Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Dyed Silk Blahs

Well, sometimes when you goof, you do it on such a grand scale that it takes your breath away for days. That's what happened to me this week. But since it's a little depressing, we'll get to that last.

Last week, I saw a program on Ovation TV called Art Or Not? and in it, they covered an artist who worked with Shiva sticks on large canvases. He made tiny marks all over the canvas with the paints, using them like crayons and adding layer after layer of colors until the whole canvas was covered. (I wish I could tell you the name of the artist, but I don't see it anywhere on their site.)

I was inspired and thought it would be a neat technique to try with fabric, so I wacked off a large hunk of white muslin, pinned it to my wall, and drew on it.

36" x 52"


It was an awful lot of fun and while I don't know what I'll do with it, yet, I'm sure I'll be able to find something neat it can go into. 

I did another kind of crazy thing this week- I used a piece of breakdown printed fabric and one of my "melted" papers from my CitraSolv/NatGeo collection (to find links to this technique, please see the left sidebar for the link labeled "CitraSolv Concentrate") to create a quilt.

 12" x 24"
I adhered the paper to the fabric with a very thin coating of gloss medium applied to the back of the paper and then, when dry, ironed to the fabric. It has a nice, soft hand, despite using gloss medium. 

I was really pleased with the "tunnel" stitching I did on the top of the piece. 


It gave it a great texture, I think.

Also, this weekend, I negotiated a solo show for the month of May at a Houston business, a restaurant called Mo Mong. I've done these shows before- in fact, I spent three years curating such collections for several different businesses- and quite frankly, I swore I'd never do it again. However, this is a very high-profile and busy restaurant, and the owner asked for my work sight-unseen, which was flattering. I'll let you know how it goes; hopefully I can sell some of my pieces!

So, onto my silk blahs...

A very expensive batch of veils arrived last week, along with twelve pots of acid dyes. The idea was to parfait-dye them in a large vat (bucket) with all twelve dye colors thrown into the mix. For those of you not familiar with parfait dyeing, it basically means to LWI dye by scrunching a piece of fabric into a tall, narrow jar, pouring in one dye color (I always start with the lightest color, usually in the yellow family), scrunching another piece of fabric into the jar on top of the first piece, pour in another color of dye and so on until the jar is full. Batch and rinse as usual.

I had it in my head that I would do this with large silk veils, but first did several different experiments until I was happy with the results.

Unfortunately, those experiments didn't really help with the mess that was to follow when I did it on a grand scale. My dyes clotted before they could be poured onto the silk, the silk refused to scrunch enough to get even the slightest patterning, and the dye, rather than blending on each piece in a nice melange of colors, refused to blend at all, so I got several red veils, several blue, several green, etc. I didn't even take photos. They're not unattractive, just boring as hell.

This week I will try to spruce them up with some screen printing and fabric painting and if that is successful, I'll be sending them to Lynn Krawczyk, who has generously chosen Art Now For Autism as her designated recipient of her annual Breaking Traditions fund-raiser this year. My scarves, if they turn out well, will be given to participants of the auction fund raiser as thank you gifts (and if they don't, I'll be donating some of my hand-dyed muslin, instead).

Look for this week's CitraSolv/NatGeo collage in the next couple of days. In the meantime, happy creating!


Anonymous said...

The CitraSolve paper looks great on this piece. I enjoyed your article in QA...but just haven't gotten the time yet to get the Citrasolve out and give it a try.

Lisa from DippyDyes said...

Thanks for sharing both the ups and downs, Judi. At least the veils give you a starting point for further pieces.

elle said...

Great TEXTURE! Congrats on the show and may you sell enough to do the dance of the veils again. I so enjoy your art room sagas. How cool to 'draw on the wall! 8^)

Anonymous said...

Love the fabric/citrasolve piece and that muslin looks very cool!

Vashti said...

Aw! Well, our failures often teach us more than our successes. Yesterday I carefully folded up a silk veil for direct application of fiber reactive dye, but when I put it in the box I accidentally rotated it 90 degrees! So my planned pattern was utterly wonky. Oops! Well, now I know to mark "front" on my box, I guess. :-D

Karen S said...

I love the pieces that you did show -- and it's nice to know that other people's experiments don't always turn out as planned. I bet you'll find something really cool to do to rescue those silks!

Unknown said...

The best thing about making a mess is that it's a great place to experiement. I was taught, when something is an "awful mess", do two more things and fall in love all over again.

I kept looking to see where you made a mess, by the way, and couldn't find it. Great job!

Terry Jarrard-Dimond said...

Judi, You're really getting some nice fabric going. Congrats!

Unknown said...

I absolutely love your discussion of the failed dyeing of your silk scarves. I also dye silk and have been less than satisfied with the results at times. I've found that by manipulating the fabric into squares, circles, shibori techniques and dyeing a second time is much more fun than the first! It's a wonderful process to figure out which color of dye to use on 'post processing' and absolutely delightful to see what the second dyeing produces. At times I will add even more color to a design using alcohol inks and markers, stencils, metallic paint. That first, disappointing fabric redeems itself as more and more layers are added!