Tag Archives: indigo

Holding Truth: prayer flag #10 as antidote to alternative facts

3 Feb

As far as I know the Bowling Green Massacre theory is an alternative fact.  Not a truth.

This butterfly–slow stiched during a gentler time spent online with Jude Hill–is meant as a reminder of the value and beauty of truth.  It’s a pocket–a safety net–to hold written words or ideas that clarify one’s world view.   And it’s a reminder that butterflies aren’t alone in their struggle to avoid extinction.

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This morning’s prayer flag.  Stitched with cloth pieces from older incomplete projects. Patched together for unity.  A truth holder.

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Into the Stillness: prayer flag #9

2 Feb

img_4189This what-might-look-like-a rag pile is actually my hoard of earthly, material treasures. (No pun intended.)   Things I would grab if leaving home in a hurry.  On that little couch, and the shelves that surround it,  I find remnants of work from the last ten or so years.  Natural dyed fabric experiments, hand-dyed indigo shibori pieces, pieces of slow cloth that I labored over so intensely, eco print fabrics, pieces of silk hand dyed and ecoprinted, needle felted wool, etc.  And this is where I go, these mornings of late, when I begin the prayer flag of the day.

This morning I was contemplating the importance of stepping into stillness.  Especially as a tool to handle the maelstorm of current events.  Contemplating stillness and casually examining pieces of cloth.  What surfaced was a felted wool stork.  Felted wool and pieces of linen indigo dyed shibori.  Surfaced and coalesced with little effort on my part.

Curious abbestreallyout stork’s symbolism in light of the intent of these prayer flags, I googled stork.   My take-away:

If we allow it to it can instill a sense of calm in us…. It reminds us to be careful with our words and attitudes, remaining calm, cool, and collected in the face of adversity. When we do this, we can be at peace.

Instill.  In still.  OK.  Into stillness.

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Ecoprinting, Natural Dyeing, and the Love of Leaves

30 Sep

Been gone so long I won’t try to backtrack.  Just enough to say I’ve turned into an ecoprinting maniac…

My last post–August 10–captured an experiment.  There have been many in the interim.  Many flops and  enough success to keep me hooked.  But I’m better at turning the uglies into o.k. images.

Too much has happened in six weeks.  Too much to say. Too much to blather on about. Better to just let the pictures reveal the moments, for now.

But just one thing–thank you to Cynthia–and Marti.  Grace.  And Liz.

My head has been in the trees.  And I have been in the forest.

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Natural Dye Workshop

with Dede Styles (in blue)–an amazing, amazing woman

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Yellows from fall asters, broom sedge and black oak bark.

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Celebrating Logan’s 9th birth

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and a pic he took yesterday

Mostly close-ups of some ecoprints on silk

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And on Sept. 19th we had an amazing collaborative fiber/tea sale–with

…Sumitra–purveyor of fine teas–

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…Sister Jennifer the Weaver.

…Heather from Scotland…a fine, fine artist…with some of her t’s.

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…my first born…Emily with some of her many creations

…and me…holding blue

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Finally– today’s sky…

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with last week’s indigo.

If you’ve taken the time to gaze here, thank you.  A big, big thank you.  Sorry some of the images won’t open larger–and there seem to be some crossed wires embedded in this posting itself…but the cauldron calls….

Indigo and Eco Printing

20 Jul

Busy eco printing, finding what works, what doesn’t (plenty) and enjoying little magical moments of happenstance.  (Like the fact that baking soda turns red onion impressions from red/purple to blue green.)  The results have been staggering.DSC03308 DSC03309 DSC03313 DSC03316

Lessons in Dy(e)ing

1 Apr

I love saying this —dyeing. Because, well because it lends itself to a wonderful play-on-words. Dyeing. Dying. Love that both are so illustrative of transformation. Both so potentially beautiful. And I also appreciate that with each, intention is required to achieve the results I see in my mind’s eye. Intention and discipline.

I’ve played around this week with dyeing rope bowls. Dyeing rope wrapped in white cotton and also dyeing rope bowls without a fabric cover. Madder, alkanet and indigo are the three dye baths I’ve managed to concoct. I don’t know what to think about the bowls. Not sure it’s a good medium for this experimentation.

