Thursday, October 9, 2014

It Doesn't Really "Madder..."

....or does it? With the onset of such beautiful weather, (and the unavailability of my indoor studio because of our massive first floor re-do,)  I've spent a few days in the outdoor dye studio mixing up some glorious colors and playing with resist.

Along with the usual vat of indigo and glass jars of procion, I tried my hand at madder dyeing with some lovely results.

 Chopping up and then heating dried madder root for over an hour in two vessels - a stainless steel pot and a cast iron pot, I threw in scrim, cheese cloth, silk, cotton , gauze and noille.  The results - for a first shot at it - were pretty good.  Nice pinks achieved in the stainless pot and a really nice burnt orange in the cast iron. I did not pre-mordant.  Next time, I will.

Also had a brass cauldron of chestnuts cooking all day into which I submerged more of the same fabrics.  Those, are still batching. Love my little brass cauldron.

A few blue super moons came out of the indigo vat, too.  Fall fodder for hand stitching.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Every year we celebrate the onset of my favorite season with
 "the planting of the mums."

every year we get ... 
Just a few more.
This year, I may have gone...

Nahhh. You can never have TOO many mums!
Especially when someone helps
You plant them.

Happy Fall!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

I'm Very Crabby……

well, not really.

I really like this photo so I blew it up to 24" and have decided to use it for a project I'm working on in a private mastery workshop I'm taking with Roxane Lessa. 

In its larger format, you can see every single grain of sand.  Pretty cool.  Now I must experiment on how to capture that texture.

Looking forward to experimenting with  that.

With the onset of Fall (it's not here yet - but I can feel it in the air)
I  decided to reorganize my outdoor dyeing and painting studio yesterday.
I like to spend a lot of time out there once the weather hits below 73.
Outdoor dyeing and painting studio
That seems to be the magic number for me.

I'm re-working my indoor sewing studio on the first level of our house
moving it out of a "room" and into the main area by the
windows overlooking the woods. I do love my studio I have now,
but there are no windows in the room and that really effects me.
This huge room is never used - so I'm staking my claim and
turning into a studio. Construction of built ins begins in a few weeks - so I have started
moving stuff out of there.

One thing to go upstairs - was this gorgeous butcher topped stainless unit.

I set it up in the garage by my doggy washing  sink and it makes a beautiful painting and dyeing spot under the window. So sturdy and very functional - and just outside the door is my drying rack for my hand dyes.  Perfect.

For the time being, I've been working at the kitchen table making my pattern for "crab" and trying to figure out an approach to capturing that fabulous sand.

I'm thinking hand painting and spraying ink and then pebble stitching maybe a good way to go - with the addition of sheers for sea foam?  Trial and error I guess.  Ideas?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Day in Asheville....

Traveled with my girl to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville,  to secure her wedding venue (the conservatory.)  After a morning of appointments, we had 24 hours to play - and play we did.

The conservatory... A magical place to celebrate love.

In the mornings the fog blankets even the valleys of
the Blue Ridge…

slowly receding minute by minute
until it appears only in the distance,along the mountain tops.

The Inn at Biltmore... Perfect in every way.  
We had a mountain view terrace room....
with a million dollar view.

High Tea.... With the Queen (me!)

A cruise through the River Arts District - which is where I took the 
cloth book workshop a year or so ago….

Segway off roading on the Estate grounds.... totally inappropriate shoes.  All I brought was
Two pair of high heels so I borrowed Brinas JCrew flats.
But they're cute.... Right?

Some  sightseeing...

some relaxing....
Some primping for dinner...

And some serious bonding time that was
way overdue. Such a fun girl's weekend with my girl.

Wish you were here Mommy.
I miss you so much during times like these.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I'm Dyeing…..

to get back into the studio.  It's been quite a while since I've either had paint or dye on my hands. It seems they've been more in the dirt this summer than anything else.  Lots of planting, digging and reworking this summer going on around the homestead in an attempt to spruce up the place for Autumn.

After a long trip up to CT, PA and NYC, it's
good to be home and back in the studio.
And while I really, really don't like NYC, I did enjoy visiting Central Park, Strawberry Fields, the Dakota and the NY Public Library.  I've come to the conclusion that I just don't like the Northeast and all it represents.

 I don't think I will be going back there again - so I was glad to see it one last time.

On the creative front…. I plan on submitting a piece for consideration to be placed in the  Reminiscience exhibit in the winter so I'm working on coloring some silk, cotton and gauze for this project with natural dyes I bought during my journey to Alaska.

My outdoor dye space
On the way home we stopped in Vancouver, Canada and I had the pleasure of stumbling upon Maiwa at the marketplace.  Very cool store run by a super knowledgeable and informed mother daughter team - geared toward natural dyestuffs and education.  I have two vats of  heir indigo fermenting, and various jars of earthy colors  (henna, madder, walnut, pomegranate, and tannins) brewing.

Flour Paste Resist - my FAVORITE
While that's going on - I have been scouring fabrics and preparing various resists of Cleanline (which is some kind of "root",) flour, and glue gel (which is hands down my favorite). I have a nice stack of stuff ready to go into the dye baths and as soon as our weather dries out (hopefully by tomorrow) they will be taking the plunge. But because I couldn't wait, I used some Liquitex Inks and Jacquard Dyes that I thickened with sodium alginate.  Love how these came out.  A nice preview of things to come.

clean line resist -nice results
Fabrics with flour paste resist
still on, and dye painted over
On the home front: Brina is going back to college this week but she will be commuting, as she now has her own home and will not be living in the dorm.  Dorm life wasn't for her (which I knew it wouldn't be.)  Too noisy, too hot, too chaotic, etc., etc.

Like her mom, she appreciates peace, quiet and order and  has really turned into quite the  homemaker.  So proud of her.  I see so much of my mom in both my kids.  THAT makes me happy.

Life has been upside down for quite a few months.  I am looking forward to settling in to Fall and all the good stuff that comes along with that - including a trip to the Upper Pensinsula of Michigan,  and a few trips offshore for some deep sea fishing before the big ones head out when our coastline turns cold.  Really want to catch some Dolphin.

I depart here with a picture of Gizmo (and Toby) that Sabrina took as she was taking him out of  the back of her Mini Cooper after she picked him up to babysit while we were traveling North.

Goofy dog.  

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