Thursday, September 29, 2011


Fall is a waning of growth, a cycle of decline with a changing beauty of it's own

and seeds of promise for other seasons to come.

I also dyed some linens and a backing for this feather piece, which shows a little brighter than it actually is, since I took the photo when it was still wet.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Change of Scene

I have been wanting to make silk dupioni chenille for awhile - just for fun - to see what it looks like. The frayed edges are very soft. Next time I will make the spaces between the sewing narrower. Here is a gap of another sort that I saw on a recent day trip:

And some of nature's lines and textured fringe.

And far in the distance, on one of the islands, is my home.

A change in perspective can be so refreshing!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Signed, Stamped and Sealed

'Heartland' is complete, now.

The repurposed handkerchief with the embroidered flowers in the lower left corner seems like the flap of an envelope, to me. For some reason, the handkerchief 'had' to be part of this piece and it was only after I placed it onto the other cloth that I noticed the tiny red heart flower tips - so no wonder, as they were of like mind.

Now I will float a moment to see what wants to emerge, next.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I surprised this visitor looking for food in the flower beds - which are mostly withered with the arrival of fall. And these Canada Geese also remind me of the season, along with the changing colours of the leaves.

But here is a blush of blossom colour that seems especially lush given the time of year.

and I'm continuing to stitch on this one:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Personal Patterns Embedded in Cloth

Yesterday was the last day of the Pattern Design course I've been taking and here is the cloth I made of my personal symbol as the culmination of my learning. The heart and triple spiral within a diamond all encircled, express my philosophy or visual belief system, valuing love, courage, growth, creation, transformation as a woman, truth, beauty, wholeness and eternity - among others. I am pleased that I found a way to make a repeat pattern by hand that expresses the feeling and look that is true to the meaning of it, for me.

Pattern, with it's repeat symbolism and vast ways of being expressed and organized, is a huge language so intrinsic to the roots of humanity as identifying marks offering specific information, yet in spite of - or maybe because of - the vast proliferation, sheer variety and abundance of it today, its significance has been largely lost or dismissed as being purely decorative. Here is a little stitching started in class on a sampler:

Random Order

Stitches are continuing to meander over my blue feather piece, with lots more to come. I am stitching from the backside, using parts of a wave design printed on a panel of fabric beneath this monoprint and it's a surprise when I turn it over to see what I've got on the front. So far, it seems to be working alright with the design. I like the metaphor of stitches rising from beneath the sea like unconscious material becoming visable and offering surprises - maybe recognizable patterns - and all a part of the overall design. And I experimented with shibori on wool:

And on silk satin to see if I could replicate the symbol I'm working with. One potentially very useful idea I had was to use styrofoam meat trays to cut identical heart shapes to use as a resist to the dye. This is a very small piece of thin fabric, so I would have to try a much larger piece with styrofoam shapes to see if they would be firm enough to resist the dye without breaking. But I really prefer cutting my own shapes and not using pre-existing ones because it completely opens up the possibilities for variety.

Here is one other piece I dyed:

I'll do another post to show what else I've been working on this past week.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Touch of Pink

The sunrises lately are so vibrant and I love how the pink fingers of the sun reach to touch a branch here, a roof there.

I have scattered pink, too - and am starting to stitch it down.

Tension of the Opposites

In last week's Pattern Design class, we explored aspects of our individual design with paper and scissors, using the concept of 'Notan'.Notan is a Japanese word for balancing light and dark or positive and negative space. For the exercise below, I tried to create a balanced tension such that I can look at the design and first see black as the foreground and then blink and see the white as the foreground, instead.

And then we moved into colour, using stamps we made of our designs on fabric.

This one is on a sheer and left the same image on the plastic below as it seeped through, so I made a monoprint, too.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Renewing What I Have

Coleslaw for dinner, so why not pop the wilted outer leaves into a dye bath with some linen? Almost looks like an octopus lurking in there... I got this soft violet colour and the other fabrics here are ecualyptus bark dyed and plain white for comparision.

And then I moved on to cherry bark, using shibori techniques and getting a different and deeper brown, which I like.

When I put a variety of small bits of fabric into the same dye pot later, it was nearly spent and here's the much lighter colour it produced.

I also came up with a pattern on paper that I like and tried out variations of it and am thinking about how I will translate it to fabric. I'm basing my repeat pattern on a very meaningful symbol I developed from four shapes about ten years ago for my business card that has also been a signature on my quilts.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Trial and Error

Natural dyeing with local plants can be like spinning a wheel, hoping for a certain result and sometimes getting lucky. I'm still working with wool and eucalyptus but not getting the bright orange colour I am trying to replicate, in spite of varying my methods. Seeing sheep, other animals and the displays at the Saanich Fair last night was a welcome and completely different kind of dip into local colour.

Here are some of the leaves I collected and am using.

And the result, while still lovely, is largely brown:

So my idea for how I'm putting these together is changing, but there's more to come from the dye pot...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Seeing Patterns

The sun in the sky last night reminded me of the orange leaf shapes on the wool I've been dyeing. Here is the front and back of the eucalyptus/oak dyeing using the same leaves as in the previous post and getting a more muted look:

And some stamped symmetry I was exploring in yesterday's class.

I also did further oak and eucalyptus experimentation - the one on the far right is on silk velvet and the leaf images are less defined because of the nap.

I used up all my leaves, so today I found and gathered more - and also was fortunate to find several chunks of different kinds of bark to try.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dream Dyeing

I am in love with this and the wild thrill I feel about it has me dreaming of what it might grow into. It reminds me of the flicker feather I embroidered and all that symbolizes to me. Here is the other side:

These leaves had already dyed silk in a previous post and I've got them working on some more cashmere to see what happens next.

More exploration of symmetry on paper with a stamp I made in today's Pattern class.