Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

First Round...

On Monday I sent off my first contribution to the Complex Cloth round robin I joined in September. I'm part of a group of 5 who will be circulating 5 pieces of fabric, each piece receiving a contribution of some kind of surface design from each person. My first piece came from an amazing dyer, Jacque Davis. You can see her work here. She sent me this beautiful piece of tray dyed fabric for me to add my mark to.

I really felt that this piece DIDN'T need anything, so I scratched my head for a while while it hung on my studio wall. 30 days is a long time to stare at a piece of fabric and I kept waiting for it to speak to me. But it remained remarkably quiet. The ideas I had I felt were too literal and would steer the piece in a way that I didn't want to go. Eventually I decided the best course was to do an abstract paint roller discharge on the fabric to bring some light areas into it. My first attempt was a bust. I guess the Soft Scrub I was using was weak as nothing happened. After trotting off to the store for a fresh bottle, the next day I tried again, using a stamp with a meandering pattern. Well, another less than effectual result. I was able to get the darker colors to discharge, but the golden yellow was staying put. I really wanted to accentuate the flow of the dying so I decided that I would change tack and go for another kind of contrast and use some black Jacquard Neopaque with a credit card and put in some sketchy marks across the fabric. I was pleased with the outcome, but on the last row a blob appeared and when I tried to scrape it off...ACK!... a big streak. At this point I was beginning to feel like I was three strikes down. That little nagging voice inside me said that I had really messed up this beautiful piece of fabric, that I should just give up on surface design, that I was a lousy artist, that I should quit the group. But that little streak turned out to be serendipity. I stood back to see just how bad it was, and well, I kind of liked it. I quickly put more streaks in, and was pleasantly surprised that it was just what my weak little sketchy marks needed to pump them up a bit. So once again I learn the lesson of persistence...

I now have my second piece of fabric in hand, again dyed by Jacque, and am thinking on this one as well. I am looking forward to the lessons this particular piece of cloth might teach me. :-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Little Catch Up

Wow, life has been busy for me the last few weeks. Along with all the usual stuff I've attended a two day monoprinting workshop, a paste paper play day, and finished my first piece in the Complex Cloth Round Robin. So I'm a little tired to say the least... Anyway as promised here are the close-ups of the fabric from the last dyeing of summer and the last piece in my 'stitched to dye' group.

This was the final piece in my 'stitched to dye' experiments in September. I finally sat down and pieced these strips together today and eventho this did not work out as planned, I learned a lot. I had pre-cut these strips and then dyed each one separately, but I didn't pay attention to the seam allowances and painted over them so I lost almost all of the lovely rough edges once they were sewn together. Also I washed these pieces in my washer and amazingly one disappeared. I now know where it went because in the second load a larger piece from another project went missing! After a week I had pretty much forgotten about it when I was doing the regular laundry and the washing machine refused to pump out the dirty water. After my DH and I siphoned all the dirty water out and laid the washer on its side, he removed the pump and TA DA! there were my missing fabrics! Thankfully he was able to do the job and save a costly repair bill. Lesson learned--put small pieces into a mesh bag so they stay put. One of the pieces that was sucked in was 6" x 7" so beware!

This piece and the following ones were created on my last dyeing day of the year. This one is made with a wooden trivet I picked up at a yard sale. Wouldn't this make a neat Christmas fabric with red and green?

I've been very interested in the meditative process of creating these Zen circles, a single brushstroke to create the circle. These are done on plexiglass and then monoprinted on the fabric. Another lesson learned -- weak lemon yellow dye and too much print paste make for a washed out yellow. I may go back into this one and print some yellows.

This one is monoprinting as well. I had the print paste too thin and most of the detail in the drawings is too washed out. I'll revisit this idea again next summer. This one also suffers from the 'washed out lemon yellow', see lower left corner.

All in all it's been a good summer dye painting and printing. Can't wait to get back to it!