I’m sorry I’ve been a bit absent recently but I have been doing a lot, honest! I think that I’m going through a natural, if long, quiet spell where I’m reading a lot and not saying much, but I’m sure that will change eventually! I’ve been doing a lot of dyeing and printing and have taken a pile of photos today. Here is one to whet your appetite…
Around Christmas time I treated myself to a few of Lisa Peter’s gorgeous raku buttons – I love her pottery and I had a hard time deciding which to buy. I love the earthy feel of these three….
Also around this time, I decided to take advantage of the snow and do some snow dyeing. I did this totally erratically without referring to any written instructions but I like the way these turned out. I piled all the fabric on top of each other and this is what it looked like with the snow on top (complete with bits of organic greenery to add to the design!)
Here is one of the pieces of fabric – this is quite transparent cotton organdie (I always wondered what organdie was from the song Scarborough Fair!).
I hung this up on my design wall over the top of one of my practice reeds samples and was interested to note that the reeds were more visible through the black part than the white, for some reason…
Here is a closer look so you can see what I mean:
I think I’ll have to exploit that property sometime!
This is some silk crepe fabric:
I love the strokeable texture of it here:
The colours are closer to the above photos but this one captures the markings better. I may have taken it when it was wet. For some reason, silk crepes and organzas are very difficult to photograph without the colours being washed out. Anyone know why? I wonder if it is related to the way the light reflects off the fibres.
Unless you’re a gardening afficionado, the words ‘yummy’ and ‘luscious’ don’t really appear together with the word ‘compost’ but wait till you see this fabric I just rinsed!!
A couple of years ago I bought the DVD Markmaking with Nature from Kimberly Baxter Packwood. Kimberly is extremely knowledgeable about all things related to natural dyeing, and one of them is a technique she calls compost dyeing. I have been intrigued and wanted to try it for a while now, but didn’t get round to it till January. Basically, it involves laying natural dye extracts and other vegetable matter on fabric and shoving it in the compost heap for a while.
Well, it was January, so I left out the compost heap bit, but I did the rest, wrapped it up with a load of natural dye extracts and some banana skins and rolled it up, soaked it in vinegar, nuked it in the microwave to start it off, and left it for 2 months. How about that for self discipline?!! Anyway, yesterday the suspense got too much. I was going to leave it for a while longer given that the weather wasn’t all that warm (it has been inside, not out so it didn’t get TOO cold). And the results were amazing!
I did two pieces, both silk.
This one is a sort of silk crepe. I put a lot of logwood on this, I think, and various other things (I was extremely disorganised and just grabbed handfuls of whatever dye extracts I have).
This shows some of the markings on it.
And this one is a habotai silk scarf. I think I used a lot of madder on this one.
This was the one which had the banana skins rolled in with it. I had to hang it over the chair to photograph it – it was incredibly hard to photograph as the light just bounced off the sheen of the silk.
I’m so glad these turned out well, because I also tried rinsing a thin section of some of the screenprinted fabric and ochre painted fabric that I also did with natural dyes and those were disappointing. I don’t know whether the gum was too thick or whether I just need to leave it a lot longer, but most of the colour washed out of the tiny sample that I did. I may just leave the ochre painted one as most of my art won’t be washed anyway. Time will tell…