Christmas 2020 Moons, UPDATED

ALL are created as original works of art, from my own naturally dyed fabrics and threads, and then hand embroidered and beaded, as OOAK pieces. This year, many of the small pieces include a small easel for display, as they don’t do well on a wall, due to their delicacy. Dyes used include indigo, lac, madder, cochineal, quebracho rojo, marigolds, onion, eucalyptus, cutch, all done with historically accurate long lasting processes. Listings will commence Sunday, November 22nd.

If you see something you like, but it is sold out, i can approximate–remember, i said One of a Kind, but i do “series” also, so similar works can be produced. Please email me through the Contact page either on this blog or on the shop site.

WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

OH MY GAWDZ, my Indigo suffruticosa is getting flowers!!!!! It’s been under a professional level grow light since Sept 30th, has doubled its size and is looking properly woody shrubs and now there are flower spikes in the leaf axils!!!! I was going to harvest at the end of October, but I want to see now if the flowers go to seed. Hoofies crossed!

Advance notice, mark your calendar!

ONE DAY ONLY. Inglewood neighbourhood, Calgary, Alberta, Canada—-a bit more planning for me this year for logistics as i no longer reside there! (Figures, huh? 🙂 )

The Contextural Fibre Artists are coming together for their annual Christmas Artisan Sale. Join us to see original textile work and meet the artists. Contextural is a group of professional artists who meet to support each of our individual fibre practices. Our artists work with fibres or textiles in many different ways, from hand-dyed clothing and home decor to woven items, printed and painted fabrics, embroidery stitching and more. Admission is free. We are implementing all AHS Covid protocols to keep you safe and comfortable while you shop with us.

 

I have been in my studio, the Dye Dungeon and my stitching corner on the couch, working my hoofies down. (Yes, this busy bee has hoofies…)

In a sense, i have left it late to produce, but then again, i know my speed and hopefully can make a fair showing.

See you there, Locals!!!!

 

big shop update

A plethora of pretty! A lot of luscious! Candy dishes of cotton, loads of linen and va va va voom velvets! Come         on       down              (expansive hand and arm gestures)!

My work table is over burdened at the moment with naturally dyed cloth, and with the exception of a few pieces for my own work, and since i use only small small pieces 🙂 i truly am running out of room to store it.

My prices are more than reasonable. You get more than a couple of scraps and a dinky bit of lace or thread. You get dyes that last, that are done accurately with historical processes. No fugitive fadey colours in my studio! You even get money back if i charged too much for postage/shipping! (The initial charges may seem “high”, but i still charge a lot less than Etsy or the like, and ALWAYS refund the extra.)

I have  new listings in the shop, with more to come tomorrow—–after the Thanksgiving weekend dinner digest 🙂 EDIT: OCT 17/20 MORE LISTED.

 

 

growing indigo in a northern clime, part one

Specifically, this type of indigo is Indigofera suffruticosa, a more tropical type than what most grow. Please bear this in mind for my “review” of growing it. Results may vary with other varieties like Indigofera tinctoria. (I have grown Persicaria tinctoria before, but that’s another post, and a variety/species to try again next year.) I was asked by Deb McClintock to share this as advice and experience in a climate than is very different from Texas (where my seeds came from her plants) and other warm/hot/temperate states, provinces and countries, compiling several previous posts and the final results.

I of course started my seeds indoors, May 16th, and placed under a grow light, a necessity in Alberta’s climate. Even the seeds released some blue after soaking overnight! We have a shorter growing season, colder nights (down to 5C –even in the summer—due to our altitude), temperatures rarely going above 30C (86F) and while we get lots of sunshine, my yard is not optimum for catching it! They were sown in a regular potting mix, augmented with a bit of sheep poo fertilizer. I watered them by soaking once a week as they didn’t seem to need much –in fact i’ve never had them wilt even when i forgot to water! Kept under lights until the end of May and then planted in a small pot, they didn’t grow much at all, though they did survive 3 hailstorms! I chose to pot them also because i have a very tiny yard, and the best way to get enough sun on these babies was to put them in something moveable, which was done up to 3 times daily.

