Notions-Drye Goods Studio Diary

Thanks for checking in. I am a fiber artist. My current emphasis is on eco printing and other wildcraft with a touch of up-cycling thrown in. You can also catch up with me on Facebook at Drye Goods Studio.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Winter Fun

Sometimes you just need to take something one step further, for whatever reason. Winter is a great time for eco printers to catch up on stuff like that. You may have things set aside that didn't turn out all that great, or are not what you expected. It could also be that while something is a perfectly acceptable piece of fabric, it isn't the color that you need at the moment.



I picked these two pieces to do over. The one on the left is silk charmeuse, and while a nice print, there isn't enough contrast between it and the other things I would like to go with it. The one on the right is an experiment with only the green leaves of Poinsettia. In this picture it looks a lot better than it does in real life. It came out very pale and then there are the hinky black spots.


You have some options; you could mix up some sort of dye and over dye the whole thing, or you could just eco print over what you already did-sometimes those turn out fantastic, or you can expose it to another mordant or adjunct. In this case I am using the iron pot as the post mordant or adjunct. I wanted the charmeuse piece to be darker, more gray and in the case of the yellow nightmare-anything has to be better than that, so into the iron pot they went. First I filled this cast iron dutch oven with water and a splash of vinegar and brought that to a boil and then hauled it back inside to cool off. I was afraid if I left out on the gas stove to cool I would forget it and it would freeze solid in this lovely polar vortex we are having. Once the water was tepid I dumped in both pieces of fabric. Then I went off to do something else, but I set the timer on my phone for about 15 minutes so I would remember to go back, give the fabric a stir and check to see what was happening. 

The first time around there wasn't much going on but as the afternoon progressed both pieces got darker. I was really hoping the yellow one would turn green as it sometimes does with this treatment, but as you will see in the pictures below, it came out kind of gray. There isn't an exact procedure for this process, when you think it is dark enough, take it out. Remember that wet fabric appears about two shades darker than when it is dry, so take that into consideration. Depending on the plant material, it is possible to turn something totally black, so if that isn't what you are after-check it often.

This is the one that was yellow. I like it and may leave it that way, but I could eco print on top of it. I may just let it sit around a bit to ponder if it is done or not.

This is the charmeuse piece, the background is grayed out and some of the leaf prints are more defined.
If you are wondering why I took the second set of pictures against a canvas background it is because I had a bear of a time getting the colors right in the photos. I let the phone update last night-and no Samsung, I am not at all happy with the updates to the camera!! It was very difficult to get true color, especially with the shiny charmeuse, so about the only way to get you to see what I see (and not have to troop out into the aforementioned polar vortex to take pictures) was to lay both pieces against the white, it must make the camera "see" differently or something. No amount of messing around with the settings would fix it. Anyway, the background came out a lovely blue-gray and will look great with the other two pieces of fabric I am using.

Monday, February 4, 2019

More Thoughts on Things to Come

"Kindness, kindness, kindness. I want to make a New Year's prayer, not a resolution. I'm praying for courage." Susan Sontag

Oak on silk
Oak on concrete.

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Art of Digging a Ditch

A few years ago I saw a documentary about an artist named Wayne White. In one scene they showed him sitting before his easel and he said something to the effect that this was the ditch-digging part of art. You have a great idea, but then you actually have to sit down and make it.

I so wish that was the type of ditch-digging I have been doing. Part of an art business, is, well, the business. Without that side of it, making art is a hobby or avocation at best. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making things simply because you like to make them-I wish more people did, but I also get into some fairly strange conversations with people who don't think of what I do as "real". Let's look at some of things that have to get done.

First off there is the plain old boring office stuff like getting the taxes ready for the accountant. While you can just take that pile in the corner of your desk and dump it on an accountant, or sort it out in a rush madly feeding numbers into something like Turbotax, the best piece of advice I ever got is to know where you stand with the money at all times. Know what you make, how much you have, where it came from, what it is being spent on, and, if you owe money, to whom and for what. That last one is where a lot of people go horribly wrong.  I keep spreadsheets in Excel and usually catch up with them once a month, but there is always something that needs chasing down at the end of the year. I find getting all that stuff together for somebody else helps me understand my business and make plans for the coming year.

I'd put a picture of the top of my desk here-but I don't want to give you nightmares.

At the beginning of the year the Pottery Place Plus freshens up the shop by having some members trade spaces. This year was my turn. We also rotate jobs amongst ourselves and so there is a bit of a learning curve here in January. In my case I said I would help with the social media accounts and although I understand the nuts and bolts of how it works, now I have to get into the habit of making time for it. I did this to myself so I would also get more in the habit of doing it for myself as well and I would be forced to learn more about it than I know now. That is one of the happy things about belonging to a group like this, there is always something you can learn from other members. Artist co-ops sometimes get a bad rap, but really, how else do you get a year's worth of exposure for your work without having to work all those days yourself? If the group you are considering jurys the work and they have a good location with lots of potential customers, I would say give it a whirl. Co-ops are a fair amount of work, but I find the chronic income to be very helpful and worth the effort.

New space at Pottery Place, my old space was very wide with a low ceiling, this one is very tall. It will give me new things to think about 


This is the time of year that most of the show applications for the summer are due, so some analysis of last year is in order. Once that is decided then I have to come up with a class schedule-what to offer and where to offer it at. I am also working on reopening my Etsy shop, but I am getting tripped up on some of the details. I am getting a handle on it and in the meantime, making the stuff is really fun!

