Monday, 19 July 2010

Plant Magic

Natural dyeing is enjoying a resurgeance of interest, and this was an occasion when I followed the fashion.
Inspired by others I decided to have a go with materials I had to hand.

The colours here seem very "of the moment" and you might think that these pieces of cloth are steeping in strawberry juice (it not being the time of year for pomegranates).

But no, you  would be wrong.

I have coloured these various lengths of habotai silk, turban cotton, cotton gauze, fine linen and other lovely cloths using something I would normally consign to the compost bin without a second thought.

This fabric has all been coloured by the peel of two avocados, simmered in water for an hour. The strongest colour has been gained on the pieces of material added to the pot after half an hour, the rest has been steeped only in the liquid or simmered in the "exhaust". Pretty nifty.

I have two avocado stones plus two more avocados in the fridge (to eat) and so more opportunities to play with this techniques are open to me.

Whoever heard of avocado pink before?!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Stitching Blues - Again


I am currently taking an on-line course with Jude Hill. It is called Spirit Cloth, and I'm enjoying it. I took her earlier "Quilt Weaving" class as well, and I decided to put some of my learning to use for another purpose, the Virtual Connections project by J Penney Burton.

Penney says, "I came up with the Virtual Connections idea as a way that we can manifest in physical form a fabulous quilt that will represent these support networks that we are a part of through Facebook.....and it is an idea that can bring together fibre/fiber artists from all over the world! It really can't help but end up being an amazing quilt!

Here is how to take part in this project. You are invited to submit a quilt square, made of cotton or cotton blended fabric (it may be new or found material), which is decorated or embellished by the medium of your choice. (you can draw, paint, attach clay, beads, mixed media, the cloth)....

Although this square will be four inches by four inches in size, you will only use the center, a three inch square, to create your work in, which will be surrounded at the top, sides and bottom by a half an inch fabric margin. This is so I may eventually sew the quilt together.

Your quilt square is to be inspired by your own experiences with facebook, the artistic and personal support you have received from others, and your relationship with the virtual world."

Well, my virtual world is immensely important to me as I am virtually housebound by health problems, and I am lucky that it is exceedingly rich. This blue world of ours becomes much smaller and I belong to a community of textile and art lovers independent of geographical constraints.


My square is a woven base, made of parts of a soft, extremely worn overdyed linen tea towel and pieces of a thrifted, embroidered linen table runner. My virtual world is a circle of many links all around the world, which take me and show me short cuts to new and interesting viewpoints and experiences. There is homage to Jude, to Sara Lechner and to Karen Ruane therein - artists who have virtually influenced me recently in my artistic endeavours and struggles. Internet links help us to bookmark and catalogue links, so there are the forget-me-nots, and the woven frayed edges echo the blurred boundaries of this wonderful virtual world.

It is also an assemblage of materials which came readily to hand yesterday when I began to make it, and developed as it grew, but I think the meanings described are valid.

So, off it will go today to America and to Penney, for inclusion in her quilt.


This is how it should look in the quilt itself, with only the centre 3 x 3" revealed.
I really enjoyed working this piece. It can be good to work small.

And I am so grateful for this virtual world and opportunities to share and grow with people I cannot meet easily in person.