Sunday, September 28, 2014

Baby steps in tailoring

I had a lovely hour or two in Fabricland today.
They have a big sale of 50% off Everything it seems.
The surprising thing was the atmosphere in the store, I was in the Southland store, not the Fisher Road one.  And the difference was amazing.  The shoppers weren't frantic, the cutters were calm helpful and chatty,  and the checkout ladies, efficient and friendly even having time to look briefly at the book I had.

Here is my work from the past week ++
One has to be able to acknowledge ones deficiencies.  So I set myself a challenge for this year, to learn to stitch more proficiently.  And to facilitate this I am learning how to stitch bags.  I wanted to use only fabrics from my stash.  Unfortunately, I have lots of bits and not 5/8 ++ yardages.  Hence the trip to the Big F. today.  Though smll bags I will continue to use my stash for small bags.

Another reason for stitching bags... maybe they can eventually be a canvas for free-style embroidery and mixed media... who knows.
This is simplest bag so far... the first in the book(but I agree with the reviewer who said it should have been intermediate - good job I am a go-for-it-gal), with pleats and interesting pockets inside, and I added a phone pocket yeh! 
A large ceramic button was used rather than the cloth-covered one Amy B.  suggests.  Fabrics are 1980s Laura Ashley (I think) and Nigerian damask.  

The book (see link above) has patterns arranged from simple (top image in this post) - to complex.
The next one is going to be black and red for Al.  - her choice, with heavily pleated main panels... Such fun.
 'Origami Bag' - top
Cheque book wallet : closed - bottom (from curtain fabrics).
  'Origami Bag' - top
Cheque book wallet : open, showing pockets and pen holder - bottom
 Reversible shopper - with large pockets inside and out and strengthened=folded handle
Happy stitching.

Monday, September 22, 2014

One of the three marvellous workshops held in Calgary this August/September.

As usual when I am administrator for workshops I get very little time to take photos but fortunately for me my buddy Arlee Barr has shown what a great journalist and artist she is. It is great fun to read sic a positive reflection on the workshop and hear how Arlee was inspired and intends to move with this. I too will be following up with this pigment and dye extraction.

"This is a NO PIN zone. All images and written work by arlee barr, unless noted otherwise. Please do not "borrow" material without express permission. Content copyrighted 2004-2014 arlee barr"


On attending the workshop by 
Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada 
Organic Dyes and Pigments -   Calgary Augusts 2014.

Our local SDA “chapter” was fortunate enough to be able to bring Yoshiko in for two workshops this August end. I participated in the first one, a two day intensive Natural Dyes and Pigments class.

the best teacher
Above, Yoshiko talked about how complex — or SO simple– cloth can become with natural dyes, with so many different application processes and defined tested knowledge used. In other words, there really is no need to re-invent the wheel with the traditional methods. (Experimenting with lesser known possibly indigenous materials is a bit different and more experimental, but the basic PROCESSING workings are the same.)
And OMG i am totally enthralled and smitten by her teaching methods, her persona and her knowledge and sharing. I’ve had few such engaging teachers in my life, but she
 takes gets the cake! Clear explanations and actual SCIENCE, i just fell in love with her and her style :)
first day no messAbove, the first arrivals, and a very very clean and quiet room :)
And then it was abuzzz and awhirl!
the action startsYoshiko is a dynamo, though calm and focused. Soon there were dyepots bubbling, ingredients being measured and added, and a lot of curious and excited faces peering through the steam.

