New Indigo Vat – a thing of beauty!

New Indigo Vat – a thing of beauty!

My new vat has such a nice foamy flower on top now with that sweet bronzy slick to it!  And it’s almost a full 10 gallon bucket so it’s deep enough to immerse all the pvc pipes I want to use!  As you can see, I had a few lengths rolled onto mine.

I’m continuing to pull out some deconstructed screen prints and over-dyeing them but I’m also beginning to use more new white fabric.  Soon, you’ll see more eco-dyed with indigo – there’s possibly no end to this.  I’m definitely planning on keeping the vat going through the winter, perhaps in the basement. We often have a wood stove going down there anyway but you can also keep it warm with a fish tank heating element.

I spent some time today foraging for my natural resources.  The great fern that I’ve been getting at the foot of Lake Q is almost spent.  I think I got the last bunch for the season…sad about that because they’re so pretty!  And I trimmed off a few good brances filled with Japanese Maple leaves from a generous Freecycler who told me I could come and get them from her yard any time! Some people are so good they make you smile! I would like to find a source a little closer but I’m not complaining. And Trader Joe’s did have some seeded eucalyptus which they were nice enough to hold a couple aside for me so they’d still be there when I got there!  Later on today, in between my shots for arthritis and MRI of my ankle, I’ll get some more Sumac and Black Locust, Buckthorn and Alder and some more Goldenrod!

Indigo Shibori

Before I go, I’m going to join Nina Marie over at Off The Wall Friday and tell you about some books that I wouldn’t want to be without!

I still frequently use Finding Your Own Visual Language, A practical guide to design & composition by Jane Dunnewold, Claire Benn & Leslie Morgan.  Sometimes, I’ll just randomly go to a page and go with whatever is on that page for a jump start to creativity.

More current is Stitch Stories, Personal places, spaces and traces in textile art by Cas Holmes.  I guess I innately relate to her imagery so I’m drawn to her books, this being among my current favorites.

Two more of Jane Dunnewold’s books have been my constant companions for quite a few years now and continue to be a constant reference for me: Art Cloth and Complex Cloth.

An old standby that I’d still recommend today is The Painted Quilt by Linda & Laura Kemshall.

Have a great week and thanks for the visit!

It’s All In The Mordant!

It’s All In The Mordant!

Grab a cuppa Joe and come on in! I can’t possibly talk with you without mine!

You all probably know by now that it’s the process I love so much. In part, that’s because experimenting is a big part of that and surprise and/or serendipity are often the result. I decided to experiment with a different mordanting process that a friend told me about. This time I mordanted cotton in potassium alum acetate and sodium acetate.  I’ve used both of them before but not together. Added to this is some ferrous sulfate and some copper sulfate. Don’t ask me the proportions because I  blew it and will have to figure that out better than I did. After soaking overnight, I saw that I must have made it too strong so there were brownish marks here and there that looked like rust.  Not a big deal to me, but I added more water to my solution for the next batch. Now, I didn’t listen well enough to my friend and forgot that she told me to wait some time before washing. And below are the results of my deaf ear.

Japanese Maple Leaves.before.

Jap. Maples. After.
Above photos: Top, before washing; Below, after washingSumac. before.
Above photos: Top, before washing; Below, after washing

I won’t be washing out  the next rest of this batch for at least 3 weeks now!

Next, I wanted to achieve something extremely textural, so I opted to overprint some that I didn’t think much of (well, also because I’m out of plain white fabric – it’s on order.)

Same batch of mordant with some brown marks.  The bottom one has a huge splotch from the overly strong mordant. I also sprinkled some red seeds from a sumac seed head all over the fabrics.IMGP0074 copy

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Sumac Overprint and detail of it.


Big Sumac

detail Big Sumac.
Big Sumac overprint and detail of it.

These are excellent for textile collage! They’ll act as blenders and they remind me of batiks, that all-over textural print.

My next foray was into the more abstract where I met with some more pleasant surprises. The technique is actually a form of shibori with some folding and clamping.

IMGP0058 copyIMGP0066 copy I love the combination of rust from the metals, which are all tin can lids. of which I now have a growing collection. And here’s a peek at something I’m working on now.

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Embellishing with some hand embroidery at the moment.

Linking up with Nina Marie for Off The Wall Friday.  I think she has a pot of coffee on too! Thanks for stopping by!

And thanks for stopping by!

Indigo Withdrawals

Indigo Withdrawals

I’ve been having indigo withdrawals!  I could not get a flower to form on top of my vat for a week. With my well-known persistence, I kept trying different things with no success, including being unable to find the right PH test strips which I have on order. Without them, I wasn’t sure if it was sweet or sour….

This morning it poured so I couldn’t get out there to do much and it kept raining off and on.  The humidity stayed at about 100% and I blew a fuse out there, so I have no fan. But I stayed out there long enough to dip a few things. They’ll take forever to dry if the sun doesn’t come out soon.

I did learn quite a bit from this, though, mostly from the Eco Dyeing and Creating group on FB, and from my friend,  Janice Paine-Dawes who is a walking wealth of knowledge. If this happens to you, first, make sure it’s warm enough (9o degree F days are perfect) , test the PH and add  a little thiox, add a little soda ash accordingly.  Anything else you all helpful readers can add?