Millenial Pink / NPR

NPR is my default listening especially while driving so I was intrigued when the question on Ask Me Another was "when will Millennial Pink" go away.   The answer was no time soon. It seems it has taken fashion by storm and looks good on most people. When I got home I googled it and thought it looked a lot like "Ballet Slipper Pink" which Pantone had pushed for spring of 2017. Well which ever, it is a color that I have been using in lots of my more recent scarves and I am loving it.

It plays well with others and allows me to continue to explore my passion for building layers and textures.  These are posted in sequential order. This bottom one is still on the table batching. This is a cropped image of the center. It is a 60" square. I just love how versatile this color is in combination with a full range of other colors. Here's to #Millennial Pink .

Complements to the Rescure

When I left yesterday I was hoping that I would hate the blue and red border less when I returned today to wash it out. Alas over night batching did nothing to make me like this better. So I had to resort to my risky but handy technique of calling in COMPLEMENTS TO THE RESCUE!

I decided to roll a blue green along the boarder and while I was at it I added diagonals to visually connect from one side to the other. All a little scary as I had liked what was there.

Decided to just save a small strip of the blue and red. The new dyes are sill very wet in this photo.

It is helpful that I have worked enough with the dyes to realize how much lighter they will dry. But that still remains a bit of a guess.

I am much happier now, and think I can leave this alone to batch in peace. I will post after it is washed out. The white that you see in the dark blue violet loops is soda ash. I always wonder how much my light blue drop cloth influences my color choices? A question for another day.

Connecting the Dots

hand painted with screen filler

l have been working a lot with the idea of layers and am really enjoying making simple screens using screen filler and sometimes screen filler and drawing fluid. The screen you see on the bottom of the image is straight screen filler and it allowed me to print the red through the negative space.

I have printed this screen the length of the fabric and left the space between the image and the frame blank, as the image does not make an aligned repeat. Instead I am just filling in the missing pieces by hand and creating my own "faux repeat". The image on the left shows the blank space the large central loop on the bottom was hand painted.  You can see on the left that I have just added more shapes. This solves the problem or repeat for me and allows me to just make it up as I go along. If you look to the image on the right you'll notice that I have added additional loops in the empty space.
It is a one of a kind piece so why not improvise as you go along?

I am heading to Ireland for a workshop in a week and the center looping screen makes me think of Celtic Art meets up with The Jetsons. You get the sense of a repeat without it actually being one. Can't wait to see how this raw silk washes out.  It is 45"x 72" I love working in layers.

Viscosity Dyeing

My husband is a printmaker and has taught me a smidgen about viscosity printing. It involves using different viscosities of oil based ink in a monoprint or intaglio process in which the thickest inks act almost as a resist to the thinner inks. This may be completely wrong, but it is my blog and my memory so I am going with it.

I have experienced a similar and very surprising aspect of this while working with MX dyes on silk. So for now at least I am thinking of this as "Viscosity Dyeing" I am working on a series of pieces that remind me of tapestries or Persian carpets. This is close up from the center of the piece.

The ochre reminded me of the lush tightly knotted carpets and I was fascinated that it overpowered the blues and just shines right through. I am guessing that this is because the strongly mixed ochre has filled up all the dye sites.  I liked the rug and border aspect so I have continued to explore this. 

Michael Olszewski

my work with Michael at Haystack

I had the great good fortune to spend 2 weeks studying shibori with Michael at Haystack in Summer of 2014.

Now I am excited to see his work that is part of a textile masters show until Nov. 24th at the Snyderman -Works gallery.  It is a beautiful show.

Michael's craftsmanship is flawless but never the point of the works. All the works are evocative and satisfying. His paintings/drawings/collages are made using the visual qualities of the fabrics. Marks are created by stitching, crocheting, knitting. The works are so elegant, but again that is not the point.

