Friday, 30 May 2014

Hot off the press plus.....

  You'll find out what at the end of this blog!

Now the plus - more about the Melton workshops.

Day three, sunny and beautiful.  We  began with unwrapping the eucalypt bundles after a week lying stewing in their own juice. 

I cant begin to describe the oohs and ahs, let alone my own excitment, nature is truly amazing. Most of these are red box ( eucalyptus polyanthemus) but a few little extras had been  added like the odd autumn leaf, lemon scented gum and bits and pieces off the ground.

Wrapped in with the silk was some cotton

comparing the silk with the cotton - what caused the yellow green?

The first drying rack (one of two)

 after running out of space there was the tree

You can see some of the fruit dye as well, it was then we looked at our feet,  the grass was wet so inside for a cuppa, warmth and to dry our shoes.  To come soon , fruit and veg dyes plus the lamps and cushions from the painted fabrics.

Now for whats hot off the press - Margaret and myself have been commissioned to design a yarnbomb installation for the Civic Square in Dandenong.  We'll be working with community groups to create a yarnbomb celebration of the community of Greater Dandenong.  Its part of a month of thread related festivities, more information soon. 

So we've started shopping for raw materials........and of course I forgot my camera so its a rather shaky phone photo - but it does give you an idea.........

Yes, its a happy Margaret from a successful shop expedition.  All those bags hold old jumpers and a few granny blankets!

And we're going to need lots more - so folks if you've got the odd woolly jumper you no longer love or the odd unloved crochet blanket, its a big space and we'll love them for   you............


Friday, 23 May 2014

Now if only I'd had some music go with the roses

I just know I wont live it down at tomorrow's workshop if I haven't done a blog today 

So day two of last weekend.......

The photos start after lunch - I got so absorbed in what we were doing I didnt take a single photo all morning.  It was shame because watching everyone rolling their little bundles of fabric and vegetables was great fun.  So no photos until we took the turmeric out of the boiler.

The bundle in the tongs has the addition of purple carrot.  The colour is quite different to the result  I get at my place using rainwater. For the class we were using tap water.  It was hard and developed a scum. It has also dulled down the colour - there are ways of dealing with this but thats for another time.

Now for the roses - various students brought in some great things to use - red onions, kangaroo apple berries and red roses.

We thought we'd try something a little different with the silk and roses. 

Yep folks, you are seeing people stamping on silk and rose petals.

Next time it has to be to music!

There's some great photos after that of people trying their fabrics out as lampshades and cushions - but they'll wait for another day.  I took all the organic bundled fabrics back with me, didnt want anyone giving in to temptation and opening their bundles too soon.!

And I paid for that decision -  long drive home afterwards - who would have thought onions wrapped in fabric, sprayed with vinegar and sealed in ziplock bags could smell so much!

 Here we have some of the bags spread out in the sun to see if it hastened  their progress.

turmeric, rhubarb, raspberries and some roses, red and brown onions and eucalypt.

I brought the carrot home to brew up - we just ran out of time - so it got boiled on Monday and left  in its stewpot until yesterday.  Everything came out yesterday to dry before tomorrow- after all they forecast wind.  So they stayed under shelter drying....

What was not  planned was the high humidity from the rain - so not much drying happened during the day, so I wheeled the bundles  inside overnight.  Came down this morning  to a kitchen smelling of onions and marinating purple  carrots.  In fact the carrots stank so  much I unwrapped the bundles, threw  the carrot pieces out and washed the fabric.  It still stinks!!!!!!  A glorious but very smelly purple.  I'll   reserve judgment  til later in the day (after another washing and airing on the line) about whether I'm prepared to share a car with the smell.  Sorry ladies and gentleman, if I arrive without your carrot dyed fabric it will be for a good reason.  You wouldn't want to use it!

But the its going to be so exciting unravelling all these bundles we wont miss a carrot... 

Moral of the tale - boil your carrots, remove, then use the dye,  observe closely and remove the fabric at the first sign of any unpleasant smell!  

p.s. only one student didnt dip their rose petals in raspberry dye and it has produced a gorgeous delicate colour.  The stamping has stressed the fabric and given it a lovely texture.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Day one - a chilling start....

Yes folks, we started our workshop with the raspberry dip I talked about in the last blog - a  taste of what was to come with organic dyes the next day .  Everyone was so eager to get their test piece into the water that I didn't even get the shot focused..

Then we got into a day's painting  - using sun dyes indoors - they work beautifully just as paints, its just a shame it was too windy to do any imprinting outdoors.  A great bunch of students, from complete beginners to some who'd had classes with the best textile practitioners and everyone very willing to experiment.     

