Sunday, 31 May 2009

Out of my comfort zone


I've just completed a three day workshop at Cowslip Workshops with textile artist Cas Holmes whose background is in fine art, and am positive spoke a different language to me... a specialist "Art" language!
The first day was surface decoration onto both paper and fabric using acrylic paint. Cas uses very basic materials and isn't lured by the latest greatest new product, which is really refreshing.
Printing was with a rubber stamp we'd carved during our first exersise and making marks with whatever else we could find around us. We needed to amass a collection of fabrics/papers of differing weights and textures with which to work from on days 2 and 3.
An integral part of the course was recording everything in our mandatory sketchbooks, therefore building up a resource bank of ideas and information either to use or discard! Hard habit to get into but definately proved to be successful.
Day two...using the work completed on day one, plus "sunprinting" that we managed to do as the weather permitted, we began to put together a collage, adding other ephemera, found objects or fabrics as desired to create a "piece of work". Again the sketchbook recording figured heavily.
Day three was bliss, handstitching outside in glorious sunshine, can't think of anything better!
Although I felt out of my depth some of the time it was a worthwhile experience and have lots of areas for continued development.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Dyes are out again!


Finally I have managed to "random dye" some threads with results that I'm pleased with. Over the years I've tried on and off to get results like the hand dyed threads you can buy, but have remained unsuccessful.....until now.
Think a lot of the problem was that i just sloshed a bit of dye about and hoped for the best!! So, out came the Helen Deighan book, Dyeing in Plastic bags, and, something I don't do very often, actually read the chapter on dyeing threads and followed the instructions, again something I'm not too good at!
Perhaps I should do more of it as the results prove. They were exactly what I wanted, pale soft heathery coloured threads! So glad "old dogs" can be taught "new tricks"!
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Monday, 11 May 2009

Absolute Joy

I was incredibly privileged this weekend to enjoy a workshop with Frances Pickering whose work is exquisite. Words fail me in trying to express just how much I enjoyed the two days. She's an amazingly generous, encouraging and inspirational tutor.
This bookmaking workshop was right up my street as I just love making books, all sorts of books and book covers.
The cover was made from pelmet vilene coloured with disperse dyes the flowers were then added using coloured pencils. When satisfied with my result it was given a coat of acrylic wax to seal it. Then detail and decoration was added using handstitching.
Pages were coloured with that wonderful "Brusho" stuff and stitched into place.
So far I've only started to fill one page but my aim is to practice drawing and painting various flowers within the pages in the hope it will all become much easier...

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Back in the Northern Hemisphere

..... and I haven't been completely idle! Have been doing some dyeing, yes MORE dyeing...

The method for dyeing these was given to me by a kindred spirit,(thanks Vinnie).
I took 15 plastic cups and arranged them in a 5,4,3,2,1 triangle formation. Then mixed up 200mls of procion dye concentrate in three colours(primaries) and distributed the colours in varying amounts into each pot. Starting with colour 1 on one side only of my triangle formation I put 1tsp in the pots on row 1, 2tsp in row 2, 3 in row 3 and so on. Then, starting from one of the other sides of the triangle I did the same with my second colour and on the third edge of my triangle did the same with my third colour. How confusing does that sound!!!! But honestly if you work it out on paper first it's simple, just a challenge to write!
Water, salt and soda solution was then added to each cup. The dye from each cup was then transferred to a plastic bag and a fat quarter(ish) was added to each bag, left overnight and voila! Have never really been so "measured" in my dyeing but the results were really pleasing and surprising.
I did three runs reducing the amount of dye concentrate in each run to produce paler shades. Plus a bit of an experiment adding black to the primaries as I wanted to dye some greys.
Guess i need to get sewing now.