an artists' view

an artists' view

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Textiles Day

Today has been a 'textiles day'! I've been sewing using these organic cotton threads (from Greenfibres) and boiling up some onion skins to make a dye-pot. There are 2 pieces currently 'stewing' in the pot; one is a length of organic white cotton; the other is a bundle of mistletoe leaves wrapped in organic cotton. When these are ready to be removed from the pot, I'll pop some of the washed Islay fleece into it, and see if that picks up any remaining colour. I'll card that later.

The bundle had been pre-mordanted with soya-milk, so I'm hoping for a good result! The length of cotton will have the left-over onion skins wrapped in it, and 'bundled', then dunked again into a dye-pot.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice 2011
The tree is up, and decorated; we light up the dark!
Tonight is the longest night; the shortest day. And three days remaining till Xmas.
This years tree is massive! I always have a real tree; and as our house is very small, I try to get a tree that will fit comfortably into it. But it's funny how a tree that seems a reasonable size in the garden centre, is huge when it's standing in the living room! Still, it does look beautiful. And the sweet resinous scent that greets us when we open the door in the mornings, is so evocative. Once the tree is up, I feel Xmas has really arrived.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

13 Moons

At Westgate Studios recent Members Exhibition, I showed one of my giclee prints, '13 Moons'.
As the title suggests, it has 13 small paintings of my observations of the Moon, over a lunar year (hence 13 moons), and runs from January, to January. This photo shows the first 3 months, January, February, and March, with April just to the right. It has a lovely reflection of the room where the exhibition was held! In the past, I would have dismissed a photo which had lots of reflection/s on it. But I'm coming round to think that sometimes reflections make something else out of the image in the lens.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Plant Dye-ing

Linen painted with soya milk, then dyed in an oak-leaf dye bath. 
I think I have cracked this plant-dyeing! Not being a chemist, the processes involved in creating dyes using plants is a bit of a mystery to me. But after reading, and experimenting, I think I've learned how to get good results.
As I've been using cottons and linens, because I don't want to use silk, I'm working with cellulose, and plant dyes don't tend to be as effective on these. They work best on 'proteins'...which are the wool and silk materials; basically materials that come from animals. Which leaves me working with materials that are difficult to use plant dyes on. Hmm, talk about making things hard for myself! Well, that's a common thread! 
BUT; using soya milk, creates a 'protein' on the surface of the linen/cotton, and allows the plant dye to adhere to the fabric better. And I've seen the result of that in the piece above. It's a massive step forward in the dyeing I've done since August.

I have just received a sample chart/s from Greenfibres of organic cottons, linens, silks, and hemps; organic wool/s (plant dyed!); and organic cotton threads. Their silks are 'wild harvested' maybe I could experiment with them? Of course, they are very expensive, certainly compared with fabrics I can buy locally. But I'll be looking into their products in the future. 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Wentworth Verdigris

On a recent visit to Wentworth, Rotherham, in order to look round Wingham Woolworks, I noticed this ironwork in one of the gardens. The sun was bright, and caught the highlighted metal and brickwork.
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