The first quilt in my 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks series is a 64" x 80" lap quilt.
Look for it on Etsy in the coming week.
While the indigo vat was going and the eco-dyeing was brewing, I also had a wagon full of rust dyeing going on as well. This summer I want to experiment with using the rusted elements and dyeing paper.
Here are the results of the rust dyeing.
Back in the beginning of April I created several eco-dyeing bundles. You can read about the process here. They had been stewing for about 3 weeks when I decided to take them out.
For the most part I was pleased with the results. I will make changes for the next batch, leaving them longer in the sun to stew and I might even cook them up a bit. I will wrap the bundles tighter and use twine.
Here are some of the results:
Here are the images from my Indigo vat dye experiment.
Detail of indigo dyed cotton batiste.
Part of my work deals with textiles that have been dyed using natural materials. At the present moment I have a few plant bundles brewing in jars, and a several large pieces of cloth wound around rusty objects.
I have wanted to work with other natural dyes for quite a while, Indigo in particular. Looking back through my fiber / textile sketchbook it has been almost ten years since this amazing natural dye has inspired me. The delay in moving forward with this idea was that I really did not want to deal with the prep work to get the indigo ready and working with Lye. Natural Indigo takes a considerable amount of effort to get it into a working dye bath. Since it is not soluble in water, it has to be ground, pasted up, and reduced chemically with Sodium Hydrosulfite and Lye. The process is quite involved and extremely time consuming.
Not anymore, as Jacquard has this amazing product: pre-reduced indigo crystals.
It is amazing! The indigo has been pre-reduced chemically, and then dried, so it dissolves quickly in water. All I needed to add was Thiox (Thiourea Dioxide) and soda ash. It only took a few minutes to prepare the dye bath and, according to my research, it can be refreshed with the addition of more of the crystals and / or chemicals. I can keep this vat going for quite a while.
I tried several different types of fabrics (silk, cotton, and a cotton blend), yarns (cotton, wool, and rayon), and textiles (rust dyed cotton and silk) with a few different resists (rubber bands, carpet warp, hemp twine, binder clips, wood, stones, clothes pins, and rayon thread) to create the patterns. Creating these experimental pieces inspired me to move forward with larger pieces that will take time to design and prepare before my next dyeing session. Until then, the beautiful vat will live under the house.
Working on a new piece entitled "Layers." Using rust dyed fabrics along with some new eco-printed pieces, wax dipped fabric / pattern tissue, reclaimed coffee burlap, and whatever else I find laying around in the studio (or outside).
It reminds me of the layers of soil beneath our feet.
The deeper we excavate, the further back in time we see and discover.
Here is part of a piece that I am working on to submit for a show. This will merge two bodies of work - Archeological Remnants and an another series that is in development entitled "Structures."
Here is the background for a new piece. Looking forward to experimenting with printing with my vintage wooden tjaps on top of this.
I am still working on trying to finish my latest piece, which is still untitled. While it is sitting on the easel I have been adding some of the rusted metal pieces / found object arrangements. Look at them, walk away, move then around, look again, remove them, and then start again. Ah the struggle to find the right placement.
I am also working on creating other pieces and more found object arrangements while the piece is waiting to be finished.
I have two of these arrangements entitled "pencil box." they are made out of an old Altoids tin. I burned the tins in a fire last summer to distress and and encourage rust. Filled one half with the shavings from my pencil sharpener and a little bit of crystal lacquer. The other side contains some little pencils from my collection. (When I was teaching, I would trade the students a new colorful pencil for a small one. It had to be smaller than 2.5" and you could only turn in one a day. After doing this for four years I have a large collection. Part of it sits in a vase in the studio.
I like how it looks on the background. Not so sure about how it works with the rest of the piece.
My next piece is almost done. I have just a little more to do before I can call it finished. I really like how the pattern tissue and rust dyed fabric that were dipped in beeswax work in this piece.
I wonder why the last 5% of a piece always takes the longest to complete.
A few details:
One of the things that I really enjoy with the body of work is being able to really edit the piece as it is constructed. I'll put a piece on, put it up on the easel or design wall, move it, take it off, put something else on... just exploring the right piece for the right space.
My current piece in progress. I am using the wax dipped pattern tissue, rust dyed fabrics, and burlap. It is interesting how the wax dipped pieces mix with the non-wax dipped ones. The final piece will be 24 x 36.
This beeswax exploration is working out pretty well. I have been dipping all sorts of things in this wee crock-pot filled with molten beeswax.
A student gave me the wee crock-pot as an end of the school year present. When I opened it I knew I was going to be melting some wax in there. When I told him how excited I was to have this new tool in my studio, he looked at me quizzically and said in that sweet first grade voice, “It’s really for keeping cheese dip warm.” Some say cheese dip others say hot wax. Just proves that artists really do see things just a bit differently.
So far I have experimented with sewing pattern tissue, rust dyed fabrics, burlap, hand felted pieces, library catalog cards, vintage envelopes and papers, twine, book papers, and yarn. The studio has filled with the scent of beeswax and it smells so good.
Author / Artist:
I am the Mom to three, Wife, Mixed-Media Artist, Contemporary Quilter, Art Teacher, and the forever home to Josey and Lucy.