Monday, May 31, 2010

Sacramento County Fair- More wool!

Saturday, my daughter and I went to the Sacramento County Fair to see what was going on with the "Sheep to Shawl" competition. Two teams from this area started at the same time and were to take breaks at the same time to see who could finish first and who would create the most beautiful shawl. I do not know who won but the event was great fun. Above you can see see the championship fleece.

There were six spinners on each team. Here is my favorite. She is a shoeless spinner which I like and she had it goin' ON!

The women kept in tight contact with each other to shout out what they were going to be needing next. High production!

Here is a member of the second team making a two ply yarn which was clever as the thicker yarn weaves faster. This woman was fantastic because she could talk to me and work at the same time. I did offer to spy for them to tell them where the other team was at that moment but they seemed to feel pretty confident that that wasn't necessary.

Twisting away to make a much thicker yarn that even has some sprinkles of bling-bling in there to make what they called the "Night Sky Shawl".
The yarn this team used had been hand dyed using some sort of wool dye that I did not recognize. It had "Gay" in the title- that's all I heard as my mind, of course, raced off into other areas than wool dyeing at that point....

We left there and looked at the sheep who had been shaved of all their beauty (and interest) to admire the pigs, goats, chickens, geese, turkeys, cows, rabbits, and more.
One of the things I really love about fairs is watching the young people show their projects. I am such a city girl, that I know little about what it takes to raise an animal like this. I am in awe. Above is a cow I liked because of her perpetual smile. We were able to get really close as you can see to watch this round of judging.

Look at the intensity in the faces! Love it! The cow seen here with the young lady handling her is the Grand Champion. Fabulous cow. Fabulous color. Fabulous young woman.

One last picture...we walked up to this by accident. Here is the judging of the Guinea Pigs. We stayed for the entire contest. Who would know??? Only someone who does 4-H, I suppose. This was fascinating! The judge in the white coat talked the whole time about what she was seeing and feeling and thinking about each animal. I believe the one on her right is the Grand Champion. This was a lot of fun and I would go back just to watch this part next year. The animals would absolutely freeze when she plopped them down and then as she tucked their little legs in and under them they were like stuffed animals- or- a package of Jimmie Dean sausage. I now know more than I care to know about Guinea Pigs. Who knows- maybe this could be a new career for me and I could ride the fair circuit. Better yet- let's shave some and see what happens when we dye their fur.
Thanks for looking.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wool from the ground up- E-newsletter coming out soon!

How do we get from this.... this?
Be sure you are signed up to receive my Spring E-Newsletter where I document the process from sheep to chic.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Getting there- Organized Chaos

This week, I dyed the backing for the batiked silk piece entitled, "Organized Chaos". Here it is on my work table with the dyes arranged in such a way that wicking will start and stop in a controlled manner.
Here is the backing after it has been dyed, rinsed and dried. Perfect!

Close up of the wicking color. When using complex colors (more than two primaries) you can learn what to expect only through trial and lots of error.

Here is how the piece looks at the moment. The backing is in place and once I press it for the final time and stitch up the opening, I will do my official photographing so it is ready for the show catalogue and my archives.
Final size is approximately 42" x 126" with about 3/4 yards of silk that will pool up on the floor.
I will be studying this piece for the next three days or so because there are some things that are troubling me about it. I won't tell you right now what they are because I want to ponder some more and probably fix it and THEN talk about it. I need to think it through before talking. Do you do that too?
Next week- hopefully you will see the final photos.
Thanks for looking!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fiber art project- Organized Chaos-week 2

My next step in the production of the large scale batik on silk project, was to iron out the wax that was applied to the silk to keep most of the dye from covering the background. To do this, I iron the fabric between sheets of computer paper to absorb as much of the wax as possible.

Here is how some of it looks with only a thin layer of wax and oil left behind from the leftovers. The dyed places are where the wax was intentionally applied in such a way that it did not penetrate all the way through to the other side of the silk. When the dyes were brushed and squirted onto the silk, some leaked over the edge and back stained the reverse side of the fabric to create these lines of color.

Here is a picture of another section that is particularly beautiful.
So why not make the whole thing a solid coverage of wax so that all of the white stays white? Because the title of this piece is "Organized Chaos". I am attempting to communicate how this feels to me.
Anytime chaos pierces through the peace and calm, there is a backlash or vibration set up that cuts through the calm. Chaos is not without static by any means. It vibrates and stings and sets up motion both good and bad. To have this lovely color looping along and then puddling without shards and splinters of intensity is to lose the point of the piece.
Art is entertainment. Art without communication just takes up space. Art without a solid core of meaning and significance is just decoration. Decoration is okay but that's not what I am looking for in my fiber art or in this piece.

Next week, I will show you how the backing is taking shape and how the whole thing looks when completed!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fiber art project- Organized Chaos

Last week I started working on an idea that has been bouncing around for awhile in my brain surrounding the topic of how to organize chaos. While this may seem like an oxymoron, it is actually something that I deal with daily.

The picture above, is of crepe backed silk satin cut to 33" x 96" and stretched on my frame, ready for waxing. I have already lightly drawn in guidelines to keep the design in the forefront of my mind.

Next I apply the hot wax to the outside areas because I want to keep most of the color in the center, but not all of it. The wax was applied in a thick and thin manner so that some of the dye will come onto the back side and stay there where the wax is thin, but most will of course be contained in the central panel. You'll see what I mean in a minute.

Now the dyes are applied in the combination I want and lightly smeared with gloved hands and encouraged to wick and bleed as they will. I have lifted two portions of the work so that more wicking will happen in those areas.
The dye that is beading up along the sides is exactly what I hoped would happen. Some of it has found its way into the thinly waxed areas and will remain. Most of it will not be absorbed because the wax barrier is there to stop the dyeing action.

The process is timed so that when it has done its thing, it will be rinsed and will dry and be ready for the next part of the process which is the removal of the wax.
More next week! Thanks for stopping by to see what's up in the Dye Studio.

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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