Archive for the ‘Work Group’ Category

Rust Dyeing

Monday, December 14th, 2009

I am reducing prices on my work for the remainder of 2009-Read more here

I am featuring a piece of my work every day or so through the end of the year.  Here’s today’s piece:

"Crane Series I"  2008 by Tracy McCabe Stewart

"Crane Series I" 2008 by Tracy McCabe Stewart

“Crane Series I”

2008

By Tracy McCabe Stewart

20″x20″

Hand dyed and commercial cottons, digitally created fabric.  Machine quilted.

2010 price: $600

2009 price: $450

 

Rust Dyeing

 

Last week  my work group, the Free Motions went up to Nina’s to do some rust dyeing.  Participants included Shelley Brucar, Nina Edelman, Leah Rosenthal, Cathy Mendola and myself  They needed to cure for a week to give the rust time to transfer to the fabric.  Here’s the results:

Rust dyed fabric

Rust dyed fabric

Nina had some fabulous rusty shapes to play with.  I’ll probably over dye them.  too much white for me.

 

Here’s another:

More rust dyeing on cotton

More rust dyeing on cotton

 

the rust transfer is nudged along by adding salt or vinegar to the fabric and keeping it wet.  I used both on these.  Lots of direct transfer, but not much bleed to the rest of the fabric.

More cotton:

Rust dyed cotton

Rust dyed cotton

and finally, some cotton velvet:

Rust dye on cotton velvet

Rust dye on cotton velvet

Vat Dyeing Workshop with Barbara Schneider

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

We just can’t get enough of Barbara SchneiderShelley, Leah and I just did a fantastic one day workshop on vat dyeing with Barbara out at her house.  What a fantastic resource (as well as a great person!) she is.  She knows SO much and is so good at teaching it to others.  We accomplished quite a lot in one day.

 For those of you unfamiliar with vat dyeing.  It is a process that simultaneously removes color from a fabric and lays down new color at the same time.  This allows you to lay down a new, fresh color on previously dyed fabric that, unlike over dyeing with such as Procion, will NOT combine with the color already on the fabric.  Additionally, it leaves really cool halos around the new color.  The effects are simply stunning. 

We spent the morning mixing the vat dyes.  The dyes are suspended in a base of corn dextrin, glycerine and formusol-which smells a bit like you have hit a skunk.  These are  some serious chemicals, so we masked up. 

 

Shelley and Leah make a fashion statement

Shelley and Leah make a fashion statement

 

I had a pretty good look going myself:

Tracy, the fashion plate

Tracy, the fashion plate

We spent the morning mixing dyes.  The afternoon was spent creating sample strips and a few larger experiments.Here are some of Barbara’s samples of vat dyeing.  These are all vat dyed over already dyed fabrics.  Notice the clear colors?  The vat dyes will combine with each other; e.g. blue and yellow will still make green, but the dyes are independent of the original color.  See the beautiful colors around the vat dyes?  I love these! 
Barbara used a shibori technique (pole wrapping) over already dyed fabric.  Look at the great halos around the purple:
Barbara's vat dye shibori over already dyed fabric

Barbara's vat dye shibori over already dyed fabric

more of Barbara's vat dyed pieces over already hand dyed fabric

more of Barbara's vat dyed pieces over already hand dyed fabric

Notice how the purple and blue vat dyes combine, but they don’t combine with the original color.  Yum!

More:

more yummy vat dyes from Barbara

more yummy vat dyes from Barbara

This one didn’t really seem to lay down any new color, but discharged nicely:

discharged over black

discharged over black

This one didn’t really halo:

a more subtle vat dye

a more subtle vat dye

Here are our sample strips.  We used the same colors over a variety of fabrics, with incredible variation in results.  Some fabrics, like the blacks, discharged color to these lovely reds, but didn’t lay down any of the new color.

 

our samples

our samples

My fuscia dyed fabric discharged to the teal family.  I will definitely recreate that one. 

 

The velvet below discharged and laid down new color, but didn’t create any halos. 

 

my velvet vat dye experiment

my velvet vat dye experiment

Leah got some really beautiful halos on this silk scarf:

Leah's scarf

Leah's scarf

I need to locate a steamer to do this at home and I will be doing lots more experiments.  I LOVE the effects.

