Friday, January 29, 2010

Rust Dyeing

Finally getting to post about the rust dyeing that I mentioned several posts ago.
I am a member of the North Suburban Needle Arts Guild and several of the members have created their own little group known as the "Free Motions".The group consists of  Tracy , Shelley, Leah & Nina. They get together to 'play' and try out new techniques with fabrics. Not only do they learn something new but they have a load of fun while doing so.

I was fortunate to have been asked to join them back in December when they were invited by Nina  to come up to her beautiful home in Milwaukee for a day of 'playing'. Nina had buckets of lovely rusted pieces to choose from to lay on our fabrics for the dyeing process. She also treated us to a scrumptious lunch while we were there.

The dyeing process takes several days and must be kept wet. That was my FIRST mistake. I got home with several flat containers with the fabric and rusted objects
all enclosed in a garbage bag. I was busy getting ready for the show I did at the arts center so I just laid the garbage bag on the floor in the garage and forgot about it for a few days. Since it was nice and COOL in there I just assumed that it would at least stay moist for the several days. HAH! When I finally took the garbage bag off the fabrics were so dry that the rusted objects were stuck to the fabric. There were some pieces that were OK, but for the most part my dyeing didn't look as nice as I'd hoped for.

What to do? Well I took several of the plastic containers to the basement shower,
laid the fabric down on the plastic, then the rusted objects and hosed it down with the shower head. I kept checking on the fabric EVERY day and sprayed with more water each time the fabric looks as though it might be drying out. After 4 days this is the results.
This first piece is commercially printed cotton that was NOT prewashed, so it might have dyed better if it had been washed. I also did NOT lay the items on this piece I wrapped the fabric around a long rusted metal object. I really like it the second time around. Originally this piece had a few specks of rust, but now it's much better after the second dye job.
This is a close-up of the above piece.

The next piece is white cotton velvet that Tracy was kind enough to give me to try. Really, really love the velvet. Love the way the color bled out around the rusted pieces. This piece had little to NO rusting on it prior to round two of the dyeing.

The fabric in the piece below was PFD cotton and initially did not look very good until the second round in the shower!! Again, I love the way the rust bled out around the objects.

The fabric used in this piece below is commercially dyed cotton and I did NOT wash prior to dyeing.
This is after the second dyeing process and looks much better.

That day the group exposed me to my first screen printing using thermofax screens. WOW! I was in love with the process immediately. So much so, that I came home and started pricing thermofax machines. I haven't bought one YET but maybe one day. Until then, I'll just buy the screens already made from someone else.

This is my very first screen print below.

Today, I spent most of the day playing around with discharge dyeing. I got some great results. I
will take photos and post them later. And I promise not to wait longer than a month to post, like I did with the rust dyeing.
Have a great weekend!


Monday, January 25, 2010

"Nobody can go back & start a new beginning, but anyone can start today & make a new ending." Maria Robinson

The above quote pretty much sums it up for me. The only problem is that I KEEP starting over and over and over again...

I hope everyone had a great beginning to the New Year. I had a good but uneventful one with a strong commitment to recharging my life. ALL aspects of my life.
I am committed to getting BACK into shape and rediscovering the thinner person that I know resides in my body. Along with getting physically into shape, I am also committed to changing the way I eat. Which is going to be hard, because I LOVE FOOD.
I have gotten WAY off track this holiday season though and I need to get back to a healthier way of eating.

I am also committed to restructuring and reorganizing my life which means getting
my house in shape as well. I'm sure that previous posts have mentioned that this last move really 'kicked my butt' and it shows in the way my house looks. I have never really organized everything. Usually when I unpack my belongings I organize as I put things away. Not with this last move, I just tossed things here & there, hiding them anywhere and everywhere there happened to be a vacant spot. Whether it was in a cabinet, drawer or closet didn't matter, and I really didn't concern myself over whether it even BELONGED in that particular room. Just hurry up and get the boxes unpacked and things put away... Now that we've been in this house a year and a half, it's starting to UNNERVE me, the way things are soooo disorganized.

I have started the new year by organizing my studio. That was the biggest disaster area. I had sewing supplies scattered all about the room, duplicates of so many things. I have so many containers of supplies for doing collages that I realized I'm never going to get around to using half of that stuff. PLUS, as I mentioned in a previous post, I've decided to concentrate more on the fiber arts, rather than on collages. Not leaving the mixed media arena, but just steering more towards fiber.
My studio is now clean, organized, rearranged in a much better way and I even found a vacant wall, albeit small, for a design board for designing quilts!
I'm so excited about my new clean room, that I am now hesitant to even start any new projects. With that said, I am also committed to finishing all the projects I started back in the fall and had to put on hold in order to finish items for the holiday market at the art center where I do ceramics.

The piece below is a mixed media piece I did for the show. The center is a ceramic head, then I beaded around it, the frame is also ceramic. Layered with fabrics onto a painted canvas. (this is the close-up) The name is "What If?"
This is the full view. Color not so good. Note to self:take a photography class geared toward photographing your artwork

This is another mixed media piece-incorporating ceramics, antique wood, etc on painted canvas.

This is the close-up. I love the background on the canvas of this one. It looks like leather. Very deep dark red. The name is "The Measure of Women"
This is another mixed media with another ceramic head that was first beaded then layered with an antique leather book cover and fabric on a painted canvas.
This is the close-up. The name is "Grow a Soul". Got the name for it from the quote that I printed on fabric and used at the bottom. It says "Life is just a chance to grow a soul."

I have a couple more pieces that the pictures turned out horribly, so I'm not posting them. Lucky for me, they didn't sell... So I can photograph them and post later.

I will show you the angels I made for the show.
This one sold the first day of the show.

This one sold BEFORE the show started, while we were setting up.

This one sold the second day of the show.

And this one I sent to my girlfriend for Christmas!

I had one more angel that I forgot to photograph and again, she didn't sell! I've got her hanging on my wall, so I'll photograph her later and post her.

It was a pretty good show. Turn out was not as many as they had last year, but most people come for the functional ceramics. I don't do a lot of functional things.
I prefer to make things to look at and make you smile... Who needs another coffee mug? Besides, I can't seem to make any 2 bowls or mugs the exact same.

I also started my year off with another 2-day workshop sponsored by the North Suburban Needle Arts Guild. It was with the very talented Katie Pasquini Masopust. It was a great workshop and I learned quite a bit about designing. I usually don't start ANY project with ANY set plans. Maybe a general idea in my head but usually nothing on paper. She really helped me see that I can do things differently! And probably get better results. We'll see how that works out.

Next week, I'm taking yet another workshop sponsored by the guild. This one will be with Mary Hettmansperger! I'm so excited! She is multi-talented. I have one of her jewelry books but this workshop is right up my alley-- MIXED MEDIA QUILTS....

I still have my rust dyed pieces to photograph and show you. I have also finished a piece that I have given you glimpses of along the way. I will photograph things whenever we get a SUNNY day here on the northshore of Chicago. It's been gray and gloomy for way too long.

As for my long lost blogging pals...I'm so sorry I have not been around to visit for months. I know I will need at least a week to sit and visit blogs. I'll bet I've missed a ton of  wonderful artwork out there.
Speaking of missing...I even missed my blog anniversary! That's how committed to working out and cleaning up I've been. I regret not chatting with you folks and I promise to stop in soon.
Until then, live your life creatively~


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