Back at art school this week at our local Polytech. Here are some of my dye results. This one was using salt water as the mordant, an huge old rusted iron bar I found while walking along the Waikanae River and TIME. Left to it's own devices, I wasn't expecting much but as I unravelled my large bundle, the biggest surprise awaited me. Are they a row of crosses, or a group of people?
A close up of details. I like dye on fabric especially when combined with folding the fabric, time and the most simplest of materials. It's non-toxic, uncomplicated and leaves room for serendipity - the unexpected. I am not the most disciplined person and I enjoy the 'surprise' that happens as each art work is finally opened. This is calico, unwashed. It's about 2m x 2m, so is large and dramatic.
This is a large piece of silk (see below) already has a silver metallic thread and sequin embroidered design on it. How did I do this? It was shibori folded with eucalyptus leaves and put into a pot with harakeke (flax) seed pods and left to cook for an hour. Pot was turned off and the bundle left in overnight. This is my most successful attempt at a technique that India Flint taught at her summer workshop. This is also about 2m x 2m. I found the silk (bridal or ball gown material by the looks of things at Trash Palace for about 50c!). The leaf prints left by the eucalypt are so clear with reds, greens and black spots. Each print unique and individual. I love this sort of thing. The right hand side is darker forming a natural border due to being on the outside and most exposed to dye.
Below is the brightest of yellows. The pattern again created using shibori techniques. Basically I took an old white t-shirt and a huge pot of onion skins, and boiled it all up for an hour, then left it overnight to steep. The more onion skins, the more intense the colour.
Only a dyer can understand the thrill of a clothesline loaded with different experiments. I also dyed some wool, some wool tops, felt, vintage silks from kimono, cotton, muslin, string and other scraps of fabric. I actually achieved more at home than I did at the workshop. It was too distracting - so many things happening at once, I wanted to do everything and ended up with little to show. So pleased that some of that knowledge stuck. As you can also see, a typical Wellington summer day with a nice strong gust of wind wrapping all my fabric around the clothes line. Useful for drying fabric, hopeless for a photo shoot.
I went wandering again yesterday along some tracks and look at all my lovely big bolts and bits, nicely rusted. The 'bowl' is a hubcap found by my oldest son. I love that they find me treasures.
So school started again for me this week. My second year as an art student, this year majoring in textiles. I am both excited and anxious. Last year was complicated on so many levels, both personally as I was new to the art scene and externally throughout our campus. I want to learn and have fun creating art as well as developing the ability to think conceptually. That is a real art. ... Anyways, so our first brief was to create a sculpture based on the four elements: wind, fire, water, earth. Our group came up with five upright structures constructed with bamboo stakes with different strands coming off each one. Handspun flax interwoven with feathers, paua shells, leaves, flowers, twigs. I wove wool tops and tiny branches using silk thread - I wanted to connect the abrasive twigs that I found on one of my morning excursions to a soft branch made from wool. Recreate a natural object using something unexpected. Hence a 'soft' branch.
This is our water one, using paua shells.
This circle web with leaves attached was the creation of another group. I love the way the harbour creates a beautiful background and the leaves swirling just like they do on the ground on a windy day.
I made a big batch of dough today. Seriously big batch, that is a standard sized cup in my giant basin. My arms ached a little after kneading this. We were on a mission, deliver a drumkit to one keen little drummer boy in Upper Hutt and have a big kai with our dear friends.
Here Christine and Sophie are making me a yukka pot plant. How cool is that? She just pulled a little plant off the base of her big plant and stuck it in a pot. Some people are just naturally generous by nature. I left with a brand new olive green scarf she purchased in Oz, a yummy yukka in a gorgeous green pot, and a big pot of boil-up. Uncle Eddie makes a mean boilup - bacon and pork bones, kumara, potato's, watercress. I made a bit of fried bread. And little 'E' played on his new drums for two and a half hours straight. Sophie created a wee butterfly strand and we sewed it onto her headband.
Lovely friends. Sophie is gorgeous in Mum's high heels. Little girls are so much fun. My boys just want to wrestle and skateboard all the time. I am dying to have a wee workshop for all my little friends like Sophie (there's Madison, Melania and Shasha, Zoe and Shalom). We can do 'girl' things - I so need to get this out of my system. Already I am dreaming of a tea party with dress ups and make up and nail polish and High School Musical music and princess themes and little cupcakes and scones with cream and jam, and strawberries. Ok, this I must do. I am drowning in testosterone otherwise because I am the only girl in my family.
Dropped in to say hi with some more lovely friends. I found two more princesses in pink pyjama's, lying in princess beds with princess stuff all over their rooms. Great people live in Upper Hutt. Shame about the weather though. We drove back over the hills and looked north, sure enough, the Bay was shining, with a beautiful clear sky and sunset. Mind you, the air is cold, so these summer days are numbered for sure.
A quick stop. Blackberries. Yum. I know they probably spray these bushes but we just said a hasty prayer then stuffed our faces. It was definitely raining but I want my kids to know what blackberries taste like straight from the bush. They were definitely excited and it was a shame we had to go.
I hope your days are full of exciting adventures and yummy delights. Don't be afraid to live - we only get one shot.