Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Class Schedule for 2011!

Here is my online teaching schedule for the first half of 2011. If you would like to have any of the supply lists, email me and I will send it to you right away.

All classes are offered through Quilt University (

Notice that my brand new class, Dyeing Wool is making its debut on February 25. Can't wait!

Tea and Spice Dyeing- January 7
Silk Dyeing- January 28
Basic Cotton Dyeing- February 11
Dyeing Wool- February 25
Fabric Painting- Using Jacquard Fabric Paints- March 4
Thick and Thin -Using Sodium Alginate Thickener- April 1
Quilter's Palette- Intermediate Cotton Dyeing for Portrait and Landscape Colors- April 29
Shibori Dyeing- May 6 (only time offered)
Basic Cotton Dyeing- May 27
Batik- June 17 (only time offered)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Making art again!

The fiber art show went well. I had a great time. Sold the piece called "Layers" and got two more commissions for fiber art projects like it; one a smaller version and another in different colors but with the same 16 layers of hand dyed silk organza. Nice!

Above is the Crepe de Chine poncho that I took to the show to demonstrate how gutta resist is done. Simple circles were drawn with the resist; allowed to dry and then painted with Procion MX dyes. It is still a work in progress because I have a show deadline coming up on December 20th and need to finish a few things first. More on that in a minute...

Here is the silk poncho from farther back. It's very fun and relaxing because I really do not have to think at all; just paint. I plan on doing a few more rows of bubbles and then allowing some pastel dye to creep up from the top row and onto the draped portions of the poncho. I'll show you how that looks when I get there.

I have two more projects I am working on at the same time. More wicking color projects. The one below is small- about 36" x 50". I will be adding some text to it using fabric paints.
The other silk piece I am working on has written text applied to dyed silk and is 45" x 72". It is a wicked piece using deep cobalt blues, then olive greens and yellow. I would show it to you but it is still in sections on the stretcher bars. Next week, okay?
I also finally finished a piece called "My Father's War" which is a reflection of a time I spent in Hiroshima, Japan. It has taken me 3 years to figure out how this one should look. Pictures will come next week.

So for now, I have the momentum going! I am dedicating Fridays to art making (again). Let's see if I can stick to the plan. Maybe I can do it for more than 2 weeks running. Actually, with the Folsom show "Text and Texture" coming up, I have to work today and tomorrow so whoo hoo for me. I'm getting there.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fiber Art Show Tonight!

I do apologize-again- for the absence from blogging. Tonight is the opening of the show I am spearheading for the California Fiber Artists. It opens here in Woodland, CA at the county administration building.

I have three pieces in the show all of which you can see here on this blog- Organized Chaos, Layers, and the Crepe de Chine poncho with the Iris on it.

Two of the three pieces have been in other fiber arts shows in California and will now be retired if they do not sell.

Organized Chaos is the 45" x 85" piece with the intentional wicking.

Layers is the spectrum of hand dyed silk organza in layers.

The silk poncho is done with gutta resist and you can see that process in pages from the past.

I have enjoyed putting this show together. I will post pictures next week.

The one thing I have again been keenly aware of is that I DO NOT MAKE TIME TO MAKE ART. I keep coming back to this problem. Years ago I intentionally made Fridays my art day. No work. Only art making. I did that for a whopping 2 weeks and then fell back into my old ways of working only. Since my work IS art making, to stop and change gears to being what I want to do the way I want to do it is difficult.

This will be my New Year's resolution. I suppose blogging about my success at keeping this resolution would be one way to keep me honest.

What do you do about this? Do you have a schedule or use whatever is left over in a day to make art? Little help please?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Painting with dyes

I am trying to use up some of the supplies that are taking up space in my dye studio. One box is full of weirdo gutta resist products that I have collected over the years. One mysterious bottle of resist has turned amber colored (not unusual) and has an almost frothy consistency when it dries. It looks like it is penetrating all the way through the silk when it is wet but when it dries, it's kind of crusty. Oh well. I will try applying more on top of the crust and plowing ahead anyway. More on this piece in a minute...

Sorry that I have missed some days blogging. My usual once a week schedule got thrown off as I have moved into the next project which was reclaiming my house after the long session of dyeing wool and writing it up for the next Quilt University season.
Above is a second Crepe de Chine poncho that I am making for the California Fiber Artist's show I am assembling that will open December 3rd here in Woodland, CA. 20 of us submitted pieces for the show.
On the 3rd, four of us will be doing demonstrations of the kind of work we do and talking about our fiber art. The circles of gutta will be there and I will show how to apply the resist and also how to apply the dye to the areas that are dry.
I will take pictures along to way of my progress with this silk painting.
Thanks for looking. Monday, I promise to add some more to this blog.

