Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Following the lead of Christine Kane and folks who read her blog, I have chosen TRUST as my Word of the Year for 2009. Among Trust's many dictionary definitions are "reliance on the integrity, strength and ability of a person or thing," and "confident expectation of something; hope."

Trust, for me, is about letting go, allowing, having faith in the process, granting permission for life to unfold in its own way, at its own pace...and knowing, inside, that it's all good, whatever happens, that it was meant to be just this way.

Here are some opening thoughts on Trust as I move into 2009:

  • I trust that I am exactly who I need to be at this point in my life.
  • I trust that I am exactly where I need to be right now -- financially, emotionally, artistically, spiritually, etc.
  • I trust that everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that could happen.
  • I trust my inner knowing to guide me.
  • I trust that if something works for me, regardless of whether or not it works for anybody else, that it is right for me, here and now.
  • I trust that the right opportunities will open themselves to me at the right time.
  • I trust that my dreams are manifesting, in their own process of evolution.

Really trusting in these things means I can relax. I can do my work with the best of intentions, and know that everything is working together for my highest good and for the highest good of all concerned. I can go about the business of living with a greater sense of joy and light-heartedness. I don't have to try to hold all the balls up in the air by myself. I don't have to be responsible for things that are beyond my control. If something is meant to happen, it will happen.

It's as simple as that.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Skipping Stones

Skipping Stones Art QuiltAs I completed the new art quilt today, I decided to call it Skipping Stones. It is far more evocative of skipping stones than a thousand stars. So I'll save that other name for another piece. The finished size is 23" high by 27.5" wide.

This is pretty much all I did today -- completed the last few sections of machine quilting, trimmed it up and hand stitched the border. Then a friend came for tea, so I'll put on the hanging sleeve tomorrow.

I'm really happy with Skipping Stones, especially all the wonderful machine quilting, which was great fun, although exhausting work.

Skipping Stones detail

Skipping Stones detail

Monday, December 29, 2008

Abundantly Creative

Collage Journal page I'm busy at work on a multitude of projects now. And since nothing is ready to be photographed, here instead is a recent morning collage journal page. My creative juices are really flowing, and I'm gratetful.

Today I wove for a good chunk of time...I started on the first weekly 9 x 9" quilt (of 52 in 2009)...I put in a few hours quilting another wholecloth piece (I posted images of the front and back of this one about 10 days ago)...I visited a new knitting shop in town and talked to the owner about handspun yarn and teaching spinning...I delivered two woven scarves for the January show at The Ink People Center for the Arts...I fooled around with some digital images on fabric. I'm exhausted! But it feels great to have a lot of irons in the fire.

More of the same tomorrow.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Building Confidence

As mentioned a few weeks back, I've been working in The Art Quilt Workbook by Jane Davila & Elin Waterston. Finally, I finished the first assignment -- not without some changes to the instructions, chiefly that I am not conforming to the suggested 9 x 12 inch format. I just don't want to! Anyhow, my theme for the series is shibori discharged fabrics and here's my first piece...

Shibori discharge quiltI'm really happy with this piece. All the fabric is hand discharged, except the backing/border, which is handwoven Guatamalan fabric. I spent a few afternoons this week teaching myself how to free-motion quilt, and I used that technique throughout this little quilt. I've discovered that free-motion quilting on discharged fabric is very cool!

The next assignment is to design a quilt using digital imagery of some sort -- either an image printed on fabric, or inspiration from an image translated onto fabric. Last night I printed a few recent images on fabric, using my new and very-well-loved Canon Pixma MP530 AIO printer. Digital images on fabric should really be done with pigment inks (rather than dye-based inks like my printer uses), so I'll treat the printed image with a fixative that will render the colors to withstand UV light. I have a few pieces of fabric downstairs drying, that I treated this morning with one of the Golden Gel media, that should do the same thing as the fixative. When that fabric is dry, I'll print it. I'm really delighted that the color images I'm getting with my Canon are so spectacular.

I'll probably lose a few friends, here, but I intensely dislike Epson, despite the fact that so many artists use Epson printers in their work. With my Canon, there's no need to tinker with the color settings -- what I see on my computer screen is exactly what came out of the printer on fabric. The Epson I had and recently junked had to be messed with 'til the cows come home to get the colors right. And that was the least of its problems. Anyway, that's another story.

