Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Arashi Silk Scarf

Last weekend I made a new arashi dyed silk scarf.  I did this one a little different than I usually make them.  I soaked the fabric first in soda ash, and let it dry a little outside on the lawn, with rocks on top, so it wouldn't blow away, because it was pretty windy out there.  Then I wrapped it around the PVC  pole and squirted Wasabi,  turquoise and fuchsia dyes onto it. Usually I don't do the pre-painting, but wanted to try it this time.

Here is the wrapped scarf on the PVC pole waiting to be unwrapped and rinsed.

The fuchsia dye really took over.  I tend to forget what a hog it is for grabbing the fiber molecules and taking over.

Here's a closeup of a turquoise area I really liked.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

In the Garden

Eight and a half days left of school.  Yeah!!!!  I remember when I was a kid in school and I thought the teachers must be so sad as the end of the school year came to a close.  Like, what would they do without us all summer?  I'm enjoying just thinking about all they dyeing, gardening, etc, that I'll finally be able to get to.  Meanwhile, this weekend I'm bombarded by projects to grade before the end.

I did have time to dye a scarf last night.  It's curing right now and I should have pictures of it here soon.

Last night about 7pm, the cacti blossoms in our backyard opened up.  They have amazing, trumpet-like large blooms.  They can be encouraged to flower by watering them for a week or so.  They never last very long but are so exquisite.

I love the mix of the reds and greens of the tall, cylindrical cacti behind the flowering ones. I love the contrast of such delicate colors and shapes attached to such prickly cores.  I  should know all their names, but they're my husband's hobby, so that's my excuse.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all my readers.  I am blessed to be the mother of two wonderful boys, now men,  and to have had a wonderful mother in my life.  My mom taught me many things, sewing just being one of them.  She taught our whole girl scout troop to sew.  Our first project was to make granny gowns and matching caps.  Talk about stylin!  She also taught me to embroider when I was about 10 years old, something I still enjoy today.  She was very thrifty, having grown up during the depression and was a firm believer in saving and recycling everything.  It would really crack me up when she and my dad would arrive to visit us and she would give me the roll and butter from her meal on the plane that she didn't eat.  She couldn't even throw that away.  Now they don't even give you meals unless you pay an arm and a leg for it.  One of her favorite adages, that I still hear in my mind is "Anything worth doing, is worth doing well."

So today, since my studio is in transition due to my son moving back and reclaiming his old bedroom, my former studio, I am playing with images of mom to make into thermofaxes for silkscreens.

This is picture of mom before she was married.

Here the same photo after making adjustments to it in photoshop.  I'll use this one to make a photocopy and then run it through a thermofax machine to create a silkscreen.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Block Carving and Printing on Paper and Fabric

The weekend is when I usually have time to post a new blog, but this weekend was pretty busy.  On Saturday I taught a workshop through our guild on how to carve and print a block on paper and fabric.

 On Sunday, we helped one of our sons move back home into his old room, which had been my studio since he moved out about four years ago.  It's been very hard to give up that space. I've really enjoyed having a place to call my own, where I can just shut the door on the mess.  But, you got to help your kids out. My parents took me back to help me regroup, when I was in my twenties, so I'm just playing it forward.  He does have a job, so I don't think he'll be here too long.  I plan to just enjoy the time with him, as I know I'll be missing him as soon as he leaves again.  So all my stuff, which of course, turned out to be more than I thought I had, had to be boxed up and moved into the tack room next to the barn.  There's only a few more weeks of school left and then I'll have to time to work on the tack room and make it work as a  temporary studio for the summer.

Back to the Block Carving and Printing.

I really enjoy block carving and printing. In college, we had an assignment to make a large print of a favorite local building.  I chose the Milwaukee War Memorial and Art Center.  It was a great piece of architecture with a wonderful collection of art that I enjoyed visiting often.  Here's my print and block of it.

When carving a block, you need to remember that the print will be the mirror image of the block, 
so for text to be readable in the print, it needs to be carved in reverse.  This one is a large one, 18 by 24 inches.  It's so old, it's getting a little cracked in place. 

 Here's another one from my college days.  I don't have the block anymore, 
just some of the prints I made

What a creative, fun group of women turned out for my class on block carving and printing.  They made some great stuff.  Here's some pictures of what they did.

This is Jan's print, which has a lot of great movement and pattern.  All these blocks were the 2 x 2 inch ones and then depending how you turned them you could get some great secondary images where the designs meet in the center.  Jan went on to carve and print a wonderful Aztec bird design.

The three above are Sheryl's blocks and prints.  Great use of negative and positive space.  Removing the negative areas of a block with care and thought can add a lot to your design, 
in terms of movement and texture.

 Above is fabric printed by Kathy and her curved spiral block. She used Pebeo Setacolor copper metallic paint.  Looks great, doesn't it? 

This is one I printed in a class in Oregon ant the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts 
in a great class taught by Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer. 
 There's a couple of layers of surface design here; potato dextrin and the block printing.

Hope you're inspired  to get out those carving tools and start creating.