Friday, May 14, 2010

Say a Prayer

Catskills, NY

Isn't that a lovely hill?  It's part of my sister's land in the Catskills, where we've spent many happy days and were looking forward to another visit but Mom is back in the hospital with the C Diff bacteria so no traveling anytime soon.  I've started putting a few small quilts together in the evenings using the newly dyed fabric, but even that's on hold now.  Let's think of a joyful moment in our life and then send a prayer into the Universe for all those who are facing challenges that seem overwhelming, so that we may remember together that Love embraces us all.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Dyeing Experiment

Many years ago I considered sewing a headboard cover and bedskirt in an offbeat small leapord-print fabric and bought several yards.  Lesson learned: buy a small swatch to take home and check first.  But I didn't and had this bolt of fabric standing in the corner until last Summer when I decided to use it as a slip cover for my wingback chair so I cut it up in smaller pieces and threw it in the washing machine hoping to soften the color.  Wrong again.  I happened to have a box of fabric dye remover...yes, I threw that into the washer next, hoping for a soft pink result.  Not even close.

This is what the fabric looked like wet, with areas changing color as the dye remover chemicals took effect.

I watched as all the fabric turned into this brownish-green color.  Very interesting...
I closed the lid, thinking the next phase would be a fade out of color, but when I reopened the lid the finished effect was:

OMG!  Nothing changed.

The only difference was a slightly softer feel to the cotton fabric, so I folded it up and put it back into the stash.  Have you noticed that the back side is a pastel color?  

SO, during my recent dyeing frenzy, I took a section of this and dyed it with the RIT dyes.  

Tadaaaaa!   This I can use!
Patience and the courage to experiment -- essential artist tools. 

Thursday, May 06, 2010

It's All Good

Hello's been a journey through sorrow these past months as my mother battled several debilitating infections that almost took her life. So much was happening that I wrote only in my private journal. During my walk last night down by the beach, I stood on the big rocks overlooking Long Island Sound and thanked God that I live surrounded by so much beauty offering healing. Even these rocks beneath my feet reminded me again that Life continues to find expression no matter how hard the circumstances.

I too have found a crack in the surface of my life's painful events, and have started creating in fabric again. All the photos and little sketches I've made these past few months are now source material. First little quilt is on the table being assembled...using my image transfers and fabrics which I dyed recently (first time using RIT dyes per article in Quilting Arts Magazine by Judy Coates Perez -- Thanks Judy, your clear instructions made it very easy!).
The article mentions that if you don't disolve the powdered dyes completely the grains will show up on the fabric -- that's how I got the speckles on the purple piece and the red on the neutral mottled piece on the left. As for the fabric on the far left, I already overdyed it last night with navy and love the results.
Since my studio table is overtaken with paints and a mosaic in progress, I set up the ironing board in the living room to iron dyed swatches and the little wooden table for photo transfers.

Earlier, out on the deck I put down a piece of plywood onto which 2 sheets of newsprint were laid to soak up excess dye and then two folded lengths of white cotton which I dyed with abandon.

This photo shows the pattern which ended up on the paper....
I laughed to think that the best part wasn't the actually dyed fabric (which will also be useful though it turned out a bit dense and dark) but the paper meant to be tossed away. NOT!  Took photos of various sections to use as backgrounds for other work by printing onto fabric and saved the paper for collage.  Lots of new ideas...

It's good to be back!