I've been doing a bit of reading by Jenny Dean. There are no more copies of Wild Color available at a reasonable price these days.... but I found one at the library.
I also ordered a copy of Colours from Nature by her. While I've been reading and processing, several bloggers I follow have been doing some wonderful experiments and projects with natural dyes. So, of course, I had to give it a go.
I found some Goldenrod almost 5 feet tall where I was able to trim with abandon so I took a large bag and a knife and helped myself. I came home with almost a pound of flowers and top stems. I decided to simmer, soak over night then see what was revealed this morning. It's a brownish yellow....not particularly enticing as the colors on the book covers....but I know how dye can change when it strikes onto fabric. I took a big gulp and plunged in some perfectly white silk.
I'm going to try and leave it for a week...lol...me with no patience trying to teach myself not to lift, pinch, poke, twirl or otherwise mess with this for a week will be darn hard!
I also had ordered India Flint's new book: EcoColour: botanical dyes for beautiful textiles. This was a pricey investment....but worth every penny. The book is refreshing to read as she is very environmentally aware but encourages lots of experimentation. There were ideas that have left me what iffing every time I open the book. And the photos of her work are breathtaking. Oh, to have access to eucalyptus leaves .... it's just not dry enough here in the East. India will be visiting the US next year....and I plan to be at a dyeing class she is teaching.
I have not neglected my felting project either! I worked on Jack in the Pulpit. I like it very much though the background brown faded a bit during the felting process and became a subtle grey. So not two squares this weekend.....just one....as I go tomorrow to take down the What's Out Is In Guild show in New Bedford. But here is my rendition of that green brown weed that grows in the shade of ferns in my yard.
A late blog to show you little presents I bought myself. I follow several blogs (don't we all?) and could not resist buying myself little pieces from two fabulous fiber artists.
The first I bought over a month ago from Jackie who does the most playful pieces that remind me of the 50s. I really wanted to see and feel the velvet she works on....in 'person' so to speak. So I bought this:
It is a small blank journal and the cover is silk paper with her machine embroidery and velvet. It is better in real life than my picture. I still haven't decided if I should use it myself or gift it to someone. I came wrapped in lovely paper with her card. So professional....yet artistic.
The next piece I bought was a hand embroidered piece by Karen. She really does some remarkable handwork. I hope some day my embroidery will be as lovely. I bought what she calls a 'scrap' and I plan on framing it.
My picture quality is not near as good as hers. I'm not satisfied with my new camera but the piece is done on white silk with white thread and some yellow (her insanely famous knots) pink and green.
Then lastly, I did do some felting for the quilt. I liked the Lady Slipper so much in the book I made for our show...yet it faded away into the background when I fulled it in the dryer. I tried again. Not as good as the first, I'm afraid....but will do for the quilt.
Some machine embroidery will fill in the details. The colors are right on the piece and the yellowish background made for a gold hue to the flower itself that I like very much.
I also took some pictures of some Indian Pipe in my yard. They are a wildflower....but a most unusual one. It does not have chlorophyll and thus does not have true leaves nor is it green. It needs a special fungus to provide food that is processed by the fungus. It is also known as Ghost Flower.
It will need a deep green background and white flowers but I have done one previous flower with a similiar color scheme so I think I can capture it.
It's so hot and humid here....80 degrees with the humidity an unbearable 70% but feels like more...I really haven't done much felting. The basement initially is cooler than the house...but I crave sunshine despite the heat and have not stuck with my "Two Blocks A Weekend" resolve. Such is life.
Well, I've just returned from my day of demonstration at Artworks in New Bedford, MA. We had a lovely time. I was quite nervous and afraid I babbled but people seemed to enjoy the demo. Diane made a gorgeous calla lily of mixed pinks (wool and silk rovings) while I did the fish piece. My "fish" looks much more like a shrimp I think....but I will use him to experiment with free motion machine quilting as I get ready to quilt the Flower pieces. Diane's Calla Lily turned out *much* better....but I didn't get any pictures....sorry to say. I did get some snaps of the show, however.....and (tooting my own horn here) my copper book about The Beetle Blues made it into the newspaper!
This fabulous piece called "Mary's Pond" was initially wet felting in the background then was needle felted details and textures....This is by demo partner....the lovely Miss Diane.
The mask below is by Cheryl Christner....this is the West Wind (I believe) The North, South and East Winds were also present. I just love the feathers, copper and wasps' nest details.
