Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stuff to the show

Yesterday I took the 60+ pieces made by the California Fiber Artists to the place where the show will be here in Woodland. It took 3 of us 5 hours to hang. No small task but it looks FABULOUS and the comments by the passers by were enough to make me do a happy dance all the way home. Pictures of the opening reception will be posted this weekend. Until then I am going to clean house (I know!) and work in the yard. See you in a few days. Come to the show if you can!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fiber art for show

This fiber art piece was made from one panel of the hand dyed silk velvet project that was finished last week. I screwed the panel up by not paying attention and it needed to be resurrected into an art piece I could enjoy. This piece is 40 1/2" x 36" and is all about how it feels to have a hot flash. Title: "Hot Flash. (Breaking All The Rules)". It is made from hand dyed silk velvet that has been shibori dyed and dyeing using the full immersion technique. Some ribbons of hand dyed silk dupion were thrown into Paverpol; dried, and then slapped onto the piece. The whole mess is attached by jamming it all through my sewing machine. Threads were left uncut. The backing is jammed onto it without a lot of care. The panels on the side look like a curtain being drawn back. Why? Because I COULD, DAMN IT! AND IF I HAVE TO TELL YOU ONE MORE TIME TO LEAVE ME ALONE, I EXPECT YOU TO DO THAT, OKAY BUDDY? IS IT HOT IN HERE OR IS IT JUST ME? (That was my alternative title, by the way- "Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Just Me?") If you have ever experienced a hot flash or a hot surge then you know what I'm talking about. The curtain is parting; the curtain is closing. The curtain is parting; the curtain is closing. Velvet curtains. Hot, velvet curtains. Moving right along. Hormones help, by the way. They help a lot.
Some of this fiber art you have seen before on my blog and some has been touched up or redone. The lesson here is that IF you are the person in charge of putting on a huge show like this, you probably will have ZERO time to make art so...make it ahead of time or fix stuff that is almost done because there are too many details you cannot foresee and your time will not be your own.

This piece is 34" x 70". It is metallic enamel spray paint over a beloved t-shirt and jeans. Some people bronze baby shoes. We never had the money to do that so none were saved. This is the next best thing.
The interesting thing about old clothes is that if they are worn as often as these were and for as long as these were, they do not lose their shape. They forever contain the personality of the wearer.
I love this piece. It's tall and lanky and is preserved for a time. I placed it on a bamboo rod for 3 reasons: 1) it works, 2) I had one, and 3) it is reminiscent of the kimono worn by Japanese war lords. Appropriate for my son, the Ninja Warrior.

Here are those fish again. This piece gave me a terrible time awhile back. Some of you who have been watching this blog saw me try to figure out how this should be done and now I am calling it quits. For now. This is called "Layered Fish #1". I am anticipating a series. That happens when I am working through an idea or a problem. This problem is how to show layered depth. I used fabric paints and tulle. What I really want is glass on top with holes cut where the fish's mouths come up and out from beneath. I need you, Jerry to make this for me. Soon! Can you cut a hole in glass? Two holes? Gotta have it!

I think you may have seen this one before as well. Again, fabric paint. I added sea salt to the gray paint around the outer edge. Gives it some texture. Size is 17" x 24 1/2". That's small for me. Machine stitching around the edge and inside the shell. Title: "Nautilus". That's surprising, right?

You've seen this one too. It is called "She Spilled Her Guts". Size- 84" x 45". Metallic fabric paint and hand dyed silks with broken gold plastic Christmas ornaments and beads and cording. I made this before I had 12" of my large intestines removed and of course then reconnected. Have I told you about my colonoscopies? I had three done in less than a year and did the "cleanse" four times this past year. I love talking about it. Have an awesome scar too. I'll show you some time.

Are you getting bored yet? I kind of am. If you read all the way to the end you may be awarded a prize. Okay...this one is called "Friends". It is done with fabric paints and batik; machine stitching. The person on the right is our son, Joel. Size is 32" x 36". You can see the progression of this piece earlier in this blog. It has morphed and remorphed as I have had time to work and rework it. I may be done now. May be done. Might be done. Oh I don't know.

