Thursday, 23 October 2014

Experimental shibori

For my next session with Christine I'm preparing these little bits of silk. I've layered three pieces of lightweight silk together with big tacking stitches, folded them concertina style, then stitched a generous running stitch wave down the centre longways

Next I stitched from the innermost point of each curve, out to the edge through individual layers of the folds.

I will draw all the stitches up and tie them off before dropping in the dye pot.

I want to learn two things; firstly how to prepare a small amount of dye for a little project like this - and I'm well aware that this will make the colour unpredictable. Then I want to see how the colour takes in each silk. I did some dyeing in the summer last year and found that silks seem to be warmer in tone than cottons from the same dye bath; I wonder if that is because they are very thirsty, take up colour quickly and so get a higher proportion of any redness, as I'm sure Christine said that red takes first.

Also, of course, I want to see what effects come from the stitching - I hope to get three small pieces of silk that are closely related, because they have all taken the same pattern. The folds will create repetition so the long wave should echo across. The smaller stitching from centre to edge might create an effect of wings, as they will be in pairs nestled between the curves.

We'll have to wait until the 8th of November to see what happens, next class on the 7th :-)

Sunday, 19 October 2014


my dear heart says that should be spelled xorsted, whatever, it expresses how I feel. I did my last trip to Kidmore End this week, up Thursday, back Friday. Cecil's house now emptied, vaccuumed, despidered and ready for new occupancy. A long long two days, after a very long three months with motorways almost every weekend. The final sorting meant packing up delicate glass and china and moving some stuff into the garage, so that the final items being taken away were done so by the right group of people! That of course entailed bumping knuckles, bruising wrists, pulling muscles and general wear and tear. So much easier though, knowing that she is here safe and sound and available to come to Sunday lunch with me and mine today.

I won't be sorry to see the back of the M23/25/4 for a long while now!

I will miss the exultant, keening cries of the kites high above.

Slept for ten hours last night and the night before.

Very .... ....  .. . very tired

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Current Occupation

Found in a drawer, schooldays or the army so, thirties or forties, tucked away.

Very useful for old ladies in residential care homes, keeps the clothes together. It is an odd thing, though, to be using artifacts bought for such a distant and different situation. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Decision making

Sorry, I am very absent at the moment. Still trailing to and fro from the south coast to the interior, clearing Cecil's home. It means spending a lot of my non work time driving too fast on motorways, and has been occupying time since the end of July when we moved her here.

But aha! on Friday, the pleasure of a Studio 11 day to just do creative. My plan this year includes broadening my technical skills, and Friday was the first chance to start. I brought along a breakdown printed piece that I did in my first year there, a lovely process - here shown by Claire Benn of Committed to Cloth. I used two processes, half of the piece of fabric in each. Friday's plan was to dye some fabrics in a family of colours to use with this to create a quilt, or at least that's the plan for now, these things can change. The point of the exercise was to use a systematic process to take two colours and, using measured quantities of dye and fabric, move through tints as well as moving from one colour to another. It follows the same principles as the colour exercises that we did in City and Guilds, learning how colour works. 

So back to Connie and Harry's sheets, one of which provided me with the requisite four meters of fabric. Divide into four pieces. The colours used are scarlet and either plain turquoises or turquoise touched with golden yellow. Using four parts, one part and a quarter part of each colour, dye the fabric starting with the first colour. I went for the scarlet, so have three shades of this. You can see these at the bottom of each picture.

Then I did test patches, using the delightful method of mixing dyes in with print paste, squishy, scraped on with a credit card to create the blocks! That's what the patches are in the top bits of fabric, the same idea as we used with Michel Garcia though there we were trialing mordants. In the one above, you've got the red to turquoise transition on the left, red to green on the right. I've left out the unmixed red in each as they are at the bottom. 

This one looks very similar, but I've swapped the colours round at the top, to try that green against the left hand fabric.

What I will do next time, is to tear each of my red squares in four and do the same exercise with the second colour, getting mixes of both colour and tint.

The decision is about the colours to use. I love the way the muddy red and greens look, and they do compliment the right hand fabric, but perhaps not the left? This will determine what colour my second dip is. I will end up with 16 fat quarters, one of each colour.

Another view in artificial light.

I love the faint whiff of chemistry lesson about this process, and I love the interesting colours achieved. My fabrics, which are supposed to be a completely even tone, are slightly mottled, which I rather enjoy - it has more character than flat colour.

I'm also preparing a shibori, but more of that later, if I have time!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Serene in Green

It's impossible to define this place with words. A rainy day, plans delayed, yet we can sit on the balcony, in gentle light, listening to the water pattering in the trees, echoed by the Beck lapping below. 

There is birdsong, rich velvet greenness, a vivid palette of bronzes, slate, golden yellow and light.