Saturday, July 27, 2019

Marbling on Wool Class

I'm looking forward to teaching some fun and artsy classes next weekend at the ASG National Conference! One of my students called me today with some good questions about class supplies, and I thought it might help to show a picture of some of the things students are to bring.
 Shown above are some of the class supplies for the class, beginning at top left and going clockwise: plain Barbasol shaving cream, skewer (aka shishkebob stick), inexpensive small paintbrush for mixing inks, scissors, squeegee, (bottom row) sample square that's been marbled and stencilled, and a stencil. The stencil can be anything you'd like, and should ideally fit onto a 5" x 7" square.

The other 2 images are samples of what we'll be doing in class, there's lots of room for variation and creativity! No 2 panels will be the same. So get ready to be creative!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Woad-dyeing!

I recently had the good fortune to be invited to teach fiber art in southern France, and I was also able to enjoy a few days of seeing the countryside and other perks. The last day we were in that region, we did a woad-dyeing class, which was so much fun! Woad is a plant that is native to the area surrounding Toulouse, and it dyes textiles a beautiful shade of blue. The color has a rich history in France; it was feared by many in ancient times, and the dyers were even feared as "sorcerers"! Actually this doesn't really surprise me - if you ever woad-dye and watch the fabric emerge from the dye-pot as yellow and then transform into green and then blue, you would think this must be magic, too! The color transformation is reminiscent of indigo dyeing, but the blue is softer and a bit lighter in hue. Textiles can be dyed several times to darken the color, so there are many shades of blue that can be achieved.

We learned so much about the rich history of woad-dyeing; one thing was that in the beginning, people started out dyeing mainly silk and wool before adding cottons and linens to the mix. All the students in our class brought things to dye, and we also picked up some antique linens, shirts and garments while shopping in the villages of southern France. I brought a little assortment of various textiles including linens, cottons, silk, wool, laces, and even some pearl cotton! I also wet-felted a couple of wool beads from some sheep's wool I found at a market there. The night before our dyeing class, we soaked all our things to be dyed in vats of plain cold water. 

This is what the woad ball looks like after the leaves are dried. Then they use the dehydrated plant to mix the dye.
 We did our dyeing in the area behind the "barn" at the renovated hunting lodge where we stayed, a beautiful venue, and the weather was perfect! A bit breezy, which helped to dry our woad-dyed goodies after we hung them up on this clothesline that was stretched out between the trees.
We had several vats of dye: one dark (front), one light (back), and one small for special pieces like the laces, thread, and wool. We used 36" dowel rods to bring the textiles up out of the dye-bath - no stirring! Woad works by bacteria, and you couldn't disturb the balance.
 Here I am refraining from stirring!
Miriam, one of our instructors, helping me to pull my linens out of the dye-bath.
 When you first pull the fabric out, it's yellow! As soon as the oxygen hits it, it immediately starts to turn green...
Here's the fabric as it's changing from green to blue.
We hung everything up to dry and finish changing to blue. Once the fabric is all blue, it can be dipped again to deepen the color if desired.
 When we ran out of room, we spread our things out on the sunny field to dry!
 Here's a close-up of some of my dyed laces I found at a market nearby.
My laces spread out to dry!
 Miriam with her adorable puppy, who thought it great fun to play with our drying dyed things! She was so cute.
 Your hands turn blue too! Guess who had the bluest hands lol?
 My finished dried things: linens, cottons, laces, and my wool beads at left, even they dyed beautifully! I'll be making earrings out of those.
And this was so interesting: my woolfelt assortment. At far left is National Nonwovens' Xoticfelt, a 50/50 mix of bamboo and rayon, it took the dye beautifully! At far right is their 80/20 rayon/wool mix, which also took the dye well. What didn't dye as well was the 100% woolfelt in the middle; so I guess the rayon was the fiber that really soaked up that color. Across the top is a piece of vintage lace I found at market. I'll be making a special project using these beautiful blue textiles, so stay tuned!

Fashion Show MAQF 2019

What a whirlwind year it's been already! One of the highlights for me was having the opportunity to present the fashion show for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2019 in Hampton, VA. It was a lot of work, but all worth it - I think everyone who participated had a great time! A huge thanks to all who helped, from my incredible models, to all the behind-the-scenes folks who took care of all the details. Also a big thanks to the Mancuso's for inviting me to do this show! Here are a few of the ensembles and the beautiful ladies who modeled them.
This was the publicity photo I shot for the show, my fave colors illustrated in shibori-dyed silk, wet-felted fiber jewelry, and my nuno-felted silk and wool shawl.
 A behind the scenes look at some of the ensembles, here's Debby looking awesome in a fun prairie apron!
Diane lookin' gorgeous in soft green pastels!
Kathy was the perfect fit for "Earth Mother", complete with a lace-up leather and silk corset!
Kathy looking very spiffy in a soft green jacket and nuno-felted wrap!
Kathy very snappy in her "Nana's Apron" made of upcycled linens and sassy fascinator!
 Roberta the fashion icon in my needle-felt "Peacock Jacket" and coordinating fascinator.
 Diane dyed her awesome dress to match the beautiful nuno-felted scarf and matching flower she made in my class last summer, looking radiant!
 This wet-felted beret and coordinating collar and shoulder bag looked gorgeous on this beautiful lady!
Laura was absolutely breathtaking in this version of a mermaid, a nod to the 30 year anniversary of Disney's "The Little Mermaid" movie.
 The grand finale, my "Virtuous Woman" hand-painted silk banner brought forth by 2 beautiful ladies. The image on the banner is from my daughter's first adult coloring book "Enchanted Spirits" with her permission (the book can be ordered from the home page of my web-site.) I thought this beautiful, uplifting perfectly illustrated the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31:25.
And here we are celebrating a very successful show! I could not have possibly done this without the help of my incredible friends Diane and Anne, thank you so much ladies! Who knows what mountain we might climb next?