Monday, November 8, 2010

All I do is dye wool and write, write, write!

This big old box is jammed full of hand dyed wool yarns, roving, felt, flannel and fabric. All I have been doing for weeks and weeks is dye wool, test wool, anticipate questions, anticipate wild and crazy students who will try and out think me by veering off to the left or right of "normal" and getting notions that they are invincible. I try to second guess them and head off disasters before they start by doing the wacky thing myself so I know what to expect when a riot erupts in the classroom.

I apologize to those of you who follow this blog and have kept coming up with the same old thing on the same old page but that is really what is happening in my life right now. It's the same old thing- dye wool. Log the results. Write what happened. Test recipes. Anticipate questions.

Once again, I estimate that this new online course is composed of about 200 hours of my life. At least.

I think I will be sending the class to Carol tomorrow. Total pages? About 40? Total pictures? About 115. Total projects 15, I think. Potential for a zillion if you try all the recipes.

I need a vacation.

Monday, October 25, 2010

More testing, more writing, and more testing, and more writing-

I'm so glad the weather has turned cool because it's perfect for all the wool dyeing I am doing in preparation for my thirteenth Quilt University class ( which should debut early in 2011.

I have located the places where I will order the wool yarn, roving, wool flannel, and wool felt my students can purchase off my web site. New products for the supply list!

Now I test, test, and re-test and then write, write, and re-write some more anticipating questions and problems my students may have as they try the projects.

Pictured above is a fun way to get three variations of one color on one skein of yarn; or perhaps you will want to variegate your roving or felt or flannel.

Here are my final results. It's so easy! I can't wait to see what you do with these lessons.
So far, I have purchased 8 skeins of wool yarn (almost 3,000 yards worth) and many pounds of roving along with several yards of wool flannel and felt.
My daughter is in hog (sheep?) heaven because after I dye the stuff, I turn it over to her to spin and knit and torture with the barbed needles. It's high production around here.

And here's something I just learned: do you know the difference between "felting" and "fulling"? It was news to me!
Happy dyeing.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I am dyeing and writing and writing and dyeing then writing some more.

The next new Quilt University ( class, Dyeing Wool is coming along. Above you can see my first round of experiments using acid dyes on wool fabric, a bit of roaving, and yarn. Glorious.

In lesson one we dye bold bright colors as well as multicolored and variegated colors. Next week I will show you what's up for lesson two and three.

One of the very best things about acid dyes is that what you put into the pot gets used up so you know there are no left overs. This is the "after" shot....

This is the "before" shot when the dyes had just been added. Amazing, eh? I'm loving this.
Just ordered some exotic yarns to test. Yahooooo!
The wool yarn, roaving, felt, and fabric will be available on my web site sometime in December so you can get started collecting your supplies for this online class.
I expect Wool Dyeing to be available early 2011. Are you ready??

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dyeing Wool- let the games begin!

Last week I started writing my next Quilt University course called, imaginatively enough, "Dyeing Wool". It will be a four course affair covering the basics of dyeing wool yarn, wool roving, wool fabric/felt with acid dyes, Procion MX dyes and some natural dyes.

I have posted some dyed wool yarn results on this blog so now need to test roving for those spinners out there or felters who are in love with nuno and needle felting and other fabulous fiber fun.

I started with one ounce of roving which measures about 58" in length.

I made a recipe with the acid dyes that I can duplicate with Procion MX dyes. I wanted a red orange color; the point being to see the differences in color when the Procion MX dyes are used fresh; after 1 week, and then again after 2 week's time. This is the MX dyeing the roving. I had a pan next to it that contained the acid dyes. When "cooking" the colors looked fairly similar.

It was in the rinsing process that the big shift occurred. About half of the intensity of color came out with the rinse but of course the acid dyes held fast and rinsing was a snap. What goes in, stays in. Beautiful.
Here you can see the difference in the two colors. Everything is identical except for the dye powder used.
I have saved some liquid Procion MX without any chemicals in it to test again in one week. Then I have a third batch that I will test again in two weeks. Supposedly, Procion dyes can be used as acid dyes after a two week wait period. In my testing so far, this has been true. Bright, vivid colors. I'll keep you posted.
I would expect this class to be ready for public consumption early in 2011. Interested?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Not just fabric-

About 12 years ago, I started a project at my parent's summer home, decorating the dining room table. The first session involved painting the table and the chair fronts and backs with the cream colored border and then painting the botanicals; then finishing it off with sealer. Not bad.

