Started this last Christmas. Just basted all the pieces down and then put it aside. Last night I stitched the trees down and finished the little deer. Now to start all the little details I want to add. Fun stitching on icy cold days like today.
All the leaves are gone and I miss them so. But the good news is I have lots of beautiful, one of a kind fabrics to stitch with this winter. Took three of my little sample eco-prints and put them together with other eco-dyed fabrics. Have just started stitching and am looking forward to lots more.
Colorado is known for its beautiful golden aspen trees that color the mountainsides each Fall. If you are lucky enough to see an aspen turning red, you'll think you won the lottery. Red aspens are rare, very rare. My husband and I hit the jackpot when we made our annual trip to close up our mountain cabin and saw several of these radiant red trees. This little story cloth (a la Jude Hill style http://spiritcloth.typepad.com/) is a tribute to these beautiful leaves.
Last Thursday I gave a presentation to my local fiber art group entitled "HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION". It was an overview of everything I learned over the summer about eco-printing and dyeing. It was great fun telling the story of how I became interested in this process and showing the fruits of my labor. It was a summer full of adventure and experimentation that resulted in a pile of beautiful fabrics that I hope to have fun using this Winter. Below are my eco-prints using crabapple, rose, aspen, cottonwood, eucalyptus and maple leaves.
Here are my dyed fabrics. I used turmeric, aspen leaves, cottonwood leaves, blueberries, red cabbage, onion skins, pomegranates and beets.
This is my favorite piece--raw silk with rusted wire, seeded eucalyptus and spiral eucalyptus. Looking forward to lots of sewing this Winter and also more printing and dyeing next Spring. Many thanks to India Flint, Jenny Dean and Sasha Duerr for all their expertise.
You would think that green would be an easy color to obtain when using green leaves for your dye. Not so; I've spent many days experiementing with green aspen leaves, carrot tops, yarrow and others. And the closest I've come has been this yellow, slightly green shade.
I guess I should mention that I have obtained some lovely green when doing an eco print of a leaf. I guess because the dye is directly transferred in a concentrated manner to the fabric. When suspended in water you get a more diluted effect. The following picture shows yellow cottonwood and aspen leaves bundled and tied and steeped in a carrot top bath. Kind of the same yellow green.
In another dyeing session I made a bath of yellow and red onions and got a golden brown. On a whim I decided to add a little alum and it turned a dark brown. Didn't like that so why not add some vinegar. It went back to a more dijon mustard color. So I steeped some habotai that was tyed with rubber bands for a couple of hours and left it to dry overnight. And the result was the greenest I have yet to get. I wasn't trying for green. I wanted a more golden color. So the moral of this story is to quit trying so hard and be happy with whatever magic happens. I truly love all of the colors that I have obtained, so in the end it really doesn't matter.
The next few phots are of random pieces. First is a cold bundle of lavender sweet peas, yellow and red nastursiums, pink petunias and parsley. Didn't get any of the flower colors but I did get this lovely mottled effect that I may go on to try some eco prints on. Trying to build layers of depth here.
This one is gambel oak. Didn't get any prints just this brown mottling.
Another oak bath piece tied and steep for two hours and then left for a week.
On to color---The following are all silk (habotai or dupioni) soaked in a cold blueberry bath. First one I added vineger, last two I added alum.
Eco dyeing has sure made me a lot more observant of the plants in my neighborhood. Reading through India Flint's book, Eco-Colour, I have learned that a lot of the plants she uses for dyeing and prints just aren't plants that one can find here in Colorado. Eucalyptus, for example, sure won't find that here. But it gives such a lovely orange-red color. Never fear, it's a favorite of florist so I went out and bought a bunch, came home and started a hot bundle using a piece of ivory colored silk. I probably did not steam it long enough, but I did get some lovely red prints.
Kind of like the green ones too, but wish I would have left it to steam longer so I would have gotten more of the red color.
For this print I used a scrap of habotai silk that I had dyed in onion skins many years ago. It was just a very pale yellow to start with. I bundled up aspen leaves (most plentiful in Colorado) and some small red leaves from a bush outside my house. Wish I knew what the name of the plant is, but it yielded a lovely red color. Aspen prints are very pale but did provide some green.
