This is the archive for the ‘dyeing’ Category

and now it’s 2022…

January 10th, 2022

Last post was in November – then Thanksgiving and after that my exhibition at iMPeRFeCT Gallery ended. There was work taking it down etc. and December was busy – someone stuck some holidays in there and now it’s 2022. Decorations are down, it has snowed, and now it’s very, very cold outside.

First Snow 2022
First snow 2022 – A perfect time to get back to work.

I’ve been working on various projects and I had signed up for a workshop online with the English artist Alice Fox. It’s dealing with rusty dyeing which I do a lot of but I love her work and wanted to take this workshop with her. Also I can sometimes use a kick to get me going.

So, last Friday was the first day and mainly Alice gives how to’s and and suggestions on experimenting – then you have the week to work on it before the next set of information. You can get feedback via the web.

I did a lot of tests on different types of papers and fabric. Was happy with some and others not so much. But one thing I’m trying to wrap my head around is when I’m learning something and experimenting, don’t just put the results in a drawer but do something with them. So… I decided to make a book of my samples and as they were all different sizes I had to work with that. The result is different than my regular books and it added to the project.

The top paper on the front of the book is much thinner than the others and I like the way the wrinkles add texture, contrasting with the rest of the book. After all this is a book of experiments!

Front Cover Open Book
Front Cover and Open Book

It has an accordion construction with the tallest pages in the front, decreasing in height as they go to the end of the book – they also vary in width. Reading it like a regular book there are three different spreads as you turn the pages.

First Spread Second Spread
Pages 1-4

Second Spread Closed Book
Third spread with earlier pages peaking out and the final closed book

We also worked with dying fiber this week, but that’s a post for another day!

Exhibition

November 15th, 2021

“Places-Spaces, Exhibition of Painting, Stitches, Etc”, finally took place at iMPeRFeCT Gallery after being postponed last year! It was a crazy time getting things ready on short notice and with additional room to exhibit my work but it came together and I couldn’t be more pleased! Finishing work, framing, designing the space and hanging…Then I was interviewed on Germantown radio—here is link to that. It was very fun. And an artist talk—I was anxious but once I got going all was fine.

Image of Stitching
Stitching

Image of Exhibition-Front Room
Front Room

Image of Exhibition-Back Room
Back Room and Hallway

I showed stitching and a series of paintings in the front room, paintings in the back room, and smaller work in the hallway. Oh, and a group of found objects such as sea shells used as small tapestry looms and some of my Tea Bag Tales, they were the “Etc.” part of the title.

Image of Exhibition-Gifts from the Sea Image of Exhibition-Illustration
Small Tapestries and Tea Bag Tales

iMPeRFeCT Gallery is a wonderful gallery run by Rocio Cabello and Renny Molenaar in Germantown, PA. Over their nine years in Philadelphia they have featured an amazing group of artists, musicians, and poets. I feel so honored to be a part of all this and to have been invited to have my exhibition here.

Never Ending Story Book

March 12th, 2021

The final book in the project (from the previous post) is a “Never Ending Book” in that it can double back on itself in a circular fashion, thus “Never Ending”. Constructed like the others, only with seven sections rather than eight, the paper pages are then covered with fabric in a crazy quilt fashion using bold stitches, resulting in a very textured piece.

Image of handmade book Image of handmade book
Fabric and spines in place

Two sections have enlarged spines to accommodate extra pages (I may have enlarged mine a bit much) and the front and back covers are slightly padded. Once the stitching is finished the book is filled with the additional paper pages (not sewn in at this point) and is stuffed with leaves and/or onion skins – I added rusty objects as well, and the whole bundle is compressed between two tiles, tied and placed in a dye pot with boiling water.

Image of handmade book Image of handmade book
Before and After

I used an iron pot and added tea bags. The hardest part is leaving it alone for several days with out peeking. This morning I lifted the bundle out and removed the tiles.

Image of handmade book Image of handmade book
Unveiling

Then the unwrapping begins carefully, opening each page to remove the dye materials and setting the book and loose pages aside to dry.

Image of handmade book Image of handmade book
Drying (The dark bit in the first image is the main book structure. More pages in the second.)

