Thursday, May 19, 2016

Oops - unintended soda ash resist

Well what have we here? 

Step one: decide to dye an unrealistic amount of fabric
Step two: soda soak it all and wring out batches and put in assorted dishpans with good intentions of getting to it "soon"
Step three: after a couple of weeks when the fabric has completely dried out find some time to dye. 

What happens, is that the soda ash forms crusts in the folds, and particularly the selvages. This crust doesn't dissolve even if you rewet the fabric. The crust then acts as a resist, stopping the dye from reaching the fabric. You can see how dark some of the dye bath was, but nothing got through the white areas where the soda ash had dried solid.

Soda ash makes resist at top right

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Quilt guild shared project

This past weekend we had a play date for the West Side Art Quilt guild. The idea was to bring a piece of fabric with one thing done to it, and to pass it around until everyone had added something, and then see what resulted.

This quilt had the piecing as the first thing done by the original owner. I love violet and golds, such a vibrant color combination! I brought my box of fused scraps, but lots of people brought representational items, and even 3D embellishments. Keep an eye on the green, black and white ball, it will appear again. As this one progressed an Asian theme seemed to emerge.

Completely different! The butterfly was free motion stitched by one of the members who had cunningly prepared various motifs on some iron away interfacing. I need to track this product down, it sounds very useful!

The shibori suggested wind to people in this one. 

The frog is hilarious! Wasn't it clever of someone to do blanket stitch around the sun? Looks like rays! The tree was added with colored pencils. We decided to avoid wet media for this exercise.

The problem with this kind of exercise is integrating all the pieces. I think I might remove the tinsel thread in the corner if this were mine. This one looks like a very complicated story is being told.

I think this one was my favorite. It seemed to be the most integrated. This lady loves skulls and skeletons, so we all played into the theme. See the reversed green and white ball? In this context it reminds me of a radio active warning symbol! I love the diamond shaped leaves too. There were some strings connecting the three skulls on the right to the arm bone, so they looked like balloons. Somewhere along the way the strings fell off. I do hope they get put back, it looked pretty funny! We only had 20 minutes to work on each piece, so workmanship fell through the cracks.

There was another one, but somehow I didn't get a picture. 

This one is mine. I put in the 5 turquoise circles. This group is heavily into representational work, so these quickly got conscripted into a formal picture. Someone used pencils on the flowers and berries, they pop nicely! Now I have to figure out how to quilt it before the next meeting. 
It's a real privilege to be part of a group that gets together to have fun like this!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wednesday Words: New title for studio: The playroom

My sewing room/studio is now officially my playroom. The word "studio" sets up too many expectations. A-R-T has to come out of studios. Not experimentation, and trial and error. I need a space to play. Out of that play it is possible that art may come.

I've been watching this TED talk by Dr. Stuart Brown on the importance of play. I've always known that I needed time alone. I'm an introvert, and one of the best insights anyone ever gave me is that introverts don't not like people. They just find their energy from being alone. Being alone and being fiercely concentrated on a creative project is like crack for me. I actively seek out the experience, and I become cranky when I can't have it.

Per Dr. Brown, play is not just for kids, play is not optional, play is not an activity for when we have nothing else to do. Play is intentional, restorative, and builds our ability to function better in the other aspects of our lives. As my dear friend Margi, a pre-school teacher, once impressed on me: play is actually very serious work. 
 While I was thinking about play/work I was doodling a sign for my studio playroom door. Once I had the letters on the page I started to free-associate words to decorate the page. I doodled mememememe, and, boy, did that make me uncomfortable. Society has certainly done a number on me. Playtime is only for when all the chores are done, and the chores are never finished. Playtime is selfish. Playtime is self-indulgent. Grown ups have better things to do (such as fall asleep in front of the TV??).

It is going to take time to give myself permission to play unreservedly. I know that play replenishes my spirit and makes me a nicer person to be around when I'm done playing.

You'll find me in the playroom. I'll be coloring my new sign for a start! I'll even share my toys...

Monday, May 2, 2016

Pale doesn't necessarily mean boring - more Procion MX experiments

I have been doing Susan Purney Mark's class Shifting into Neutral. This is radical stuff for a color freak, but there's a place for gentler colors where texture really comes into its own. I'm very much liking the color play across this one. For me the trick is to get light areas that aren't just white cloth. It's a fine line!
Neutral experiments