Second Dye Bath on Cotton Gauze

I realized I have no images of all the pieces soaking in their second dye bath. I repositioned all the clamped resists and soaked all the pieces in a deep violet mixture of mx. I will take you through the opening of the gauze piece. Please forgive the blurry images. I was excited. This gauze took up much more blue... so it has only violet where it bled under the clamps. Perhaps it was because the silk grabbed the boysenberry in the dye mix before this cotton gauze got a chance.

So much to learn... each element creates it own pattern all of it controlled by the fold. And of course each fabric a different feel and look.

Opening The Packages - Hemp fold

Many of these shots are blurry. They were meant to help me remember what I did. But there is still much to be learned from them. I tried to take a shot of each step. This first piece goes from shifting the clamps and resist piece in preparation for the second dye bath... thru to finish.

I love how the purples separate and seep into the whites.  The silk once again grabbed more of the warmer colors. It took up more yellow in the first dye bath and more boysenberry in this one. I am guessing that those colors were smaller or faster moving and the blues took their time. Look at the post on the cotton gauze to see how very different the purples are.

New Love!

Me & my man

I made this shirt this spring using a fold that I learned at Haystack with Michael Olszewski. When I taught it to my studio assistants we called it the Michael fold.  This summer I took Elin Nobles Fold and Clamp class at Pro Chem. It was wonderful and we learned this and many other folds. Ellen calls this one formerly known as the Michael fold  the rotating square.
The dropped pattern makes this really special to me. The shirt is a mystery fabric from Jomar, but this one was dyed with acid dyes so I suspect that it is silk.

hemp folded pieces wetting out in plastic bin

Practice makes perfect... or at least gets you going again. These are a variety of fabrics soaking to wet out. I swore that I was going to start practicing as soon as I got home from the workshop so that I would be able to cement the new folds into my repertoire. The best laid plans... it was over a month until I got back to it and it was really a challenge for me to remember. So I spent two days folding these small pieces of ( yellow, viscose) white silk , White bamboo and silk and white cotton into the hemp fold. Here they are soaking in a plastic bin to wet out.

all the pieces soaking in MX mix of yellows and green.

Each took up the color in its own way. I knew this would happen but was still surprised at how different each was. The viscose dyes beautifully and swell up more than the others. The silk grabbed much more of the yellow in this dye bath. I learned form Jan Myers Newbury that silk grabs more of the dye or takes it up more quickly and that is why in her workshop we were only allowed to work with cotton. She also had us mix certain colors and the silk would take it up differently. This was demonstrated below. 

I changed the placement of the resists on each piece and then overdyed them. Will post the results tomorrow.  Even though I knew intellectually that they were going to take the dye differently it still surprised me.  The cotton gauze was much bluer than the broadcloth like cotton bandana. The silk was just so much more yellow. Never a dull moment in the dye studio. 

from left, cotton gauze, cotton, silk crepe, bamboo, all were white except for the yellow viscose

Leomonade from Lemons

 I am aiming to record my thought and working process. I seldom start from a plan other than whether the work will be for the wall or the body. In this case I am making two tight twisted seersucker shawls.

I used different screens but the same dyes to build the two scarves. Each day I would screen and hand paint then allow the dyes to batch over night. Sometimes longer.

Unfortunately after I washed them out I lost almost all of the deep greens.


So I rolled them up and over dyed using acid dyes. An exciting new approach for me.

Finished scarf.. tied. The colors were dreadful after the wash out.  So awful that I neglected to take a picture. SIGH, try to image pale but harsh colors. I had forgotten that mixed MX gets stale and loses strength quickly during a Philadelphia summer.

So it was acid dye to the rescue. This one was edge dyed by rolling it up and only dyes the outer edges. I lost the lovely orange stripes but gained some great blue depth. 
In the right photo you can see the finished scarf draped - notice the deep green of the center linear print became an olive drab.

 This one started with the same folded edge dyeing but I was still not happy so after creating the deeper blue edge the whole piece got dip dyed. The orginal MX printed red ( one of my favorites from the "cabbage rose series" was strong enough to hold its own against the acid dyes.
I am a real fan of edge shading /ombre and love the added depth the acid dyes created.

