creative organizing

i started a natural dye sample book to keep track of what i've done so far. when i was working on my kasuri piece i added those yarns to it right after i was done; mostly the tiny remnants which were left after weaving. then, today, while waiting for the mistletoe to simmer, i decided to add cuts of the material i had dyed last year. it's filling up nicely, and i realize that pinks, oranges, yellows, and greens are the only colors i've made as of yet. i need to do some dyeing with purples, greys, and blues.
while i was at it, i made some cuttings to do a lightfastness test. they looked really pretty in the window. i hope they don't fade, or only slightly. i think a part of me likes to remain in denial of the dyes fading, so i didn't do any testing till now. which is a bad way to go about creating things; knowledge gained is never such a horrid thing.


inlay and boil, boil, boil

beginning work on a new weaving. i wanted to try out an inlay technique where the ends are left free to create a pile; i haven't any clue what it's called, i just saw it somewhere and thought it looked neat. i hope the piece will turn out well, it's hard to really know until you remove it from the loom.

this piece also gave me an opportunity to use my new obi shuttles which i bought while in kyoto. one thing is for sure, they make doing inlay incredibly easy. and they're just so gosh darn cute!

i came across a passage in an old dye book about using mistletoe to get a deep green. in town there's a group of juvenile trees which have mistletoe growing low enough to cut without needing a ladder. so today, while grocery shopping i collected some mistletoe. then, after separating the leaves from the branches, i boiled the stems for an hour. tomorrow i'll boil the leaves, then i'll compare how much dyestuff i get from them. i think three different dye experiments will be good to do; the stems, the leaves, then a 50/50 combo of both. for once, i think i'll do a lightfast test as well; if the dye passes that, and creates a lovely green, i'll be happy.


things we create

well, as i await the necessary unbuffered acid free tissue paper so that i may mail it off to japan, i thought i would finally unveil the piece i've been working on. i'm quite fond of it, and would like to keep it forever, as it's the first truly artistic piece i feel i've done in awhile.
i used cochineal and osage orange on a tin mordanted silk to get the various salmon hues, cochineal for the raspberry color, and osage orange for the weft kasuri. the binding process took awhile, as there were many lengths of fiber that needed to be resisted. dyeing was an interesting experiment, as i wanted a soft gradation of lighter to darker pink near the top. this was the first serious natural dyeing that i did without a clear formula for proceeding. i used my notes from japan, the book indigo, madder and marigold, and random recollections from my memory of things i've read. now, my hope is that the dye colors will all hold up to time and the environment. well, fingers crossed.


be creative with your mistakes

as i was winding the yarn onto the warping frame i entertained some doubts as to the viability of one of the yarns i was using. so about halfway in, i went with those doubts and tried the pull test to see if the yarn would hold up to the stress of warping; and it snapped, easily. so, with the conclusion that it wasn't going to work, i went back and replaced those areas with a different yarn. reminder to self, do the pull test first when deciding on yarns for a project, and definitely before ever starting to handle them.

i hate waste, especially of fiber. so as i was looking at the little O's of yarn i thought of chaining them into a bracelet. then i thought of a horseshoe clasp, but not having one of those, i dug through my box of silver from my college days and came across a sterling safety pin i had made. voila! i have a funky new silk bracelet. wow, two jewellery pieces in a row, if i keep walking down this path i'll have to set up a store.

glimpses of the whole

i'm not quite ready to show you the entire piece yet, but here are some glimpses of my naturally dyed kasuri weaving. i am in love with the texture and feel of the viscose silk, and really want to create more pieces from it. it took the dye really well, considering the stiffness and texture. the dye worked itself into the core of the silk, so i think it will last okay. i will be mailing this piece off to japan next month to be in an exhibit of work by students of the kawashima textile school, where i studied a few months ago. i'm very excited, as it will be first piece in an exhibit.


rings and things

i like creating jewellery when i really had no such intention of doing so. while contemplating my current weaving project, i was fiddling around with a bit of wool i had attempted to dye, and ended up creating a fuzzy ring. it covered my gold ring very well, and put me in mind of a book i read a long time ago where the main character hid a ring with a bit of scrap so as not to be separated from it. the ring was quite crucial to the entire four book story, many things relied on it and what it kept secret. and, no, it wasn't the tolkein series, but another fantastical series, memory, sorrow, and thorn by tad williams.
one thing i noticed about wearing wool jewellery, is the warmth; my hand remained quite toasty all day. another, is that for such a large piece the softness prevented it from hurting when grasping something hard, or from weighing the hand down and cutting off circulation. neat.

harmony of spaces

while doing my laundry the other day i realized something; my current wardrobe consists of shades of grey, mint blue, sunny yellow, palest peachy pink, white, and touches of oatmeal. then, today while accessorizing i noticed a certain relation between my personal space, my blog, and myself, let's say, a certain color harmony. hmm. i think perhaps these hues make me happy, so i am especially drawn to them. ah, well, do what makes the serotonin flow. so, we'll label it a good thing, yes, a very good thing.

some nice news; father is doing well, almost recovered from surgery, finally home, stubborn as usual, and never drinking enough water, but we love him anyway.


life outside of the pixel

i've been a bit absent lately, and am likely to be for awhile; my father is in the hospital, and we've been there everyday since, so not much time for art or blogging. he's getting better each day, thankfully, but it's difficult to see your parent as vulnerable, in pain, or not coping well with what is happening to them. i have time on my hands while sitting with my father, but the energies aren't right there, i don't feel like being at all creative.
for the most part i do not like change, i fight it, and even though i give in eventually it's never without a touch of regret. so often change is paired with fear; fear of the unknown, fear that it could be worse. i do not like the change this surgery is brining to my world. though, logically i know it was necessary, emotionally i all too often imagine the worse that can happen, so i keep looking for it, wondering in what shape it will arrive. fear and worry are my bedfellows, with panic for a pillow.


two for the season

i went to provide hydration for one of my orchids when i happened to notice a fairly good sized bloom unfurling from one i've had for years. not that it's unexpected for things like this to happen, but this one has never even shown an interest in blooming, let alone a flower stem. i'm very excited and wonder if it will stay awhile or be one of those "fly by nighters". this will be the second orchid within the last year that has bloomed out of the blue, i think somethings up. hmm. oh well, a mystery, and meanwhile i'll continue to enjoy the exotic presence of a flowering orchid.


process as a start

i've become a green tea addict, and to further encourage this obsession i keep some yummy genmaicha extra green tea triangles in my studio. storing them was going to be an issue until i came upon a wooden cigar box at the local wine/beer/cigar store which didn't smell, removed the so-so label and replaced it with pretty paper where it was still sticky. i'm quite happy with my $2 find, and it fits 30 tea envelopes at a time.
i finished my cotton kasuri sampler today, and have begun the weaving process on my first project since coming home. i have the loom mostly threaded now, but i thought i would post some photos of the progress.

my inspiration board has a photo of a flamingo along with some fabric swatches to give myself an indication of what color direction i wanted to head in while dyeing. this was a starting point mostly; i also drew up a version on graph paper and a color drawing to get a more exact idea of placement and measurements.

the dye process took two days, and i learned a lot from this; i'm thinking exact notes on what i did are going to be a problem, as i tinkered with the dyeing as i went along in order to get the colors i wanted at that moment, depending on what was happening in the pot. but with everything dry, i think it will work out. the hardest point i had was developing a gradient range of one hue; it was moderately successful, i won't know for sure until i've woven with them.

hopefully tomorrows work goes well, and i will try to remember to take photos as i go along. i won't say anything as corny as "new year's goal".