Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Evening Blues

Not the sad kind, but a just growing moon yesterday evening, hovering above my favourite oak trees - so lovely to watch in the gathering dusk as she sinks so slowly, slowly behind the branches - two kinds of growing, one so close, the other unimaginably far away

and today, forget-me-nots and pulmonaria glimmering as evening light settles down into the garden, awaiting badger and bat, fox and little mouse

I love the way those blues enrich each other, singing in harmony together.

Tomorrow we are off to Edinburgh together on a plane. I've never been.

I am still enough of a child to feel a deep, deep thrill of excitement as the plane taxis down the runway, gathering speed, getting impossibly faster and faster until, as if by magic, it lifts into the air and the ground sweeps away beneath us.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Easter Weekend Dyeing Update

So, the weekend went and it was back to work on Tuesday. Fabrics came out of the dyepot after work that day, were separated from their string, detangled and put in the washing machine, to have their 60 degree wash - yes even silk seems fine with this (so far). So impatient was I to see the results washed, dried and ironed that I had to clean the conservatory windows to keep the fidgets at bay!!

I am really pleased with the results. Hard to show in photographs as they don't capture the flow and sheen of the two different silks, but here they are. All five pieces together - the four narrow strips folded in half for the sake of space. The darkest are the ones that were stitched and pulled up, here at top right. They are more mottled and blended in their colours and the stitching doesn't show in quite the way I expected it to. Top left are the two strips that went round the narrower pipe. The softer colour is the piece of fine cotton, the better defined is the silk, which always takes dye really well; at the bottom is the piece that was folded and wrapped round the soil pipe. I love the way the patterns are mirrored and have had several comments about what a lovely scarf it would make. Liking that idea.

Here is a portion of the two narrow strips - I am delighted with the leafy, feathery nature of the pattern and hope I can reproduce it again. I think it had to do with the way I compressed the fabric - which is obvious really, but I know what I mean. I sort of wriggled it as I pushed it down.

and here a closer view of the "scarf" so you can see the ripples that came from the string being crossed over itself as it was tied (bottom centre). You can also see the way adding the yellow dye slightly later has created a quite distinct margin between the soft blue and the stronger green.

I have a feeling one could have endless fun with this, playing with different blends of colour and different timings ...... were one not required to earn a living!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Easter weekend dyeing

So the Easter weekend project. I've been getting ready for a couple of days, preparing fabrics and adding to my store of tools for dyeing. The additions are a black plastic down pipe and a soil pipe from the plumbing department of a local DIY store. 

"Can I cut this pipe for you madam? No no noo, against the health and safety rules, I might cut my fingers off or go wild and attack you" .... !!!

The pipes are for the Shibori pole wrapping technique, arashi. I'm trying to get several diameters of pole to wrap. Jan Myers-Newbury does amazing things with arashi dyed and pieced fabrics - I am just at the bottom of the long slope to that sort of expertise.

The ingredients for this weekend's experiment have been, four strips of fabric of similar dimensions, long and narrow a mix of silk and cotton. and another bigger piece of silk. I layered two strips together twice; a light and a slightly heavier fabric. One pair were tacked together, then wrapped around a slender piece of plumbing pipe that I had already; tied with rough string and compressed.

The second pair were stitched together using a regular pattern of stitches across and up the fabric, rows and columns,big stitches, widely spaced, to hold the two layers together. 

one side will have more crumples, the other will show more of the neat stitch marks I suspect - and the layered fabrics will echo each other once separated.

All pulled up tight ready for the bucket - this not arashi of course, but stitched and gathered resist.

Finally, a single piece of light silk, folded in half, wrapped diagonally and tied around the soil pipe. 

I've added two elements where the wrapping is more narrowly spaced. and crosses itself in a slow arc round the pipe

Squeeze up tight.

Pop in a bucket of very salty water to open up the fibres for ten minutes or so. Add a mix of royal blue and turquoise dye; fifteen minutes later add a small measure of golden yellow. I'm interested in whether delaying the second colour creates a more interesting mix in the patterns that emerge. Of course a true experiment would be to do a control piece as well, adding the colours at the same time to see if the delay in adding the yellow produces a different effect. Not very scientific, but jolly good fun.

I'll show you the results later in the week when I have time to get them out rinsed and dried.

Exhausted now ....

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Mindfulness and The Voice

We all have an inner Voice; inner conversations and trains of thought going on as we go through life, often telling us what we should be doing, or being critical of ourselves, or others. Mindfulness teaches us to observe that Voice, dispassionately and compassionately, asking ourselves, would I say that to someone I really love? 

When we see this, we can begin to let it all go; this inner tumult of if only, why didn't I, but he said, I'd rather be, why did she .... why .... Little conversations, little nothings; thoughts hopping around in our head, like the grasshopper, monkey mind which cannot sit still. Mindfulness practice helps us to take a step back; to observe, rather than inhabit, this play going on in our heads. As we daily begin to see it for what it is, we see that we have a choice. We either struggle, trapped by this turmoil in our heads, or we become present in the life we are living.