sections, wasting fabric, or have embroidery in areas that will either be less visible (armpits! and under pockets!), or that will wear faster (armpits and ass 🙂 ). We also don’t want motifs centred on bosom parts either!

I won’t add the ruffle, but will extend the length to below the hip, and will be adding pockets.

I’m going to continue with the small figures, and the roses, but want to add other elements as well. Wings would work on some of these little ladies, but i also don’t want to go overboard with “precious” and airyfairy. Oh no, i will have to dye some more threads in madder! (Such a hardship 🙂 )