Sunday, 16 September 2012

Shoes, scarves and screens

What a diverse collection of work came along to Fibrecircle this week!

 First, the shoes…Carol brought along these fabulous shoes that she’d created.
So simple and so effective! I like it that they are not symmetrical – similar but not the same. That works so much better than perfect symmetry, like machine design, would have done.

Bev, Nola and Tricia have all been dyeing with plant materials.

For this one, Bev used a bobby pin to poke fabric through the holes of beads, and dyed it with leaves from the gum tree in her parents’ garden.
The point of using a bobby pin is that it’s soft-tipped, so you don’t pierce the fabric. This method is way faster than tying beads individually, although the results are softer than ties.

 The next two cloths were dyed with the same gum leaves, but quite a lot of copper sulphate was added.
This one was tied with wood blocks as a resist. Isn’t it interesting that the colour is so different? It's noticeably more yellow.

 Her second bath was Eucalyptus cinerea. This one had no mordant, just dyed in the cinerea.
These two were dyed twice, the second time with some of the gum leaves in the bath, to change the colour. Again, no mordant was used.
These two were dyed in the same dye bath of cinerea, but the first was wrapped around a pipe of unknown metal. This obviously acted as a mordant, changing the colour of the bath.

This second one had beads tied into the cloth as a resist.

Tricia and Nola have been dyeing wool etamine and silk scarves. Their first pot was wattle flowers from Acacia longifolia, Sydney Golden Wattle. The flowers were stripped from the leaves and only the mature flowers were used. They hoped that doing this would result in a clearer yellow than they’d previously achieved with wattle flowers.
This silk scarf of Nola's was folded and clamped with L-shaped wooden blocks. This is the colour that was produced by the wattle. It’s not quite beige but it’s definitely on the dull side of yellow.

However, wool yarn gave a much more interesting colour.
This is a more obvious yellow. The yarn was rolled around two tongue depressors, which were folded back on themselves and tied at each end, not on the yarn.

The second pot consisted of “assorted gum leaves” from Harris Markets. These were grey rounded leaves that they thought might be E. cinerea,  suggesting an orange or red dye bath might result. The pot was boiled for an hour and a half and alum was added, with a further 1/2 hour boiling. The dye bath began as yellow and the mordant was added when it turned orange.

This silk scarf was folded lengthwise in four, and then as a concertina to match a large diamond block. Smaller diamond blocks were clamped on, before being dyed in the gum leaves pot.
The cloth outside the small blocks was dyed while the cloth under them wasn’t, giving this delicate line pattern.

This wool etamine length had seven rows of small beads tied into each end in an offset pattern, intended to yield diamond-patterned dots, and was dyed in the cinerea pot.
This is how the wool yarn dyed in the gum leaves.
The white 2-ply wool yarn was plaited onto two tongue depressors, which were folded together and tied at each end, without tying on the yarn. Yummy! Several members were happy to take this one home, if Nola didn't want it!

The third pot was made with shavings of Samoan hardwood, from Nola’s husband’s workshop. They were left to steep in water for several days before being boiled. No mordant was added, because the bath was so dark and it seemed likely to contain a high level of tannin.
This scarf was originally dyed yellow-orange with ironbark leaves. It was folded into triangles and clamped with triangle blocks held with tongue depressors to prevent string marks.

This is the same 2-ply white wool yarn as was used previously. In this bath, it’s a deep chocolate brown.
The next two silk scarves were dyed twice. This scarf was dyed fawn in a pot of wattle flowers and leaves. Then it had teardrop-shaped wooden beads tied into the ends, and crochet cotton was wrapped firmly around the beads along their length. The cloth was also thread wrapped for 1/2in, about 8in from each end.
You can clearly see the fine lines from the fine crochet cotton, making a pattern in the original fawn colour.

