This is the archive for the ‘dyeing’ Category

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.

Scotland

September 20th, 2019

It was a whirl wind tour of Scotland. Starting in Queesnferry so Bob could finally see one of his favorite bridges, the Forth Bridge, and a bus into Edinburgh to visit Dovecot Studio.

Image of Forth Bridge Image of Dovecot Tapestry Studio
Visit for each of us!

Then Skye—staying in Elgol for a boat trip and small hike to Loch Coruisk in the Cuillin Hills and in Dunvegan with hikes at Quiraing, and Neist Point.

Image of Quiraing Image of Neist Point
Hikes in Skye

After Skye, up the west coast staying at Inverkirkaig—hiked a bit—very windy—and found the most wonderful bookstore/cafe, then across the top to the ferry to Orkney.

Orkney: Ring of Brodgar at dusk, Skara Brae, the sun came out as we bought our tickets, sheep, wool and dye sheds, a tapestry gallery, a scotch distillery, and more wind. I love wind, but this wind could, under certain circumstances, drive one mad. For us, in our short time, it was part of the adventure.

Image of The Ring of Brodgar Image of Skara Brae
5000 year old Neolithic sites.

Ferry back and down the east coast and into Glendevon for a great dinner, another short hike and then the plane from Edinburgh. All I can say is WOW! Around every corner—more beautiful than the last—WOW, food and people—WOW, history, geology—WOW!

Image of Scottish Mountains Image of Heather
Beauty whether you look up or down

We had never been to Scotland and wanted to get an overview, seeing as much as possible in the two weeks we had. Bob did wonderfully driving on a different side of the road and on the many two way but one lane roads—with sheep on them! (There were signs.) He also researched and booked all our accommodations and to a one they were great! Three hotels and the rest B&Bs.

Image of Black Sheep Image of sign for sheep in road
Cattle grids in the roads kept the sheep in their area but not off the roads.
Some were very cheeky and would play “I dare you”…

We didn’t seek out castles but they were everywhere.

Image of Castle
Had to take at least one castle picture!

Didn’t hear a bagpipe but saw several guys in kilts. Stayed away from tourist sites as much as possible. Scotland is a very contemporary country and while I did want to see the Neolithic sites in Orkney I also wanted to experience Scotland today as much as possible in our short time.

Some how as I planned out our trip with post-its of where we would stay and what we wanted to see, I still thought we’d have time to hike every day and sit and sketch, and just feel where we were. Time doesn’t stretch that way so only a couple of quick sketches (one done in the car) and a few rather short hikes, but lots and lots of images and now that I’m home I wake up at 4:30-5:00 and hit the studio—so excited to download my brain into studies and paintings and spin the wool that I bought and just digest.

Not squares

July 17th, 2019

Last week I was invited to join my friend, Jane, at Needlers Camp—a group of women who meet to share their fiber projects, good food and good company. They meet during the year but one week in summer they meet every morning and call it camp! So many talented people, so many inspiring projects, so much skill and love of their work. I was asked to bring my “Stitches, not Words” project, “Fiber Book” and “Bridges” project for show and tell.

Image of madder stitch project
Not squares.

I wanted to take something to work on but the bridges project is solitary as I need it to speak to me for direction so I need something else. When I was finishing “Stitches not Words” I had made one base that had been dyed with madder in addition to the rust and tea that the others had been. I had grown the madder and harvested it a number of years ago.
The piece is rectangular (9.25″ x 7.5″) and assembled in triangles, not squares. I wanted to stitch on it in triangles and add some text. I have some ideas but will wait and see what it says it needs.
So that’s what I worked on while having a lovely morning chatting and nibbling away. Thank you Jane and thank you Needlers!