Any one else have any experience with vat dyeing?  I would love to hear about your results.

Wet Studio Revamp

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Hi all,

Over the past 6 months or so I have been in the process of letting go of clutter and trying to set up my workspaces to streamline my efficiency (I need all the help I can get!).  To that end, I have been reworking my wet studio space which worked okay for me, but was not working at all for my surface design work group, the Free Motions.  I still have tons of stuff that needs to go, but things are pretty well laid out.

Problems in the studio involved disorganization of supplies, my metalworking supplies taking too much room,  no central/bare space to put the supplies we were using; we had to put them on our work tables which gets in the way of work space, 3 tables instead of four and clutter in the sink taking up one half of the double utility sink, also no good solution for storing thermofax screens.

I have been decluttering my brains out, packing up my metalworking stuff-except for things I use to etch copper, and generally getting rid of TONS of junk.   Here’s the new layout: 

All my metalworking equipment is out of the way in those bins!

Here's two of the worktables, ironing board and empty (yeah!) tables

Here's two of the worktables, ironing board and empty (yeah!) tables

The utility sink has tons of drying storage.  A cheap dishrack from Ikea is the perfect storage for thermofax screens.  I repurposed an old shelf for dye containers and lids.
utility sink set up

utility sink set up

Fridge to store dyes and shelf of fabrics that need more work!

Fridge to store dyes and shelf of fabrics that need more work!

 

You can see just the tip of the fourth table here.

long shot of the space including 3 of 4 tables

long shot of the space including 3 of 4 tables

We still need to deal with lighting.  The light down here is really terrible (it is a basement), but all in all, I am pretty pleased.

 

My pond was looking pretty good, too.  Here’s a picture!

My pond!

My pond!

I’m Baaackk…

Monday, July 6th, 2009
Lascaux Bulls 1 and 2 (C) 2008 Tracy McCabe Stewart

Lascaux Bulls 1 and 2 (C) 2008 Tracy McCabe Stewart

The above  pieces were my first foray into combining copper etching into fiber pieces.  The images are from the incomparable cave paintings in Lascaux, France. 

Hand dyed Silks and cottons, fossils, etched copper.  texture rubbings, metal etching, machine quilting.

 

I know that I have been really sketchy about posting lately.  I have been trying to wrap up a never ending commission and trying not to get distracted with other things (like blogging) until it’s complete.  Christine Kane had a video blog (or vlog, who knew?) on all this  and more that was pretty fitting for me: http://christinekane.com/blog/how-to-make-your-life-a-drama-free-zone/

I am working with the Free Motions tomorrow and hope to get some input on my commission design.  It is at another standstill!

  I will be going to the Professional Art Quilter’s Alliance (PAQA) meeting on Wednesday.  this is a fabulously talented group that meets once a month.  Hopefully, I will have some pictures and inspiration from those two great groups of artists!

Free Motions Work Day

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Leah, Shelley and I braved the sweltering heat to do some outdoor dyeing yesterday.  Here’s some pics:

Shelley and Leah mixing dye

Shelley and Leah mixing dye

 

Outdoor set up in Shelley's yard

Outdoor set up in Shelley's yard

 

Leah doing some shibori wrapping-scarves

 Here’s some of my results:

screen overdye

screen overdye

 

One of my dye painting experiments

One of my dye painting experiments

 

another screen overdye

another screen overdye

 

black overdye of boring piece

black overdye of boring piece

Bonny Scotland continued-The Isle of Bute

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

The Free Motions had an absolutely crap workday, so there aren’t really any pictures to show you.  Sometimes there is just too much personal stuff going on with all of us to get much work done and this group of friends focuses on personal, rather than artistic support.  This was definitely the case on Tuesday. 

In lieu of art pictures, I thought I’d post about my upcoming trip back to Scotland.  My husband, Ken, and I are going to spend a week on the Isle of Bute to celebrate our 10th anniversary.  

Bute map courtesy of Isle-of-bute.com

Bute map courtesy of Isle-of-bute.com

Here’s a few highlights from the wedding.    Though he’s from the Glasgow area, my husband’s family has a long history with Bute.  His paternal grandfather was the head gardener at Kames Castle and Ken spent quite a bit of time there as a child roaming around the castle grounds. 