I'm having a very enjoyable time with my new daily rituals/practices. I recently started doing sketchbook collages every day, first thing in the morning. And I recently got back into morning meditation -- something I did regularly for a couple of years before letting it go a few months back. Something else I'm planning on is a practice of making weekly quilts, inspired by artist Jeanne Williamson.

I really like the idea of making a lot of art, just doing it for the practice. I feel like I've already got next year's chops on!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Greetings Of The Season

Holiday Greetings from my archives. I've had this self-standing Santa card for at least 40 years, and it never ceases to bring a smile to my face every time I bring it out.

Hope your holidays are safe and warm, filled with love and gratitude, and dreams coming true!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rust & Batik

Rust dyed and batiked fabricRust dyed and batiked fabricAmong a number of pieces of fabric that I finished off today were two that were originally rusted and then batiked. I am especially fond of the lower piece, which was overpainted with tannin. I love those earthy colors, also the globular shapes that the wax made.

I've been reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp -- many artists are reading it now, in fact I heard about on one of the blogs I follow -- and she starts out talking about the necessity of doing some kind of daily ritual to bring oneself to the studio, wherever and whatever that might be. So what I have begun towards this end is to do one or two pages in my sketchbook or collage journal every morning, before I do anything else, art-wise. This is a really good exercise for me, because I've not been doing sketchbooks or collage journals, even though I've wanted to for a long time. I haven't done them until now because I would always judge my work against what other artists do. And mine never seemed to measure up. I also wanted them to be perfect, finished artworks in themselves.

But now I'm doing it just for the pleasure of putting together magazine pictures, inspiring words, paper I've stamped, fabric scraps, textured stuff, bits of dyed newsprint from under stuff I've dyed or painted, and whatever else I can find. Without judgement. I do have an ulterior motive, though, and that is to use these pages as inspiration for future textiles and art quilts. But mostly it's for the exercise of priming the pump on a daily basis.

Another practice I'm doing daily, now, is posting a photo on my new(est) blog, Textural Images. These are images I'm shooting and manipulating in Photoshop, turning substance into texture and color. If you haven't checked it out, please do. I'm really having a lot of fun with it. And I'm generating some very interesting and inspiring images that I want to translate into or onto fabric. In fact, many of the images are of fabrics that I've woven, dyed, discharged or printed, and by manipulating the images I'm creating a whole new level of inspiration for further and future work. Actually, the permutations are virtually endless so I've already got a lot of catching up to do, if I intend to do textile work based on the images!

Good To Go

Cotton/linen piece, 30 epi, 30 wpi Finally, I got the new warp beamed up and started weaving this new piece. It's 20/2 cotton warp and fine linen singles weft (the same linen I tried warping with originally), with a sett of 30/30. Greatly magnified here, of course. It's actually the finest thing I've yet woven, and now that I know what I need to do warp-wise, more about which in a moment, I want to do lots more fine work. In fact, I think I see a woven future for all that very fine silk I spun up over the last few years!

Here's the about-which part: Remember the difficulties I hoped to avoid last week, when I cut off the linen warp right after starting to beam it up? Well after tying on the newly-wound cotton warp (i.e., tying each cotton end to a linen end), I had enormous difficulty beaming this warp up, much to my chagrin. I spent all day Friday working on getting 6 yards beamed on -- I had so much difficulty and so many tangled warp ends that I cut off the last yard! Other than the previously mentioned Silk Warp From Hell, I'd never had this much difficulty beaming up a warp before, and couldn't for the life of me figure out what the problem was.

So Saturday morning I called Yarn Barn in Kansas, from where I'd purchased the 20/2 cotton, and the good folks there gave me a lesson in warping. Being a self-taught weaver, I was clueless about this, but probably many of you are already doing this. I warp front to back and I've always taken out the lease sticks (inserted before sleying to maintain the cross in the warp ends) right after sleying the warp through the reed. And I've always combed the threads with my fingers to straighten them, as I beamed up. Wrong! YB suggested I leave in the lease sticks all the way through the warping process, until it's beamed up and right up to where I have dangling ends in front of the reed which I'll now tie onto the front apron rod. They also suggested to NOT comb the warp with my fingers, but to keep it in chains and merely giggle each chain to straighten out the ends. Makes sense to me! Why didn't I think of that before now!?

