Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Color Splits in Dyeing

I've been dyeing fabric (cotton) for over 25 years and dyeing silk for at least 10. I learned long ago, I don't enjoy the process of mixing colors, I like to open the jar and it's ready to go. I've accumulated  many colors over the years - both in mx and acid dyes. The only way to keep them straight in my mind is to do an actual sample - a big sample, one I can hold and easily see. To this end, I've made samples of all the dye colors I have. They are grouped together according to color families. It was a big job, took me awhile, but not a week goes by, that I'm not using them. It was a good investment of time for me. On each sample I write the name and color # (see below) and with the cotton (mx)I do a sample of discharge to see how each color will look.
For silk I use acid dyes which give brilliant color. You can also use mx on silk but I think for the best color, acid dye is the way to go. The other day on the Complex Cloth list, the subject of color splitting came up. Color splitting is when you use a "mixed" color (as opposed to a pure color) for dyeing. The fabric will wind up with 2 or 3 colors. This has happened to me often but I never knew the scientific explanation behind it.Jane Dunnewold, a very talented artist explains that any mixed color (one that is not pure) can split and this process can happen with mx or acid dye. You can often tell when you open a jar of dye as you'll see specks of different colors throughout the dye powder. Each dye molecule within a certain color will react and strike at a different rate. This happens more readily when the fabric is bound with string, other resists, or is tightly wedged such as you see below. It should also be noted that splitting occurs in an immersion type situation, not low water immersion, printing or painting. It's also best to add the fixative at the beginning preventing the molecules from moving around which results in uneven dyeing. When I dye silk scarves, they are wedged into a stocking and tied on each end. They are put in an acid dye bath, adding the citric acid crystals in the beginning; I leave them in for @ 30 mins turning every 10 mins.   I was so fascinated by color splitting and why it occurs, I went back and looked through my scarves to see which colors split. The samples on the right in each photo are the ones I made using a steamer - same color as the one on the left. The ones on the left were boiled in acid dye inside a stocking. I couldn't believe the difference. This is "Lobster Bisque". This next one is called "Pink Sand"...and one of my favorites.
Right now, I'm finding more of the lighter colors will split, but the jury is still out on that and to be determined when I've used more colors. This next one is "French Vanilla on left (boiled) and French Vanilla on right done in a steamer.
The next is Golden Pear which I love; I'm amazed at the green areas in the color.
And Blue Spruce - such a difference between the boiling and the steaming. I've found some colors are very intense and do great with steaming but others really need to be boiled.
"Maple Sugar" is next.
And "Tan", this has been great fun and very enlightening. No matter how long you do something, there's always something new to learn!
Until next time - Happy creating!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Two Hankies

Last month while taking a workshop at John C. Campbell, our instructor, Kerr Grabowski, had us do something very clever - an exercise in getting to know each other AND a test of our listening skills. As we sat in our morning semi-circle, we were told to partner up with the person next to us. Well okay, don't know why but sure we'll find out. We were then told to go off to a spot, away from others in the class and talk. We each had 5 minutes and HAD to talk about ourselves, only ourselves. Your partner could not say a word, not even an oooh or ahhh! The 5 minutes dragged on and on and then it was the other person's turn. Then like it never happened, we returned to our seats. Kerr continued with her demo, never mentioning the 10 minute "talky" session we took part in. About 45 mins later, Kerr hands each of us 2 white hankies treated with soda ash. "Okay, ladies, your assignment (yikes, we have an assignment) is to make a hankie depicting your partner - the person you talked to for 5 minutes. It can be representational, a picture of her, her likes and dislikes, anything you want. Make 2 of the same - one for her and one for yourself. On friday, when we see everyones work, our hankies will be revealed.
What fun let's see...what did I say that Karen (my partner) might use. Okay, I'm an animal person, love making messes in my studio, hmmmm. Well here's Karens hankie to me. She got my bangs(think 90%) of my life I've had bangs so that's cool and there's an animal in the corner - that's clever and a needle and thread that's definitely appropriate.
Well Karen told me she was a psycho-therapist and loved to do hand stitching. The little circles coming out of her head are her thoughts on people and things - kind of like analyzing something. Her mouth, hair etc are made from x-stitches to look like hand embroidery and the "Art is Life" well, we all kind of felt that way.
Just a fun exercise to get to know each other and we all went home with our own personal little treasure.
Until next time

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wearable Art Show in Asheville

I wanted to give you a heads up for a new exhibit which just opened at the Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC. The exhibit is "New Traditions - Wearable Art" and runs through January 15, 2011. Members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild have created wearables as well as accessories for this wonderful show. Nikki Josheff, heads up exhibits at the Folk Art Center and does a beautiful job. Each piece is carefully considered and placed in the perfect spot. I've been twice already and have seen such interesting pieces - nuno felted tops, hats, naturally dyed fabric made into garments, silk screened garments, crocheted baby gowns, bags made from recycled materials, wonderful jewelry, the list goes on. I have a piece in the show - below. It was created for the Fairfield Fashion Show a while back; it's white wool with extensive cutwork made from hand-dyed rayon.

Hope you can stop by and see it; it will be around for a while. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hello Again...The Moment of Truth

It's been a busy time with my daughter and her new husband visiting and an added treat of her in-laws, Jan and Dennis. We've been having adventures in the mountains, eating lots, laughing lots and taking trips down memory lane. I'm just now getting back to my studio to continue with my mushroom prints. I prepared the screen last week. I didn't know how they would print out so it's been a morning of fun and surprises. I used bronze mx dye from Pro Chemical and love the color. As I mentioned, each print differs from the previous one because of the amount of dye released. These next images are turned on their side so it's hard to make out the "mushroom".
Here is one "right side up". I used the mushroom cap on top for added texture. This print has lots of color.
The dye is becoming less and less prominent in the background of the next couple of prints.