Kames Castle-photo from wikipedia.com

Kames Castle-photo from wikipedia.com

  

When we decided to get married, my mother-in-law Agnes did the majority of planning for the wedding.  Bute was the perfect place.  We got married  in the ruins of Rothesay Castle.  

Rothesay Castle-photo from bestofbute.co.uk

Rothesay Castle-photo from bestofbute.co.uk

As an American unfamiliar with Scottish custom, this was an entire day of not knowing what the heck was coming next.  The Scots have many traditions that Americans don’t and the entire day I would here things like, “This is the part where you…….”.   I just rode along and had a marvelous time.  My mother-in-law planned the most beautiful and fun wedding I could have imagined.  

Some highlights of the day included:

Kilts!!!!!!:  God, I love a man in a kilt!  We had about 20 of them, including my handsome husband.

Bagpipes.  Wow.  I happen to really like the pipes, but they are LOUD.  Good thing the piper was outside. 

Lucky Horseshoe: my nephew presented this to me as part of the ceremony.  I did not realize that the tradition of this as much about fertility as luck: 

Lucky Horseshoes –Horseshoes have always been associated with luck. There is a nice myth about the devil asking a blacksmith to shoe a single hoof of his horse. When the blacksmith realised who his consumer was, he carried out the job as painfully as he could until the devil roared for mercy. The Blacksmith released the devil on the conditions that he would never enter a place that had a horseshoe on display. When a bride carries a horseshoe it is considered to be a symbol of fertility.-From Hubpages.com-Traditional Scottish Wedding

 

Scottish country dancing:  This is the most fun ever.  We had half Americans who didn’t know anything and half Scots trying to teach them the dances+ plenty of drink.  It was wonderful even though we butchered all of the dances.  I am amazed that there weren’t injuries.  Here’s a picture of some Canadians dancing.  They look much more coordinated than we did!

Picture by Jacques Surveyor-www.pixofcanada.com

Picture by Jacques Surveyor-www.pixofcanada.com

Wedding Scramble: I couldn’t figure out why there were a bunch of local children waiting outside Rothesay Castle for our ceremony to end.  Why would they care about strangers getting married?  It all came clear when I was told about the Wedding Scramble.  This is the scary tradition of throwing coins into the street for kids to gather as you are  leaving.  I am still amazed we didn’t run over everybody.  The kids were running everywhere to get the loot. 

 

Ending the evening with Auld Lang Syne:  This was the pinnacle of strangeness for me.  It’s the end of the evening, everyone has been drinking  and dancing for HOURS, and the guests gather in a circle around us and begin to sing Auld Lang Syne while widening and closing the circle.  Motor accuracy was a bit impaired at this point and I thought we would be crushed by those we love.  It was a perfect Scottish ending.

I am too technically challenged to have scanned and posted MY actual wedding pictures :-).  Maybe another time.

We plan to spend the week hiking and biking around; sitting in the pub if it rains.  I will take plenty of pictures!

I know there are a few of you Scots reading this blog.  Am I missing anthing?

The Free Motions are at it again-Dye Techniques

Monday, May 11th, 2009

My artist group, the Free Motions, is meeting again tomorrow to do more dye techniques.  we are winging it this time because I really didn’t have much planning time.  Personally. I plan to do a bunch of discharge dyeing; both with pole wrapping and screening.  It’s nice enough to work in the yard, finally!  I will post results of my experiments Wednesday.  You may get a few garden and dog shots as a bonus!

Shibori Experiments

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

It was so long since I had seen all of the Free Motions that I forgot to take pictures of our work day.  Nina has been AWOL for a long time, taking workshops, battling the flu and traveling.  We spent quite a lot of time gabbing instead of working, I’m afraid.  We also spent quite a lot of time standing around talking while Shelley made thermofax screens, too.  Then, of course we spent time eating.  All in all, not our most focused day, but we actually did do some dyeing!