Monday, March 25, 2019

Needle-felt Landscapes

I love teaching felting, both wet-felting and needle-felting, and I especially enjoy how my students are inspired to stretch their creative muscles and art through my designs! We recently had a class at Sawtooth School of Visual Art in Needle-felt Landscapes, and my students did not fail to amaze me once again. We had several first-time felters who really stepped up to the challenge, and a good time was had by all. Here are some photos of my students beautiful work:







Saturday, March 23, 2019

Sawtooth Silk scarf-dyeing

We have had some gorgeous silk scarves dyed in our classes at Sawtooth School of Visual Art lately! With groups ranging from the fun "Taste of Art" Friday night classes to gatherings of business leaders of Winston-Salem, clearly art has no boundaries, is good for the soul, and is so much fun! Here are a few of the colorful works of art my students have created.












Sunday, December 9, 2018

Snow-dyeing

We are really having some snow here, and so I thought I'd post a quick tute on how to snow-dye! It's fun and easy, and a great technique to add some beautiful colors and icy textures to your fabrics. You can snow-dye plant-based cloth such as cotton and linen, or protein-based cloth such as silk and wool. Be sure to use the proper kinds of dyes for your fabrics; Rit dye is fine for either one, but if using something like procion, you'll need to be more picky. Protein-based fibers can also be dyed with food-coloring based things like Easter egg dye and Wilton's icing gels; you'll need to heat-set these either in the microwave for 2 minutes, by steaming, or in a low-temp (225 degrees) oven.

Basic instructions: place your fabric in the bottom of a large-ish container, such as a plastic bucket or large plastic coffee container. Crumple the fabric into the bottom of the container; this will add to the beautiful texture you finish with. Then pack snow on top of it, packing the snow pretty firmly. Next add your dye to the top. You can use more than one color for added excitement. Keep in mind how the colors might mix; red and green will make brown, as will blue and orange, so you might want to go with analogous colors such as teal and lime, or blue and yellow, which will make green when mixed. I mix the dyes fairly concentrated, or if using powdered dye, you might try just sprinkling the powder on top. Some dyes will even separate into different shades of colors; for example, purple Wilton's icing gels separate into gorgeous hues of lavender, blue and pink.
This was some silk habotai I snow-dyed with Wilton's purple icing gels, mixing a small amount of the gel with a half cup of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, then pouring it onto the snow.

Once you have added the dye, you just wait for the snow to melt and the dye to slowly trickle down onto the fabric, leaving a lovely icy texture. You might want to move the container to a semi-warm area like your garage or basement to facilitate the melting. Then pour the dye off. Be sure to heat-set as necessary.
This was a pretty linen wrap skirt in celery green that I didn't wear any more so I decided to upcycle the beautiful fabric by snow-dyeing it in shades of blues and greens.
 The fabric came out so pretty! I combined it with some wool I marbled to make a simple kimono-style jacket like my #220 "Cut-up Kimono Jacket" pattern, shortening the jacket body and sleeves to fit my fabric. I had the nuno-felted scarf  that matched perfectly, and the little rose flower is from my #209 "Wooly Flower Basket & Wall Hanging" pattern. The tote bag was one of my samples I did for my "Marbling on Wool" article for Quilting Arts magazine last year.

Another technique for more specific texture and color is to use a grill and a pan to catch your melted dye. For the purple and blue textiles shown, I placed a grill or screen over a large roasting pan. I wt my fabric, then fan-folded it into diagonal pleats radiating from one corner, then pleated this down from the corner to fit my grill. I then piled snow onto the fabric, added my dye in ombre shades of blue and purple, and let the snow melt.


 This was cotton fabrics I dyed with Procion dyes, I used 5 rectangles and some strips to fussy-dye fabric to make my #212 "Quick & Easy Ladies' Vest" pattern.
                                                     My finished snow-dyed fabrics!

 Close-up, can you see the cross in the pattern? Dyeing is so serendipitous, you never know what you're going to get!
                                          My "Quick & Easy Ladies' Vest" pattern #212

There are so many fun things you can do with snow-dyeing! Hmm...I wonder what I'll try next, with 8" of snow and it's still coming, it's a perfect day to try a new technique!