Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Lazy day!

Today was a lazy day. We were supposed to bring our own work to do, but somehow no-one was in the mood for working! Here we are browsing some books instead.

Carol and Helen were the only ones working. Carol was knitting a gorgeous blue scarf to sell at the EWES (Epping Weavers Embroiderers & Spinners) sale of work next weekend at the Epping Creative Centre, Dence Park, Epping (in Sydney).
Helen was working on an embroidered work that she brings out when she has nothing else to do.
Isn’t it lovely? She asks if you can see the missed stitch! Can you? She knows it’s there and was just about to fix it when I caught her with my camera!

Part of the laziness was probably due to post-Forum blues. Some of our members attended the Textile Fibre Forum at Orange last week and had brought back amazing class samples to share.
Tricia took a class with Hilary Petersen. The class was quite complex, but Tricia became interested in the eco-dyeing and focused on that. These cocoons and “stuff” were dyed in a bath of prunus leaves with alum as the mordant.
These are pieces of mulberry bark. The left side piece was dyed in a bath of bark and ferrous sulphate; the right was dyed in a red onion skin bath.

Don’t the red onion skins give an interesting rich colour? I wouldn’t have expected lime green! But it's quite different if the red onion skins are placed in the folds and the fabric is dyed in another bath. This one was dyed in a bath of brown onion skins, with the red onion skins in the folds.

This one was dyed in a bath of unknown eucalyptus leaves with cheap black yarn wrapped randomly. The mordant was copper sulphate. The black yarn has left delicate black patterning, rather like the bark of scribbly gums.

This one was dyed with bark and ferrous sulphate, and sticks were individually tied inside it, giving the witchetty grub effect.

The bark and ferrous sulphate bath used for the mulberry bark above was used to dye these ones. The first had cinerea leaves inside; the second, red onion skins.

This one was dyed in the same bath of young eucalyptus leaves and copper sulphate, wrapped around a bamboo mat.

(I hope I have these samples right!) This is just a glimpse of the samples she made. It’s astonishing to see how much colour variation there is in dye baths made with natural products you’d find in your garden.

Maz took a workshop with Kerr Grabowski, the queen of deconstructed screen printing. Her samples were just amazing. In this technique, you create a unique screen with dye and alginate, using any of several methods to put pattern on the screen. You can paint directly on the screen, but you can also use leaves, cut-outs, contact paper, fibres, anything you can imagine, to put the initial pattern in the dye on the screen by pulling a print over them. Then, once it is dry, this colour is released by printing with just the alginate. Each screen produces multiple prints as the dye is slowly released, and no two are exactly the same. The damp fabrics are then batched in plastic bags in the sun, to set the dye.

This screen was prepared using leaves and drawn elements.

This one used contact paper, strands from a mop, play coins and cut-out paper.
This time she used the same method but the coloured alginate in the well of the screen was taken out after the first pull, and colour and more alginate added for the next print.
This one uses the same method again but the blue was painted on afterwards.
Here, Maz used cut-out stencils as a base. The two colours were mixed with the alginate and spooned onto the screen, mixing on the screen when the initial print was taken.
It’s a fascinating process, since it takes away the primary characteristic of screen printing, the repetition of the same image exactly the same each time, and allows the possibility of serendipitous effects. The result is a series of prints that are clearly related but not identical.

Maz also brought along her finished toran. Some ATASDA members have been participating in a round robin activity, as part of the run-up to the Palm House exhibition, Voyages of the Imagination, to be held in August 2010 at the Sydney Botanic Gardens. The round robin theme was Passages of Intrigue, and the structure was a hanging to go over a doorway, like the torans found in some Asian countries. Here’s the front:
And here’s the back:
Maz printed the elephants along the top. Aren’t they gorgeous? Hopefully, more ATASDA members' torans will be available to enjoy on their website soon.
So we may have been lazy this week, but hard work has been done! Perhaps we were just due for a rest?

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