Twist with Color

Can't wait to see how this color dries. I know it will not be as intense, but I suspect the silk can still take more color, so if need be I will add more.  Here is todays work on Twisting.

Twisting and Turning

It is incredibly humid with everything sticky. I was working on some new small triangles and made a few new deconstructed screens, but it was just too humid for anything to dry. I had a new piece of silk stretched and waiting. And luckily I just jumped in with an idea I had the other day. Why not just use a brush and paint black lines down on the silk? And so I did. 
I did a free drawing across the big square of crinkled chiffon. 

Once the silk was activated by the curving black lines I grabbed my newest favorite tool. "Roots only" and just went to town. Can't wait for it to dry enough to had additional layers tomorrow.


Had a good time this weekend working with my intern and showing her how to make monoprints using deconstructed screens on Reeves BFK.

We spent Saturday making the screens taking rubbings and drawing on the mesh with thickened dyes. We let them dry overnight and went off to buy the paper.

Any good printmaking paper will do.

This print had a second layer using a thermofax as well as being brushed directly on the screen. You will see remnants of these red stripes printed on the image below. The images are small... only 16"x10" so this moved along quickly.

These two images are fairly early in the print order you can tell because the hand drawn marks are mostly white. The dye was thicker there so it acted as a resist.

Both of these have a second layer added to them while they were still damp. The one to the right was brushed over and the circles were stamped on.

The print on the right shows more of the hand draw red lines they had begun to break down and so printed more than acting as a resist. This has shapes stamped and rolled on top.

Well not sure this might actually have been the third pull... since I think the red line is still acting more as a resist. I always mean to number the papers... maybe next time. Just like this process I tend to be very impromptu and improvisational.

Twas a great way to spend the weekend! Thanks for looking.

Big Day!

I finally got to see these panels hung as a unit the day before the wedding. Here they are as the guests are beginning to fill the white space. The panels were hung 3" apart and with the center panel hung 6" further forward than the two side panels. They are only lit with natural light in this photo and it was a very overcast day. But this shot gives a closer sense of their true colors.

Here is a view of the brand new Mr. and Mrs. I was tickled at how well the panels worked with the colors of the wedding party and for making this plain white space seem more spiritual.

Off to enjoy the party. For once I do not have dye on my hands!

So now all the excitement and work is complete and the panels are wrapped and stored under my print table  awaiting another opportunity. If you know of any couple that needs a backdrop let me know!

It was a wonderful day and a beautiful ceremony. 

Spring Beginnings/ June Wedding

Hello and Happy Spring from Studio 207!

Take a sneak peak into what was accomplished today!  The following 14 foot and 9 inch silk panel in front of you, is the first segment of a three-panel piece. This is the center panel and there will be a12.5' panel on either side. These will be hung atceiling height from a 13.5' ceiling... so the dark green on the center panel will disappear into the folds as it gathers on the floor. It is my intent that this reference kimono. The flowers will extend across the top of all three panels... and extend further down on the right hand side. These panels will provide the backdrop for my daughters wedding this June. Her bridesmaids are wearing colors in this color range of the flowers.  This wall hanging was entirely hand painted, and rolled using  MX dye a small amount of soy wax resist in the flowers . Take a look for a visual explanation:

Rolling vertical stripes to create a sense of background and space. The background color of green, will appear subdued with the addition of the newly rolled purple-sage. The deep emerald at the bottom was deconstructed silk screen, but will not be visible when it is installed as the fabric will puddle on the floor.

This piece will stand nearly 3 times my size upon installation.  It's moments like these that require a ladder to gain a fresh perspective.

The variety of textures one can receive from 2 similar sponge rollers is always surprising!  The dark lines atop the larger stripes have been added, a more purpley-sage, to boost presence and volume of the stripes against the yellow background. 

Et Voila !

Double Your Pleasure

As the long gray days of February continue I am doubling my pleasure by creating and wearing multiple scarves at once.