This is a detail of Joe. He was a professor of Joel's in college.

Here you can see some of the hand stitching on Joel's face for some interest. I started this piece by batiking in the main images and then took off from there. It is a very intuitive piece in that I really had no plans except to capture the moment. The last entry I had on this piece showed it a lot more intense and dark. Kind of scary actually so I toned it down and made it a lighter mood.
That's all for today. Thanks for reading and not falling asleep. This is kind of like looking at someone's home movies. "Here we are at the Grand Canyon. Here's Doug asleep on the park bench..."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting things ready for the fiber art show!

57 pieces have arrived for the fiber art show that will open April 3rd here in Woodland. 17 California Fiber Artists have submitted work and it's all in my dining room waiting to be delivered downtown on Monday. I will be photographing my work tomorrow so I will post pictures and talk about each one. I'll take my camera to the opening and post pictures so you can feel as if you went with me to the show. If you live nearby, please consider coming to the reception. It's from 5:30- 8:30, at the County Administration Building- 625 Court Street, Woodland, CA.
Pictures tomorrow!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Using soy wax

I've been experimenting with soy wax as a substitute for petroleum based batik wax. I don't know...it's kinda creepy. This experiment- while it was easy to apply, did NOT rinse off like a breeze and had an oily, slimy feel to it. It worked in that it did block the dye but I wouldn't use it for immersion dyeing; well maybe I would. The jury is still out on this one.

Here's a picture of the piece with the dye on it. The soy wax is doing a good job of repelling the dye. I talk more in depth about the process in my newsletter. Are you on the list to get it? Let me know if you would like a copy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday came and went

Yesterday was "procedure day" and that's over now. Don't have to go back for 5 years. Yay for me.

I dyed veils and took a walk.

Thursday will be a busy day with non-fabric stuff but in the afternoon I plan on doing a side by side comparison of soy wax to regular batik wax. I will post the results in my March newsletter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

There's got to be a better way to do this-

Okay. So I'm drinking the stuff for the colonoscopy that happens tomorrow. I took the pills at noon and now they are kicking in and I think, "There's got to be a better way to do this." No food. No mercy.
They discontinued the Fleet style cleanse because people were dying from that method. I used it three times and the good thing there is that it's over before you know it. This prescription stuff is a painful, slow, torturous absorption of saline that your body rejects with good reason.
This is my FOURTH colonoscopy in less than a year. You'd think I would be pretty good at this by now but come on! There's no getting around it. This is CRAZY. But I do not have cancer and the polyps are gone along with 12" of my large intestine (want to see the scar?) so I have to believe that this is extending my life and a very good thing.
If you have NOT had one done and you are over 50, DO IT.
Here are the perks: a clean colon, a "free" sandwich at the hospital, some laughs with the doc who probably likes doing this less than I do, and something to complain about BIG TIME, and yes...if your hospital is like mine, you get a "free" pair of socks. Now I have four pair...actually five because my husband had his first colonoscopy this year and I got his pair.
I'll see you tomorrow. 1 liter down, 1 more to go...so to speak.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday- send the panels away from here!

I sent 13 panels to their destination last week and had 15 left to do. Here they are. Dyed, trimmed, sewn, finished. You cannot get the scale of the heap from this picture. Perhaps showing you how they look in the box will help...
Here they are packed into the box which is 48" high. The box weighed 26 pounds. I carried it up and out of the studio and to my car by myself. I loaded it into the car myself. I carried it out of the car and into the UPS store myself. I waved goodbye to it and skip to my lo-ed out the door. Free at last, free at last, thank GOD I'm free at last.
Came home and dyed some more veils. I will be dyeing belly dancing veils for as long as Jes will have me and as long as women continue to shake their bellys and giggle their money makers and wave their silks in the air.
Next project-the fiber art is starting to come in for the show here in Woodland on April 3rd. I am in charge of this one to a point- then after March 25th I'm just along for the ride. The California Fiber Artists will be showing their work at Gallery 625 in the County Administration Building from April 1-30th. Business hours apply. Come party with us on the 3rd. I'll take pictures and show you what happens next.
Tomorrow I clean the studio, rinse out some veils, dye some more veils and stick to my liquid fast because Wednesday is my last colonoscopy for what I hope will be a very long time. Four in one year is four too many for any one person to endure but the good news is that I have one squeaky clean colon with no polyps and no cancer. God is good. All the time. Can I get an "amen" from anyone in the house?
See you tomorrow.