The leaves were unfinished and would cause momentary guilt when large gatherings would sit down to over Labor Day.

I finally finished it this last weekend. Yay for me! I am posting pictures of it so you can see that I don't just paint on fabric but occasionally paint on wood or walls or whatever is in need of some attention.

I made up the botanical plants and flowers with some butterflies in the mix that span the entire length of the table; going around each end as well.

The width of the border is about 4". The table, without leaves can seat 6. With the 2 leaves we can get 8 in there; 10 if we squeeze and have enough chairs. Please put the left handed people together on one side.

The paints are acrylics and of course I only bought yellow, blue, red, and white. (If you have taken my QU classes or "in studio" classes, you know I have a thing about that!).

Once dry, three layers of sealer will keep the paints from chipping and wearing off with time.

Anyone for Thanksgiving at "Aerie"? There's room now at the table.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Water silk and trusting God-

I apologize for dropping off the face of Blogger but I have been running so fast, I crashed into myself going back in time. Einstein would be very happy to know this.

One silk project you might like to see, is pictured above. The subject the customer was having me dye was along the lines of "spiritual water"/ "Holy Spirit as living water". I have never had a customer say for me to pray about how it should look; make it for her; send it to her and she knows it will be right. Woah. That's trust. That's totally believing that I am capable of transcending all wonkiness and able to let goodness out of my hands, mind, and heart. But she has seen my work; loved my work; come back to me time and again for more of my work and knows I love God.

The first run was prayed about as I saw in my mind's eye the water containing some green in the mix. It is lovely but not right. Had to adjust my sights. That looks like water that has been standing around for awhile.

The next run was better when I eliminated the green. I prayed over this one as well and while it is also beautiful, I felt it was too transparent and too cartoony blue for water that is living and healing. It also was a bit labor intensive and there is the potential for this run to be requested in multiple yards so can I/do I want to/should I streamline the process down more so that it is not only more transparent but also more user friendly? The answer was yes.

The customer also wanted streaks of metallic silver added to the mix which, along with the theme, were the only guidelines given. Here is how it looks on the final blues I dyed. Nice.

Here is a middle section of the run now called "Deborah's Living Water". It has several shades of blue which wick out into grays traveling the length of the fabric. Third try was exactly the way I was envisioning this silk to be so I sent it off today.
This was a first. I loved doing it for her, along with help from Above. I always seek God's guidance when I work, but this was extra special because of the free latitude given me.
Even if you do not buy into any kind of "higher power", it is an excellent exercise to work outside of yourself now and then. Try it. See where it goes. Allow yourself to listen and hear from outside Sources. Let me know how it goes or if this is a part of your fiber art making experiences.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Soy wax yardage

For my dear friend's birthday gift this year I batiked her several long runs of cotton fabric for her next quilting project.
I used soy wax this time rather than traditional wax because I wanted to log in more hours using the stuff to see if my opinion of it would change. It hasn't.
On the plus side, it covers well. It brushes on well and is fine with the tjanting needle.
After ironing out, it rinses off reasonably well which is a plus- no paint thinner or boiling out needed.
On the negative side, it feels terrible on my skin- but why would one put it on the skin anyway, right? Sometimes batik wax splatters on me and this did the same thing but it felt icky. Don't like the feel of it at all. It's oily and crumbly.
The other critical thing is that with full immersion dyeing or even when I would get liberal with the dyes and really heap them on, the soy wax deteriorated at a very high speed and crumbles up to the point of ridiculous. For those times, traditional waxes are needed. When painting on the dyes with a certain amount of care, it's fine.
For me- I will probably use it 10% of the time. The rest of the time, I'll stick with bees, batik, or paraffin mixed waxes.
What do you think?
Happy dyeing!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

QU classes to round out the year

Have you ever dyed so much fabric that you ran out of containers? I have a white board that keeps track of multiple dyeings like this so that I know exactly what container has what in it and how much longer it has to go before rinsing. Sometimes it gets wild and wacky around here but for the most part I can do 20 things at the same time with good results. Mega-tasking is something I am pretty good at doing.
Upcoming QU classes ( you might be interested in taking include Quilter's Palette for Landscape and Portrait Colors- September 3, Fabric Painting using Jacquard Textile Colors- September 17, Gutta Resist on Silk- October 1, and beginning Cotton Dyeing- October 8.
Fun stuff. Come join us.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weddings and speaker covers-what do they have in common?