I love how this looks like a flower when wrapped. It is very comfortable and warm. 

Each scarf has the same serged edging so those colors act to unify them. I also used the same acid dyes on each of them so they are linked in that way too. It was my first venture screening acid dyes and despite soaking in vinegar to avoid having the sodium alginate clump it still was more of a challenge to remove than it is with MX and soda ash. Part of that may be the surface of the stone washed crepe. I will have to continue to experiment. 

The stone washed circle scarf is 72" and can be wrapped three times around your neck.

The wool knit jersey is shorter and can be wrapped twice.

Stainless Steel Love

It is truly love... Not only is Big Steel big and beautiful, she is also capable of storing most of my screens and allowing me to wash all of them right here in the studio.

She is such a graceful multi-tasker  she came with one set of faucets, but had holes for two more so the plumber devised a great addition and I can spray with wild abandon. This is a real help as the sink I had been using down the hall had no spray, as I am sure you can imagine spraying the glop off the screens is really satisfying. 

One does have to use some restraint or send small globs of thickened dye everywhere. But now that I have the washer and dryer I can just grab a handy old towel and mop up the mess. The artfully draped black pipe is the drain for the washer. I am still working on getting the dryer vented out the window, but as I have only used it 2x that has not been such a problem. I am still fiddling with the temperature setting on the hot water heat as I would like to make the water a bit hotter. You can see the two blue panels they cover the thermostat, so I will have to get at that. 

And the final joy is that The Orgasmatron is now on wheels and he can hover near Big Steel and the soon to be dryer vent while steaming and then scoot off to a more convenient spot when not engaged. To say I am thrilled by my new additions does not really express my joy, but it will have to do. Now home to make a yummy Thai curry. Life is good!

Thank you Craigslist

After several years of half-hearted searching I found the sink of my dreams. She was delivered today and I will have to come up with a name for her... I currently think of her as Big Steel... really almost big steal as she was most affordable. All stainless... 6 feet long.. the basin is 18" deep by 36" x26" will accommodate most of my screens. I am told she began her career at Jefferson Hospital, I bought  her from a closing restaurant. She is lovely! Now no more excuses... I will purchase a washer and dryer and a new hot water heater.  I did go and price things out at Loews yesterday. No more dragging fabric home to wash and screens down the hall to scrub. How exciting!

Between the bullet steamer affectionately known as the Orgasmatron and my new sink I am in stainless steel dyeing heaven. If you look to behind the steamer you will see the sink that is being replaced, adequate, but certainly not in the same league as Big Steel. Even more pathetic is the tiny hot water heater nestled in between the leg of the sink and my blue plastic kitty litter pan ( good for all kinds of things). By the time the water got out of the faucet I was out of hot water. 

I will keep you posted on my plumbing progress.. today I will just look lovingly at the new sink!

Hope springs eternal

Even with slush a sunny day is beautiful.

Looking East 5pm

Looking East 5pm

Spent the better part of the day visiting my old stomping grounds observing student teachers in Upper Darby. Nice to see old friends and watch student teachers learn how to make art available to young students. Nicer still to leave before the end of the school day and get to the studio in time to do a little work! I am sure there is a way to eliminate the sun glare on the window, but it helps capture that fleeting time when the shadows stretch blue across the pink snow just before the whole field turns blue.

I did get here in time to take a few snap shots of the fruits of my "spring cleaning". I found small pieces of deconstructed and clamp dyed shibori that I could make into pieced scarves. Have not had time to have them professionally shot but will share them hot off the serger.

Clouds, blue sky and bronze

Clouds, blue sky and bronze

This shibori clamp dyed raw silk had been in my sample drawer for at least a year. It's use hadn't suggested itself to me until last week. I find the combination of colors and textures really exciting. The raw silk is lined with a deep sage colored silk gauze. 

I only had a small piece of this deconstructed stonewashed crepe, but it was enough to form this new piece. The serged lines are really pleasing to me through the sheer pale chiffon.

Copper and Seafoam.jpg