By the way, spellcheck for "colonoscopy" gave me kaleidoscope and cloudscape. That's pretty funny, don't you think? Made me laugh out loud.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday- work on panels AND...

Jes' Color Palette

Hot Flash- Breaking All The Rules

Hot Flash- close up
Today I sewed a bunch of panels and also had a chance to work on some fiber art. Here are two pieces I am preparing for the show that opens April 1st. The reception is April 3rd. I'll send pictures. Preparing the show will be the topic of the blog after I finish the silk velvet.
See you Monday.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

QU question about wicking-

Top fabric is purple dye left on silk for 6 hours. Bottom fabric is silk that came out at 1 hour. Blue did not have time to wick out but overall color is lighter.

Way better day today-

Today was a lot better than yesterday. I had a bit more time to breathe and move and organize. Here are some pictures of the silk veils rolled up and getting ready to ship to Mexico, Canada, and Australia. They look like tropical flowers.

More veils on my workbench getting sorted and counted and bagged up to go.
And then there are the ever present panels. Today I finished the last two of the first wave and shipped them away. Tomorrow, I sew 5 more and then the last 10 and hopefully will not have to work over the weekend. Might but might not. Depends on how it goes tomorrow.

Veils and fabric orders ready to go to the Post Office. Rates go up May 1st again and will continue to increase every May 1st until Jesus comes back, I guess. I cringe when I see how much my customers have to pay to have supplies and orders shipped but wedged in the price is my time to cut and fold and cart to the PO. It all takes time and time is ________. You know the saying.
I actually ate lunch with DH in the sunny back yard today! I'm sorry all you cold Canadians and easterners. Very sorry. Okay. Maybe not all that sorry?? We have to put up with a lot of nonsense to live in The Golden State so it probably equals out somehow.
Oh- one last thing- I worked on that silk velvet project I blogged about a long time ago because tomorrow ( I know!!!) I have to have a digital picture of it ready for the fiber art show that is happening here next month. I haven't even started to tell you about that...those alligators are only nipping at my heels.
See you tomorrow, my fiber friends.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

12 hour day

Before any of this started today, I dyed 4 veils for the A'kai Silks order that needs to go out ASAP. Rinsed the ones I dyed yesterday and hung them on the line.
Well it has been wild and wacky today. It started off like this: the silk comes on what is called a "rack". The picture above shows how it is ultimately supposed to work. These steel prongs are sharp and hook the selvage edge on the bolt so that it doesn't slip and slide all over the place. Theoretically.

Here is the rack once the silk has been removed. It is one of the rare ones that survived shipping. 9 times out of 10 they break or crack or fall apart. This one tried to eat me.

Very sharp. It just wouldn't stop bleeding. I didn't even know I has injured until some habotai silk I was cutting for an order showed spots of red...a few and then a LOT! Well for heaven's sake! I had to stop and put on a band aid. Lost about a yard of habotai to that incident.

Once I got the order packed, I started to cut the silk velvet for today's marathon. Here are 15 sections cut and ready to go.

Water in the bucket.

Mix up the dyes.

Three panels in the sink to pre-soak.

Dye into the tub.

Fabric into the dye.

Stir until well covered.

It's reallyreallyreallyreally important to have a game plan when you are dyeing this much stuff so that you don't lose your mind somewhere along the way. Here is my agenda for the next 4 hours.