Making multiple buttons. I needed to keep track of what glaze and what firing temp in order to be able to repeat them-what did we ever do before phone cameras?
 I think I am coming to the end of the drudgery type of stuff and can start thinking about what new ideas I want to make this year. Due to my husband being laid up last fall I didn't get much made, nor did I get out and get enough materials to dry and use this winter so I am focusing on other things. Digging around in my supplies and pondering what else could go along with my regular offerings does a number of things. It stretches the imagination for one-dumping a big pile of unrelated items out onto the cutting table makes my head work differently. Some things go back in the closet and some go to my favorite new place Art Salvage for others to enjoy, but I always seem to get at least one new idea from this exercise.  

This is actually a personal project. I bought a down coat at a thrift store but it did have some damage so I am going to try my hand at the concept of visible mending. It kind of looks like the person who owned the coat previously was attacked by a bear-but only in the armpit. Anyway, it could lead to new work as well.

I hope to be back at eco printing next week, I have some ideas for the dried material I do have and some over-dyes, stay tuned!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday Thoughts

"Treat every day like it's a new year, because it is."
Temitope Ibrahim



Eucalyptus and Maple on silk.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Past Present and Future

"Past and present I know well; each is a friend and sometimes an enemy to me. But it is the quiet, beckoning future, an absolute stranger, with whom I have fallen madly in love."
Richelle E. Goodrich, Slaying Dragons



I am trying to winter over my Scented Geraniums in the sunroom. So far, so good! Today I clipped off the leggy stuff to use for sachets. The house smells wonderful!

Lavender harvested last summer for sachets and household products.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Meet Amy Wharf

Amy and I have been friends for a very long time. She was already a member of the Pottery Place Plus when I joined about 15 years ago. Her pottery is made with classic style and soothing colors. Let's see what makes her tick. Oh! Be sure to read all the way through-there is a recipe-yum!


Have you always been an artist? If not, when did you start?

I have always been interested in the arts. From early childhood I had an interest in drawing and making things. However, in fourth grade I started to study the cello and so spent the next eighteen years focused on music, rather than the visual arts. I had my first exposure to clay in my junior year in high school. It was love at first touch. But I had decided to pursue a musical career so could not continue to work with the clay. About 30 years ago I made the decision to switch to pottery making as my artistic pursuit. I have found I get more satisfaction making a pot that can be used and enjoyed every day than I did from the ephemeral musical arts.


Why did you pick the media you work in now? How do you describe your work? 

I work with clay because I get great satisfaction from every part of the process. I love the feel of the clay when I am throwing on the potter's wheel. I enjoy dividing the pot into sections to decorate with carved or stamped patterns. The variables in the glazing and and firing processes have made me more accepting and open to chance. I describe my pottery as elegantly functional. I start with a classic shape and then add decorations based on the beauty I see in nature.


What inspires you?

I am inspired by the thought that my pottery is used and enjoyed on a daily basis. In my personal life, I have rebelled against the industrial food production system. I grow, harvest, hunt, freeze, and can the food I eat as much as possible. I use my pottery to cook, serve and eat from. By extension, when a customer uses my functional pottery, I hope they are "joining the rebellion". I give my favorite recipes to my customers so they can immediately start using their newly purchased pottery.

June's Boy Scout Casserole

6 cups Mashed Potatoes (made ahead)
8 oz Frozen Green Beans (cooked but still firm)
1 lb beef or venison burger (brown in skillet and drain off fat)

Add the following to the meat in the skillet:
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes; 1 6 oz can tomato paste; 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper; 1 1/2 teaspoon Marjoram: 1 clove crushed fresh garlic; 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes; 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes

Put the meat sauce into the Peone Creek Pottery 2 quart baking dish and layer the green beans on top. Spoon the mashed potatoes over the green beans, making dips and peaks with the spoon. Garnish with 1/2 teaspoon paprika.

Put casserole in a cold oven. Heat oven to 400 degrees and bake casserole for 45 minutes. For a crowd size meal the recipe may be doubled and cooked in a Peone Creek Pottery 4 quart baking dish.


Do you have a favorite tool or piece of equipment?

My pottery is either thrown on the potter's wheel, made from a clay slab, or extruded. Once the basic shape is about half dry I decorate it. I have a few commercial tools I use but many of the tools are ones I have made or found. These include pieces of wood, screws, chopsticks, sea shells, leaves, and embossed wallpaper; anything that will make a unique mark or impressions on the clay.

Why do you like the co-op environment? What do you get out of it besides sales?

I never went to school to study pottery making and was working a full time job when I first set up my home studio. I didn't have much association with other artists. So taking the leap and joining Pottery Place Plus brought me into a new world of learning from and collaborating with other artists. This has helped me enormously with business aspects of being an artist and has also been inspiring creatively. Seeing other members grow artistically and explore new ideas has given me the courage to do the same and just GO FOR IT when I am in my studio.

Amy's work may be seen at Pottery Place Plus as well as many local art fairs.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!!

"In the New Year, never forget to thank your past years because they enabled you to reach today! Without the stairs of the past, you cannot arrive at the future!"
Mehmet Murat ildan