Published again!

I am so pleased that Louise Wells’ article about four Western Australian textile artists was accepted by  Down Under Textiles in Issue 26 of 2016. This is a magazine which produces glorious quality images and is happy to publish local Australia articles.

The article contains a description of my somewhat OCD yarn storage habits and some slightly outdated images of my past work.  Nonetheless Louise’s text is intelligent and analytical and I am very pleased to have been a part of the article.

The more so as the works of Louise Wells, Anne Williams and Emma Seaton, three established WA textile artists, are showcased in the article, with images by Josh Wells Photography!

I am glad I subscribe to Down Under Textiles!!

wafta-talk-bathing-pavilionhttp://www.moremags.com.au/subscriptions/subscribe-to-down-under-textiles

Posted in bead crochet, Design, exhibiting, freeform crocheting, WAFTA | 2 Comments

The Cotton/Linen Dyeing Problem

Silk is a cinch.  Right?  Prints beautifully.

Cellulose fibres, on the other hand, are more problematic.  So I want to master them in eco-printing.  India Flint’s Eco-Colour has some guidance on soaking cottons and linens in supermarket soy milk products.  I followed these and have just bundled the resulting pre-mordanted pieces of linen and cotton from de-constructed op-shop garments with various leaves and stems picked from the ground at my local wetlands and my own garden.

The results?  Every piece of cellulose fabric that I rinsed in an iron water solution printed beautifully in two hours of steaming.  To be realistic, it would have done this even without the soy milk pre-mordant. I won’t even bother to post the images.  Same same.

Well, OK, here’s one

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Geranium leaves printed onto cellulose fabric which has been pre-mordanted with soy milk, dried, then soaked in iron water before bundling

The disappointment was that those I rinsed in copper solution (vinegar soaked copper tacks) and then steamed for two hours scarcely  showed any prints.  Almost white linen and cotton fabrics emerged from the bundles. I didn’t even photograph the relatively blank white cotton fabrics that emerged after I washed the bundled fabric.

What I DID do was to bundle them anew. This time I heaped the “used leaf refuse” from previous bundles in each piece of cotton and linen, adding a small quantity of chopped purple carrot for some different colour.  This is a technique I learned from Jane Flower  (https://foliosandfibre.wordpress.com)  She calls it “water colour”.  I bound them as usual but instead of steaming, I simmered them for two hours in the base of the steamer, that is, in the water. Not just water.  I added a few small branches of Euc. wandoo thinking that the tannin would be helpful.  I dropped a small lump of iron in too.  Iron takes some time to work itself into a bath; adding it just up front of a boil up I figured would add some mordant qualities without sending everything black…

Voilà!

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Above three images: various fabrics in cotton and linen bundled with used leaf material and purple carrot and simmered in a bath of Euc. wandoo and iron

Finally I want to record the fabric that resulted from my printing of a collection of leaves picked up by Julie Devereux on our walk in the wetlands last week. They were very interesting in that they seemed to have been eaten by insects in a way that made them look like lace. One was heart shaped.

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Now I just have to find a way of giving these fabrics a new life in a work of some sort!

Posted in Eucalyptus sp as dye, Geranium leaf printing, Iron mordant, Natural dyeing, purple carrots as dyes, soy milk mordant for cellulose fibres | 3 Comments

Vine leaves and geranium fabric printing

My friend  Louise Wells didn’t just bring delicious smoked salmon blinis to Melbourne Cup lunch last Tuesday.  She brought a large bag of garden cuttings.  Among them, vine leaves.

So I had a little go at bundling some of them with silk pre-soaked in strong iron water and then simmered for two hours in a rich black pot of iron and onion skins.

The result is not spectacular but it does encourage me to experiment further until I find a way to get really good prints.

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Preparation for the building of the studio continues.  I have just pruned back all the planting along my battle axe driveway  to protect it from the builder’s heavy vehicles.  So in the same pot and using similar pre-soaked silk i also bundled some geranium leaves and flowers.

I suspect that these prints are very dependent on the heavy iron dosing but will now try them with steaming.