All is currently pretty soggy but I’m excited with the results. Some of these pages were tests and I will now dye some additional pages and then assemble the finish project! That will take awhile and will be in a future post! This has been a very fun project with lots of fodder for future projects.

A Winter Diversion

February 18th, 2021

As a break from all the cold and snow of February, I’m taking an online workshop with Australian artist, India Flint. Titled “February Project 2021” it’s basically making folded books from found materials, dyeing them, adding pages and just generally having fun with people all over the world. Her gentle way of explaining things warms up the coldest day.

Here are a few of my early books.

Image of handmade book Image of handmade book

The first red book used a mixed media experiment I had done on watercolor paper. The paper was much too thick to fold as shown so it turned into an accordion book with added fabric to reinforce the folds. It has been put aside for now.

In the second picture, the top left book was also a bit thick for the suggested folding but I was able to open it up and expand the spine. Pages of color have had extra blank pages sewn in creating a small journal/sketchbook. The remaining books are similar but without the need to increase the spine. Some additional pages are in signatures, some fold out to make larger areas to work with. The small bundle includes the books shown in the video below.


These have been dried and are waiting to be finished.

Other artists have stitched fabric to their pages before dyeing them or have added pages from previous dye experiments resulting in a most wonderful range of books —all so different, interesting, and inspiring.

This simple structure is addictive to the point that a solicitation that arrived in the mail yesterday is currently being pressed into a small book. Best use I can think of for junk mail!

And… there are still lectures and video, unavailable until the scheduled week, but listed as a tease of things to come.

A wonderful winter break from all that’s going on. Thank you, India!

What Summer?

September 11th, 2020

Well that was June, and this is Sept. Haven’t been anywhere—3 times to a friend’s—outside— brought our own wine—and 2 normal Dr’s visits—since March!!! Hard to paint but I have done some. Images of places where I wish I was. And one lockdown portrait!

Image of Mask
Vision of 2020

I did finish the long, dyed piece with hand twisted silk cordage – added some slow seed stitching.(10.5 x71 inches)
See detail on Fiber Page.

Image of Life/Twists and Turns
Life Takes Twists and Turns

When I first did the cordage twisting, I made some using tea bag paper and got the idea of using the paper as a support for designing stamps and printing. The result is a series of 12 works called, collectively, “Tea Bag Tales” More can be seen on my Works on Paper page. This one is titled, “Beach Dreams”.

Image of Tea Bag Tales
“Beach Dreams”

Then there is always a book needing to be done and this one uses tea bag paper – some dyed, some not – and with ink. Bound with cordage made of dandelion stems and a dandelion cordage bookmark. More images of this may be seen on My Books Page.

Image of Tea Bag Book
Tea Bag Book Spread with Book Mark

I had dried the dandelions this spring and finally got around to twisting them. Some I dyed with rusty tea, some were half dyed so the twist is half dyed and half natural. Some the twist loosened a bit up as they dried, and some I weighted as they dried to try and keep their twist, and some stayed tight as they dried on their own. I love the different personalities they have.

Image of dandelion cordage
Twisted Single Dandelion Stem

I’d only picked and dried a few stems, so I’ve used my stash and can’t wait till next spring to dry more. (I’ll probably still be here locked down…)

Each project leads to another and I feel I’m ready to begin painting in earnest (if the world doesn’t get worse and spiral me into a deeper funk.) I’ve been reading a lot and enjoying the many artist interviews appearing on social media. So wonderful to see what people are doing all over the world. As I’m locked up it really helps to see others in the same situation and how they are dealing with canceled exhibitions, workshops, and lack of travel. Don’t feel quite so isolated. A life line.

Long Wool Strips

March 3rd, 2020

Started a new project with four long strips of felted wool (about 6.5’ x 2″ each) and want to apply dyes and stitches to them. I started by testing small squares with different dyes—mainly tea with iron and madder with alum. So far I’ve dyed one strip with tea and iron and it is currently drying waiting for the next step.

Image of five dye samples Image of dyed strip drying

A second strip has been left un-dyed so far and I am stitching a small area each day this month.

Image of first two days of stitching Image of of rain

The first two were mainly warm ups – getting the feel of the project—a bit of more formal embroidery followed by some straight stitching which I usually use in my work—then today it rained!

I haven’t done a daily practice like this before so it will be fun to see where it goes.