Wednesday, April 22, 2009

E-newsletter went out today-about soy wax

Soy wax applied to PFD fabric.

Start to apply the dye.

Add more dye.

And then add even more dye to flood the thing and see how the soy wax holds back the tides. It did well.

If you did not receive your copy of The Dye Studio's E-Newsletter, please let me know and I will make sure your name is on the list. In it, I review soy wax as a substitute for paraffin or bees wax in the batik process. Let me know what you think!




Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dyeing Diva Fashion Show


Students in my shibori dyeing course are having a fashion show of the outfits they use exclusively for dyeing fabric. I will post my picture here and in the gallery in class.
Starting at the top of my head we have a silk rag used to hold the hair in place during particularly active dyeing adventures. It is habotai silk with flecks of gold fabric paint interspersed with bits of house paint that fell on my head while I wore it to paint the studio ceiling.
The mask is Dharma's Deluxe Rubber Respirator and is rated by NIOSH at N-95. $27.95. A must have for the serious dye artist.
The brown shirt came from a friend who wanted me to try and over dye it to get some tiny bleach spots out of it. It came from Target and cost her $3.00 on sale. I was unable to get the spots to cover with the bleach which was no surprise and told her to use a brown Sharpie on it but she refused. I got the shirt and as you can see it has much more bleach stains on it now.
The black rubber full length gloves are from an online store that specializes in safety wear. The company is called Lab Safety Supply (LSS) and not only did I get the cool gloves but they sent me a calendar, magnets, note paper and a catalogue that weighed 5 pounds.
The hideous stripped cotton pants were a gift from my mother for Christmas. I like them as they are comfy and can easily tuck into my thrift store knee high rubber boots. Quite a find. My husband tries to swipe them from me to rotate his compost so now I hide them where he will never find them- in the closet.
Oh- the eye wear- The Dollar Tree has magnifiers that I buy by the dozen. I like their selection. I'm sure these are cast offs that no one in their right mind would ever wear anywhere so for a buck, they are mine. I wear the 1.25 magnification but may soon switch it up to 1.50.
Tell us about YOUR dyeing duds.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

8 yards of silk

After those mega projects involving 150 yards of silk velvet or the large scale banners I finished last month, a mere 8 yards of custom hand dyed silk seems like a walk in the park and it actually is if you have the system worked out ahead of time.
First step was to drag out my telescoping tables. From one end to the other is 8 yards. I can add another table at a right angle to the farthest one and add about 4 more yards to the length if needed but on most runs it is best to NOT have a turn in the design. Some patterns can accommodate a turn but many cannot. Like this one.
Next step was to paint on the yellow, red, and orange dyes. This particular order is for "Flames". Can you see them? The artist this is for cuts the silk into lengths that she then turns into worship flags that are used during church services in Pennsylvania.


Last step after the silk is rinsed and dried on my line is to apply flecks of gold fabric paint.

Setting the paint is easy and couples with the final ironing process. Beautiful! Done and done.
This week I will be sporadic in posting (as if you hadn't noticed). I am busy with life issues and aging parent issues. I may have to go south on Friday but that remains to be seen.
One very happy thing is that I am considering applying for an artist in residence program here in California. It would be a month long "retreat" sometime in 2010 to work on a prearranged proposal with a nice stipend. The agreement is that they be allowed to film the process of completing the month long project which then becomes a documentary logging the process of the selected California artists. There are hundreds of applicants and they only select 6 each year. I have my proposal ready and will tell you more about it soon. I am trying to not get my hopes up too high as I have already decided that chosen or not, I will still do it. It would certainly be a great opportunity to leave all the cares and woes behind me and dedicate a full month to art making but mind boggling at the same time. 30 days. No phone. No students? No order taking. Only dedicated art research and the completion of a project? Dreaming. I must be dreaming.