If you look at the centre back you can see that the raspberry dip  is showing some colour in less than an hour.

Then one of many adjustments - a great way to move dye around!

We experimented with lace as a resist, and later as texture.  Op shop doylies were one of the laces - 
this student tried something completely different...

After heat setting it was time for some texturing with  Shiva Paint Stiks

Different people,  totally different fabrics. The idea was to come up with a collection of fabrics to make a cushion and a lampshade cover.

 Every person in that workshop had at the end of the day done their own experimenting and each come up with a completely individual  range of fabric to suit their own home.  I just picked these at random, everybody's was worth showing. 

For me personally, it was a very satisfying day, so great  that everyone should be so individual and come up with so many lovely fabrics..  more soon....

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

In the pink ....or so to speak

I cant sit still in front of the tv - so beware the bag of frozen raspberries in the fridge.  Never mind that its a cold night.


Yep, cold fingers but each little raspberry is now  tightly tied into some mordanted white cotton.

Cant leave the poor things cold so on with some lukewarm water.

They look so pretty that after a while I just had to give them a little squeeze.  And you've guessed, it was more than that, I was actually scared that no dye was going to come out of them.

But then overnight

Of course this is wet fabric so the colour is much richer and darker than when dry.

There was still some really pretty colour left in the water - so more fabric needed to exhaust the water - in goes  a scrap of silk 

Good enough to eat, or drink, except for the fact that its had fabric sitting in it and who knows what it might have been in contact with before  it got into my hands.  And that pretty bowl its sitting in, well its an op shop find with a big chip so its never, ever, used for food.

Notice the colour change as its dried.  Interesting too, the silk has photographed pretty acurately but the cotton appears darker than it really is.  Fascinating, as I untied the raspberries, nearly all the colour had come out of the skin and flesh leaving the remnants of skin and seeds a creamy sort of colour.  

Only time will tell us how permanent the colour is - thats part of the mystery of plant dyes. I'll start a date and sample file so that I check next year, and the year after, and.....

So those of you coming to my workshop this weekend, take pity on raspberries and be prepared - you might get cold fingers for a few minutes!

p.s. who would have thought I could start to get nerdy over a few raspberries

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Ash, a sock and an elastic band

These objects are all connected to fabric dyeing, meanwhile.......

I absolutely love painting silk and cotton - serendipity is a key factor.  Weather, air temperature, water quality, and my own mixing of colours and a few secret tricks mean its  always its new and exciting.    A secret , or two, will be revealed in my workshops at Melton.  These fabrics are waiting to be made into a sample cushion and lampshade.  

I also love the mysterious behaviour and the delicate tones of eucalypt dye - this is just one silk scarf dyed from  forest floor - and yes we'll do a forest brew in my workshop.  

Detail with imprint of a red box leaf.

Now to the sock, ash and the elastic  band. 

 All are integral to preparing a treatment for cotton fabric before it is eucalypt dyed - a whole new positive reason for cleaning out the fireplace.   

It was cold and wet last weekend - take pity on our poor Nillumbik Open Studios artists.  They didnt stay home by the fire - they were there enthusiastically opening their studios.  If you didnt go last week, dont miss this weekend!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Today I washed my marbles

No I haven't lost them, they've just been sitting under the clothesline in the dust.  But more of that in the fullness of time.

Before I washed my marbles I dropped in on Margaret - the world's best cookie maker.  Why? Well its the first of two weekends for the Nillumbik Artist's Open Studios.  Dont miss it!!!!!!!  painters, potters, printers, sculptors, textiles, glass and more.  

Margaret is one of the Hurstbridge studios.  She's not just my fellow yarbomber, she's also a mixed media artist.  So here's a glimpse.......

Bernie the boxer dog appears to be a little baffled by the woolly horse.

Margaret loves dogs, but she also paints people and fish (I just love that fish painting you can see) and there's some gorgeous collage (below).  She's also fond of birds - just have a look at that tree!

Check out the doylie lamp!

Did I mention the yarnbomb palmtree outside the window..........the best way to see it properly is to visit.  (you might even be lucky enough to find a cookie).  Just google Nillumbik Artists Open Studios and find Margaret and many other fabulous artists to visit (and shop for Mother's Day) tomorrow and next weekend. 

And now for my marbles, they are very pretty. All the same they're  not just a pretty picture - they are integral to some of my dyeing.  Thats why I was washing them - had to get the mud off before I make some samples to take to my workshop.   The only way to find out what they're for is to come along.  Melton May 17,18 and 24,25.  Book through