Another likely problem with the cotton warp was that although the ends were the same length when I sleyed them, undoubtedly they were slightly different lengths after I tied them onto the linen ends, because of the placement of the overhand knots, which over 600 ends was bound to be different in places. The varying length of the ends, dragging by each other as I beamed up, caused the traffic jams at the heddles that I experienced (and nearly pulled all my hair out over! -- and I've got a lot of hair!!).

So, lesson learned, I might even try that linen warp again in the future!

Friday, December 19, 2008

On Screens & Threads

After I printed some fabric early in the week, with thickened dyes, I prepared these screens for deconstructed screen printing sometime in the near future. Here they are...

I love the results of deconstructed screen printing, although it has to be the messiest of all the processes I've been doing lately. If I weren't already doing this in my kitchen, I'd say, "Don't try this at home!" It actually helps, though, that I can print on the wet work table in my kitchen, then turn around 180 degrees and be right at the kitchen sink for wash off and clean up.

This morning I tied on 100 cotton warp ends to the threaded linen ends-- just 500 to go!

I've got to sign off and get into my day. Have a good one!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quilters Have To Quilt

I was really surprised today to read on Rayna's blog that the act of quilting is daunting for her -- and even more surprised to read the comments to her post there that so many other art quilters feel the same way! Wow, I thought it was just because I'm such a newbit at art quilting, that I've been filled with trepidation at the thought of actually quilting a piece of fabric that I've designed!

But interestingly, quilting has been on my mind too recently, as I'm starting to have pieces to finish off that need to be quilted. So Rayna's post was timely, indeed. I just received "Machine Quilting Made Easy," by Maurine Noble, and late this afternoon made myself a stack of 14 x 14" pieces of fabric and batting so I can do all the exercises in the book.

Stack of fabrics and batting to be quiltedRather than use plain muslin, as Maurine suggests, I decided to forego buying more fabric and go through the stash I've been accumulating over the past years. Now that I'm painting/printing my own fabric, it's unlikely I'd use some of that stuff for art quilts, so I may as well use it now. Going through your stash is always fun, especially coming across pieces of fabric that you can't for the life of you figure out why you bought in the first place. I had quite a few of those. But I cut up some good stuff, too. I mean, why not?

Actually, my plan is to use these quilting practice blocks as starting points for possible further work. So I may as well use the good stuff. It's like using the good china just because you have it. Lord knows I've saved other good stuff for so long in some cases, that it either fell apart of its own accord or I completely lost interest in it by the time I found it again, yet here I'd schlepped it around as though it were sacrosanct! Anyway, so I'm planning to do some quilting here real soon.

In news of the loom, I made a new warp yesterday, but didn't have quite enough of the 60/2 silk thread I used to make 600 ends. So now I have a 524 end, 7 yard very fine silk warp to use in future. Today I wound nearly all of a new 20/2 fine cotton warp that I hope I'll be able to tie on to those threaded linen ends by the end of the weekend. I really am hankering to weave again.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Demise Of A Warp

I was excited about using this fine linen to warp and weave with. But frankly, as I wound the warp I noted that it was pretty fuzzy and the threads had a tendency to want to stick together. Still, I wound, 600 ends worth at 7 yards in length. I threaded the warp over the last three days, a little bit at a time, then tied it on the back beam this morning and started to wind it on.

Sure enough, after just a few inches, warp ends sticking together created little balls that got caught on the heddles. I had this same experience early in the year, with the Silk Warp From Hell, and decided now to end this madness before I spent the rest of the week winding on this fine singles linen warp through my steel heddles. Which is not a good mix. (An aside here, I did look into purchasing TexSolv heddles, because I've been thinking about it anyway -- but at $16 per 100 heddles, it would cost me nearly $200 to replace my steel ones, and that isn't something I can or really need to do right now -- or maybe ever.)

I had already decided that I would tie a new warp onto this one when I was done weaving it, so I wouldn't have to rethread 600 heddles. Well, I decided to do that now. In other words, I cut off the linen warp in front of the threaded heddles, and I'll tie on a new warp that I've yet to wind. It'll take me far less time to make a new 600 end warp than it would to mess with the linen warp trying to get it beamed onto the loom.

