Saturday, April 26, 2008

BBQ, Bamboo, and More Magic in the Sink!

It has been a long time-again-since I posted something on the blog but it seems like I haven't done anything very interesting lately that is blogworthy. Up until the last few days it's been business as usual. Here are a few pictures you might find amusing.

I have been thinking about the BBQ piece (below) and my critique group suggest Angelina fibers. I went online; found a place that sells it; bought it; it arrived and I just now had some fun experimenting with it. Kind of garish stuff BUT there is some potential for the flames and smoke. Little bit of wire, little bit of sewing to make the stuff dimensional and I think I've got it!

This product is pretty eye popping. I'm sure I could paint it to tone down the iridescent qualities. Belongs in the land of unicorns and mythical beasts.

Next picture....

I made a fiber art piece a few months back called "Hiroshima". I hung the shredded silk on a bamboo rod. I liked the effect and was thinking that it would be a good idea to stockpile more of the bamboo to have on hand for future art making adventures. My friend Jerry knows where the stuff grows along the road out in the country and actually used some to fly one of my silk banners at "Burning Man" a few years in a row. It's good to have friends like this who aren't too terribly worried about getting arrested or shot at or captured by space aliens. I asked him to call me when he had some time to go harvesting. Yesterday was the day. Isn't it beautiful?

Each shoot is about 12-14 feet tall. If they are to be used as armatures, I want them to be as straight as possible but there is the possibility of using ones that are slightly swayed if I can dry them out flat on the patio.

How many? I knew if I said 100, that would be ideal however there were only two of us and the patio is only so big. How about 50? Ummm....we didn't bring any coffee and donuts. How about 12? Okay!

Jerry starts sawing. I watch and take pictures...and kind of watch over my shoulder for the cops or UFOs. Don't know which would be worse or better. It does cross my mind that this could be stealing however, bamboo is one of those things that most people who own the farm land would probably say to us- "12??? You kiddin' me? If you don't take 1,000 and right now, I'm loadin' your backside with lead!"
Once he cuts a few, then I snip off the small branches and lop off the parts that are too curved to use.

Starting to stack it up on the top of the truck. Pretty sky. Pretty bamboo.Once I had my 12, which turned into 14 and some shorter pieces that was enough so Jerry ties it onto the truck so it doesn't end up in the middle of the road or by the side of the road or on a car that goes by or....
Here is a picture taken across the road from where we cut the bamboo. It takes only about 10 minutes from my house to get out into the beautiful countryside of rural northern California. This is looking north west toward the Capay Valley. Over these mountains is the Napa Valley. That wine you are sipping may have come from over them thar hills.

So now I have bamboo drying on the patio. I would really like to use about 5 of the poles to fly silk banners from on top of my roof. I'm thinking, thinking, thinking of how I would get the poles to stay put as it gets pretty breezy up there. What I love about the idea is that only certain people would ever notice them and only certain people would enjoy the fact that they are there. Umbrella stands may be the answer.

Next picture...

You remember the silk that I had forgotten about that sat in dye and soda ash for over a year? The stink was what tipped me off that something was amiss. (The picture and story about that was posted awhile back on this blog.) kind of happened again only this time the silk you see above and below had been cut for a project and the dye color came out way too dark. I needed a very pale pinky pearly color. I was experimenting with the color and got distracted and then when I remembered what I was doing it was slipping over into the lavender side. Not good. I threw it in a corner of sink #1 and started over again and didn't get around to rinsing it out until yesterday. sat for about 3 weeks in the corner of my #1 sink. Each time I did a dyeing, I would toss the left over dye on top of the silk and rinse the container and brushes out on top of it as well. Browns, greens, reds. Didn't matter. This repeated itself about 20 times in 3 weeks. Then I needed the sink space and decided it was time to rinse out that awful looking blob of silk and clean and clear the space for the next project. While rinsing it you can imagine what I was thinking....maybe you can't....

The best way to get electric blue in the deepest shade imaginable is to abuse the silk for a minimum of three weeks. Dump on it. Abuse it some more. Dump more chemicals than you can imagine on it and let it stew. Do not care about it. Do not look at it. Do not poke it. Pour any color you want on it. When so much time has passed that you are ashamed of yourself, rinse it. I do not know what I will do with this piece but it is about 46x46 and I plan on wearing it somewhere, sometime soon.

Thanks for looking at my blog.

Happy dyeing.

Thanks, Jerry. One of these days when you drive by the house, look up!!!!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008


This piece is for a show coming up in Davis, CA at The Artery called "Hot Fiber" and contains selected work by the California Fiber Artists. I posted some pictures of this awhile back but think I am done now. My critique group gave me some ideas about how to make the flames which I may still do but for now I thinking it is finished. This piece is called "Burgers Or Dogs?"