This silk scarf was originally dyed pale yellow with Helichrysum petiolare. It was wrapped around two large washers and dyed in the wattle bath but it didn’t seem to be very successful, so it was placed in the Samoan hardwood pot while it was still wet.
The result is an interesting three-coloured scarf, with shades of yellow, beige and brown.

 Tricia’s first one was wool etamine, folded in a complicated design and clamped with blocks, and dyed in the gum leaf bath.
It really has a patchwork look, doesn’t it?

This silk scarf was folded lengthwise and clamped with L-shaped blocks. It was dyed with the Samoan hardwood.
The blocks give a very strong graphic pattern, don't they?
This one was knotted before dyeing in the Samoan hardwood.
Tricia says she may redye this one.

This one had cinerea leaves clamped inside the folds and was dyed in the Samoan hardwood bath.
The colours are absolutely gorgeous.

 This scarf was dyed twice. First, it was folded in four lengthwise and then in 60-degree triangles, and dyed in the Samoan hardwood bath. Once it was dry, it was refolded into three lengthwise and again at 60-degrees, and dyed in a red onion skin and alum bath.
The first pattern is much lighter, perhaps because of the lack of mordant in the Samoan hardwood pot. It's almost a shadow of the other pattern.

This silk scarf was also dyed twice. It was pole-wrapped lengthwise and dyed in the cinerea bath. After it had dried, Tricia folded it lengthwise, pole-wrapped it again diagonally and dyed it in red onion skins and alum.
This silk scarf was concertina’d into six lengthwise and then clamped with a square block. The wattle bath didn’t seem to be doing much, so she moved it, wet, into a pot of shavings of Samoan hardwood.
Here's a close-up:
Just like Nola’s one, moving the scarf from one pot to another resulted in an interesting blend of colours.

This silk scarf was clamped with blocks and dyed in the Samoan hardwood pot. Then it was twisted repeatedly until it turned back onto itself and tied, and dyed in the red onion skins, a few days later.
The colours on this are incredible, ranging from cream through brown to purple.
These scarves that have been dyed a second time seem to yield really interesting patterns. It seems as if, sometimes, the original dye acts as a resist to the second dye. We’ve noticed this happening when natural dyeing is redyed with fibre reactive dyes, so it’s interesting to see it happening here. I wonder if it relates to whether the dye is substantive or adjective? Substantive dyes don’t require a mordant to keep the colour in the cloth. Most Australian eucalypts produce a substantive dye from their leaves and bark, probably because they contain high levels of tannin. Other substantive dyes come from indigo, turmeric and lichens. However, most other plant varieties are adjective – they need the addition of a mordant to make the colour fast. Of course, we are using tap water, which, according to Sydney Water information for this area, contains chlorine and fluoride, and trace levels of Trihalomethanes, aluminium, ammonia, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silica, sodium and calcium, which may also have an impact.

 Maz was working on her piece for the Beyond the Surface exhibition in QLD next month. It consists of four small works on the theme of Seasons, based on the techniques she learned in a recent workshop with Effie Mitrofanis.  This one is autumn…

…and this one is summer.
Bev was working on cards for sale at an upcoming exhibition of the Calligraphy Society.
If you’d like one of these cards or to have a look at the works, the exhibition, The Marriage of Art and Lettering, will run from 28 Sep – 6 Oct at the See St Gallery, Meadowbank TAFE, See St, Meadowbank, NSW.

 Tricia was going on with her Tunisian crochet.
You've seen this one before!

Nola was cutting paper stencils for her silk screens, to use in discharging some of her dyed fabrics next week.
She showed us some fabric she’d discharged using the same method. It began like this:
..but after printing with the discharge paste and silk screen and the paper stencil it looked like this:
And this one:
..changed to this:
Certainly makes the fabric looks very different, doesn’t it? Hard to believe it’s the same fabric. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of this technique.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

More dyeing and postcards

Finally spring is with us, and the weather is warming up. Look at these gorgeous orchids from Tricia’s plant.