This next piece is my favorite. Started with another piece of the onion skin dyed habotai silk and this time wrapped some lavender sweet peas in it. This was a cold bundle. Didn't get any of the lavender color, which I have gotten in the past, but I love the lovely greens and khaki colors. And most of all I love all the wrinkles in the fabric and the striations from the rubber bands. I think I will leave it as is, not press out the wrinkles, and use it for texture in a landscape piece.
Looking forward to the fall when the aspens, oaks and maples start turning colors. I'm sure they will yield some rich color for my dye pot.
First attempts at eco dyeing and printing. All ideas were taken from India Flint's wonderful book, Eco Colour. For all of you who are not into chemicals this is a wonderful book to have. This is stress free dyeing because you don't have to worry about what you are touching or inhaling. My kind of fun.
Silk dyed with aspen leaves. Stayed a lovely pale yellow for a week and then the browns starting migrating in.
Maple leaf prints on silk.
Yellow onion skin prints on an old ivory colored silk shirt that I ripped apart. I knew I was saving that shirt for something.
More onion skins prints.
Aspen leaves on silk.
More aspen leaves.
Cottonwood prints on silk. Folded the fabric in half over the leaf before rolling into a bundle. One side printed better than the other.
There is nothing more beautiful than the textures nature provides us with. These photos were taken on a recent hike in the White River National Forest outside of Aspen,Colorado. I'm in love with mushrooms. Delicate Mariposa lily
These are two gigantic heads of broccoli my husband just picked from our garden. These are, by far, the biggest heads we have ever gotten (no steroids added). I love their texture--in the garden and on the plate. In our garden they sit right next to the wispy, smooth and shiny lettuce leaves. On the other side are the ever encroaching gigantic squashes and their leaves and the fern-like carrot tops. Soon the broccoli will be finished producing and the squash and carrots will take over, but right now those big beautiful flowering heads of broccoli reign supreme.
In high school home economics I learned about the importance of planning meals that are not only nutritionally balanced but also ones that are visually appealing in terms of texture and color. Broccoli, cooked to perfection, provides beautiful color and visual and tactile texture on the plate. All of that adds to the anjoyment of a meal. It's broccoli season. Go ahead and enjoy some.
Not too long ago I learned how to make silk paper. There are many methods for creating this luminous paper. I prefer using a textile medium as the "glue" to bond the fibers together. In continuing my fascination with leaves, I stumbled upon a process for creating lovely silk leaves out of the "paper".
Basically the process involves pressing leaves with the vein side down into wet sheets of silk paper. When dried, the leaves can be peeled off the paper and you are leflt with an impression of the leaf. Cut them out and you have lovely silk leaves. Lovely on their own or to be used in further arthwork. Here are my favorites. All leaves were painted except for the botton oak leaves which were created out of already dyed silk hankies. For more information on making silk paper see SILK PAPER A GUIDE TO MAKING AND USING IT IN TEXTILE ART by Sarah Lawrence or SILK 'PAPER' CREATIONS FOR THE FIBRE ARTIST by Judith Pinnell.
When I think of visual texture, the images that first come to mind are of old, tattered, surfaces--peeling paint, scratch marks, weathering, discolorations--I don't think of anything new, especially new life. But the coat of this newborn fawn is so appealing with the spots and color changes across her body. Quite a difference from Mom's coat that appears old and tattered. Here's to finding lovely texture in these early days of June.
School is out, last child has graduated from high school, weather is warm and this new empty nester is planning a summer of art in the garden. I'm starting with making sunprints using all the wonderful leaves that are now sprouting in my garden. I've posted before about sunprints and how much I love them. I love using leaves as the mask because there is such a variety to be found if one takes the time to look.
Sunprints are easy to make. I use natural fiber fabrics and transparent Setacolor paints by Pebeo. Just paint your fabric with a 2:1 water to paint ratio and lay down leaves or any flat object you choose to use as a mask. Lay in a hot sunny area and within 15-20 minutes an image will begin to appear. I live in Colorado so we have lots of strong sunlight. You may have to adjust the time depending on the area you live in. I also have to deal with a lot of wind, so on windy days, I just lay the fabric in a sunny window and I still get great results. Here are a few shots of some prints that I made awhile back and have turned into note cards. They are listed in my etsy shop (http://pdlugos.etsy.com/)
Mixed media artist who loves to play with fiber, textiles, paper and color. I am a member of the TAFA Team! TAFA The Textile and Fiber Art List is an organization of textile business and fiber artists. Visit our blog at www.tafateam.blogspot.com We have textiles, fiber art, accessories, vintage and supplies!