Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Jerry the Sheep at Fresh Purls

I’m pleased to announce that I now have some of my appliqué tapestries up at Fresh Purls in East Providence on Hope Street. Jerry the Sheep, Black Ewed Susan and a number of other pieces are on sale at one of the best knitting stores in the city. If you have the chance stop in and say “Hi!” The shop is lovely, bright and absolutely stuffed with wonderful yarns, accessories and tools. It makes me want to take up knitting…but I know I simply don’t have the time to do it in…happily I do have friends who knit!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More Maki Age

Still working on the finishing of my first Maki Age experiment so in the meantime

I decided to try some more discharge experiments using the Maki Age technique. This time I chose a denim twill to work on it is a very dark blue and appears to be 100% cotton (I often buy mystery fabric at the local fabric store) I'm planning to discharge the color and then to re-wrap the resist and go back in with an over dye, lets see how this works out...

I've decided on a branch pattern

Here is the starting pattern stitched:
And pulled,

OK first problem with the plan, this fabric is thick and when pulled my shapes are actually too small to be wrapped effectively, so rather than take the entire thing out I will discharge it and see where I land. I ended up using a 10 bleach to 1 water solution which is really strong, but I wasn't getting much out of a weaker solution, and I left it in for about a 1/2 hour keeping an eye on it and mushing it around a couple of times...

I actually like what I've got here and I want to add some medium range tones back into the piece using actual Maki Age. In order to do this I will need to make the shapes larger so I can wrap them. I'm stitching back into the design following these lines:

Then it is wrapped in a waxed cord:

and submerged in a Procion Fiber reactive dye solution (warm grey color) for 1/2 hour, taken out, left for another 1/2 hour or so and washed out.
Here is the end result:

I really like the look of it. I was trying for a thicket sort of look and I think I achieved it, the addition of the mid tone created a nice sense of depth and added some complexity to the color which you can see in this detail:

The end result isn't very traditional but I really like the effect. I think I got to the place I wanted to go in the end.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

maki age shibori and flexible thinking

I have been working on the Maki Age Shibori challenge on Flickr and it has been a lesson in staying flexible when things do not go as planned. Entwinements has a lot of info on the process and definition of Maki Age here, so I won't go into long explanations...

I decided to try a discharge process on some mystery fabrics I've had around forever, I have no idea what the fiber content of this stuff is but it is definitely not found in nature. Often black polyester can be discharged (bleached) and it will turn a nice golden color, if that happened I thought that it would sit nicely next to the pale golden beige and I could try piecing the two treated fabrics together, good idea no?


I don't know what is in this black fabric but full strength bleach makes NO impact on it whatsoever, The beige discharges nicely but the black is exactly as it started, except wrinkled.

(Here is where flexibility comes into play)

The wrinkles are really neat looking...Tinctory does wonderful heat-set Shibori Poly jewelry...I wonder if I could heat-set those shapes?

Next test: tie up some shapes and run 'em through the microwave when they are damp.

Cool! it works! Umm... now what?

Can my original design concept use the sculptural shapes, rather than the bold graphics?

This is as far as I've gotten so far. I have created the fabrics and I now I'm going to see if they can't be used in something based on my preconceived ideas.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Mokume Shibori Ginko trial

Mokume Shibori Ginko trial
Originally uploaded by alsokaizen

Shibori is teaching me to think on my feet. As much testing and planning as I may put into a piece of work the results are often surprising. Sometimes this is pleasant other times not so much. This is a project I have struggled with. I went into it with a very strong image of what I wanted it to look like, and it did not perform as expected. My original idea was to create a ginko leaf motif using a mokume (wood grain) shibori technique. The results were not what I planned for and less than successful in conveying my original design idea. The line that defines the motif is obscure and the color contrast between the ground fabric and the dye was not as strong as I wanted it to be. I made other attempts at it and remained frustrated with the results there too. I recently shared the project at the All Things Shibori pool at flickr and I am now reconsidering the piece. I think I may have been too tied to my preconceptions of how the piece should look and not as appreciative of how it does look.
I am beginning a new design for the Maki-age shibori challenge this month and I’m going to try to keep in mind that flexibility is a virtue when it comes to this art form. I have already had to change my initial concept due to the unexpected performance of one of my materials! I will be posting on this project and the ways I’m having to adapt for the results