Next batch pre-soaked, mixed the dyes, into the tub.

First batch out and into the machine to rinse and third batch goes into the tub.

Second batch out and fourth batch into the tub.

Third batch out and fifth and final batch into the tub. New dyes each time, by the way. What you see floating in the third tub is a favorite shirt of mine that got dye slopped on it. I was soooo mad but decided to just go with it and dye the whole thing. It was a big pain anyway trying to keep that thing white.

Came out GREAT! I like it even better now! Anyway...what you don't see is me hanging the rinsed pieces on the line in the sun or when my band aid came off in the dye bath when I took off the rubber gloves and then it started bleeding again onto some more fabric- gurrrr! Also not pictured is my husband throwing me a grilled cheese sandwich as I ran by or me running to the post office, the bank and back in time to get one batch out and another in. You also do not see me answering email, processing orders or the 20 minutes I took to sit down and figure out what I have to do tomorrow.
I also sewed 3 more panels and will be able to send 12 off tomorrow. Yay me.
It is now 8:30. 12 hours. A good day for Fabric Designs.
Tomorrow- more sewing and sending veils to Mexico, Australia, Canada, Hawaii, and perhaps time to clean up some of the messes I have left behind me in the wake of the tsunami.
See you then.

Tuesday sewing

The silk velvet is not 100% silk. I've never even SEEN 100% silk velvet. What it most commonly is these days is a rayon pile with a silk backing. It is stronger and less expensive when made this way. Rayon dyes like a dream so what we have is a fabulous combination of fibers BUT the backing, being a different make up than the pile takes the dyes differently. In the picture above you see the deep color of the rayon pile in contrast to the lighter lilac color of the silk backing. HUGE color difference.
The edges where the fabric is attached to the looms is exposed silk- about 5/8" of it. For these panels, I have to fold the silk back and sew it to the edge so that it cannot be seen. It takes me 4 1/2 minutes to sew each edge. 2 edges times 27 panels. It also takes me 11 minutes to measure and pin and sew the 4" hems on each end and sew them in place. 20 minutes total time per panel times 27 panels.
Wednesday I am dyeing the rest of the silk velvet. I'll take pictures and report back. You gotta see this!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Plodding along one panel at a time-

Today's accomplishments- sewed 9 of the 27 panels, dyed a bunch more veils, and bought myself a brand new pair of scissors.
My best pair of scissors had/have a mysterious "burr" that appeared after one of my adult children left town...it snags my silk gauze every time I try to cut it and I'd had enough....I'm not blaming anyone in particular...it could have been my DH using them on some wire or to cut a hose apart. These will never be held by anyone's hands but mine.

Tomorrow's goal- rinse the veils dyed today and finish dyeing the rest of the first order for A'kai Silks. Sew 3 more panels. Play tennis in the first match of the interclub season which will be here in Woodland.
Wednesday I will be dyeing the rest of the silk velvet and my camera is all charged up so you'll be able to see how I dye in shifts.
Watch this music video our son made- Gotta love LA.

That's it for today.

Thanks for looking everyone!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Getting there!

Camera problems today. Just as well. Imagine 9 panels drying in the sunshine. Now imagine them dry and me starting to sew them into 120" panels. I am almost half way done with the dyeing portion of the project and of course promptly ran out of thread after sewing ONE panel. Store is closed. Imagine me having a nice weekend and starting again on Monday.
See you then.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A choppy, goofy day

My friend Jerry (hi Jerry) asked me to make him two flags out of habotai silk. They were to be 4 yards long and 22" wide and I was to dye them by wiping up my spills and slops as I work today. Here they are. Like them? I want to add some vivid, deep red and then they will be done. They will be flying over his camp at Burning Man this August. Do you know about Burning Man? It's interesting that some of my best work is done unintentionally like this. Luscious.

