Archive for the ‘Discharge’ Category

SAQA One Foot Square Auction Begins!

Monday, September 20th, 2010

The Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA) begins their annual fundraiser today!  This is a great opportunity to purchase some great art work and help a really wonderful organization at the same time.

How the Auction Works

There are 288 Benefit Auction quilts donated by our members. The SAQA 2010 Benefit Auction will begin on Monday, September 20th at 2:00 Eastern Time and conclude on Saturday, October 9 at 2:00 Eastern.

Last year’s Benefit Auction raised $47,325. The funds raised through the Auction are critical to supporting SAQA’s exhibitions, catalogs and outreach programs.

How the Auction works:

The Auction is run in three sections (Section 1 – Pages 1a and 1b; Section 2 – Pages 2a and 2b; Section 3 – Pages 3a and 3b).

On the first day of each section’s auction, the price for all pieces in that section is $750. The next day (at 2:00 Eastern), the price drops to $550. The third day, it drops to $350, then $250, then $150, and finally $75.

The first section will begin September 20th at 2:00 Eastern.
The second section will begin September 27th at 2:00 Eastern.
The third section will begin October 4th at 2:00 Eastern.

On another note, I’ve been vat dyeing again.  This one below was made from a Procion dye that I got from Dharma Trading Company called Mild Wing Sauce.  It was an oops dye they were selling at a great price.  It was screened with golden yellow and scarlet vat dyes.

Scarf Mania! Scarf by Tracy McCabe Stewart

this one was created from another oops! Dharma dye called How Now Brown Cow.  I LOVE this color.  It was screened with scarlet vat dye as well.

More Scarf Mania! Scarf by Tracy McCabe Stewart

Big in Japan-More Preparation

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Here are the scarves I started a few days ago.  I will bring them all to Japan and let my daughter choose the one that I give to my daughter’s host mother.  I posted about this yesterday here.

I thought the scarves needed another layer of vat dye, so I screened an indigo and grey mixture over them.  I got better haloes today, too.  I think this one below is my favorite.  There’s a real hot spot from my camera’s flash.  The color is much more even:

Procion MX and vat dyed scarf by Tracy McCabe Stewart

 Here’s the second scarf:

Tree screened scarf by Tracy McCabe Stewart

The final scarf turned out all right, but the new screeend flowers turned out really blurry.  It was all the same vat dye, so I don’t know what happened.  I like the look of it anyway:

Procion and Vat dyed Scarf by Tracy McCabe Stewart

Big in Japan-Trip Preparation

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

I am headed out for a 10 day trip to Japan this Wednesday.  My daughter has been finishing her last year of university in Kobe and staying with a host family there.  she has a minor in Asian studies. 

Big in Japan is a fun song from the 80’s by Alphaville.  It’s one of the worst music videos ever; complete with Robin Hood sort of outfits that don’t really have much to do with Japan, as far as I can see.  See it here.   We hum it around here because I am 6’2″ and going to the land of 5′ people.  I’m guessing I won’t exactly blend in. 

Right now, I am trying to get gifts together for Ashley’s host  family.  The Japanese have a somewhat complicated ritual of gift giving.  Here’s what I know:  gifts from/related to your geographical location are appreciated.  The presentation is really important, too.  I will wrap my presents in hand dyed fabric to try to make them extra special.  

I am from Chicago, so I am bringing them a book on Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.  I am also making a hand dyed scarf for my daughter’s host mother.   Apparently she wears very plain, dark clothing, so I am trying to do something pretty subdued.  I started by dyeing silk scarves blue grey and screened them with vat dye solution.  Here are the results form the vat dyeing.  They will probably get a layer of fabric paint before they are complete. 

Here’s a picture.  I am having a hard time getting the colors true because the silk is so reflective.  I barely got any haloing on these-too bad.  She wants plain, so I won’t add another design layer, but may screen some paint to make the effect more monochromatic.  

Hand Dyed Scarves by Tracy McCabe Stewart

Featured Piece of the Day- Cave Series IV

Sunday, November 15th, 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:

cave series IV

2006
46″ l x 30″w
hand dyed/hand painted silks and cottons, commercial cottons, stones, fossils, shells, paintsticks.

Machine quilted.

