29 August 2014

More Eco Dyeing Experiments

Paper Bark Birch and Black Walnut leaves from two of my favorite trees. These samples were steamed with alum and white vinegar mordants
I have been taking a break from social media and being online. Not totally, but I have cut way back. I found that I was simply spending too much time online and not enough time actually 'doing'. It actually feels good to be a bit more "unhooked" for the time being, although I am certain that the pendulum will swing again at some point. 

I feel as if I lost a good bit of my summer being chair bound for 2.5 months, but I am enjoying playing a bit of "catch up" now! 

The week before last I started driving again, and I felt like a teenager with a newly printed license! I have gained more empathy for elders who no longer can drive. It is not a fun thing to be dependent on people to get every little thing for you all of the time!  I am also deferring my surgery for a bit. The thought of another back surgery is quite 'off-putting' for me and so, until the pain is once again too much, I will wait.

One of the things that I had planned to do at the beginning of the season was to learn some more about eco-dyeing. I love the kismet of this experience. There are some successes along with  a lot of "meh" results as well.
Black Walnut leaves
One of the things that I am currently experimenting with is what mordants work the best and how much, or how little, moisture I need to achieve the best prints from leaves. I have a project in mind and so I am just using small squares of silk noil from Dharma Trading do my experimenting with - along with my supply of "stashed" silks too.
Paper Bark Birch Leaves
The first thing that everyone asks when they see these samples is "what will you make from them?". Well, I am not sure what exactly, although I do have a project in mind that will use the best of the leaf print experiments. I would also like to make a wearable from the over-dyed kimono silks that I am accumulating. I have been looking online for a simple, somewhat boxy, blouse pattern to use, and I am finding it very difficult find the perfect pattern! Who knew that this would be difficult?!

Does anyone have any pattern suggestions for a simple blouse that would work for a "collaged" fabric look?

Does anyone have any eco-dyeing/ eco bundling tips to offer? 

Crocosmia stalk and blossoms

17 August 2014

Steeped Bundle Dyed Silk

It was difficult to get a photo of the entire length of the cloth! This is the first length.
There are two different patterns in the silks. 
Many years ago I purchased these kimono silks from Ah! Kimono. I miss the monthly mailing I used to get! Now I am not sure where to look for vintage kimono silk!

There are two different lengths of vintage kimono silks in the photos. There were  originally white, patterned silks.  Since I have I have become enamored with India Flint's stuff and steep dyeing methods and these two pieces were "canned" with white vinegar, a pinch of rust, and summer time red maple leaves. They were left to cool and "cure" for two weeks. I am quite happy with the depth of color that I was able to achieve. 

I spent today trimming a variety of leaves and doing some "canning". 
I am on the hunt for eucalyptus now!
You can find some decent leaf shapes if you look. There is one on this section mid-image top .

08 August 2014

A Chance To Win Lesley Riley's Newest Book!

As you may have read I was honored, and very fortunate, to have been included in Lesley Riley's latest book, "Creative Image Transfer".

This is a rendition of the personal photograph that I used for the project that is included in the book It's called the "Be Peace" bag.

Lesley is generously offering the chance to win a copy of the book PLUS 5 sheets of  amazing TAP transfer paper !

Just go here for the simple details!


04 August 2014

Bundle Eco-Dying A La India Flint's Stuff, Steep, and Store Method

I have been waiting all summer to be able to get down those few steps to my house so that I could gather some plant materials for some eco dying a la India Flint's "Stuff, Steep and Store" methods. Finally, over the weekend, I was up doing a bit of plant gathering, and with surgery just a week or so away, I wanted make haste while the sun shines so-to-speak!

For those of you who may not have heard of India Flint before she is the queen pin of all things bundle dye (my hero of natural dyes is Jenny Dean). Bundle dying is, I believe, more unique, to India.

