Monday, March 28, 2011

More vat dye eye candy

Still on the road, and have time to post more pictures. Woke up with a better attitude about my own work. Current plan is to spend half the day on chores (i.e. filing taxes, shipping muslin) and mid-afternoon onwards dyeing fabric. But for now, revel in some pictures:
Elin pointing out the insides of foldsThis is the orange and purple Radiance that I posted about yesterday (below.) After another sample that dyed only on the edges, I chickened out at putting this one into the vat. I need to start with smaller pieces first. The fold marks remain and will Undyed shibori sampleshow where additional patterning will happen.
Look at the tiny binding
Laharia (turban cloths)

Sample dyed after using smocking pleater, seen in the backgroundShows capped section from the topShows capped example from the bottomStitched and pole-wrapped
This is a piece of fabric that was dyed the fairly dark green that you see, then immersed in a light blue vat dye. It has not been soaped yet – we’ll see if the color or luster changes much.
One thing I would do differently would be to start with a variety of fairly interesting fabrics, rather than the mostly solid pieces that I took. That should be my starting point when I resume working with vat dyes. I also think I will stick more with analogous color schemes. They can be very arresting; classic and elegant without the jarring look most of my vat dyed pieces have. It's a plan, anyway! Thanks for looking!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Over far, far too soon

Sunday night, somewhat bummed out in the hotel room. C’est la vie. I’ve been transcribing my notes while they are still somewhat fresh in my head, but after an hour and a half, it has devolved into just a list of headings. Somehow, I hit that wall when I got to the dreaded chemistry notes. Also set up a Yahoo group for the class members, and added links there as items came up in my notes. That was fun!

Have a couple pictures to share. Of course, I used up my batteries and didn’t recharge them Saturday night, so there are many fewer photos than I’d like.

Kathleen's work
Kathy's bomaki on  tiny pipeDrying fabrics in the bathroom

Have been doing some contemplation on dyeing and a real job. The serious number crunching has to happen real soon, if for no other reason than the IRS. At any rate, the whole class process has been rather humbling, especially after three shows’ worth of oohs and ahs. But yes, I still want to get better at all forms of dyeing, and get good at vat dyeing. Best idea I’ve had today – look at everything I’ve done with vat dye  and analyze what I like best. Pictures will have to follow!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The day I’ve been waiting for!

Vat dyes have intrigued me since I first learned about them in Carol Soderlund’s Dyeing to Discharge class, or maybe before. When I saw this class listed on Pro Chem’s website, I was so excited. Well, finally I’m here! The first three days were good, and I certainly learned a lot. But today we got into itajame (also spelled itajime) – resists with clamped shapes. Elin’s work is so gorgeous! Here are a few samples, and click here to link to Elin’s home page. Again, hover the cursor over the picture for a brief explanation.

Two fabrics
Clamped fabric - looks like angelfish kissing
Purple with organic shapes

We also got to look at everyone’s work from Friday – except mine, since I didn’t dye anything. More pictures:
Wrapped from the ends
Mary Ellen's rolled fabric

And Elin gave us a demo using a couple different tools for holding fabric. Still more pictures:

At work at the clamping board.
Close-up of holding pin She also showed us samples made with these sorts of tools:

Hundreds of tiny tied circles make the pattern

And I also got some of my own work done – at least to a point:

Saturday resultsThis is a piece of cotton-silk Radiance from  Robert Kaufman. It was originally a purple – Amethyst. I had pole-wrapped it and gotten a little subtle texture on it before class.This improved version is striking, and it has also been re-folded, waiting for a vat tomorrow. Can’t wait!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day three at class

Well, I got nothing into the dye today, but did prepare some work. Spoke to Elin about a piece of fabric I brought with me that is good, but not great. I"m not sure it's finished, but I don't know what else I'd do with it, or if it needs more. She asked me: "What is the fabric for? Why make it?" My first reaction was 'uhhhh,' followed by 'for it's own sake.' Not a question I've considered before - I"m not terribly comtemplative by nature. We spoke some more, and I have it on the wall and will consider it more this weekend and get input from the other studends.
Here are some pictures of the goings-on and some other folks work.i Again I have added captions that appear when you hover the cursor.
Pole wrapping demo
Sample of capping from JapanDetail of capping sampleCapping demonstrationSnow-dye piece after applying tape and flourMary Ellen's resist workElin's resist samplesPatricia's capped fabricP3240097
Here’s what I worked on last night. It’s three strips of a rather bland snow-dyed sateen. I braided them and put them first in a vat of hot green, then in a vat of violet. I got it rinsed, soaped and ironed. Then last night I clamped it as shown and braided it again.

Here the braiding is almost done. As instructed by Elin, I kept clamping it closer to the grab bar. Now it’s ready to go into another bath, probably blue.
Today I got the remaining length of it braided, this time in a 7-strand braid. Took a good portion of the day, in between watching demonstrations. A good day all around; now for a shower and some ironing, folding and clamping.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Catching up and moving on

Excited tonight (Monday) about going to class with Elin Noble, but still pooped from the Lancaster show. Taking the camera and hope to record every instant of class (ha!). I do plan to make some entries here for anyone who is interested.

OK, it’s now Thursday night, March 24. We’ve had two days of class so far, and it’s getting more interesting all the time. I have fabric to prepare tonight, so I’m going straight to the photos! I’m putting text on each that appears when you hover the cursor over the picture.

Detail of Elin's work

Drawing up lines of stitching

Glorious fabric samples

An anchoring point for tyeing

My braided snow-dye

Some of the day's work

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday night on the road

Nothing all that exciting to post about, at least not without sounding really vain . . . . I'm in the lobby of the Lancaster Marriott listening to a jazz trio (?) - maybe more - catching up on my email and winding down for the day. They're good, just too loud to get close to. I've met so many new friends and old email-only friends that now have faces. I have had a good run at the shows this spring, and have gotten wonderful reviews of my fabrics (that's our booth above.) I've seen some growth in sales, which is a good thing, but have had less than I hoped here in Lancaster, so that will keep me focused and hopefully realistic. Off
soon to take a vat dye class in New England, then it will be time to get a temporary real job AND make lots more inventory. I am still planning to try to vend at Houston, just have to figure out how. Having a fair bit of fun with the 5th roommate - 10 month old Ashlyn. Pictures will follow. If you don't have kids/grandkids, adopted grandnieces are just as good!