Monday, April 6, 2009

Painting a picture~

I volunteered to paint a canvas to donate for a fundraiser for the Yolo County Arts Council's auction coming up next month. They supplied the canvas and paints. Great idea, yes?
So what shall I paint? It needs to be something that will attract the general public and get them to open their wallets and lay down their hard earned cash. I have had a lot of success painting iris. I needed a bit of inspiration so I went to the south side of our yard and took a few pictures of what is left of our purple blooms. This will be my starting point.
Here is the blank canvas which measures 20" x 20".

First step is to cover the white as fast as possible with paint. I do not like to see white staring at me. It tries to intimidate and I won't allow that. I have to show it who is in control even if I do not FEEL in control at first.


It has been years since I painted on a canvas. On fabric- yes, all the time but a crisp, clean, square, hard canvas? Not in years. Added some green to complete the coverage. There! Ah! That feels a lot better.

In the next 20 minutes, I knocked out the basic shapes and colors of what I wanted to see and where they were to be located.
Once I had the basic shapes in I started using my artistic license and digging out of my memory banks iris I have known and started to relax into the process. I knew I wanted to warm up the background so I started to mix ON the canvas, some red and yellow. The acrylic paints were drying fast so I just kept working and reworking the paint and adding water as I went along.

One very valuable thing I learned in college was to keep the painting in the same stage of incompletion at all times. It is important to not get fixated on one section at a time finishing it before moving on to the next section. Keep moving around and working on the whole piece until it finally comes to the end.

At this stage I needed to quit and give it some time and space and distance. Often this is a very smart thing to do because you want to keep it fresh and alive and not overdone. My personal thorn in the flesh is that I have a tendency to overwork projects. The saying that if a little is good then more is better is not true. The personal challenge I have put out for myself for this year is to push myself artistically to UNDER achieve. How to stop before I get to that tipping point is my goal for 2009. If it means putting on a timer while I work I may need to do that.
This is how it looked about 1 hour into the process.


The next day I came back after spending time looking and thinking and pondering what was good about the painting and what was weak. I liked the background color but it lacked depth. how to fix that? Attack it without a brush. Come at it with my fingers and move the paint around this time and make it more pinky.


Stop. Reassess.
I like it. I like it a lot but need to stop again and leave it for tomorrow.
It's at this stage of the process that I usually ask my husband what he thinks of the project. I have found that he has excellent suggestions if I want and need an opinion as to how "average America" views my art. This is NOT a put down. It's a compliment and necessary when I am making art that average America is going to be buying and putting in their homes. While I love the pink background, he did not. While I like the heat it emits, he did not. I knew I had to change it up so I started squirting yellow on top of the pink and working it in again without a brush but with my fingers.
There is still enough pink coming from between the objects and from behind and beneath the yellow that the heat is there but it will look good in your house and be something you can live with for many years to come.

Here is a detail of the iris. Lots of paint and lots of layers. I like the final results and think it will be sellable and guess what? It's already been seen and a larger commission has come from it! The piece will be larger and rectangular.
Because it is not going to be framed for the auction, I extended the composition around the edges so that it can be hung unframed or if the buyer wants it framed that can happen too.
Hope you like it. Thanks for looking. Happy painting!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday-painted a picture...

Resting today. I have had two full days of NO dyeing. It has been blissful. Worked all day in the vegetable garden yesterday and today I had lunch with Jerry The Glassman and cleaned house. Jerry- I forgot to ask you if you can make a hole in a piece of glass for me. Ding-dang it!!!! Call me!
I actually worked on a painting today for an art auction fundraiser. A painting! NO fabric or sewing or thread except for the canvass underneath the gesso. Want to see how it went? I'm not finished yet but took pictures of the process in case anyone was interested.
Monday I have an order for 30 yards of discharged dyeing to do for a fiber artist in Michigan. Want to see that too?
I have a cool scar from my surgery in August. Want to see how that looks?
People blog about all kinds of stuff so why don't you vote for what is of interest: 1) the process of painting a canvass, 2) discharge dyeing, 3) my scar.

hahahahha. Blogging. So bizarre!

Thanks for looking.

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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