The dye is almost gone and I will probably go back and add more color in those areas.
The screen still has areas of dye. By having several screens, I can hold onto this one with the dye and go back and use it at any point in time. It wouldn't make a good image by itself but perhaps on top of something else.
I've decided to add a little more color the the white areas. I was wanting some subtle coloring so I thought of a dusty rose and smokey grey, which leans towards blue.
I thickened the dye so I could apply it like paint using a paint brush. I like the way the smokey grey looks with the bronze coloring.
I'm liking this better than the dusty.
I also like the combination of the 2 colors together.

Will see where this takes me.
Until next time

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Three Quilt Happenings

Calling all quilters, get your car gassed up, your walking shoes on, your camera ready - for 3 wonderful events coming to the Greenville/Seneca area of SC this weekend. The first is the Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild show - Sept 17-18 in Seneca, SC. I've attended this show and it's a good one; they also have great vendors.
The next event is the Blue Ridge Arts Council "Fiber Fantasy" show opening on Sept 17 and running through November 4. I know Mary Stori, Patsy Thompson and myself are 3 of the participating artists. I will have Faces from the Past
and Morning's Glory in the show.
There is another wonderful show at the Arts Company in Seneca. It opened on September 13 and runs through October 31. Warren Carpenter, owner of the Arts Company is an accomplished wood turner and also the curator of the show. Two SC Fiber groups - Focus and Thread Heads wanted to pay tribute to Warren, a way of saying thanks for all he has done for artists. They decided on a theme  centered around wood - hence the name "Quilted Wood Works". Here are some of the pieces being shown. Bonnie Ouellette did "Woody".
Diana Pickens is the maker of "Seeing the Forest".

Barbara Tennyson did the next piece"Growth Rings: Fabric Chronology".
Marilyn Wall did "One with the Wood". Don't know if you can see it here, but Warren Carpenters face is in the wood - very clever.

They all look like wonderful shows and hope you can stop by.
Until next time

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mushrooms and Leaves

My friend Alice recently wrote about serendipitous moments and it got me thinking about how many serendipitous moments I have, especially on my morning walks. I have many different walks to keep it fun and interesting but my favorite is in an older neighborhood filled with tall trees. I love the forest and feel like I'm on an adventure when I walk there. I never know what to expect around the bend. There are horses, wild turkeys and just last week 8 little puppies romping around the front lawn waiting for breakfast, I had to stop and watch them for a while. Their energy was contagious. I also came home with a "treasure" - 2 large white mushrooms - darn, wish I had brought a bag to carry them in. So I did the next best thing - carried one in each hand. I looked like a power-walker with barbells, but it worked and I got them home safe and sound. My husband is always outside with his coffee when I get home. He just rolls his eyes and laughs at the treasures I find. Well I got the "eye-roll", some smiles, some oohs and ahhs and then into the studio they went. They had a beautiful shape to them.
I loved the bottom on this next one.
Using an old bread knife I keep in my studio, I sliced them to a mere 1/4" thickness This was tricky as they were rubbery and hard to slice and also very fragile. But persistence paid off - 2 good slices.
I took the cap that was sliced off and placed it on top to change the shape.
I also found some leaves with good veins for printing.
I laid everything down on unprinted newsprint. I made creases in the paper to give it more texture. One leaf was face-down and the other face-up. I will be interested to see which gives better texture.
Next I laid my blank screen over the leaf.
Using a mix of dye and print paste, I squeegeed over the leaf. I did a number of swipes to see the kind of texture I was getting as the dye accumulated around the nooks and crannies. If you don't like what you see, you can just "re-squeegee" it. You can see in the picture below the half that has dye on it.
You can see the wonderful texture that's forming in and around the leaf and also from the creases in the paper.
I like when the edges of the paper begin to break down and you get some great texture from that also.
I also did both mushrooms.
This is the back of the screen with the mushroom still on it. I can take them off or leave on. I'm curious to see what happens if I leave them on - maybe a little more texture?
I also left the leaf on the back of the screen during the drying process. The last time I did a leaf , I left it on and the texture from the leaf veins was great, so we'll see what happens this time.
Now for the hard part - the waiting til the screen dries and the fabric treated with soda ash dries - sigh.
Until Next Time - Happy Creating.

Friday, September 10, 2010

FAA continued

To continue the wonderful show and tell from our Fiberarts Alliance the other day, here are more creative bags all were made using such unique techniques.
On many of these with long straps, even the straps were made by hand.

So many had such interesting closures such as the one below
and wonderful yarns.
Dottie made this next one - beautiful fabric and love the whimsy of flowers.
Veronica showed us her latest quilt in a series where she makes fabric beads. Remember from Brownie scout days making these out of a triangular shape piece of magazine paper, rolling them from wide to skinny and having the most "hotsy-totsy" necklace we would give our moms! Veronica does this with fabric only far more sophisticated. She mounts each bead on a rectangular piece of fabric. The effect is powerful and interesting. I loved looking at each bead and the choice of fabric to mount it.

I love this next piece from Pat using recycled items

This next piece by Trish is wonderful and if you remember a while back a "turtle" piece I featured, also created by Trish.
Dorann Nelson created this next piece which she will be teaching at Kitsch Fabrics in Asheville.
This piece from Eydie Sloan who has an upcoming exhibit the the Pensacola Museum of Art is featuring this as one of the pieces.
All in all, it was a lovely day loaded with inspiration and creative energy, always fun to be a part of.
Until next time