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.

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