Sunday, September 30, 2007

Time for Art & Soul

views from the front of my house this morning (that tiny speck above the tree is the moon)

I'm leaving tomorrow for Portland, Or. to attend Art & Soul. I've already shipped up boxes of teaching supplies and items for vendor night. I have to try and fit the rest of it in my luggage as I pack today and then see how much room is left for clothes! (Oh yeah, after I pack all the supplies I need for classes I'm taking too).

I attended a Lesley Riley "Material Girl" workshop given by the East Bay Heritage Quilters in Berkeley on Sat. 22. My book isn't finished but close and I'll post photos when it's done. It was a great class and a cool book format. After the class I took Lesley Riley and my friend Jennifer to Chez Panisse for dinner, spent the night in Berkeley. On Sunday Jennifer and I went to the gem fair in Marin and went to Sonoma where I spent the night at her house and drove home the next day. On my way out of Sonoma we check out a charming place called the Westerbeck Ranch where I may be planning a small art retreat for next summer. (more on that later).

All week I've been packing, and making lists, and working in my studio to get ready for this coming week. I spent yesterday at my son's volleyball tournament in Livermore so today is the crunch for me and time to pray that I'll have everything I need packed. I'm used to teaching at places I can drive to so this is a new experience for me and I'm sure a great learning one too!!

I have lots of hand dyed items ready to sell on vendor night, shibori ribbons, scarves and a few garments. Lots of treasure bags and some dyed fabric pieces.

I'll be gone all week but will post when I return home.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Indian Summer

It's the onset of autumn but the days are hot as the Indian Summer lingers on. I was out looking at my garden spot and it looks so forlorn. The raised beds were so old and falling apart that my son has dismantled them for me and dug up all the plants with only a few straggling bearded iris strewn around. The bricks and stepping stones that lined the pathway are all stacked off to the side. It's usually a lovely garden but I'll have to start all over in the spring. I have to let it go this time of year as I get busy doing art shows and working in my studio.


Emily Dickinson [1830-1886]

These are the days when birds come back,
A very few, a bird or two,
To take a backward look.

These are the days when skies put on
The old, old sophistries of June, -
A blue and gold mistake.

Oh, fraud that cannot cheat the bee,
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,

Till ranks of seeds their witness bear,
And softly through the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf!

Oh, sacrament of summer days,
Oh, last communion in the haze,
Permit a child to join,

Thy sacred emblems to partake,
Thy consecrated bread to break,
Taste thine immortal wine!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

More Dyed Silk Ribbons

I hope you aren't getting tired of me posting images of the silk ribbons I dye. I've been busy dyeing 13mm (1/2") ribbons to fill a couple of orders and to sell at upcoming shows, the first one being Art & Soul in Portland. These really are so beautiful and it's always a surprise as to how they look after I dye and unwrap them!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

More about that indigo

I was able to get more information about the question I had about the indigo not washing out as I was accustomed to. I thought maybe it was the addition of the hide glue but even though the hide glue protects protein fibers it wasn't the reason for the dye not washing out as much. The reason the dye set so well was the plain fact that the quality of indigo used was outstanding! The dye came from a company run by Michele Wipplinger in Seattle, Washington. The name of her company is Earthues. Michele is a master dyer and a wealth of information on the subject. If you are ever interested in learning natural dyeing check her website to see if and when she will be teaching a workshop! I will add her website address to my links.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Treenway Silkster's Gallery & Indigo

Treenway Silk's, which is where I purchase my silk ribbons that I dye, has listed me as one of the feature artists in their Silkster's Gallery.

and they sent me this nice certificate for my scrapbook! (like I'm organzied enough to have one of those?! LOL!)

I washed all of the indigo pieces I dyed yesterday and have to say that hardly any of the dye washed out. The silks more so than the cotton pieces. I can not tell a difference in the cottons, but can in the silks although they are still great!! Even the dupioni piece is going to work. It might be due to the fact we added hide glue, but hide glue is suppose to be a protectant for protein fibers (silk and wool) so interesting that the silks bled more than the cotton? Maybe the silks would have bled more had we not added the hide glue?

See this website for more info on hide glue and dyes:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Indigo Dyeing

My friend Tracy came over yesterday bearing indigo stock solution and we proceeded to dye all day. It's hard to believe that I have been using natural dyes off and on for years because it involves things like math and chemistry. To give you an example, I know there is a process called oxidation that happens after you pull the fiber/fabric out of the indigo vat. The fabric is initially this chartreuse green and right before your eyes it turns blue. This is caused by oxidation, but I call it magic.

We used a chemical indigo vat where we substitute things like lye and thiourea dioxide for the oatmeal, rice, rhubarb leaves, and other natural plant fibers used to create a natural dye bath. The dye bath has to be ph'd properly and chemicals measured and checked often so here's math and chemistry. I think my chemist friend, Janet, would be both proud of me and also laugh at me .

In this picture you see some of the dyed pieces hanging to dry. The darker shade of color you want the more dips in the dye pot. The piece must stay in the pot for at least 30 seconds and up to a minute. Then you wait 20 minutes before you dip it again.

I shibori dyed some dupioni silk but I don't think I dipped enough times in the dye pot and I'm afraid most of the color is going to wash out. With indigo you always have to dip more times so the fabric looks darker than you want it because it is the nature of the dye to wash out a lot. It helps to "cure" it longer by letting it set. You should let all indigo dyed pieces air dry for at least 24 hours. I'm going to let this piece set longer and see if I can retain some color.

Here are some more pieces of lace and crochet I dyed along with some shibori dyed silk ribbons. I'll post pictures of these again after I wash and iron them.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Just Another Day and a New Camera

It's not so hot today, whew! It's been up around 100 everyday for the last week and it's hard to be creative. We don't have air conditioning, thankfully it cools off at night. I have been working a bit in my studio and am making shibori dyed velvet tunics. I'd like to post some photos but Belle Armoire voiced some interest in them so I'll be shipping them off to Stampington Press for possible publication, I'll keep my fingers crossed!

I got a new camera and have been out taking pictures to learn the features so I am posting some photos of where I live and some of the art on my property.

This is the view from the front of my house overlooking the mountains and the Pacific Ocean over Santa Cruz.

These wonderful metal sculpture fish were created by a local mountain aritst Phil Lange. They are sentinels of the ocean and swirl and point with the wind.

The Sequoia Gigantigas were planted by my father-in-law almost 50 years ago. He named them "The Three Sisters". They are young for this species but still they tower over us and you can see them from a distance on the drive up from town.

My studio is housed in this two car sized garage, separate from the house but just a short walk up the drive.

More art on the property, a table my husband made from a material called "Darjit" in a workshop by Brent and a mosaic tile plaque made by my son Tony & his friend Gabe in a workshop with Nancy Howells

Hope you enjoy the photos and a glimpse into my world.