Monthly Archives: July 2016

Indigo & Shibori

It may seem to my readers that what I’m after in the natural dyeing and printing process is true to life color and clarity in my prints and I’d understand that, but, for me, that’s not the case.  What I’m after is control, so that I can intentionally get a range of effects with my results.  Of course, as in all things natural, Mother Nature rules and always gets her way, so “control” is clearly relative here. This is only my second season at doing this, so I’m pleased with recent results, but I’m sooooo still learning!

Now, I’m adding another dimension to it!  I’ve created my first indigo vat and, although it is in fact, natural dye, it follows its’ own rules: it doesn’t need any mordant and it takes only minutes to dye. So, I started out just to get my hands wet, so to speak, with doing some shibori, overdyeing some previously dyed cloth and with some plain white cotton.

We’ve had a heat wave here for days on end; most of the week in the nineties.Too hot to do much inside the tent, so I did a lot of the shibori folding and clamping indoors with the AC and the TV on watching the conventions.

My first vat was not very successful.  It was a very old and I was very inexperienced at it but I experimented with dyeing some previously eco-printed pieces that were not so great so I wanted to see what would happen if I dyed them with some indigo.  They’re very soft and I think there’s potential here.

So I did some more that turned out very different.Again, interesting to me and lots of room for play here.Now I wish I hadn’t tossed out that first batch because I now think there’s a place for a diluted indigo vat…too late now, though.20160728_193800_2 copy

Meanwhile, I began to get some serious color from using calcium carbonate along with alum acetate, although it’s a lot of yellow and  I think it has an artificial quality to it.

And just a little  more shibori before I go.  Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!








Book Art Collaborative

Change of pace for today!  Actually, I took a bunch of new pics but my camera battery died and I’ve (once  again) misplaced my battery charger!  So…I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been doing in a Book Art Collaborative that Janice Paine Dawes is hosting. I love doing these for a variety of reasons.  One, because you can try out lots of mediums and ideas you may not have other opportunities for. Two, because the small format makes it easier to become elaborate if you want to.  And three, because you get to receive the artwork of others and see many different interpretations of your theme, as well as the themes of the other players, at least online.

Cover Back Cover

This is the beginning of my book.  Theme: Seeds & Pods.
SEEDS Inside Cover.

 There’s also an inside cover, the backside of the front cover.

A Fern For You A Fern...Back.

This, A Fern For You, I made for Martha Ginn, who loves embroidery, especially ribbon embroidery, which I haven’t done in ages!  But I really enjoyed doing this throwback to my early fiber art – crazy quilting! It began as an eco-print as is all the rest of it. Martha’s theme is …LEAVES, TREES, rocks, water, anything nature-related.

See the Forest for the Trees

First life for this page is a photograph of trees that line Main Street in Wakefield, MA, alongside Lake Quanapowett. Nanette Strucinski Zeller’s theme is See the forest for the trees. I first played with the pic in PS and printed it out on cotton.  Then I did a fair bit of hand embroidery on it.


Another photo play for Gabriele DiTota’s , Earth, Wind and Fire and I chose to play with fire, embellishing the photographic hot licks with lots of fire red  free motion stitching!

Travels on the Silk RoadInside.

For Joani Share, aka Pearl, I, aka Ji, indulged myself with the fantasy of taking a journey along the ancient Silk Road.   Included in this “scrapbook” of sorts are a number of treasures, mementos of our trip for her People, Places and Things theme. Of course,  there were a couple of truly lovely kimonos among these!

Inspiration for this idea came from a wonderful book set in the early twentieth century, Women Of The Silk, a first novel by Gail Tsukiyama, a story that drew me in all the way, as good fiction should. I didn’t want it to end.

More the next time I lose my mind!


A Little Bit of This and…



This is my first year dye garden that’s already been quite useful!

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I finally documented almost everything I did this week and was much more deliberate about each step I took.  The main idea here was to lessen the bleed and to obtain more color. Toward the first goal, I made sure the cloth was damp but not wet, and I patted dry the leaves before I placed them down. The last mordant , which is usually just alum, was a mixture of alum and chalk which did indeed push some of the the pigment into the fibers. The combination of these steps proved to be pretty effective in terms of crisper prints and better color.  The color of blanket flowers printed the best; however, the vibrant red rudbeckia printed blue!  And the alum overwhelmed the rest of the plants with a pale yellow that’s barely discernible.

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In the ones below, the results are even better.  The tin alters the colors in such a pleasing way to my eyes. It adds a cast of blue and green.  The glossy buckthorn leaves printed such a deep and intense gold – those were long-soaked in a mixture of seawater/ birch water and calcium carbonate (aka chalk). and the sumac took on such dimension and pigment combinations! I love this series and can’t wait to turn them into art!

And…a finished quilt too – Gestation!


Linking Up with Off The Wall Fridays.