Things have been rather slow this week in the world of hand dyed silk and cotton textiles.

I have made a few custom orders for weddings and formal wear and completed some more silk used for speaker covers as you can see below. I occasionally get orders for this kind of thing and enjoy the men I get to work with which are totally different from my women customers who make up 90% of my client base.

Today I have another custom color run to do that will include some metallic paint applied to the silk. It is a very interesting color combination this time- Navy blue and gray on silk habotai with silver flecks. I will post about it next week.

With the sagging economy, I thought a long term dip would have hit sooner than this but I really have been doing okay. I have been at it long enough to know that this is the time of year when things coast to a near stand still before picking up again in the fall.

Life is all about pacing yourself. I tend to be a sprinter. I forget that most of the time we have to be distance runners rather than speed demons.
Thank you everyone who has helped make Fabric such a huge success which has sustained me and my family for these 11 years. God has richly blessed me with a job that is my passion as well as my business.
So for this week- heed my warning: pace yourselves.
Happy dyeing.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Adding a fourth class to Batik Seminar at QU!

If any of you have taken my Batik class at, then you will remember that it is only three lessons long.

I have just finished writing lesson four if you would like to come back and take the course again.

The last lesson includes stamping the wax on using vegetables as your tjap. Way fun.

I will show you how to do batiking on paper for brilliant results.

How to use other things than wax to make a resist.

And even more fun stuff to make this medium...well....irrestable. (smile). You game? Class starts August 13th.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chico Art Center Fiber Art Show

The two large scale wicking experiments that I blogged about below are now hanging at the Chico Art Center. I was very happy that they both got hung in such a manner that they are not only extremely visible but show off their color and size quite well. As you can see, they are hanging without any wall behind them.
Here is the second piece. I should have taken a picture for you from a distance back but was too preoccupied with other stuff to do that. I will see if someone else took a picture and then post it again.

I thought the show was pleasantly diverse and that the art center did a fine job of putting the pieces together so that they show off the talents represented.
Next show of the California Fiber Artists will be here in my home town of Woodland, CA in November and December.
I'm not finished exploring the world of wicking so will be doing more of that. I think I will be adding a new dimension to the pieces by adding tucks and folds in the finished piece. Stay tuned.

This is a picrture I took on the drive home of the street lights. Cool.
Tomorrow I will finish cleaning the dye studio (really!) as I have a custom run of silks to do for a bride to be in New York and there cannot be ANY stray dye or flecks of random color anywhere to cause damage. Know what I mean? Sigh. Maybe you do.
Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yes, I am cleaning the dye studio!

Amazingly enough, I am cleaning the dye studio. I am sorting yard sale stuff into one huge pile, stuff to be put away into another. I have all the silk bolts back on the shelves. Half of the area is in order. The other half looks like an overturned big rig just took a steep turn a bit too fast. Can't even get into the dye mixing room.

Upcoming events: California Fiber Artists show at the Chico Art Center this Saturday from 7-9 p.m. Pictures to follow.

More loads of bricks moved from Bartlett Avenue to my house.

More digging of the extension to the back yard patio.

Silk dyed for a wedding dress.

More silk dyeing for another anonymous customer on the east coast.

Writing and testing the projects for the new QU class "Dyeing Wool". Original name, eh?

I killed 42 flies this morning in the back yard. Can you believe it?

Okay then. No pictures this week but will show you stuff next week. Until then- who is dyeing and what projects do you have in the mix?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Studio cleaning is a non event

I am not cleaning the dye studio. I can't face going in there right now. It is so horrible that I can't face even opening the door. There are piles of stuff waiting for a yard sale. There are piles of stuff waiting to be put away. There are winter clothes that need to be boxed up or if I wait long enough, I can wear them again without putting them all the way away.

What I am going to do is the old "dangle pretty fabric in front of their faces" trick which works well to make people forget what they were going to do or say. I can't actually believe that you were looking forward to seeing the dye studio like that anyway. What's the matter with you people? Don't you have enough messes to look at without coming here to see my crazy ways???

Okay- so the fabric above was a project I did about 2 years ago. 4 yards of habotai silk that had been dyed a medium brown. I gathered it by hand and stitched it nui shibori style.

Next step was to apply the medium brown dye with a paint brush as you can see. With habotai silk, you really do not need to apply very much dye as it takes it so easily and spreads like mad.