Anyway, these are the bowls to date. The purple is alkanet, orange is madder, and indigo is the lighter blue. The navy blue is indigo overdyed with alkanet.bowls1

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Looking at the last two images, and this one (commercial cloth commercial dye)frond

reminds me of another aspect of this process I LOVE. Being able to see this initial spiral each and every time a bowl begins. And then following it until the rope runs out. Complete.DSC02532

Indigo Vat #1

26 Mar

Mo asked for indigo vat instructions. Probably there are better ones online but here’s a brief explanation of my experience yesterday and OK. I’m forced to admit that when it comes to starting an indigo vat, it IS important to measure AND pay attention to water temp.

When I got home from the workshop, I pulled out my stash of dyeing supplies. Stuff I had used over a year ago with barely marginal success. Wondered if there was a shelf life for the goods but decided to concoct the 1-2-3 indigo vat just the same. This ratio stands for 1 part indigo, 2 parts calcium hydroxide (pickling lime) and 3 parts fructose/per liter of water.

In the past I’ve just eyeballed the proportions. But this time I was able to use the scale my sister has for weighing weaving fibers. scale

The day before I had placed the indigo powder in a small pickle jar (empty) that still smelled like pickles. Added a few small stones I picked up when I was having lunch with a dear friend. Then added hot water (quantity and temp not measured) and shook the jar for a few minutes. The stones helped mix up the powder which has a tendency to lump up. This mixture sat overnight.

So yesterday I measured out the fructose and calcium hydroxide, dissolved the fructose in 180 degree water–dissolved the calcium hydroxide in cold water per instructions–poured the liquid indigo into the vat, added fructose and calcium hydroxide and within a matter of minutes a bloom started forming on top of the surface.indigo vat

The bloom is a good thing.

Stirred energetically and then let the vat rest overnight. This morning I skimmed off the bloom and the coppery surface film and began experimenting. In the interim I have been thinking about the rope bowl/baskets. Wondering how they would look dyed in indigo without wrapping the rope in fabric.

Two results:

small basket

large bowl

The white fleck repeating pattern? That must be polyester in the cotton rope. A wonderful surprise.

They’re still wet and may need to be over dyed again, but i want to see the color when they’re dry before I make any decision. And because I have tons of scraps of fabric I’ve dyed in the past–wrapping cans, using avocado skins, rusty objects etc–I decided to over dye a few pieces to see what would happen. Some nice results–here’s the best one I think:

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Natural Dyeing

24 Mar

catharine ellisLast week I took an intense 3-day workshop with Catharine Ellis on natural dyeing.

My good-to in the past has been black walnut because it’s readily available and relatively easy. I love black walnut. But I also love color and so wanted to be able to get a few intense colors from plants–and before I say anything else–

Just Look. The samples are arranged by fibers–first column is wool, second is cotton, and third is silk. The first row on each sheet is simply the fiber dyed in the color. The second row is the fiber first dyed in indigo and them overdyed with each color. The third row shows what a teeny bit of iron does to the original color–and the last row is experimental. The dye sources we used were osage, cutch, lac, pomegranate, weld, madder and indigo.

So–osage  first:

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Then Cutch

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Lac

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Madder

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Weld

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Pomegranate

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The indigo vat we made was based on Michel Garcia’s 1-2-3 formula and it worked. (I’ve tried it before myself with no success–but now I’m a believer.)

So I’m sitting here 3 days later still reeling from the amount of information–technical and otherwise–that we were exposed to. And following directions, being methodical, documenting process and result–well, those are not my strong suits. I rarely follow a recipe. Most times when I begin something, I do so because I have to–not because I really know where it’s going. And now I know why I’ve never been able to liven up my dye palette. It’s simple. I wasn’t doing it right.

And then there’s this. It’s spring here. We’re able to see what vegetation/plants await our appreciation since having moved in in the winter, we had no idea. DSC02489DSC02492

Lots of–well, landscaping specimens. Shrubs and bulbs. And yes, of course, I’m glad to see them. But there will not be a regular garden here, I don’t think. At least certainly not this year. Containers probably. Too many deer. Plain and simple. Still, we had to cut down a tree in the front yard–an ornamental pear tree badly damaged. Part of it had already fallen on the roof and did a bit of damage. And because it was so close to the house and rotten in the crotch (unfortunate wording perhaps) it came down. So now in the yard we have a very large circular mulchy area free of the surrounding bermuda grass. And it’s going to become a dyer’s garden. Yesterday I ordered seed from a place in Maine–Fedco–and hopeful that deer won’t like the dye plants. Marigold I know will be safe.

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