By Aug 13th, there wasn’t much growth or improvement, so i transplanted then to a larger pot placing them inside the radius of a large peony cage as well, again with a good layer of sheep poo, a composted manure that usually helps enough that i swear i can see things grow 3inches to a foot a day depending on the plant …..not so much this time…… and wrapped the cage in plastic to trap heat, and which also protects them from hail, a too common occurrence in Alberta summers. I had noticed that any time the night temperature dropped to or below 15C, the leaves would fold down, like a mimosa pudica (the ol’ kids favourite “sensitive” plant). Incidentally, a larger pot does not guarantee growth–i just figured if they DID suddenly go crazy, i wouldn’t have to shock them by transplanting after the fact. Each week, i gave them a weak feeding of Alaska Fish Fertilizer, as i don’t know how deep the roots go, or if they are even down to the layer of sheep poo amendment.

Wrapping them did seem to help. The photo below was taken Sept 9th. I covered the top as well with plastic, creating a small greenhouse. We did have ONE night of frost warning Sept 8th, but i don’t think it actually went below 2C, so the plastic helped, though i also snuggled it up to the tomatoes and threw a heavy flannellette sheet over the whole area. The plants at that point were at a  barely 10″ height.

In the week before i brought them in, Sept 22nd to 29th, our temps started showing autumn, ranging from 14C to 23C during the day and 4C to 8C during the night–this was also the period, it showed an impressive change, filling out and getting woodier stems! At this point, they are still only 12″ high, a far cry from Deb’s 6-8′ beauties!   I figure it might have improved greatly as a last ditch rally: “NO NO NO, i don’t wanna die because winter is coming! Imma making leaves, lookit me, maybe i’ll flower! Don’t let me die!” 🙂

 

 

Incidentally, though we had something in the yard that chomped all my honeyberry leaves down to nubbins, and then attacked my rose, nothing seemed interested in these babies. Perhaps luck, perhaps no pests here of the type that would be interested. No yellowing due to soil or water factors, no sun burning, so viruses of any type. Hoofies crossed that no spider mite will occur now that the pot is indoors.

I didn’t want to tempt the Fates though, so brought it in on the 29th–and FREAKED the morning of the 30th as it had folded down so much i thought it was dying!!!!!!!!! I set it up the evening of Sept 30th under “professional” grow lights, near a heat source, and it recovered, so i’m hoping it was just from being near a partially opened window for that night. (By “professional”, i mean Grow Lights, the kind used in the industry–greenhouses, plant nurseries, cannabis set-ups–not the cheap dicky ones sold by Wallymart or the like. If i’m going to invest in something that takes time and some technology, i invest in as top of the line i can afford, or don’t bother.)

Here’s the grow light set-up, nothing fancy: a saucer on a stool, a heat vent in the floor behind–though i put a small cardboard diverter on that so it doesn’t blow directly on the pot—-NOT LETTING CONDITIONS FOR SPIDER MITE HAPPEN!!!!!!!!. and the grow light hanging from ceiling about 2.5 feet above. The light can be adjusted up as/if the plant gets taller. (HOPE HOPE HOPE.) I intend to baby it for at least a month, thinking that longer than that is not going to do much for growth or volume for use.

 

Had to put a dark bag on the outside though to save our eyes, as this is in the living room! The light goes on at 6am and off at 7am, hoping the timing is okay for hours. (It’s not like there’s a manual for this sort of thing, for any plant!

Part two will be written in probably a month as i see what happens in its new crib :), and then hopefully, enough leaves gathered for at least a teenyschmeenyweensy indigo extraction experiment.

EDIT OCT 3/20—-Talk about freaking my beak! Within 5 minutes of turning these lights off at night, the leaves fold down COMPLETELY. I would assume this is a defense mechanism of sorts to conserve both heat and water expiration, so light *and* temperature affects this. Fortunately, they come back to full mast in the morning, on their own, as soon as light starts to creep in from the patio window, or the light is turned back on.

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” 🙂 , 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 🙂

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

Listings will start appearing in the shop on Sept 18. Live! Now! 🙂

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.  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 🙂

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 testing  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………………………………….)