Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I'm Baaaack!

I felt some creative juice returning a couple days ago, and lo and behold I'm actually working on things again.

I completed this little handquilted piece yesterday -- eco dyed recycled linen and raw silk backed with an unusual commercial batik.  Streamers measures 21 x 15 inches.

Saturday I steeped a pot of eco dyed fabric -- I'll post photos of the finished fabric on Wednesday.  I'd been given a small piece of silk/wool fabric that I was anxious to work with...hoping once again that I could get an orange color from my local eucalyptus, which didn't subsequently happen.  Although the fabric is beautiful nonetheless.

Monday I prepped two quilts -- one to be machine quilted for the latest Fiberactions challenge, the other one to be handstitched.  I'll also likely do a second Fiberactions piece for this challenge, as I did for the last one.  Since I have so few things going on this year, I've decided to get more work done by completing more than one piece for each challenge.

A friend gave me some little jars of Jacquard Procion dyes about a year ago, and I'm planning to dye about five yards of mixed fabric later this week via the Jar Dyeing Method.

I've noticed that when I'm in a fallow period, what happens for me is that I cease being able to make any creative decisions.  Which is why I stop taking action.  Being creative is all about making decisions, all the time.  And sometimes it all just feels overwhelming and I have to stop.  But I'm good to go again now, for a while.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Devil Made Me Do It

Mid last year I was invited to participate in a special project to benefit The Ink People, Humboldt County's indie arts organization.  Twenty two local artists were chosen to create a piece of art that represents each person's take on one of the 22 Major Arcana cards in the tarot deck.  We had a ceremony where each of us chose our card ~ in actuality the appropriate card chose one of us to represent it.  My card is The Devil.

The finished artwork is due March 1.  Each piece will be photographed, a deck of Major Arcana cards will be printed and available locally for sale, and the original artwork will be auctioned off to benefit TIP. 

The Devil is one of two or three Major Arcana cards that strike fear in most peoples' hearts.  Actually, though, it is a card of transformation.  The Devil shows us the dark side -- our personal dark side, the dark side of society and civilization, materialism, overindulgence, dark political powers, etc.  The images at the bottom of my collage represent those very things. 

But the card shows us that we're only enslaved by ourselves.  The chains are loose, we each make the choice to wallow in the mire of modern culture or to lift ourselves out and move toward the light, the awakened spiritual life.  The Devil is also Lucifer, the bringer of light.  If we're willing to let go of everything that is not working in our lives personally and culturally and see ourselves as we truly are ~ spiritual beings having a human experience ~ then life is open at the top and we are gifted with pearls of wisdom.

The Devil is absolutely the perfect card for me to have drawn.  It speaks volumes about the spiritual growth I've been undergoing in the last year.  I am honored that I was asked to participate in this project.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunny Today

I'm recovering from teaching a studio intensive over the weekend, so I'm going to take my easy life even easier today.  The workshop went extremely well, my student, a wonderful woman from southern California, learned more than she'd hoped (that was my plan) and left totally inspired and excited about new possibilities for her dyeing. 

I really enjoy teaching one-on-one.  It works so much better for all this way, especially that students get to learn exactly what they want.  Plus the fact that I get inspired all over again!

We have more rain in the forecast, but thus far today it is sunny and predicted to be all day.   Hope you all have a great week.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another Acid Dye Experiment

This is one of two quick experiments I did over the weekend ~ printing acid dyes on presoaked silk.  The fabric was soaked in 50/50 vinegar water about a week before.  There was no acid in the dye, only alginate to thicken it.  This is the finished fabric.

Results of my recent experiments ~ You can process acid dyes by the same methods you would use for fiber reactive dyes, by using protein fibers including silk and an acid fixative.  Those are:

  • add fixer (acid in this case) to an immersion dyebath
  • add acid directly to the dye for printing and painting
  • presoak the fabric in an acid solution for printing and painting

After weeks and weeks of sunshine and cold, we have our first big storm of the season moving in tonight.  Lots of rain and wind, and a projected rise in the Eel River to near flood stage.  I've been asking for rain, now here it comes.  Just goes to show how powerful prayer can be!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Two for One

Today is Fiberactions' reveal for our first color challenge -- which was to create a quilt using colors outside of our comfort zone.

I'd been intrigued for a while by chartreuse and  blood orange, originally inspired by a paper collage I made early last year.  The collage is shown in the first quilt, called Chrysanthemum, printed on two layers of silk organza.

As I pawed through my stash to find material for the quilt, I realized I had more fabric available than I originally thought, and ended up making two quilts for the challenge.

Back to the first piece ~ it contains several pieces of fabric that were shiboried quite a while ago, that I subsequently over-shiboried, and one that I over-printed. 

The dotted piece at the bottom was commercial black fabric with white dots that I'd discharged and didn't really like -- but it worked perfectly for this piece.  Each dot got a glass bead. 

The red circles are from a small shiboried piece -- I cut out the circles, enhanced the color with dye pen, and after quilting them in place I added metallic paintstik to their centers.  The last thing I did was add the chartreuse hand stitching .

Chrysanthemum is 26 x 16 inches.

The second piece, called Silk Road, and finished well before I began the one above, is constructed of two sections of the same piece of silk that I've had in my stash for eons.

Folks who've been following me for years may remember that I had about a yard of peachy-pink crepe de chine from a trip to Hong Kong (on the way to Bali) in 1984, that I dyed chartreuse about four years ago. 

I tore the dyed fabric into pieces and did various other things to them over the years.  The piece on the left was shiboried and then discharged.  The one on the right was shiboried with eucalyptus dye, then shiboried again with Dyn-a-Flow fabric paint.

This piece is entirely hand stitched with silk thread.  Backed with fine cotton with a Chinese silk print on it.  Silk Road is 29 x 21 inches.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What's it all about, Alfie?

This is a new handstitched quilt I'm working on.  I've only got one line of stitching in it, down the middle.  Unfortunately, my wrists have really been bothering me, so I expect this piece to be slow coming to fruition.  It's not large, about 20x15 inches.  Still, a lot of hand quilting recently is taking its toll.

Last week I completed my second piece for the Fiberactions challenge.  Look for the reveal this Sunday, January 15.

I'm not sure what I'm up to creatively, otherwise, at the moment.  Seems like a good time to rest my hands while something develops.  I'm still in this place of no thrust, have no overall sense of what "my work" is.  Different than "my voice," which I am watching develop over time.

By turns I am overwhelmed with possibilities, yet feel no deep compulsion to move in any direction.  So here I be, piddling along, waiting for a burst of inspiration.

And see, in the end it doesn't matter.  I don't mean that in the sense of being resigned or fatalistic in any way.  It's just that it's the truth.  I find myself grappling with this thing called motivation, and I'm completely unclear about where it comes from and whether or not I even need it...in life in general, at this point in my life, whatever.  I'm still recovering from a lifetime of haveto's and should's. 

Getting awfully philosophical here, so I'll stop.  Have a good week. 


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Today's Winner

Winner of the New Year's Giveaway is Lynn Lowman.  Congrats to Lynn, and thanks to all of you for entering. 

I'll likely be doing another small quilt giveaway in the next few months, so stay tuned.

Lynn, email me your snail mail address and I'll send your quilt off this week!