Monday, January 18, 2010

work in progress

I've been working with different types of silk to test the dye possibilities my garden has to offer.

Coloured silk threads are a great by-product.


An old cotton scarf got thrown in some left over dye.

Pleating with metal clips.

Stitching and folding.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

the box

I keep writing about dyeing, but the work that makes most steady progress lives in a box. This is what the box looks like right now.

We are TV-free, but usually go through a few DVDs every week. When the film starts, on one side sits hubby, on the other: the box.

Also when the whole family travels somewhere further, read more than 20 minutes in the car, the box comes along, since I don't fancy sitting idle on the passenger's seat. In some curious way I can happily knit while hubby negotiates hills and bends, but if I was reading I'd be carsick.

The contents are without fail some yarn and dpn knitting needles, crochet hook, needles and scissors. I always seem to knit in the round. And when it's crochet, mostly that goes round in circles too.

The box produces mundane items for various people I care about, things to keep feet, heads and hearts warm.

I think about filling the box with silk, felt, thread and needles, but somehow that doesn't happen. My myopic eyes get the blame.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

growing colour

In August I ordered seeds for some interesting dyeplants. Weld (Reseda luteola) seeds separately, and woad (Isatis tinctoria), Hopi Amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus x powellii), Dyer's Chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria) and Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) in a "dyer's seed mix" packet.

The mixed dyeplants were truly mixed. It was a tiny pack of seeds where four kinds were supposedly found, but I could frustratingly only tell apart three kinds of seeds. The little red amaranth grains seemed obvious, and this is what they have become:

These plants look nice and strong and are supposed to produce a red dye. I'm starting to itch to harvest some for the first test. Too early yet? I wish I knew.

The rest of the mixed bag resulted in one big weed (black nightshade) and some little woad seedlings that are fighting for their lives in the greenhouse, poor mother as I have been. They need some more soil and water NOW. Maybe tomorrow.

Weld plants are still quite small. I kept them in punnets in the greenhouse a bit too long, but they have acclimatised and survived despite a shift to the harsh midsummer sun. I'm determined not to lose them for drought (they are outside our irrigation zone) so I have been pampering these babies with special attention.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Eco Colour Odyssey

Life has thrown new challenges and responsibilities my way to a very enjoyable effect. I haven't forgotten fibrefingering in the meantime, but the blog has hibernated for a few months.

So finally I will mention that I had two pieces in our "Eco Color Odyssey" exhibition at Fibre Spectrum. Neither of them was specifically made with an exhibition in mind, but suited the context. I was delighted just to be able to say that I had something in an exhibition!

It's been so long since the last time I've shown my work in public, well actually just a year and a half, but it feels like a beginning of a new era. My visual language is only now starting to develop into a direction that accommodates the thoughts and feelings I want to express. Learning to put my favourite techniques together is a work in progress, greatly aided by some very inspiring people I've had the honour to work with recently. I must also celebrate a few meetings in cyberspace with like minded beings. Blessings to all of you sisters in stitch!

"Heart Tracks"

Merino felt, fragments of silk cloth, silk fibre, wool yarn, human hair.

Dyed in Helichrysum petiolare (Licorice Plant) with scrap iron.

"Heart Tracks" is a meditation on the marks left in our hearts by the people we meet and places we go to. A lot of emotion is stored in our hearts, affecting us even when we are not aware of it.
This heart got boiled with a medicinal plant, used for healing nervous disorders, high blood pressure, headache and weak heart among other things. We can marinate ourselves in acceptance and compassion to the same healing effect!

"Juicy Junk Jumper"

Silk smock, dyed in Dodonaea viscosa (Green Akeake) with scrap metals.

The dye bath was left over from another project and left to mature for several weeks.

This resulted in a change in colour, with found objects, junk metal, paper clips, clamping and tying producing patterns.

I adore process photos, since the whole act of wrapping and unwrapping is so magical. It's harder to get good shots of the finished products though. (I hope to update with better ones soon, sigh)