Finished my little tapestry woven using the hand spun that tied up some of the rust/tea dyed fabrics. Wasn’t sure how to finish it off and was going through some baskets of odd bits and came across this heavy ring—I think it’s glass—that I’ve had for years and never knew what to do with except keep it in the basket. And there was the answer. Might seem a little large for the small work but the small work is large in it’s importance to me and needed such a presentation. So here it is! Gives me some ideas for other bits in that basket…
Also continuing to work on the stitching on my dyed pieces. Adding another layer of information to this conversation—dyed, reassembled, applied, and now a flood of stitches—of new purposes, new lives, new reasons for being.
This summer I did a bit of eco dying with tea and rusty pieces. I tied all my bundles with some white hand spun yarn. I like to spin for the zen like process but don’t have really have a use since the last weaving project with handspun was to make chair seats and moths ate them leaving me traumatized! They not only ate them but they left them so infested with moth eggs etc that after I totally stripped off the chair seats I have never replaced them…
But here were these pieces of yarn all died in warm browns and grays and I wanted to do something with them but what. I knit up a bit but that wasn’t the answer. Then I thought of tapestry. Again, I just have short pieces so didn’t want to set up one of my larger tapestry looms so I decided on a small frame loom which is really a picture frame I had in the attic.
Then I remembered a wonderful wooden needle that would be just right for this project, dug out a small hand beater and began. This is just the thing after I spend hours wrangeling with technology that won’t behave and new operating systems that don’t play nice with existing software and all this is discovered in front of a class of students and oh my head hurts…
The plan for this piece is simply a gradated light to dark with the spacing as it falls – but I have lots of ideas for other bits of hand spun and dyed yarns stored around here—in moth proof containers!
My friend Jay gave me some rusty bits left over from some of his wonderful sculpture. Lots of triangles and other shapes. Thank you Jay!
Before I left for vacation I wrapped some in one of my napkins and boiled it up with some tea and left it while I was gone. I didn’t arrange them just wrapped them up and weighted them in a pot of tea. Pretty ugly bunch of stuff when I returned.
The first picture is the napkin after it was rinsed and dried and ironed—I always iron linen napkins. The second one is my design almost finished.
This is large enough to create 3 cloths and here is the first. I cut it apart and reassembled it like my others but decided to stitch on it as I have in the fiber book. There are 3 designs each based circles, diagonals and straight lines. Finished this at 3:00 in the morning last night when I couldn’t sleep.
I work at a drawing table with a bright light. The cloth is raised up on a small portable ironing board. Jane said it would drive her crazy to stitch this way but I like it—some times sitting on a tall stool, sometimes standing. Mostly do it when I need a break from other work—or in the middle of the night.
Still working with dyed cloth…this time small book – still in the works… Once a graphic designer – always a book somewhere…
Still slow cloth – hand stitching…
Small rust dyed fabric book to date. Still working on it!
OK, it’s official- I’m obsessed with rust dyeing old fabrics, cutting them apart and hand stitching them into square designs.
Patterns with small left over bits applied.
Close up of stitching and design with escaping square.
Not sure what I’m doing or where this is going but with all the other work I have lined up for this summer I keep returning to these squares. The hand sewing is slow and meditative. There is something about taking something, especially the linens which had previous elegant lives gracing tables for special occasions, distressing them and repurposing them as visual statements that is very compelling! Even the small bits that are cut away as the squares are joined get into the final act as they tumble down the finished piece. “Just let me try this one other thing…”
Still working with rust and tea. The test with plants didn’t work but I tried with cotton and perhaps I needed a mordant? The image on the right contains a stitched piece I did after watching Jude Hill’s “Spirit Cloth”. Hand stitching is a form of meditation (unless I would have to do it as mending…)
Not quite sure where these are going and I keep adding new samples.
In the mean time, I’m fascinated with the unpredictable nature of this work.