Here is a detail shot. The coals are hand dyed silk as are the burgers and dogs. Mostly it is habotai silk but there is quite a bit of Crepe Backed Silk Satin as stuffed coals. The container on the side rack has fabric paint in it and a brush to look like BBQ sauce. I should take a picture of that for you to see....maybe tomorrow.

Thanks for looking.

Monday, April 14, 2008

VIDEO- How to filter red dyes


Here is a short clip of how to filter any Procion MX dye that has red in it. I prefer using a knee high to a coffee filter as coffee filters burst and take way too long.

Happy dyeing!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Fishing while bi-polar, BBQ, and thoughts about new fabs

Thank you everyone for your loving comments regarding my posting below. Anna- I received your hugs. Michele- you know. So true about the rhythms of life. Helen- you know. Heather- wow. Thanks for that. God never leaves me which is what saves me- literally. Bog- thanks too. Made me cry. Okay. Better today.

So....I don't know if my fish shows any changes from the last posting of it but I have embellished it a lot with hand stitching as well as machine stitching and am working on the background now. Using a bit of metallic thread for some more light play.

The BBQ piece sits. I am stumped by the fire I want to add and my first attempts at it were wimpy. Needs a lot more guts if I want to portray that moment in time- I described it below- you know...where the men all start jumping around spilling their beer and yelling and instructing the guy with the tongs about what to do and how to do it. I LOVE THAT MOMENT! It makes me fall over laughing every stinkin' time it happens. GREASE FIRE!!!!!!!! Men and their BBQs. It's a beautiful thing. I must admit that when it doesn't happen I feel cheated. Now when women are standing around the BBQ (rare in and of itself), and a super nova happens do we dance and scream and jump around and spill things? NO indeed. We just move the food a bit and keep talking. Am I right or am I right? I have to be able to capture that flare up; that moment in time where we once again see the age old dance of the primitive/primate man. I'm working on it.

Here are some things I am thinking about offering at some point in time- I want to start exploring and experimenting with and testing out these new fabrics that are springing up everywhere- bamboo, and bamboo/silk blends. Soy/cotton blends. Organic cottons and hemp combination fabrics. I have three different kinds of bamboo fabric in the studio but haven't started dyeing them yet because I am pretty busy with QU classes and life issues. Tennis is also gearing up since the weather is getting warmer so I have to hang with my girlfriends on the court. Steve, my husband, is unemployed and considering a major job change. We are hip deep at the moment.

Question is - anyone interested in exploring these new textiles with me? I also want to do much more with the anti-fussants on silk. I will need some students to try my new lessons and give me feedback. Still thinking it through though. Ideas? Any other new fabs you've seen/been interested in dyeing? I love cotton flannel and burlap dyeing too. Cheesecloth is awesome. So many fabrics so little time!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sort of better and sort of worse today- musings about making art

Thank you everyone for you kind postings from yesterday. Made me shed a tear or two or three. a confession....

I suffer from depression and anxiety "disorder". I have been hospitalized three times for this condition. I now call it "going to camp" when I have to join My People in the loony bin. I am seeing a fantastic therapist (she is an art therapist- how cool is THAT??) and have an awesome psychiatrist who monitors my meds. The condition I suffer from is called "bi-polar with anxiety and obsessive compulsive tendencies". Most of the time this is under control but is compounded by some deeper life issues that have been haunting me for most of my life. SO. With that said, I come to you to tell you that some days are better than others. I can't really ever tell when it is going to sneak up on me and bite me in the butt but making art is something that is a saving grace.

Here's the deal...I have noticed that those of us who have suffered are the ones who can "go deep" with life. It is the struggle that makes us richer and thicker and heartier and more interesting. Do you know people like this? Are YOU like this? You have bad days but they define the good days. The good days are so much sweeter having known the days that are filled with personal sorrow.

I am learning to pick up what is needed for the day and leave the rest alone. This is hard to do. Being a high achiever is a good thing but a bad thing when exhausted or trying to prove to oneself that you are GOOD or worthy or well or whatever you want to put in that slot.

So today- I may do some art or I may not. I'm not feeling all that great but that is subject to change. It can change at any moment and often does. If you are suffering, know that this will make you richer somewhere along the way. If you are free from that, then do a dance. Breathe deeply and give thanks.

Moving on...

About Me

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Woodland, California, United States
I am a fiber artist. I am a teacher. I am a Reverend. I teach, I create, I counsel, I listen.

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