Done dyeing. Once this was dry, I then painted on a diluted application of gold metallic Jacquard Textile Paint.

One very cool thing about Jacquard Textile Paints is that when they interact with dye that has not been rinsed out, they can produce a lovely halo of color due to wicking and pushing and pulling of all the elements of the paint with dye.

Finished. This is going to be a part of a fiber art project that will be suspended from a bamboo rod. There will be gold braid and gold beads threaded in and out of the piece with a focal point that I do not want to give away quite yet because it is still being formulated in my mind as to how to construct the ding dang thing.
I find that while an art piece is in this phase it is best to keep my mind centered on the intention of the piece before I talk about it too much because I loose myself other wise. It's an odd thing. I've never talked to any other artists about this before- it has to do with my own personal difficulties with allowing people to help me.
Often as a child if I needed help, whatever it was I was working on was taken away and finished by some well meaning adult. That was NOT what I needed or was asking for, if you know what I mean. As a result, I found that asking for help was not a good thing so I learned to finish things myself even if it meant doing a terrible job of it. Many times, however, it came out great and the satisfaction of doing it all myself was fantastic. Anyway- the main point being that even talking about a problem I am having with a fiber art piece can be risky because then it becomes someone else's statement or someone else's intention, if that makes sense. Sometimes that is a wonderful addition and sometimes it cancels out the experience for me. I am trying to get better about this and have had some break throughs with my awesome critique group.
Can anyone relate to this?
Anyway. I can't seem to get myself down to clean so I can work/play. Maybe next week.
Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

SAQA fund raiser-Victory Garden- 12 Voices

I used fabric paints to embellish this panel for a fundraiser for SAQA (of which I am not a member). Louise Schiele spearheaded the project, sending us the fabric and basic instructions.

Above you see my panel which is called- "Onion". I used Jacquard Textile Paints and added a bit of machine stitching for interest.

Here is the completed work of art. Title: Victory Garden

The artists included in this collaborative effort are from top to bottom, left to right- Marjan Kluepfel, Camille Ahern, Yvonne Porcella, Deb Hosler, Louise Schiele, Carol Larson,Peig Fairbrook, Terry Waldron, Dee Danley Brown, Marjie McWilliams, Sara Kelly, Karen Flamme.
This piece is for sale to benefit SAQA as a part of their show called "Twelve Voices" which will open in August at the Pence Gallery in Davis, CA.
Nice work, Louise!
The two panels pictured lower down on this blog were both accepted into the next California Fiber Artist's show at the Chico Art Center. The opening is July 31st, 7-9 p.m. Pictures of the show will appear later.
Okay- off to clean the dye studio. Yes- pictures will appear on Monday. You asked for it....

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Anything you want to see/discuss?

Sorry that I haven't posted this week. Anything you want to see/know about? I need some suggestions as I think everything I do is so mundane; how could anyone want to see that? Talk to me!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Let's dye some wool!

I talked to Carol, the dean of Quilt University, and she said she was interested in me pursuing the new class idea of dyeing wool! Wahooooo!

Thank you to those of you who responded with positive energy and words to the effect that yes, you would be interested in taking this class.

It takes quite a bit of time and energy to write, test, and document a class so expect to see it at QU after the first of the year or so- if she likes what she sees.

Above are some test samples of different kinds of wool that students might want to dye. I will probably offer some of the lighter colors on my web site supply page for students to buy if they do not have access to natural yarns.

I think this will be a five week course.
Week one will be dyeing yarn and getting used to acid dyes. Above is a raspberry color I got from combining red and black.

In week two we will dye roving for those who want to spin their own yarn or do some felting. If this isn't something you want to do, we can always dye more yarn using the same recipes and techniques.
Above is a very pale robin's egg blue. I was experimenting with how light I can go after I went as deep as I could go on some wool that was dyed black.

Week three will be dyeing wool fabric. I do not have any pictures yet of that process.
Week four will be natural dyes. Above is a picture of some tea stained wool yarn. This should be fun stuff.

The results we can get can span the value spectrum from very soft pastels to deep, rich color absorption as you can see.

The last lesson will be using left over Procion dyes that are more than 2 weeks old as acid dyes. This is something that I have just learned how to do. Very exciting.
We will also intentionally dye variegated colors which make for exquisitely patterned pieces when knitted or woven into their final form.
I'm very excited about this new adventure and hope you are too. This should add a wonderful new element to your fiber art creations.
Response? Let me know. Anything else you would like to see in this class?

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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