I have been exploring natural dyes with my Harrisville Koehler Yarn to use in mixed bundles for my tapestry. These small balls were dyed with madder, and iron & black tea.
Samples of dyeing with madder, and with rusty iron and tea
The one on the upper right is just iron and tea in a jar left to set for days. The others use madder from a plant I grew and harvested years ago. The top left ball is pre mordanted with alum and a bit of cream of tarter – the lower left was a mixture of iron, tea, and madder all together, the lower right was pre mordanted with alum, then soaked in the just the tea/iron mix for days and then into the madder dye overnight.
I’m not going for exact dye recipes as I did years ago but rather letting the magic take me where it does. And it is magic!!!
Imperfect Gallery had a exhibition “An All Women Show” and I wasn’t going to enter as I have a problem with being labeled a “Woman Artist” I am a woman and I am an artist but while each influences the other, I don’t feel they define each other. But as it got closer I decided to get over my self and enter as I really like supporting this small wonderful gallery that is doing so much for my neighborhood.
I had dyed this camisole previously and had been thinking how to display it. It developed from my rusty dyeing for stitches project but while I really liked it it did not stand on its own. I liked the references to time and decay that the dyeing with metal gears gave and wanted to develop that theme. After applying it to a distressed canvas with bits from old linen formal napkins that had belonged to my grandmother, I added the clock gears and hands – they had belonged to my grandfather. These references to family history, for me, added to the sense of time and things lost.
I got it just in the nick of time and was glad I entered.
“Time Takes its Toll”
I’m pleased with how it turned out and would eventually like to show it along side pieces from my “Stitches, not Words” project.
Continued to work with Rusty Bits. Balancing the amount of tea and the effect of the various rusty bits. Have some wonderful diagonals from Jay and some wonderfully round rusty bolts from a pier in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia… I like the fact that I know where the bits came from and that they represent experiences and interactions to me.
Print from Rusty Bits and morning tea bag.
This piece has more textures than some and has wonderful fine lines which are more easly seen in the larger view.
Will post some more in the future. I love the fact that while I can adjust the tea and rust—even the type of paper makes a difference—the result is a wonderful surprise! I’m working on some stitched fabric that I can try with this—printing the rusty patterns after the stitching.
Found a rusty bit yesterday during our walk in the Wissahocken. Lying there in the mud it had been flattened and at first I thought it was a bit if twisted string but went back and sure enough it was a rusty bit!
Love the twists – perhaps some sort of hanger?
This am I used a piece of folded rough watercolor paper I had prepared to insert in a sketch book and layered my new Rusty Bit with my tea bag from breakfast!
How much fun is this!!!
Been a very busy Spring Break! Finished the long warp, Worked on drawing each day, and just wrapped up a project I’ve been working on since last summer on eco dyeing with leaves etc.—little major gets done during the school year. The eco dying was done while I was dying fabric for “Stitches, not Words”, only it was on paper and also involved plant material.
I layered various leaves from my yard between pages of fairly heavy paper, bundled them up and dyed them in a pot over heat for an hour – let them cool for several days before opening the bundle. Very happy with the etherial result, on both sides of the paper.
The original idea was to make a small book but when I saw them I wanted to see them much larger. That’s when they went into a drawer with other ideas, waiting for a final solution. Sooooo, a bit ago I took them out and scanned them at a high resolution to be printed archivally at 18 in x 24 in. This one and two others are posted on my printmaking page
One of a series, more on my Printmaking page.
I’m really happy with the results and have entered 2 in different juried shows (not pieces shown here)—so we’ll see where this goes. I’m always nervous about entering work but regardless of the outcome there, I will be doing more of these – once school is out in May and once something grows in my snow covered yard!
Two and a half years ago I decided to explore Theo Moorman’s weaving technique. I have done double weave before and long wanted to try the imagemaking possibilities of this method. It is basically a double weave—one fine warp is used to tie down a supplementary weft. Being fine it does not show and is also integrated into the thicker main warp of the background. I sent away to Halcyon Yarns in Maine for my yarns. Green for the main warp and black for the tie down warp. Purple and green were to work as the main weft and I did lots of experimenting with the image weft. The yarns arrived and I got busy winding the warp!
First the green warp through the front heddles and then the black through the back two. I used strings to keep my two warps separate as they went through the reed. A 12 dent reed with 3 ends per dent—one black and two green.
My small Harrisville Loom!
Finally all tied on and winding the bobbins. This is a hand bobbin winder that belonged to my grandmother’s cousin. I was given her counterbalance loom which is currently in my attic.
For additional weft I also used some pine needles from walks in the Wissahickon, some sticks that I soaked, shredded, and dyed with rusty bits. I used some yarn that tied up lunch from my trip with the Garden gals… This warp turned into a journal of my life during this time.
And I did The Moorman Technique with it’s ability to make wonderful densities of design. A square within a square. Towards the end there were squares – positive squares, negative squares, heavy squares, delicate squares, squares with stripes…and then I ran out of warp!
My “Stitches not Words” project uses squares and lots of squares appeared here. One early bit of weaving that was removed to adjust the warp didn’t have squares but it ended up in a rusty bit dye pot with stitched bits on it! It has since become a work on it’s own titled “Liar, Liar”.
“Stitches not Words!”