Oh well. I just saved myself an enormous headache, a raft of incipient anger, and a boatload of stress! Note to myself, though -- be really careful when you buy other artists' "stash reduction" supplies. The fact is, this wasn't the first time I had problems with old stuff that I bought, at a huge discount, from someone who didn't want it any longer and/or was never going to use it. Obviously there's a reason stuff doesn't get used. I've done it myself -- bought stuff and decided it was too problematic to use, it couldn't be returned, and so I passed it on, for money or not.

So, I'm off to wind a new warp, and hurray! I won't have to thread 600 heddles again!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Front & Back

Printed and painted cotton fabricThis is the front of a new wholecloth quilt I've started working on -- I printed the fabric a couple months ago and just added metallic paint over the weekend. The brighter daubs all over it would be the metallics.

Printed and painted cotton fabric And this is the backing for the quilt, a piece of Osnaburg that I shiboried and then hand painted, but the colors weren't strong enough -- so I over printed it this morning and finished it off.

I finally got the replacement surge protector for my Bernina, so now I have no excuses for not getting on these quilting projects that I'm slowly putting together. No excuse other than time, that is. I'm also getting the loom warped with very fine linen, and I printed up another several pieces of fabric today. Tomorrow I'll be preparing several silk screens for deconstructed printing later this week or early next.

This is how I prefer to spend my end-of-year holidays, not straying too far from ordinary life activities and art making. I'm pleased not to have the distractions that many other folks necessarily succumb to, the relatively charmed existence of someone who no longer has any real familial obligations.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Finishing Fabric

More work today, finishing off fabrics that have been in process for a couple of months.

The first one is raw silk and began with a gelatin plate print and thickened dye that wasn't dark enough. Today I overprinted it multiple times with various mostly-grid things.

The second piece is a nice cotton that only has this one layer. I very intentionally printed this to serve as backing for two small quilts that I'll make from linen napkins I printed recently.

This is a piece of heavy cotton, underpainted a couple weeks ago, overprinted today with a glue gel screen I made recently. I've gotten a lot of mileage out of this screen...after my first use, in which I made 6 or 8 prints, I went over what was left of the pattern on the screen with more glue gel, and now I've used the screen repeatedly, on two or three occasions. And still the pattern is strong. Glue Gel is that blue Elmer's school glue that you use as a resist, either on a silk screen or right on fabric kind of like gutta or wax. It's another one of these wonder products that washes up with soap and hot water -- it washes right off the screen when you're finished printing, likewise the resist will wash out of the fabric after it's been dyed.

This is a piece of rayon/linen that I originally printed with construction fencing. It was then overprinted with two different deconstructed screens, and finally finished off today with the dots that you see.

This is my favorite of the bunch -- it's a piece of cotton that was printed with one of the last takes of a deconstructed screen about a month ago. A few days ago I overprinted with another screen, which had only thickened black dye on it but which printed off a navy blue. Today I overprinted it with one of my favorite grid patterned things with turquoise and black dye.

Printing fabric is such a mysterious and wonderful process. Rarely do you get what you anticipate, but the surprises are always so much better than you could have imagined!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Discharged Workshirt

Bleach discharged black t-shirt Here's another discharge job, done this morning in bleach. This piece was randomly folded in various ways, and before tossing it in the pot, there were all manner of clips and clamps fastened in various places so that the shirt looked rather like an octopus! Anyway, now I've got a set of formerly black workshirts, one thioxed, one bleached, that I like too much to wear to work in! Well, almost.

I've also been screen printing today -- numerous pieces of fabric are finishing up right now. All were previously printed and/or screened, and some I did today will go on to get another layer or two before being complete.

I wrote an interesting post yesterday on A Crone's Chronicle, about the status of my art business goals for 2008. So go there if you'd like to read it.

Is it really Thursday afternoon already? Wow!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another "Friendly" Dye Job

I just dyed another batch of repurposed cashmere yarn for friend Bonnie Tarses. It's out drying in the sun as we speak. Bonnie does this really cool thing of unraveling old cashmere sweaters, having the yarn dyed, and weaving with it. Check out her blog where she talks about the whole business.