It seems to be taking the whole flowering concept to heart, especially as these are only a fraction of the flowers it's producing.
Spring also means better weather for dyeing and other outdoor activities. Tricia and Nola have been doing yet more dyeing with Drimarene-K fibre reactive dyes, using the Four Minute Rapid Dyeing recipe from Batik Oetoro.

Tricia dyed these silk scraps, by folding and clamping and then pouring dye mixture over them. The one in the centre was string-tied.

This silk scarf was gathered randomly and tied with string before dyeing.
This piece of dupioni silk was folded and umbrella’d around a chopstick, and tied.
 The corners are folded in to make a square, and then the corners are folded back the other way to make another square. The chopstick is put in the middle and the folds are arranged evenly and then tied. Doesn’t it create interesting patterns?

 This wool voile was dyed originally with wattle to a pale yellow-beige.
When the yellow and weak turquoise fibre reactive dyes were poured over, the naturally-dyed areas acted as a resist, so those lines have stayed strong. 

Here’s a silk skein, also dyed with weak turquoise and yellow.
It has gorgeous colour variations!

 This piece of silk georgette was eco-dyed beige. When the red fibre reactive dye was poured over, the natural dyeing again acted as a resist.
That's something that has a lot of possibilities. If blocks are clamped on the fabric for eco-dyeing, causing a resist, then those areas will take up dye, if the cloth is later dyed with fibre reactive dyes.

Here’s another one that was originally dyed with natural plant dyes, after Shibori-style stitching.
You can see the pattern of stitching in stripes at the end of the scarf. It was over-dyed with turquoise and yellow fibre reactive dyes, which have picked up the neutral areas of the original dyeing. The colours look muted in the image but it will be a fabulously useful scarf. It looked great against black but it also looked wonderful with other colours, as it was passed around the group.

Nola dyed this silk georgette scarf but she’s not very keen on it. The green is beautiful but the other colours are muddy. She says it will probably be blocked and redyed, or perhaps discharged.
She’s much happier with this silk yarn, which is a gorgeous variegated purple, from pouring over blue and red dye.
This wool yarn is a gorgeous heathery blend of colours.
It was tied around tongue depressors, the ends were dipped into yellow and blue, and then green, blue and yellow dyes were poured over the laid-out skein, keeping the dipped ends out of the dye.

This wool scarf looks almost like it’s been eco-dyed. It's mostly red-brown but it has deep areas of red and blue.
It was loosely gathered up and tied with string, before the dyes were poured over. It really is quite stunning.

 So what did we learn from this process? If true variegation is wanted, dipping works better than pouring. Natural dyes seem to act as a resist to fibre reactive dyes. And, unsurprisingly, a moment's thought about colour theory is useful before dyeing with multiple colours.

As always, we swapped postcards this meeting. For what is probably the first time ever, everyone present had a postcard, and Helen had left one to swap, even though she wasn’t actually with us! Amazing!

Tricia’s postcard was made with transfer dyeing.
She used garden plants, ferns and clover, as the resist and moved them slightly before printing again in a second colour. She added beads and glitz as highlights.

Here’s Helen’s postcard.
She’s used her signature rug canvas, machine stitched, and built up layers with fabric and added a button.

Jan made her first postcard for the group this month.

She used a piece of her gorgeous Shibori-dyed cloth along with her rust-dyed fabric, which she’d used for her alphabet letter work for Pittsburgh. It’s embellished with spun tissue paper and buttons.

Nola made another of her Forest postcards.

It was hand painted in layers of transparent paints.

Maz made a postcard from one of her samples from the workshop she did recently with Effie Mitrofanis, which you saw here.

It really glows, doesn’t it?

Carol made her postcard from a base of painted fusible web.
She added appliqué, beads and other embellishments.

When you look at these postcards, you can really see the kind of work that interests each member of Fibrecircle. We’re all so different!

Last of all, here’s our collaborative work on display at the Fragment exhibition.

It looked great! We were all quite excited to see our work on display.