madder lake pot and madder dye pot
Above, two madder pots, one a lake extract, the other a dyebath. Below, Yoshiko pours the extract for lake making.
the first madder extract bath
With the classic natural dyes, we learned about madder, weld, indigo, and osage orange, first using them as dyes, then concentrating them into lakes for painting with. The indigo vats were a 123 organic and one with henna.
indigo stomp 2Above, the Indigo Stomp :) Squishing the cloth pieces between newspapers made sure that a lot of moisture was pulled out, then we all madly flapped and flailed to get the blue happening!
I hadn’t got much better results with the madder in the workshop than i got at home, so decided to overdye in indigo:
arlee indigo over exhausted madder doughnut technique C
arlee indigo over madderAlas, the photo above is wet, so i knew it would dry lighter, and BUT more “alas”, my silk hadn’t been washed properly so most of it washed out!!!!!!!!!
I was absolutely thrilled though at what an indigo dip did for an ecoprint! Yoshiko was appalled that i would sacrifice such a beautiful piece, so i tore only a small section off, suddenly realizing that if it didn’t work, i would regret it:
indigo overdyed ecoprintI wouldn’t have!!!! The chemical reaction between the indigo and the previously deposited leaf pigments made magic magic! Of course since we had talked about the colour of an indigo vat, i asked if it would be squeakingly impossibly possible to rev up a vat of my own that had frozen through two Calgary winters, but that still had a clear green liquer evident. It might!!!! I’m still looking for my chemicals long packed up since it was fresh, but i know they are in the house somewhere!
Below, Mahira’s delicate lovely shibori from the henna pot–we noted that it gave a greener blue than the 123 organic type.
mahiras delicate shibori
Then Yoshiko made real magic! She told us about Maya Blue, a mystery ingredient in South American frescoes that wasn’t properly analyzed until the 50’s. Containing sepiolite clay and a type of indigo (Indigofera suffruticosa), heat is applied to a mixture of the two, resulting in the most gorgeous aqua colour! 
yoshiko making maya blue
making maya blue
Because this is a pigment, it must be “carried” using a binder–we used egg and made a tempera mix for painting on paper.
maya blue in egg tempera
I tried my small dish on silk,and stones (!) and then threw in a skein of thread.
thread maya blue 1Being a pigment, it is of course not that durable on fibre, but i still ended up with a lovely pale blue. I’d show a photo of it, but it’s lost somewhere in the stoodio!  Plenty of indigo threads to work with though once i get them untwangled:
indigo threads

Because we had also made “lakes”, more concentrated extracts from the dye baths, we each got a tiny amount of each to paint with:
my work tablebAbove are silk and linen with ferrous sulphate and gallnut.
I also used the indigo and the Maya Blue on silks and cotton:
painting with maya blue and indigo lakes
At first i was thinking “i’ll never paint fabrics”, but given my love of fine detail now and my continuing use of asemic writing, well, never say never. The technique may show up after all.
Our organizer and facilitator, the redoubtable, inimitable powerhouse Karin surreptitiously collected small pieces of work from all of us on the second day and disappeared during lunch to stitch them all into a long scroll, which she fastened to a wonderful old spool. It was presented to Yoshiko as a thank you from all of us:
the thank you scroll book
And that dress Yoshiko was wearing? That was an inspiration as well :) Naturally dyed and discharged by a friend of hers, it was gorgeous:
yoshikos dress
Due to the short time, and the number of participants, we had to content ourselves with small pieces, most being 10-15″, with some slightly larger, but that’s okay–i intend to use mine down the road somewhere as “components” in future work. Hopefully i learned enough to make up the larger backgrounds needed to base them on! Fifteen excited artists jostling for position around small dye pots could have been accidents in the making :)
I had gathered up linen, silks (twill, charmeuse and habotai) and cotton, but no wool, except for some wool yarn. (I’ve never worked with wool, and due to the short advance notice we got for supplies, was unable to source any.) 
A bit of needling in linen on silk over cotton– i had wanted to do more stitching first and then dye, but added threads too so i can later! I stitched this feverishly the day and night before, then realized i can do during and after class as well. Turns out i was so involved with possibilities and sampling that i totally forgot about this! But i DID get threads in…except for the wool yarn.