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Handpainted Silk Scarf Sale

All my handpainted silk scarves are now on sale, through the end of the year, at $10 off each one. That means $65 scarves are now $55, etc. You can still purchase right here on the blog, and I'll send you an immediate refund for the $10 discount. They are also available at my other online outlets.

My way of saying Thanks!!

Waxing Eloquent

I started in with soy wax batik yesterday. It has been on my list of surface design processes to get into, and finally I had enough other projects out of the way and all the materials at hand. All of these fabrics started life a few months back, as samples for other processes (gelatin plate printing, fold-and-dip dyeing, discharging), and if you look closely you can see earlier layers underneath the latest wax and dye job.

For those unfamiliar with batik, it is the process of applying wax to fabric to create areas of resist, then overpainting or dyeing the fabric. Where the wax is, the dye is not absorbed. So you can see clearly where the wax had been when the piece is finished. Soy wax is a fairly new product that is far easier to work with than the previous parafin (dangerous to use) or beeswax, or a combo of the two. The joys of soy wax are that is easy to come by, it washes up with soap and hot water, and you iron/steam/wash it out of fabric. Meaning, it does not have to be dry cleaned, which earlier generations of batik wax had to be.

So here are yesterday's finished pieces...

The last one is my personal favorite. The colors, the wax design really work for me.

I waxed up more fabric than I finished -- I didn't have room to let the overdyed fabric sit around drying yesterday, so I hope to finish those off during the week.

In other projects, I'm hoping to get the loom warped later this week -- or maybe next. I've been on holiday from weaving and I'm starting to miss it, especially that plain fabric I've been weaving lately. Don't know what it is, but I'm finding plain fabric to be much more interesting to weave than patterned fabric. Weird, huh?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Better Living Through Chemistry

Rust and tannin dyed silk scarfRust and tannin dyed silk scarf This is a silk crepe de chine scarf that I rusted Thursday-Friday with a heavy old rusty chain. Then I pole wrapped it for shibori, and instead of dye, I painted it with tannin, which natural dyers know of as one of several mordants (chemical salts that make natural dyes bond with natural fibers). Having never used tannin in this way before, I was unsure how much to use. What you see here was 2 tsp. to about 3/4 cup water. I'll likely use a bit less next time. The silk had a rather pink tone in the lightest areas, probably because of the strong concentration of tannin. So the last thing I did was dip the whole piece in a solution of 3/4 tsp. copper salt (another mordant) to a cup of water, which made the pink more tan. Which is what I wanted.

How cool that you can dye fabric without any dye at all...just earth salts!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tortoise Shell

Tortoise Shell silk crepe de chine scarfHere's a crepe de chine scarf I finished today that looks a lot like tortoise shell, in the flesh. If I'd been aiming to do that, I never could have. The scarf was dyed multiple times, with both fiber reactives and acid dyes, and discharged once or twice, too. Finished size is 13 x 70" and it's available from my online outlets (except here on the blog) -- see the list over on the left.

Discharged work shirtAnd here's another work shirt that I discharged today. It's not very old, and now it's cool! I kind of feel like I'm going back to the 1960s, with some of this dyeing and discharging I've been doing. The thing is, I wasn't a hippie back then -- at least I never considered myself to be -- although I was hip and politically aware. But I didn't do massive amounts of drugs, I didn't spend the Summer of Love in San Francisco, and I didn't drive around in a converted school bus with a bunch of folks who needed to bathe. So I never really felt like I was part of the in-crowd. Anyhow, I'm kind of living that now -- at least as far as tying and dyeing clothes goes!

Yesterday I was inspired enough by Jane Dunnewold's Daily Visuals blog, that I decided I'd post a photo everyday on my personal blog, A Crone's Chronicle -- then today while posting today's photo, I decided to start a third blog! So go to my new blog, Textural Images, to see daily images that I've taken and tinkered with in Photoshop. I think I'll also be using the new blog as a feed for inspiration and images to work with in creating art cloth and art quilts. Time will tell.

What I can say is that it is a lot of fun to create blogs, and it's kind of neat that now I have three! So subscribe to Textural Images to see some really cool photos.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bleach Blonde

Today I had a pot of bleach/water going on the stove, and whipped up a bunch more discharged shibori fabrics. Here they are...