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The print from underneath the geranium leaf

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The print made from the top of the leaf

Posted in Geranium leaf printing, Iron mordant, Natural dyeing, vine leaf printing | Leave a comment

Adding iron to an onion pot

 

This post is about two things.  First: the wonders of iron in a pot (thank you Jane Flower!).  Second: rose leaves (thank you Louise Wells for the latest batch!)

I am building up a store of silk with eco-prints for a project.  I am still using recycled silk where I can get it. Below is the (very short) sleeve of a much worn pyjama jacket. The impact of the iron in the onion dye bath is seen in the strong lines of the casuarina leaves and the dark green of the rose leaves.

 

Even a small collar is grist to the dyeing mill. It has taken the green of the rose leaves very well.

What intrigues me is the way the iron outlines the stalks without changing the green of the rose leaf prints! The images include yet another sleeve!

Finally here is one of those prints that is (to me) just poetry.  No specially clear prints;  just pattern and texture.  Like a painting.

 

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Posted in casuarina dyeing, dyeing with red onion, Eucalyptus sp as dye, Iron mordant, Natural dyeing, Rose leaves | 3 Comments

Dyeing used silk by simmering: 3 lessons

I decided to give the steamer a break and make an onion dye bath in the boiler. Before bundling local and garden material around sticks, I rinsed each piece of silk in a dilute iron water solution (see Lesson 2 below).

Some of the silk pieces were rescued from worn /worn out silk garments.  I learned a good lesson with these. Lesson 1: bundle up the softer plants only as tough stems rip the old fabric.

 

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A former cream silk shirt sleeve

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I quite like the effect of the embroidery on this piece from a silk pyjama top.

Lesson 2: Use more iron!  I am reasonably happy with the results below although I think some of them would have been more striking if the iron solution had been stronger.

 

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Casuarina needles and oregano

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Miscellaneous fallen Eucalyptus leaves from the Bayswater wetlands

Lesson 3:  the nature of the “bandage” affects the penetration of the dye into  the fabric.  Where I used cotton gauze to bind the bundles there was a greater contribution from the onion skins than in the cases where I used heavier cotton.

 

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Heavier cotton on the left and the gauze on the right.

My next blog will record the result of adding a lump of scrap iron to the same bath as was used for the pieces above.

Posted in dyeing with red onion, Eucalyptus sp as dye, Murraya paniculata (orange jessamine) as dye, Natural dyeing | Leave a comment

Murraya paniculata- who knew??

Murraya paniculata, common name Orange Jessamine, is an excellent hedging plant.  A native of China and South-east Asia,  it is in several spots in my small garden because of its wonderful orange blossom perfume when in flower and its neat small dark green leaves when it’s not.

In pursuit of my experiments with natural dyeing, I bound some Murraya leaves in recycled silk (the unpicked “bias cut bow tie” of a silk blouse).  I brought a pot of mixed red and brown onion skins and water to the simmer and inserted the bundle of silk and Murraya in it for two hours.

Wishful thinking goes with the territory of dyers.  However, I did not predict the sensational green of the result. What a shame I didn’t collect the prunings when the hedge was manicured last week!

I actually did a ten bundle batch of garden material in recycled silk in the same pot.  More later.

Posted in dyeing with red onion, Murraya paniculata (orange jessamine) as dye, Natural dyeing | 5 Comments

Walking has its benefits

If I have to take my ageing legs for a walk I figure I might as well go somewhere interesting.  My current favourite destination right now  is the Bayswater wetlands, not far from my place.The wetlands are under threat from private developers but I hope soon that the State Government will wake up and protect them.  There is, after all, an election early next year.

As I walk I search the ground for fallen pieces of dye goodness.  Agonis flexuosa, lots of different eucalypts and unknown casuarina species are currently my flotsam of choice.

Long story short, my legs might weigh heavily on me  but my soul is in alt as I look at the results of steaming my “finds” in various weights of woven silk. A lovely record of my walk!

Posted in Eucalyptus sp as dye, Iron mordant, Natural dyeing | 2 Comments