And nope, i won’t be sharing methods–not because i am keeping close to the chest what was done, but because the “recipes” we used are classic and easily available everywhere on REPUTABLE sites. (Don’t fall for those stoopid “kitchen scrap” dyeing sites–very few have truthful facts, or sound advice on how to or how things work.)

my work table
listenNow i really must get to doing things!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sepiolite Clay

Maya blue, so dramatic a preparation.  That like the frothing madder preparation shown in Yoshiko and Michel's DVD and workshop had us all wowing.
There are, in fact two relatively local sources of sepiolite, one in Florida and the other in Nevada.
It is also known as salt clay or sea mud (it isn't a deep sea ooze), it is a clay.. a silicate (hence the warnings on the MSDS sheet), though not a fibre and it hydrates in sea water... which makes it great for using in the off shore rigs rather than bentonite that is the usual drilling mud.
Thanks to Mat for sharing his knowledge.

So my initial fears about it closing up my lungs may have been exaggerated.... I will continue to investigate.

Go here for geochem of sepiolite

Boring post, don't read, it's just a To Do list.

It seemed like I had been working on the visiting artists' project (Yoshiko and Lisa) for months. Indeed it was 18 months.
Now I need to get back into my own work, which on a reduced studio could be tricky... and I will fight against buying  doubles of equipment and so on.  It has taken me most of this week to simply get all the stuff back to people who left items with me intentionally or unintentionally and return unused items to Canadian Tire (yes that's tire not tyre) etc.

Forgive this wordy and relatively un-illuminated post... it is a mind map really.

Puppet show. Wendy was brilliant about putting in a proposal to Les Sages Fous in Montreal and we were then invited to participate....  She will come back with lots of ideas, improvements and ways to go... good on you Wendy.
I spent some of yesterday searching out incidental music for the stations... and was introduced to Watermelon Man by Herbie Hancock.  Neat.

SDA - meeting with new Rep. Leslie and Ambassador Arlee next Monday.  Let's get Leslie's show on the road.

Visiting Artists - having initiated the Andrea Graham and then the Beaney/Littlejohn show I must catch up with the new organizers to debrief about admin things...should be interesting.

A new collaboration - I would like to but, I can't write much about that just yet... in progress.

Organic dyes and pigment.  Need to go through the workshop on my own.  I have a 123 Henna indigo vat in my kitchen.  Looks lovely in its glass vessel...Very 'Designer Statement''s nearly in the dark and I am not too worried about U/V.
Yesterday found a source of Calx in Calgary, Science Is.... collecting some tomorrow.  If you want some, let me know.  123 additions needed then I can have a daily play with my filter papers.. can't wait.
Need to go through chemicals I have and order some from Maiwa to get my act going on pigment separation.

I was going to write "And if you know where I can source sepiolite clay in or near Calgary please do tell." but I have just found some stuff on the web which makes me feel like I don't want to create Maya Blue anyway.... I'd rather keep my lungs....see next post.

2D-3D.   I do want to have a sample of the fulled wool gauze and I certainly need to do samples of degumming of silk organza.

Taking on board what Lisa taught about shrinkage of thinly laid out wool... I fully felted... and dramatically shrank down a piece I have been holding on to since working at ACAD the summer before this one..... OK I will show you the outcome... I like the marks on the partially felted piece best and the wool wasn't the superfine merino that most folks prefer... so it is a bit hairier than some might like... but isn't it lovely... Might be interesting for the next project in this listing....

Wedding Certificate Frame.  An opportunity to make this has presented itself.  I need to do samples and send to 'client'.  I have a feeling that degummed organza will make an appearance. Sample sample sample... Need chemicals for this too.

And then there is all the project wrap up.. tax files etc....

Thanks to Wendy

You are a star Wendy Passmore Godfrey for getting our  proposal off the ground and for working on it with me whilst I have been elsewhere in my mind recently.... and then when travelling to the Yukon and me on Saltspring Island thrashing out more details... anyway we were invited to participate in Les Sages Fous Micro-festival.
Dead proud.
Wendy is there now and will return with lots for me to work on I am sure.  It is going to be a blast!

Take a look here