There are many ways to learn more about Ms. Flint. Her blog, The Prophet of Bloom" is a delight:

You can find her on FaceBook at:

My first awareness of India Flint's work was thanks to my friend Janet, the knower of all things. I love India's book on bundle dyeing, named aptly enough, Eco-Color:

Her two most recent books are both self published through Blurb. The one that I used for this "canning" method of dying is from her  48 page offering entitled "Stuff, Steep and Store". It contains a lot of images as well as the salient points of this method, which is genius in its simplicity.

Her most recent  Blurb book is also a short 50 pages and is described as a "... pocket guide to eco-print bundling..."

This method uses your "normal" canning tools to process your plant dyes. Here I have some cottons (pre-mordanted in soda ash) and silks (pre-mordanted in white and apple vinegars). I collected horsetail, ferns, maple leaves, peppermint, dandelions, comfrey, and blackberry leaves from the yard, and I used bits of metal added to the water. The hardest part will be seeing how long I can make it before I unlock the surprises lurking in these jars.  I have some more ideas that I want to try, and am looking forward to some autumn leaves.
 Here you can already see how the blackberry leaves are printing beautifully. This makes me think that I should have added fewer leaves to the fabric because they look (or I think they look) so nice each leaf by itself!
Here is a maple leaf peeking out already. Rich promises emerging from the murk!

02 August 2014

Birds Galore! Learning to Draw!

Lesson 2: My very first bird drawing of a Ferriginous Hawk

NOTE: To all of my FaceBook friends 
-you have most likely seen all of these images on FaceBook.

Although it may seem that I have been quiet on my blog I have been busy taking a wonderful, highly recommended, class from Val Webb about Drawing birds in colored pencil, as well as in a 60 day bird challenge on FaceBook hosted by Kimberley Baxter Packwood. The combination of the two seemed meant to be.

I have never been too fond of using colored pencils. They always seemed like a 'meh' art supply, but thanks to Val Webb I am learning that they are underestimated and offer many more options that I knew of. I am also not a 'drawer' - I have always failed miserably in my attempts before, and so I have taken care to go slowly and learn as much as I can. I am only on lesson 7 now, and my latest project (not shown here) is tackling a birds nest.

Lesson 3: Perching Birds. A Blue Jay.

Lesson 4: A puffed up Lilac Breasted Roller
Through these images you can see how I progress - or not. I have been learning so much, and it makes me realize how far I have to go. Of course, as with anything, learning to draw takes practice and more practice. I have to make time for it. Being relegated, more or less, to a chair at the moment, has blessed me with the time (and fewer distractions) to devote to some learning and practice!
Drawing 5 - a supremely wonderful, white, chicken!
Lesson 5: Drawing white birds.
The moment that I saw the image of this Egret I knew that I wanted to draw the head. There were other drawing options, but this was "the one". I think that I have had the most success with this drawing. It may be the best that I will get! I connected with this amazing eye and I took my time in the process and loved every minute

Lesson 6: Drawing black birds
I also enjoyed drawing this Grackle. I wanted to draw a crow instead, but the aim of this lesson was to learn how to may luminescence work with the pencils, and so I honored the lesson and will draw a crow after the class ends. I am leaning so much about the possibilities of colored pencils! Who knew?

Lesson 7: Eggs and Nests
I have worked on some eggs which is the start for this lesson, and am slowly working on th nest - which is probly the most challengeing this thus far.

I have always been afraid of drawing becuase I am not very good at it. I like it enough that I want to conquer my fear and do more. My plan is to continie take morelessons from Val and then, when it is next offered, I will be doing Sketchbook Skool. Now I just have to find the time for all of my "loves". I can't stop knitting or quilting, and mixed media just pulls at me if I stay away too long... hummmmm

Do you ever find yourself with one too many passions?
How do you balance them all?
Have you ever dropped on thing in favor of another? How did you decided?
My latest, not quite finished wool applique block about, what else, birds! I still have to add the word "birds" in the upper right corner. It was perfect for the Bird Challenge though!
I also used my mixed media indigo buntinf for the challenge. I guess I have a lot of birds on hand!