shadow play




Making images using sunshine as a catalyst is just fascinating. True to form I am stumbling along learning as I go, after ordering some inks from Lumi. None of my first attempts were stellar, but I am slowly grasping the idea. I am already thinking about how this could be tweaked and improved to fit in with my esthetics and color preferences. I am not one to go the straight and narrow route.




One of my concerns about the inkodye is the chemical make up of the dye. Lumi is straight forward on its website, claiming that these inks are not free of toxins but still rather benign in the big scope of things. Anyhow, playing with these dyes will most likely be just play, and not something I would do seriously for extensive production.



While working on the correct ink coverage and exposure times I also discovered some true light and shadow play in my back yard. Almost as intriguing, I think.


experimentation x 2

Two amazing women and their books have brought me on a joyful creative journey lately. I already gushed over India Flint, and her inspiring book Eco Colour, but have now followed lightly in her footsteps by experimenting with dyeing my linen fabrics using nothing but plants and natural materials. So far I am thrilled, mainly because many of the hues I have achieved are ones that I have unsuccessfully tried to produce for a long time using synthetic dyes. It is very hard to get pale shades of color from procion mx dyes. The soft greens here, created from boiling carrot tops in an iron pot are just perfect.

So is the grayish lavender color from the black bean water left over from our latest chili batch, and the rusty warm tones achieved from seeped onion skins, and the pale acid yellow made from chamomile tea bags...

I even tried India's famous eco printing technique, where you bundle your plants in tight fabric layers and put them in a steam bath to coax out the colors. I used geranium leaves, and although the result is nowhere near perfect, the impressions and imprints are intriguing.

I also recently purchased Natalie Chanin's book Alabama Studio Style. Her beautiful designs, technical skills, and innovative business methods, have inspired me for years. I love the new soft stencils she use, and decided to try the diluted ink spray bottle method included in her book. Well the result was quite disastrous – the ink bled everywhere, soaking through the felt stencil, making big blobs and splattering the fabric beyond the stencil. But once dried, I realized there was something appealing about this distressed mess. I added flower clusters, printed using rhododendron leaves, that echoes the blotches, but prettier. For some reason I just love the result. Next I will layer it, and add stitching, still using the same shapes.

The most wonderful side effect of these experiments, is that they taught me to cherish imperfection. I am by nature a perfectionist, wanting everything to be uniform, smooth, unblemished, aligned, and beautiful. These natural dyes come out mottled, uneven, and the stenciling is obviously quite ugly on its own. But somehow I have come to terms with how it all happens. The beauty is in the process, not necessarily in the end result.

I will take some time off for travels this week, but will return soon, with new reports, impressions, and imagery.

I just have to make an addendum to this post. Yesterday afternoon I found out from dear Claire at Shakerag, that I got a spot in India Flint's class this summer, after months on the waiting list. And guess who is the guest lecturer the week I am there – Ms. Natalie Chanin. I am so lucky!

just words

I have some technical problems with my photo managing software (I still love you, sweet mac...), so this will be my first post without pictures. Much is going on over here, worthy of sharing.

I've introduced a weekly shop update in the etsy store. Every Tuesday morning, I will list a handful of new handcrafted pieces. Most of them will be one-of-a-kinds, and most of them are truly new, not re-lists. Check in tomorrow for this weeks goodies.

I am happily experimenting with soy milk mordants, and natural plant dyeing per Ms. India's inspiration. I am amazed by the beautiful, subtle colors I have achieved so far. This is what I meant to post about, so look for more once the photo issue is resolved.

Lastly, we are taking off for Toronto next week. Can't wait to see this beautiful city, taste its foods, stroll by the waters edge, and visit with friends!