  I do have a few pictures of some of my more successful experiments with shibori.  I ended up doing mostly pole wrapping techniques and trying to mimic those techniques through folding.  For pole wrapping, I use a large PVC pipe cut into two.  The diameter is about 6-8 inches.  The fabric is wrapped flat around the pole, the fabric is then wrapped with twine along it’s length and then it’s scrunched or compressed along the pipe.  Thsi creates small pleats that you apply the dye to.  Dharma Trading (one of my favorite places for supplies) Has some good pictures of the technique.  I have to point out that I am WAY too lazy to really do much shibori.  If you look at the Japanese techniques, they are, for the most part, meticulous and time consuming.  If you haven’t guessed by now, these are not my strong points.  I am more of a serendipidous dyer.  It is way more fun for me this way and I get great results at times, but does mean that I can rarely reproduce what I have made in the past.   Here’s some pictures of my haphazard experiments:

 

I really liked the way this pole wrapping turned out.   It was a piece of truly ugly velvet that I used up old dye on.   Most of it didn’t take.  You can see it’s loveliness on the left of the photo.   I used thickened dye and dry fabric because I wanted a crisper line.  Dye tends to end up blurrier when the fabric is wet or the dye is thin.  Anyway, I got a truly beautiful result, but the velvet sucked up all of the dye and it never made it down to the lower layers of the wrapping.  I will reverse the wrapping and do the other half the same way.  I really like the lines I got.  Click on photo for bigger image:

dry velvet pole wrap shibori

dry velvet pole wrap shibori

 

I had some other pole wrapped pieces, but they were really crap.  The dye color was too light and was runny.  It didn’t really give me any distinctive line, not worth posting.

When my poles were all used up, I tried a few experiments in trying to get the shibori look from folding fabric, rather than pole wrapping.  They don’t really mimic shibori all that much, but they aren’t a bad result.  The first one here uses thickened dye (thickened with print paste) on wet velvet.  I got a surprisingly crisp line:

Pleated wet velvet and thickened dye

Pleated wet velvet with thickened dye

This one was less thrilling.  The cotton was wet and the dye wasn’t thickened quite so much.  The dye spread much more than it did on the velvet.  Still, not a terrible result:
previously dyed wet cotton redyed with thickened dye

previously dyed wet cotton redyed with thickened dye

 I tried to do some pleating and wrapping techniques with discharge paste, but it didn’t really discharge much.  I meant to do some fancy stitch resist techniques, but didn’t have time to get them done before the work group.

The Free Motions do Shibori

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Today my work group, the Free Motions, are coming over to do some shibori dyeing techniques.   We will be pole wrapping and experimenting with stitch resist techniques; adding removing and layering color.   I will post pictures of our experiments tomorrow.  We will be doing some experiments from this book:  Shibori:  The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing by Wada, Rice and Barton.  I’ve had the book for a while, but haven’t really explored much of it’s contents.  Today should be fun!

The Free Motions Session #1

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Today was the first work session for our new surface design work group, the Free Motions.  If you knew this group, you would know how fitting the name really is.  We decided to focus on layering of sheers for this session (and probably many to come).  Group started with a request for the rest of the group to critique a piece I am working on:

Don't ever ask these women their opinion!

Don't ever ask these women their opinion!

We then ate something.  We are always eating something!  It’s a wonder we get any work done.
Below is one of Shelley’s experiments.  It’s got a great ghost of trees in the back layer-that’s the screen printed fabric showing through.
Digitally printed organza over screen prinitng on hand dyed fabric

Digitally printed organza over screen prinitng on hand dyed fabric

And Leah’s:
One of Leah's experiments

One of Leah's experiments

Again, thermofax screen printed fabric behind a digitally printed photo on translucent silk organza

 Here Shelley used my homemade stencil to screen hand dyed fabric and put a digital print of water over it.  Pretty cool.  Nina was doing alot of playing with monoprints and I forgot to get pictures until after she had left.  Sorry, Nina.

Shelley's

Shelley's

Here’s one of mine.  This is the organza from my great stencil experiment .  it’s hand dyed organza discharged with a stencil and then layered over cotton screen printed with ancient languages.  It’s too subtle.  It would definitely work better with a less saturated piece of organza, but it has some interesting potential.  All in all, a successful day.   The point was to play and to try out some techniques, rather than make anything into a piece. We barely scratched the surface on layering and will be back at it for a few more sessions, at least.
Tracy's

Tracy's

 We did a lot of screening with metallic paints behind organza.  The setacolor metallics are pretty subtle.  I will do some more experiments with Lumiere metallic paints, which are anything but subtle and some metallic Shiva paintsticks.  Both show through organza really beautifully.

Any suggestions for future experiments are very welcome!