Sunday, August 9, 2009

These Are The Days

The living room curtains are coming along. Pumpkin is helping. I'm not sure how, but she is so insistent that she is...

My Grand Opening Giveaway was a great success! I got to meet and chat with so many artists, and through your varied and marvelously colorful blogs, learned about even more talented people with whom I'd love to connect. I now wonder why, for so long, I resisted blogging; it's been an amazing experience. And the thanks go to all of you who read, comment and laugh with me in private emails. I couldn't have asked for a warmer welcome from the blogging community!

I confused Friday with Thursday, started a new gradation and ended up working through much of the weekend. But the dye baths are just too much fun, too succinct a distraction. Inspired by Terry Stegmiller's turquoise-to-amethyst gradation, I dove in with yardage off a bolt newly arrived from Dharma Trading Co.

I did two tie-dye pieces, into which I just squeezed the dye out willy-nilly and let the colors blend as they would.

I tossed in some commercial fabric motifs I found earlier this week- I must have cut them out of fabric years ago and then stuck them away, can't imagine why.

And of course, the string from the tie-dye combined with the usual thread schmutz in the washing machine, leaving me with an epic tangle of schmutz!

This was a very successful dye run, although I wasn't sure it was going to be. I was aiming for the beautiful pastel-y colors Terry achieved, but instead, I nailed some iconic Grateful Dead purples and blues straight out of the 60's! I'll try another run sometime later and see if I can't soften the value of the hues a bit.

The turquoise is a mess to work with, which I was anticipating. It's like working with honey... if you get a little on your finger, within 60 seconds nearly every surface in your house will be sticky. In that same way, turquoise wants to migrate so when you mix and use it, do it somewhere where you can make a mess and not be worried.

Turquoise is also very hard to dissolve, so have some urea solution on hand when you do this to help things along a little. I put about a tablespoon of urea in about a teaspoon of hot water and stir. I actually have to then let it sit for a while because the urea takes some time to dissolve. Once it has, though, you can add it to the water into which you'll be mixing the turquoise dye powder, and it will help break down that pigment and dissolve it.

The mid-ranges of this gradation were the most impressive and because I used more fabric than usual in the same amount of dye liquid AND used a smaller container, the "scrunch" effect was especially prominent and eye-popping.

These are going to be fun to quilt with!

Finally, a quick snapshot of the piece I'll be sending to Art Now For Autism as part of the art auction. I'll set up the light kit today and get better shots to send them.

This piece started as this, another experiment in a series I'm creating to research a commission I'll be starting in September. I started with a pillowcase-turned quilt sandwich to which I sewed strips of cotton fabric. Then I dyed the whole thing, low-immersion style. It was so pretty that I beaded it and then I painted a small canvas and sewed the quilt to it.

Off and running into a new week! Happy creating!


elle said...

Whoo! I knew there was a reason I cleaned up the laundry/dye area. I am so pumped. You have done an excellent job. This is very inspiring and definitely 'approachable'!

jojo said...

You've got me inspired to dye:> Very, very nice. I love your clothesline.

Jan said...

Your fabrics are turning out well. It is always so fun to see what you will get with this type of dyeing. I'm bummed that I didn't win your fabric but hopefully Dolores will do something fabulous with it. Maybe I will console myself by dyeing some fabric myself today. I have some wonderful old cotton sheets I picked up at a garage sale that I'm going to tear up and dye. Old linen tablecloths work great too. Oh, and I love that piece you made for the autism fund.

Gina said...

I know just how you feel about the blogging - appears we started about the same time. It's like touring galleries and studios and making friends with the artists!

Your fabrics turned out so well, including your 'tangle of smutz'. (that stuff can be so much fun) I have some dyes waiting for me at home so I will try it out someday.

Terri Stegmiller said...

Pumpkin could be the spitting image of my Patty, except with longer hair. Your gradations look smashing and I love that piece you made for the autism benefit.

Unknown said...

Jo, YAY! Have fun!

laura west kong said...

Looks like a really fun time, those fabrics turned out gorgeous!