Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Silk painting with complementary colors of dye: blue and orange

I'm still working with the silk scarves, and having great fun playing with the color combinations. I've done a bunch so far where the dye colors I choose are right next to each other on the color wheel. That makes for a lovely scarf, and is a pretty safe bet.

But I took color theory class awhile ago, and I recalled that if you use colors that are across from each other on the color wheel you can get some neat earth tones. I decided to give it a try, and picked out the two blues I had, and the orange to go with it.

I used the two blues full strength, and then mixed each of them half and half with the orange. Then I painted swirls of color. I dripped a couple of times by mistake...so I dripped all over the scarf and called it on purpose. Then I put salt on the scarf, and let it dry. The salt pulled the dye into intricate, organic shapes. And as the dye was pulled, it separated in interesting ways.

As I was taking the salt off the dry scarf, I dripped water on it. Since the dye isn't steam set yet, that changed the pattern. Oops. So, once again I turned a mistake into a design feature, and spritzed the whole thing with water droplets.

The result of my experimentation? A very intricate patterning, that reminds me of an deep sea wonderland.

These are such fun to do! I think that completes the dozen I was working on. Now I need to let the dye set up for a day, and then I can steam set them. And then get them up in the shop, so hopefully folks will buy them. That would mean that I could get some more scarf blanks, and play some more! (I can only wear so many scarves myself, after all...)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Silk scarves and salt

Eric: "You're a-salting that silk scarf!!"

Daniel: "It's ok...it's already dyed."

You see the things I need to put up with here at my studio? Good thing my sister gave me a bag of 'editorial pillows' to throw at pun offenders. (Little bean bags, but filled with dead nylon stockings. You can whip them across the room pretty accurately, but they don't sting when they hit.)

Anyway, I've been working up a batch of silk scarves this week. I got the blanks from Dharma Trading Company, and have been dying them up in a rainbow of colors using French Sennelier TinFix dyes. I paint down swirls of color, and then put salt on the scarves while they dry. The salt pulls the dye into all sorts of wonderfully intricate and organic shapes.

I've got a half a dozen dyed up, and have another half dozen to go. Hopefully I can get them painted tomorrow and Wednesday. I'll let them sit for 24 hours, and then steam set the dye on Friday. That will give me the weekend to wash and iron them, and they can get up in the Etsy shop next week, at $30 each.

Anyone have any favorite color combinations that they'd like to see? I'm having such great fun with these! Even with the puns from the peanut gallery.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Eggs

Happy Easter! Yes, we all had a good time dyeing the eggs this afternoon. That is just food coloring, but we used wax and rubber bands as resists, soaked it in dye baths or dripped food coloring directly onto the egg, and used salt afterwards as it was drying. Fun effects.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Michelle, modeling two of my triloom shawls

We took a road trip up to Flagstaff, AZ today. That is where my daughter is attending college, and her theater show was this evening. So we made a day of it, hunting for housing for her for next year in the afternoon, and seeing a delightfully fluffy romp of a show in the evening.

While I was up there, I took advantage of having my model on hand to take a couple of pictures of my newest shawls. Isn't she wonderful? These two shawls will be up in the Etsy shop this coming week, as soon as I finish with pictures and listing. They're woven on my triloom, of Lion brand 'Homepsun' yarn.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Poetry: Cotton Candy Men

Cotton Candy Men

Note to self:
Artists and actors
and gypsy musicians
are sooo very tasty...
They're a heated carnival midnight
full of light and excitement
lost in sensation.
Savor them
as they melt on your tongue
in a spun sugar moment
one step removed from reality...
And then go home.
Because a steady diet
of cotton candy
will only give you indigestion.

Melissa McCollum


I write poetry fairly regularly, and share it here now and again. A conversation I had today reminded me of this one that I wrote last year. Yes, I have a soft spot for those lovely, sparkly personalities. 'Cotton Candy' is now my personal shorthand for them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hohokam Indian Petroglyphs

My sweetie has been getting cabin fever recently, since he's been cooped up recovering from fixing his leg. However, the weather was awesome yesterday, he was feeling stronger, and we knew there was the handicap accessible Black Rock Trail at the White Tanks Park about a half hour drive from us. So we grabbed some chicken for a picnic dinner, and headed out for a lovely sunset stroll after his work.

I'm originally from the midwest USA, so the spiky texture of the plants out here is always kind of odd to my eyes. But there is definitely beauty when you know to look for it.

The Hohokam Indians lived in this region from about 500-1100 AD, and they left petroglyphs scattered behind them. Actually, some of the glyphs in the park are suspected to be up to 10,000 years old. I use some of the symbols in my gourd work, taking inspiration from my adopted home. So I took some time to carefully clamber around the rocks, not touching the images (the oils from my hands could damage them) but capturing them in picture for future reference.

It was getting dark by the time we made it around our little loop. There was a slight chill in the air, and all you could hear was the whisper of the wind and the occasional bird call.

I really appreciate having this peaceful refuge so close to home. And by the evidence left on the rocks, people have been enjoying this pocket of beauty long down through the ages.