I swear I discharged this piece of fabric five or six times -- I've been working on it for a month or two! It's one of those heavy cottons that was fairly resistant to bleach gel, bleach pen, Jacquard discharge paste and thiox paste. I finally tied up the darn thing and threw it in the pot this morning and it finally lost some color!

This piece here was discharged in thiox yesterday -- that would be the off-white areas. Today's bleach bath produced the orange areas.

This piece is a seriously old and beginning-to-get-holey black T-shirt I wear when I'm dyeing and discharging. I like it a lot better now. I think, though, that I'll discharge my black T-shirts earlier in their life with me so I can enjoy the cool patterns before they're on their last legs!

Now this piece is a very interesting rayon fabric -- started life as a long tunic top I wore actively in the mid-90s. Not long ago I cut it up so I could use the fabric. But it's really hard to discharge -- meaning, it took forever in yesterday's thiox bath (gray areas) and the color had to be coaxed out of it today as well -- the bleach created the orange areas.

And this piece is lovely heavy Guatamalan cotton with an ikat plaid in it. The solid area at left is part of the wide border on the selvedge edges. This stuff discharged like a charm.

Late this afternoon I began putting together pieces of these wonderful discharged fabrics for the first small quilt project in the Art Quilt Workbook. But I couldn't start sewing -- drat! -- because the surge protector for my Bernina indicated that the power was spikey, or low voltage, or whatever those things tell you. Oh, this old house I live in! If I can't get clean enough power tomorrow, I may have to get a new surge protector. And you quilters out there know that these sewing machine surge protectors are pricey. But oh well!

Holiday Shopping!

I realize that Cyber Monday was yesterday -- for those not in the know, Cyber Monday is the start of the online holiday shopping season, like Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving, is the start of the holiday shopping season proper. There, so now you have your terms in hand and can proceed to checkout!

For at least the past six years, I always had a Holiday Studio Sale right in my home, on the first weekend of December. This year I have abandoned all that, and the costs associated with it, in favor of inviting friends and others to shop my online venues (with a footnote to folks geographically close to me that they can still drop by the studio anytime, by appointment). And this year I have 6 new venues to buy and/or see my work, where I had none a year ago.

So here's YOUR invitation to purchase my artwork for friends, loved ones, and yourself...

Visit me online this year for outstanding, unusual textile gifts for your friends and loved ones. Along with my one-of-a-kind handwoven scarves and beaded jewelry, this year I have added gorgeous handpainted silk scarves. I'm also creating other brand new work now, as well -- Small Art Quilts, and Art Cloth for home/office/gallery environments.

Most of my art is available online. Jewelry is only available from me at home (unless you're interested in a custom piece, in which case see the Flickr link to that gallery). Luxury spinning fibers are still listed at Etsy, or buy from my studio (fibers are currently on sale at 25% off). Everything you see online, however, IS also available from me directly -- and I have even more work in the studio than I have listed anywhere online.

Follow these links to see and purchase my art online ~
  • My NEW website (payment via PayPal, credit or debit card)
  • My shop at (payment via PayPal, credit or debit card)
  • My blog (only handpainted silks available here, payment via PayPal, credit or debit card)
  • My shop at 1000 (payment via
  • Newly added venue at The Fine Art Department (a place to see my art as well as many other artists' work -- you will be directed to one of my other venues listed just above, to purchase)
  • My Flickr Gallery of jewelry designs (see them here, call or email me to order)

A note on PayPal: Each venue also accepts major credit cards and/or debit cards. When you follow a payment link to PayPal, rather than sign in to your PayPal account -- if you have one -- you can opt to pay with a credit or debit card. If you would like to purchase directly from me by credit card or check, please email or call me -- (707) 499.4382. Items are shipped First Class within two days of purchase. International delivery normally takes about a week.