2010 Price: $2070-

2009 Price: $1545-

Email me for more information or for higher resolution photos

Vat Dyeing Primer

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

With all of this vat dyeing I’m doing lately, I probably should have started by posting an introduction to the process and some instructions for doing it.  Better late than never 🙂

By the way, There isn’t any vat in vat dye.  Don’t ask me why it’s called vat dyeing, I didn’t name it 🙂  Actually, I think the name came from indigo dyeing techniques which are the same type of dye.  Don’t quote me on that, I may have made it up.

Here are the basics general info-almost all of which is information I got from Barbara Schneider’s  fantastic workshop: 

  • Vat dyeing is a really old technique (18th century)
  • It is the most light fast dye. 
  • Vat dyes are a specific type of dye rather than a dye process:  they are water insoluble in pigment form.  They are made water soluble-or able to bond with the fiber molecule- by adding a reducing agent.  The reducing agent used in my experiments is Formusol.
  • Once vat dyes are mixed they will last forever
  • The reason for the halo effect is that the discharge agents move faster than the dye agents
  • Increasing glycerine increases the haloing effect.  Other liquids need to be reduced accordingly.
  • The dyes we use(d) are Aljo Zymo-Fast (Vat Dyes).  Barbara does NOT use their recipe or directions.
  • Vat dye colors will not blend with previously dyed fabrics, but will blend with each other.

Equipment:

In order to vat dye, you need to steam the fabric.  For this, I bought a huge tamale pot on ebay.  It gives me plenty of room to add the fabric without it touching the sides of the pot. and has a steam tray built in that keeps the fabric out of the water while still being steamed. 

Humongo tamale pot

Humongo tamale pot

 

Humongo pot’s steamer tray:

vat dye primer1

I also purchased a 1500 watt hot plate so I could do my steaming out in the garage.  Formusol is formaldehyde based and releases fumes during steaming and application.  Do your process in a well ventilated area and/or wear a ventilator.

Within the pot, you want a few layers of craft felt and 3 layers of paper to sandwich the material.  Make them about 2″ smaller than the pot so steam can circulate. 

vat dye primer 3

Brown craft paper layer:

vat dye primer 4

 The layers go from top to bottom like this:  steamer tray/paper layers/craft felt/rolled fabric/paper layers/craft felt and then a larger couple of layers of craft felt under the lid of the pot.  Like this:

vat dye primer 5

 

 Once you have applied the vat dye by screening, stamping, etc.  Let it dry.  You then want to roll it loosely inside an old piece of fabric (a sheet works well).  See my last post for exceptions to this arrangement.  Wait until the water in the steamer is fully steaming and then arrange the layers as described above.  Steam the fabric for 15 minutes.

 

After the 15 minutes, remove the fabric and give it a good spritz with a plant mister.  Leave it for half an hour before rinsing and washing it.  This allows the halo effect to continue.

I then rinse my fabric out a bit with water and then pop it into the washer with some Synthrapol.

 

Vat dyeing can be repeated with additional layers.

 

Fine Art of Fiber starts tomorrow!

Vat Dyeing Experiments-Day 2

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Hi all,

I was at the vat dyeing again yesterday; trying to increase my understanding of the process.  I had some interesting results. 

First, the fuscia dyed cotton.  I screened some turquoise and some indigo vat dye onto this and got similar results to the day before.  My conclusion is that pretty much everything discharges/vat dyes to the green/blue family from fuscia.  This was true of my samples as well.  It’s a pretty combination, so I’ll use it again.  I got the same yellow, somewhat blurred results from sky blue again.  Here is the fuscia cotton from yesterday:

Vat Dyed Cotton

Vat Dyed Cotton

Here’s a detail showing some of the blue:

Cotton detail

Cotton detail

 

Here’s the sample from the day before using skyblue and violet-not much difference.

day 1 sample

day 1 sample

 

I did make a a great discovery with my silk organza.  Tuesday’s sample discharged beautifully, but didn’t lay down any new color.  I thought this might have something to do with the material’s position in the steam bath.  Normally, all of the vat dyed fabric is loosely rolled inside of a piece of fabric and steamed (like a jelly roll); the vat dyed material is not directly exposed to the steam.  The steam has to penetrate through the sheet to reach the material; sometimes through a few layers of fabric if it’s on the inside of the jelly roll.  For my experiment, I decided to steam the organza outside of the sheet; meaning it was directly exposed to the steam.  The result was much more color laid down.  Still no haloing, but a definite improvement.  I screened grey on there and love the silver effect that I got.  I will try to replicate the results in the next session.

vat dyed silk organza

vat dyed silk organza

Here’s a detail:

Detail

Detail

 

This piece of organza was on the inside of the roll and it didn’t even discharge all that well.  No new color laid down; I may be on to something.  I have more organza that I will experiment with on Thursday and try to confirm my conclusions.  I use organza all the time in my pieces and would really love to get that haloing effect on the translucent fabric. 

more organza

more organza

ThursdayI will be adding another layer of vat dye to the scarves I did on day one and playing with these organza pieces some more.  I will take pictures of my set up and process to try to paint a clearer picture of things. 

