naturally dyed silk velvet listings open, shop update

Natural dyes and silk velvet have an affinity for each other, like a love poem whispered into a breeze, like feather soft caresses, cool water on hot naked skin, sensual and earthy, sharing the privacy of deep emotion and quiet solitude.

Pure silk velvet is a dream to turn into art, or functional but stunning accessories. For embroidery on this, i would advise backing with a soft but firmly woven cotton (cotton flannel is excellent!), and use bold embroidery stitches, like chain, whipped backstitch or whipped running stitch, in 6 strand floss or #3, #5 or *8 perle. If you are doing satin or other covering stitches, a small piece of stabilizer is recommended. Beading is wonderful as well!!!!!

Listing for the large squares is now active. 

EDIT: LARGE PACKS SOLD OUT.

EDIT: listing for smaller pieces is now open, 4 packs only. SOLD OUT

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naturally dyed silk velvet

I’ve had a love affair with velvet since i was 12 and found a Vogue magazine that advised “A pant of lavender panne velvet is the essential in a bohemian styled wardrobe.” I’m not sure *how* i thought my 60cent an hour babysitting jobs were going to finance the purchase of an $800 garment, but that was obviously beside the point (I’ve never forgotten that quote either…) Natural dyes coupled with silk velvet have me quite giddy at the moment. 😍

I just have to fire up the indigo pot, do some dye combinations and extend the colour range a bit more as we need greens, blues, purples, almost-blacks, different pinks!

Listings will start on July 5th, with 2 differently sized packs, and as always, i refund any extra shipping paid!

Easter dyeing

No eggs!

OH MY GAWDZ, this 34 year old madder!!!!!

No fuss, no messing around, our mountain-hard tap water, a couple of Tums, a bit of a simmer and BANG.

I think i’d be hoarding this stuff if i was parsimonious with my cloth–but then what’s the point? Just wish the supplier was still around!

Coupled with a chunk of silky silk velvet dyed in quebracho rojo, there are TWO of these packs in the shop, along with others (ONE each) in various permutations of osage, sandalwood, quebracho rojo and cochineal. DELICIOUS! EDIT: ONE pack left of the seven.     SOLD OUT    

I will be dyeing again this week, and will have more packs in the store, slightly different.

working up some courage

Natural dyes and silk velvet have an affinity for each other, like a love poem whispered into a breeze, like feather soft caresses, cool water on hot naked skin, sensual and earthy, sharing the privacy of deep emotion and quiet solitude.

I’ve always had a secret love affair with velvet, coveting the “lavender panne velvet pant” described in a 1972 Vogue magazine ( i was all of 15 years old and it was certainly not either in my world of farm town, or in my 60cents an hour babysitting budget…) , but never really comfortable wearing any as i got older, feeling slightly fraudulent and as if i was demanding attention i didn’t deserve. But oh the slither of it, the voluptuous animalistic tactility, in the hand, on the back of the neck, under the legs…………

Ahem. Mystery and imagination, in deed, and in thought! Sometimes it’s sexy, too often it’s overblown and tawdry—what’s the expression? “Mutton dressed as lamb”?

Down to earth now. It’s also A BITCH to sew, by hand or by machine, so i’ve stayed far away from it, though once in awhile i pull out a chunk of rayon velvet i dyed some 25 years ago, when all i knew about was Rit. Odd bits of it have shown up in wearable art i made in the 90’s, some Hoodoo work when we first moved to Calgary and i was so enamoured of the spectacular rock formations in and near Drumheller, a few Christmas bits, but nothing really serious.

BUT, these from the last 4 days:

HOW could i not try again?

EDIT: Nov 21, i forgot to mention this is primarily using Quebracho Rojo extract (with the exception of the 2 greys/greygreens which are on osage), and are mordanted and modified with a few different processes. So all these colours from 2 dyes, and 5 mordants/modifiers!!!!!!!!

Now to dig through old sketchbooks.

 

River’s Edge

#15 in the indigo moon series, i may have lost some “serious art” readers “because apparently all i’m doing is “crafting” this year” (get on yer high horse, you know who, and ride off far away), but ya know what? I NEEDED this year to be easy, to be Small, to be, well, just mooning the world–ha!

The texture on this one is amazing, even if i do say so myself 🙂

 

Since it’s grey and cold and blowy here, i added a little bling from the embellishment stash that hasn’t seen the light of day for a looonnng while! These moons are getting bigger with this one measuring at 10″ across. (Still thinking of a HUGE indigo moon!!) And some are getting smaller, as i have a few planned in a 5″ size.

See the shop for details.

 

 

in a nutshell

So, what do you do with something you’ve stared at for 2+ years, and then cut up?

Throw it in a dyepot. Because if it’s no longer “precious”, you might as well go the full “wtf, why not?” route.

With natural dyes, it’s predictable that if there’s already iron present on the fabric, it’s going to darken and sadden colours. However, with the unmeasurable concentrations of iron used in rusting cloth, there’s no predictability about the shade or depth. Add to the stew, the fact that these pieces were already lined with cotton flannellette, my favourite stabilizer and crunchtexture “additive”, the dyes uptake was even more capricious. And note too: i did not premordant other than using the iron already on the cloth–if i had thought a bit longer, i could have might have done an alum acetate soak to see if the colours grabbed more, but it’s not a big whoopee bad because i didn’t.

I had thrown the figure itself in an osage bath, and was not happy with the resultant boring tan she became. Admittedly, the osage bath was on its last legs, having been used multiple times, but wow, there was a lot more iron on her than i had suspected. After the fabric had been made during the residency, i immediately washed it in hot water and some synthrapol and baking soda, as i do all of my rusted fabrics, removing stray particles, but this really shows how much the rust/iron had penetrated. Invisible to the eye, but not to chemistry! There are many arguments about how to actually “neutralize” the rust, by many different camps of dyers, but this has been the one that works best for me. AND NO, SALT DOES NOT WORK: does your car STOP rusting in the winter when you get road salt on it????? I dunno where that logic came from….idjits.

So i threw her in a pot of madder and sandalwood (using up two old dyebaths). I’ll have to work around the stocking appearance of her from the thigh down though! The other chunks were also cooked in the madder/sandalwood: the largest piece had been randomly and quickly dipped into indigo first, with the hope i’d get some purples. The wings apparently had the most iron on them, but i really like the effect it had on the madder, strong. NOW she’s singing!

Here’s the comparison, before and after:

Fortuitously, the indigo features centred and right above her head, a serendipitous effect.

While these are not the best examples of these dyes, and certainly not the best way to do things (no premordants other than the residual iron), i’m actually quite pleased with the results. She looks muddier, dirty, earthy, but given that Fall is all those things, and that her name is “Samara”, implying dried seeds, leaves changing and falling, the end of Summer and the return to the earth, that is more important, and actually there are some “pretty” areas.

Sometimes “wtf, why not?” is worth the effort.

When i see my thread choices (also naturally dyed) with her, i think the results will be perfect.

Now………..i have to figure out how to use those threads appropriately for this. As beautiful as the dimunitive leaves and flowers have been on the recent moons, those tiny motifs are not going to cut it for this. I need stronger, scaled up structures/objects/designs. Perhaps it’s time to resurrect the FrankenStitch approach.