What else did I do today? It seemed very chopped up with this and that. I rinsed 17 veils and dyed 9 panels for a total of 12 dyed and 15 left to cut and dye. That translates into 48 yards done; 6o yards left to dye. About 5 veils left to dye when the silk arrives.
I think that tomorrow rather than dye I will sew the 12 panels. I am kind of dyed out at the moment.
My camera battery pooped out on me so when I dye the next set of panels on Monday, I will show you how I do that.
Because the panels are very heavy, I only dye 3 at a time. This is not the best use of my time, so I dye 3 buckets of 3 at the same time for a total of 9 panels per dyeing session.
I rinse only 3 panels per load in the machine. I stagger the time the panels go into the dye bath according to how long the machine's rinse cycle is. For example the first set goes into the dye bath at 1 p.m. At 1:40, the second set goes into the next dye bath. At 2:00 the first set comes out and goes into the washing machine to rinse. The third set goes into the waiting dye bath at 2:20. The first set is done and gets quickly hung up at the same time the second set is done dyeing at 2: 40 and ready to go into the machine. The second set finishes rinsing at 3:20 and goes out on the line while the third batch goes into the machine and are finished at 4:00 and they go out on the line as well. Do you see how this is done to maximize my time and my energy?
So already I have changed up my own schedule. I am looking forward to sewing tomorrow. That will be a nice break.
Off to sleep. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Another day, another round of dyeing-

Today I finished dyeing the silk I had on hand and found I need more to complete the order. That should come in a day or two.Here is a picture of the silks that have been dyed and then transferred off the work table and onto the floor.
I can now start on the velvet and get moving on that project for the church in Tennessee.
Here are the four bolts of silk velvet and the dye I will need to complete the next project.
Today, after dyeing 20 silk veils, I started cutting the velvet from the first bolt. I will do one bolt at a time to try and keep this orderly and not be totally overwhelming.
Here is one bolt's worth of sections, cut and ready to be washed and dyed. Ordinarily I do not recommend cutting before washing or dyeing but I did that first round last week with the intention of cutting first and then washing and dyeing because of the sheer volume of fabric I will be working with- it's a lot! Now I know how much it will shrink in the process so I can proceed with the game plan which looks like this:
Tomorrow- dye 9 sections. Rinse. Dry. Friday- cut and dye 9 more sections. Rinse. Dry. Monday- cut and dye 9 sections. Rinse. Dry. Tuesday- sew 9 sections. Wednesday- sew 9 sections. Thursday- sew last 9 sections. Friday- mail them to Tennessee. Let's see how close I am to making the deadlines I've set.
One very good thing- the cedar waxwings seem to have headed for other clotheslines to practice their target practice.
See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday? What happened to Monday?

It's starting to happen--- I am losing track of time. I spend hours in the dye studio and don't come up for air unless absolutely necessary. Here are my dye bottles poised and ready to go. Do I sound as if I am complaining? I'm actually blissfully happy.
I did have to go get food today and knew enough to change my pants and put on real shoes.
Yesterday, right in the middle of dyeing a silk veil, I pulled the red cap off the turquoise dye bottle and tasted something salty, so I wiped my tongue on my shirt sleeve- you guessed it! Turquoise spit. I tried to quickly wipe my teeth and then forgot about it until I needed to get ready to go to a meeting. Picture this- turquoise teeth and gums! Holy cow! I brushed but there was still some left so I just decided not to smile too big or laugh too loudly. No one seemed to notice.

Here is how my sink looked when I punched the clock and left this afternoon. I'll deal with it tomorrow.

Here are some of the veils covered for the night. Tomorrow I dye the rest and rinse and hang them somewhere...maybe it will be sunny out and they can go on the line. Maybe. And...the four bolts of silk velvet arrived. As soon as these veils are done, the next project begins- the purple acoustical panels. Are you in with me or are you going to sit this one out? I could use some cheer leading. This and my QU classes are the only contact I have with the outside world. Send chocolate and be sure to let me know how Jack Bauer does guarding the president of the United States. He only has 24 hours to fix this horrible crisis in the White House and I'm starting to worry....no wait minute...that's a TV show, right????

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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