Comments/discussion from anyone else working with vat dyes would be greatly appreciated.  I would love to know whether anyone has figured out any hard and fast rules with this process.  It seems fairly random to me right now!

Vat Dyeing Experiments-Day 1

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Yesterday was the first chance that I have had to experiment with the vat dyes that we made up at Barbara Schneider’s fabulous workshop.  I have more batches steaming as I write this, but here are my results from yesterday.  My results are really unpredictable.  I think I’ll be at this for quite a while before I can get results I expect with any consistency.  I dyed hand dyed cottons, silk organza and silk charmeuse.  All had been previously dyed with Procion MX dyes. 

The most disapointing results were on my silk organza.  I discharged beautifully, but didn’t lay down any new color whatsoever, despite having used 3 different colors.  I have a few more pieces in the steamer right now to see if this is a consistent result.  Here’s yesterday’s offering:

Procion MX dyed silk organza screened with vat dyes

Procion MX dyed silk organza screened with vat dyes

 The silk charmeuse had mixed results; both scarves had good color, but one haloed quite a bit more than the other.  I am wondering whether this is a function of where it is in the steamer.  The materials are rolled up and set in the steamer; maybe the proximity to the outside of the roll has an effect.  I’ll try to experiment more with this.  Here’s the first scarf.  The color is great, but not much haloing:

vat dye day 1 2

Here’s the other one with better haloing.  The the sky blue came out as yellow:

vat dye day 1  3

 

the cotton haloed the best, but I had a strange color reaction with the sky blue turning yellowish and blurring:

hand dyed cotton screened with vat dye

hand dyed cotton screened with vat dye

 

More experiment postings tomorrow!

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.

Alterations: an exhibit by the Art Cloth Network

Monday, July 20th, 2009

My gal pal, Shelley and I got a personal tour of the beautiful ArtCloth Network show at the Legacy Arts Center in Crystal Lake, IL from artist extraordinaire, Barbara Schneider (she’s in the show) before doing our photography workshop with her later that day.  Barbara led us around the mansion as well.  The venue for the show is in a fascinating old mansion that is in the midst of renovation.  The mansion currently houses a music school, artist studios and other various community arts spaces.  It’s a great space.  Read more about the center by clicking the link above.    Here are some of the more “in progress” parts of the house. 

Great wordwork all over the house

Great wordwork all over the house

 

All the old fireplaces were intact

All the old fireplaces were intact

 

more great woodwork

more great woodwork

 

This hall is a s big as my living room!

This hall is a s big as my living room!

a beautiful wardrobe in one of the bedrooms.  I wish I had this closet!

 

beautiful staircase woodwork

beautiful staircase woodwork

And pieces from the actual show.  It was really hard to shoot-odd angles and lots of windows.  As usual, I forgot to note the individual artists’ names.  Artcloth is made with numerous layers and techniques of surface design:  dye, paint, discharge, screening, stenciling, etc.  The piece below was beautiful.  Lots of beautiful copper metallics:

a great piece from the show

a great piece from the show

 

a beautiful mosiac piece

a beautiful mosiac piece

 

Barabara's Schneider's piece

Barabara's Schneider's piece

 

Shelley and Barabara look at another of Barbara's pieces

Shelley and Barabara look at another of Barbara's pieces

artcloth!

artcloth!

 

Judy Langille's pieces

Judy Langille's pieces

The Business of Creativity-Great Post on Generating Referrals from Duct Tape Marketing

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

“To a large degree, our success and happiness in life depends on how much people like themselves when they’re with us.” Joe Caruso

This is a a quote from a great post on generating referrals posted on Duct Tape Marketing today.  It is completely applicable to the art business!  On that note of marketing, here’s a completely unrelated piece of my art!

Thorn Series II (C) 2007 Tracy McCabe Stewart

Thorn Series II (C) 2007 Tracy McCabe Stewart

 

Thorn Series II: hand dyed and discharged silks and cottons, commercial cottons.  Machine quilted.