Archive for October, 2009

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!

Jeanne Beck Workshop-Fun with Stamps

Monday, October 19th, 2009

I never did get pictures up from the fantastic workshop I did with the fabulous  Jeanne Beck in September.  Better late than never :-).  We played with a number of techniques, but one that I had lots of fun with was making string stamps and heat mold stamps.

String stamps are about as low tech as you can get; that’s part of what I like about them.   Armed with a ball of twine and a scrap piece of wood, you’re in business.  Here was my effort; inspired by endless games of cat’s cradle as a kid.

Tracy'  fabulous string stamp

Tracy' fabulous string stamp

and that stamp in action:

stamp action!

stamp action!

here were some more from other participants and Jeanne’s own stash:

more string stamps

more string stamps

and more:

more stamps

more stamps

when you use the stamps once, the paint dries and the seals the string:

string stamps continued

string stamps continued

Then we played with heat and mold stamps.  You heat these up a bit and impress texture on them.   We had fun with Shelley’s shoe:

Shelley's shoe gets pressed into service

Shelley's shoe gets pressed into service

Here’s the stamp it made:

 

Shelley's shoe stamp

Shelley's shoe stamp


Shelley's shoe stamp in action

Shelley's shoe stamp in action

Improv with string:
Someone made an impression of a wad of string

Someone made an impression of a wad of string

 

String wad stamp in action

String wad stamp in action

I haven’t done much experimenting with these.  I’ve been so heavy on the wrokshops lately that I haven’t really had time to assimilate the new skills and tools.  I’ll post as I get to it.

Laura Cater Woods Workshop

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Hi all,

I missed the first day of Laura’s workshop because my trusty bug decided to blow it’s water pump while driving home from my guild meeting on Tuesday.  I had no idea what I was walking into the second day, so just brought some pieces in progress and figured that I could just enjoy the company of the group if they were already too immersed in work from the day before.  I did end up working on a new heron piece for a good portion of the day, but was around for instruction for a great 3D technique of Laura’s.

The technique involves embedding mixed media materials in a glue and water suspension.  It gives you the option of creating 2 sided materials and create sheer areas within the piece.  The material can be sewn, too.

You start by laying cling film in a sided cookie sheet and layering different materials over it.

Mixed Media Technique

Mixed Media Technique

 

Above, Laura has layered handmade paper, silk roving, skeleton leaves and material.

More materials are added

More materials are added

 when the desired density of materials are layered, Laura covers the composition with a 50/50 mixture of Elmer’s glue and water.

Laura covers the composition with glue mixture

Laura covers the composition with glue mixture

 

Here are some of Laura’s sample compositions.  I love this one with embedded sticks:

One of Laura's finished compositions

One of Laura's finished compositions

The above piece has everything form dollar store fake flowers to used tea bags embedded in it.

Here’s the back:

the back of the same composition

the back of the same composition

Laura has cut windows and sewed around them.

Here are some more samples:

One of Laura's samples with lots of silk or wool roving in it

One of Laura's samples with lots of silk or wool roving in it

and another:

lots of wool roving on this one, too

lots of wool roving on this one, too

I had a great time learning this new technique, but Laura’s real gift is in one on one coaching.  She is so good at helping people find their artistic voice.  This is the second time I’ve had the pleasure of working with Laura and once again she had some great advice about the pieces I was working on.  If you have the chance to take a class with her, grab it!

Inspirational Artist: Gorgeous Textiles from Diane Savona

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

I love being a part of a larger arts community!  This morning I opened my email to a blog post from fabulous fiber artist, Rayna GilmanHer post featured images from a show by textile artist Diane Savona.  I was so hooked by her work that I thought I would feature her myself.

Diane seems to play in the same areas of artistic exploration  that I do:  ancient languages, maps, fossils, and tribal imagery.   Within these frameworks she also explores issues of domesticity.  I love her interpretation.  Her work is fantastic!  Take a look: http://www.dianesavonaart.com/index.html

 

I am off to the Laura Cater Woods workshop this morning.  My trusty bug ended up in the shop all day yesterday (failed water pump) after a dramatic drive back from Tuesday’s guild meeting with half the instrument panel lights flashing.    I couldn’t find one to borrow, so I missed the first day.  I will have to make up for lost time today!

North Suburban Needle Arts Guild Meeting

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

I am off today to my monthly meeting of the North Suburban Needle Arts Guild.  I have been a member of this guild for about 5 years and the I cannot say enough good things about it.  The people are wonderful and up to some truly innovative and creative work, the speakers and teachers are first class and the annual show, the Fine Art of Fiber at the Chicago Botantic Gardens, that we put on  is truly gorgeous.  It is one of my favorite things about living in the Chicago area.

 

Today’s speaker is Laura Cater-Woods.  She will be doing a two day workshop Wednesday and Thursday that I have signed up to take.  I took a wonderful 5 day workshop with her a few years ago in Montana.  She is a wonderful teacher who has a gift for connecting people to their artistic voice.  I am really looking forward to working with her again.  I hope to share some wonderful insights and pictures with you over the next few days.

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.