Next is a shot of one of Sharon Costello's vases. She makes tiny cuts in the felt revealing the multiple layers of color beneath.
Finally a picture of the wall above two of my books. There are two vests by Robin Blakney-Carlson and a jacket by Linda Vielleux. The green piece on the far right is by Lynn Ocone and has tiny brass tacks sticking through the felt....rather like a cactus. The other two green "objects" are my books. I'm afraid the photos are not well focused...I need to practice with my camera. I enjoyed the show and participating in it. I now I will get to spend my Felting Time working on my quilt.
Well now....I went back to look at the blog and what do you know? No fish design. Wonder what happened to it? I thought I would put the pictures in of the silk roving and ribbon I'd dyed...but the camera batteries are dead. So....all I have is the picture of the fishNow I'm on to breakfast then work. The clinic is having it's Grand Opening of the New Dental Services today and we will be hosting a Congressman and the Attorney General for the ribbon cutting ceremony. Unfortunately, it will not be my silk ribbons. =-)
I've been asked to do a demonstration next Saturday at the gallery where our Guild show is. My friend Diane and I are doing "Nuno or Not"....I'm doing Nuno and she is doing Not. Diane decided to do a Calla Lily pin....it's lovely. I'm doing Nuno, of course. I'll be demonstrating a piece like those I made for my quilt. At first I tried flowers but all of them were pictures of flowers I will put in my quilt. My DH likes fish so I decided I'd do a fish. It is one from an Aegean vase...not a true original ... but a take-off. Sigh...I felt under the gun to get a simple design done and get things going. So...here is the design.... a simple fish with some space in the body to improvise in the demo. I looked at all my silks...sorted them out and decided to do some dyeing. Initially when I thought I would do a botanical piece I needed a lighter green. So I came up with with this color. I've added some silk haboti, and some silk thread and ribbon.
I thought I would do sunflowers and so I looked at wool roving and found I didn't have any brick red. So I did another pot.
Then as it sat and perked along...I came up with the fish idea. I looked through the blues and decided I didn't have any Sea Blues. So back to the third dye pot. I only have 2 white pots....I've found the white helps me with color mixing...but on to the black pot with blues. So....again silk haboti at 4.5 mm with silk ribbon and threads I've decided to try dyeing my own threads for embroidery .... just thought it might be fun. And I like variegated threads...and with silks I just can't find what I want.
So here is my little kit to take.... The purple is the background of the fish...and the orange is the main color...the deep blue will be the eyes and the streaming fins. Not sure if I should add a 5th color for details on the fish....like scales...or something more fanciful. So next weekend I'll take pictures of the show....so many lovely pieces.
So things have been very busy...very, very busy. The opening of our Guild Show "What's Out is In" was great. Unfortunately....like the ditz I am....I forgot my camera in my haste to get there with all the last minute issues. The work was wonderful...and I again felt very privileged to be included in this group. But, more about that later....I have a demonstration to do on the 15th and will bring the camera to document.
This weekend was the Guild's meeting and it was hosted by Marianne Dubois in Maine. We, my friend Diane and I arrived on Friday evening to be greeted with wine and laughs and the friendly faces of fellow felters. The next morning we went to Halcyon Yarn in Bath, Maine and had a lesson on Kumihimo braiding.
First we had a lecture then we had a go on our own. Michael (I'm afraid I don't remember his last name) was our instructor and had lots of patience and a wonderful teaching style.
We learned about marudai and two different types of braiding. It is almost a meditation.
The next day we had Show and Tell...one of the best parts of our meeting. Everyone brings pieces that they have been working on. There were fabulous pieces......
Monet was reflected on this bag by Diane (but shown here is Robin and Marianne)
This wonderful trout piece is by Linda Wright who is also a fisherwoman and obviously knows the details that make up a real fish.
Below is shy Roz.... =-) holding up one of her vests.
There were many more pieces.... Jackets and valances, purses, broaches, and..... of course.....the pieces of my quilt.
Now I have only the demostration to do at the Gallery and I can go back to working on the quilt. I have two drawings done....one a Jack in the Pulpit and the other a Trout Lily.
I hope to post more regularly as I go back to the reason why I started this thing in the first place....to document my quilt.
The slow process of rolling felt is like a meditation. It gives me pause to think about movement, color, texture and everyday life. It helps me remember the simple pleasures. This blog is to be my visual reminder of how I felt.