Many thanks to you, my worldwide readers. I've been blogging for just shy of a year now, and I'm totally loving it. I love the connections I've built with folks around the world -- artists, mostly -- I love the support and camaraderie, and I love that my art and my business have grown virtually exponentially with Internet and worldwide exposure. You've all become a big part of my life, whether you know it or not!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dyeing to Discharge

Sunday afternoon, after the better part of three days in the kitchen dyeing, I lamented that I was particularly discouraged with the results of all that work. I posted my apparent problems to one of my online groups and, without going into details here, pretty much figured out what I was doing wrong -- or at least what I will do differently in future. Dissatisfaction aside, I sure learned a lot...probably more than I would have had things gone according to plan! That's usually the way it is, isn't it?

So today I discharged my little heart out! I had a pot of thiox going on the stove nearly all day and worked on numerous pieces of fabric -- mostly different cottons, and largely solid black or mostly-black commercial fabrics. Some pieces I over discharged two and three times until I got what I was after. Tomorrow I'll make a pot of bleach solution and discharge again -- some different pieces and some of the same as today.

I really love discharging. It's such a magical process. I've started working with the Art Quilt Workbook, by Jane Davila and Elin Waterston, and the theme I will be using for all the instructional quilts will be discharged fabrics. Here are a few of today's results...

Discharged cotton

Discharged cotton

Discharged cotton

Dyed and discharged linen

The last piece is an old linen napkin that I dyed and overdyed, then discharged today in thiox. There's just no end to the interesting things that can be done on fabric by discharging. I'm hooked on it!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Fine Art Department

Woven Shibori I was just invited to participate in a fine art blog, The Fine Art Department, so I invite you to go there and check it out. We are 25 artists of varying media using that blog as an onling art gallery cum contact information point for each individual in the group. I'm excited about it. Everyone's work is wonderful. And many thanks to Lisa Call for mentioning The Fine Art Department on her blog, which is how I became aware of it.

Still hoping to get to dyeing today -- I have soda soaked a bunch of fabric samples that I want to overdye or print on, and have a bunch of white fabric ready to soak. Plus the ready to go fabric I soaked earlier in the week. But there are always so many other things to do, that sometimes it's difficult to get to the time when there's an opening to actually do art!

But I'm on my way...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Still Waters (run deep)

I completed this piece of art cloth earlier this week. It is handwoven bombyx silk, woven shibori on a painted warp. I wove it a couple of months ago and just got to finishing it. Finished size is 17 x 73 inches.

Today was a lovely, rather quiet Thanksgiving. Scotty and I had supper with a small group of friends then came home and watched a couple of movies. I tinkered around a bit in the studio early in the day, pulling out lots of fabrics I've dyed recently just because I enjoy looking at and touching them and considering what to use them for. Also to spark my imagination for a fabric dyeing session I'll do tomorrow. I'm going to aim for dyeing once a week on a regular basis, so that I have a continual stream of fabrics to overdye and otherwise finish off before their final use.

Hope you all had a good day today, whether it was Thanksgiving for you or just Thursday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Loom-Controlled Mokume

You may remember that I recently wove a cellulose fiber fabric, with random pickup for my supplementary shibori threads. And here it is, after initial finishing. The fabric is cotton/tencel warp and linen weft. After wet finishing and drying, I soaked it in soda ash solution. After that dried, I scrunch dyed it with fiber reactive dyes, let that dry, then drew up the gathering threads. Then I discharged it with a 20% bleach solution.

Cotton/Tencel and linen woven shiboriCotton/Tencel and linen woven shibori

The really cool thing is that it looks just like hand stitched mokume (mokume means "wood-grained"), which is what I hoped for. Because hand stitching is so laborious, if this effect can be done on the loom, so much the better. I'm considering what to do next to this piece. The fabric itself is so soft, I just love it. In fact, I am just loving handwoven fabrics. In my recent experiments with numerous techniques, I've been using commercial fabrics, and I have to say that I do not like the cottons that are available these days. My preferred fabrics are linen/rayon, cotton/rayon, cotton/linen, and silks, of course. I've tried a few of the commonly available quilting-type cottons, and I just don't like how they feel -- even after being laundered before I use them, then laundered again numerous times after each surface design treatment. The best commercial stuff I've found, to my liking anyway, is Osnaburg. Guess I'm just a homespun kinda gal -- but I already knew that!

Anyhow, below is a silk crepe de chine scarf -- black originally -- that I discharged today, in thiox. I have something else in mind to finish it off, then it will be available for sale.

Discharged silk scarf