Thursday, May 31, 2012

Backyard Bounty

 It's been a grey day out and while I was in my yard to pick a colourful bouquet, I noticed some of the flowers are fading.
 I returned for my basket, thinking to gather fallen and fading blooms and put them to use colouring silk.
 The peonies are just beginning to show themselves, but I luckily had petals of the same kind ready to use from a bunch I'd  been given and here is a close up of the result:
 And those orange poppies?  They gave a much subtler hue.

Here is the peony piece and the one beneath was a mixture of  azaleas, rhododendrons and a variety of others.
I would like to make another garment using some of the flower fabric.

Indigo Mandalas

I've been dyeing a few more mandalas - but I think the indigo vat needs some adjusting as I'm not getting the darker blues.
The one I like best so far is the one below - but it would look much better with some darker blue - there's an inner star in the center that didn't come out clearly.
 I have signed up for Glennis Dolce and Richard Carbin's Indigo Mandala on-line workshop, which begins tomorrow.  I'm hoping to learn more - maybe I could do a daily dyed mandala as a sort of meditation.  I have explored multi-coloured mandalas before with dye, coloured pencils, felts, fabric, and paint - and maybe I will combine the indigo with other natural dyes to see what that's like.
This is a close up of a piece of a lace shirt that no longer fits that I dipped in the indigo.  The threads that stayed white must be polyester, and look like the sky today which is an overcast white with no blue!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Growing Colour

I was out to Sidney today to see 'Confluence II', a very enjoyable show put on by the fibre art group 'Colour Connection'.
Here is Kristen Rohr with some of her beautiful map pieces that include routes traveled by young salmon.
And Susan Duffield had a variety of gorgeous stitched, natural dyed pieces, as well as this one she was hand stitching, coloured with indigo and madder.
Susan has been growing her own indigo for years and generously offered me some plants!
They are in their new homes now and later this summer I will have a chance to try them out on cloth.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Gallery Garments

I've finished sewing the indigo trim to my jacket and wore it to the Greater Victoria Art Gallery today, although I may still add a pocket or further indigo embellishment.   It fits well, is comfortable and drapes nicely, so I am pleased.
'Silk Splendour: Textiles of Late Imperial China curated by Bill Till was showing, as well as the meaningful and fascinating paintings of William Kurelek.
These 19th century Daoist priest robes were favourites of mine.  There were all manner of exquisite silk embroidered garments - and even heart shaped ear muffs!
My simple jacket was in very grand company.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beneath the Surface

I can feel I have an idea that wants to be birthed into a cloth garment.  But I am reflecting in a still sort of way - not looking at it directly, but allowing it to unfold in it's own time and trusting that it will.
So, unlike this log, I am not stuck, but gestating.  And I am following my inclinations to do a bit of this and that.
Like this miniature shirt front made from various indigo-dipped fibres and fabrics.  A fantasy figment that takes me a step closer.  Because I sense that what I am wanting to do is still a bit beyond me.
And I finally dipped this stitched cotton that has been sitting waiting for weeks.  I was surprised that I did not have to do a thing except stir my vat and it was ready to go.  
I'm also putting my first indigo swatches to good use as edging on a jacket I made last fall.  Some indigos are up on the design wall, too - wanting to form into a shirt.  But first I will finish stitching the jacket.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

From Seed to Flower

 committed to stitch

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Answer, My Friend...

Leaves and not leaves  - while the wool panel I've put on the back of my sweatshirt is dyed with eucalyptus leaves that I found, I see the shapes as feathers - specifically Flicker feathers because they have long been symbols of courage, for me.  And I think it takes courage to really show who we are - to be personal.
 The name of this sweatshirt was there from the beginning.
I wrote a poem many years ago that pretty much sums up my life philosophy:

No place to go, no answers
My being is always with me
Standing forth
Shifting, in process
Moving and alive
Present with what is inside and out
Aware of my need to express
Honesty is necessary
This is my life.
There's a lot of life lived in this shirt and now it feels much more an expression of who I am.
I am planning a next garment made from scratch but who really knows where the wind will take me next.  This elephant seal molting at the beach was sure a surprise!

Entering the Fray

 A well worn friend has been sitting in a pile with others waiting to be mended and made wearable again.  Very comfortable and a good fit, I found this sweatshirt in a thrift shop like new.  I've never really liked the neutrality of the colour or the embroidered logo.  In looking over the pile considering what I might make in CWB2, it caught my eye and when I laid a piece of leaf dyed wool on it, my creative flames were ignited.
 After turning and stitching  the frayed cuffs and bottom under, I cut pieces to cover worn areas and considered how clothing is the interface between me and the outside world and what might I want it to say as an expression of me?
 I rarely find anything ready made that I would like to buy and have only a few items in my closet that I actually like.  So I also dug out this shirt experiment I began a few years ago, thinking to sew something simply, without a pattern and to make it in a style and colour I like - only I never did complete it.
So I re-hemmed and made size adjustments and handstitched the neckline and while I would prefer a natural fabric, it now fits, is light and drapes nicely and I  like wearing it because it expresses something of me.
I haven't posted in awhile so will do another one to show more of the sweatshirt's progress.  I've only stitched a few further lines on Palace of the Soul, as I am focusing on wearables for now.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Loving the Questions Within

Blogger has changed formats and while I've 'refreshed' my blog, I'm still getting the hang of  the differences in posting.  I have completed embroidering a question mark for each year of my life and secured the panel on Palace of the Soul, adding couched strips of some indigo dipped cotton around the edges.  It will be hidden under the butterfly panel, which is like a lid.

I did a bit of indigo dyeing - and I expect to be pretty immersed in an online class I am taking, called 'Contemporary Woven Boro 2' with Jude Hill.  Lots of action there as participants are gathering and the momentum is building.  I have no plan of what I'll make as yet, but that will unfold.

Monday, April 23, 2012

How Sweet It Is

The Camas are in bloom and the dandelions, too!

I only have to step out my door for an abundance of fragrance - everything is blossoming and a walk around here is intoxicating!

So much beauty to take in.

I'm back to stitching Palace of the Soul.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


More blue dabbling today with some larger stitched pieces as well as small ones. I like how there is an implied motion, here - like the bird figure is moving it's wings.

And I especially like this linen with it's varied lines:

And here is one on wool:

Small experiments that continue my learning, because that's what I love to do!