Notions-Drye Goods Studio Diary

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pounding on Plants

Or Hapa-zome as the famous Ms Flint calls it. Pounding on anything is a good way to relieve stress and probably helpful to achieving serenity. 

There is a disclaimer for this post however; this all looks much better in the pictures than it actually does in real life.

That being said, here goes. As you may remember I had eco printed some sample fabrics with test plants earlier in the summer. I did try to include leaves I knew would work so at least I would get some sort of useable result.

In this case, I can't even remember what the test plant was, but the rose leaves are nice!
The fabric in the image above is silk crepe de chine, probably not the best thing to use, this works better on fabric that has more body and a tighter weave to it. I started out by picking some of the more colorful leaves in my garden along with the one scented geranium I had that doesn't smell like cat pee. The scented geraniums were an experiment this year and my nose must not interpret the smell as others do. Bleck.

Geranium, Begonia, Astilbe, Coleus
I decided to go with the process that has you put paper down over the leaf, I have done it with a bare hammer before and you do get a good print, but kind of an over-cooked spinach type mess on your hammer. Besides, if nothing else you get a nice print on the paper. I laid the fabric out flat, placed the leaf where I thought I wanted it and pinned the paper in place. I used handmade paper for this as that is what I had, but any absorbent paper will do.

I gently tapped around the outside edge of it first to figure out where I was supposed to be hammering.
The Begonia was probably the best print.
The Coleus had nice color but was so juicy it leaked outside its own border
At one point I switched to a scrap of dupioni

Here are some of the cover papers both present and past. 
The thing to remember about this is that it isn't permanent. I like India Flint's suggestion in her book Eco Colour* to do a T-shirt and then as it fades just keep pounding more stuff into it as the summer progresses. From what I have read applying a mordant beforehand doesn't, probably, make it any more colorfast but there isn't any reason you can't try it and see what you think. Do one shirt with and one without and let me know what happens.

*Remember, I don't do links for books in the blog. It is important that you go to your local bookstore to order and buy it there. Shop local, even if your only option is the local big box bookstore-at least your neighbors that work there will have a job. This week's missive from the soapbox.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Art and Soul

"The sole art that suits me is that which, rising from unrest, tends towards serenity." Andre Gide

Coreopsis and Bachelor Buttons with the blue flower heads left on. The Coreopsis is the screaming orange. It is hard to tell the difference between the foliage of the Bachelor Buttons and that of the Coreopsis as the Coreopsis is so juicy it dyes the background the same yellow as the Bachelor Buttons stems.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Late Summer Eco Prints

Really big sunflower leaf on linen with rusted nails

Rose leaves on silk crepe with rusted nails

Peony on silk twill with rusted steel wool

Monday, August 7, 2017

At the End of the Day

"I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." John Muir

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Summer Blues

Last winter while daydreaming with seed catalogues, both paper and online, I kept seeing Bachelor Buttons (Centaurea Cyanus) referred to as a dye plant. I started poking around in the various dye books I have and none of them mentioned this plant. Since it is classified in the knapweeds and knapweed foliage makes a yellow or green dye, I was curious to see what they might do. The first batch I added to pre-rusted fabric, some very faint blue from the blossoms appeared (not worth taking a picture of) and no green foliage printed at all. The second time around I used silk with an alum mordant with a bit more success.

I used just the petals sprinkled in with some Artemisia.

Then I used whole stems, mixed in with some garden sage. As you can see in the second picture, the foliage did exactly what you would expect a knapweed to do with an alum mordant; a bright sunny yellow. The blossoms did make a blue splotch, but again, not very bright. Even so, this is kind of a happy thing for me as the invasive wild knapweed stops doing this once it blooms, so now if I want yellow, I can use the bachelor buttons. It is a plant that benefits from a trim, it comes back more vigorous and with more blooms.

Alas, I finally did find some knowledgeable dye sites that referred to Bachelor Button flowers and they are not considered permanent color. Since I used all scrap fabric I will let these set for a few months, wash them and let them set around some more just to see if eco printing them might make the blue last longer than a vat dye. If they fade I will have a re-do with something else. I will also be curious to see what they do on paper.

I started them from seed last spring along with Calendula and mixed the two throughout the yard. I have to say that even though the blue may not be permanent it was not a waste; I love looking out over my yard at the blue haze with little yellow pot marigolds coming up in between.

Monday, July 31, 2017


"A word to the wise: hunting down Serenity as if it was some kind of exotic animal is pretty much the worst possible way to achieve it." 
Anne Newkirk Niven

Friday, July 28, 2017

Meet Ginger Oakes

If there is anyone I know that embodies independence, it is Ginger. Through years of travel and experiencing diverse cultures she learned about beauty and the potential for creativity in everyone. For over twenty years Ginger has been a ceramic sculptor; in addition to being self taught she takes advantage of classes and workshops when available. Her work has been accepted to juried shows and she exhibits regularly in galleries and museums. Ginger gives back to her community by organizing collaborative art shows and serving as a juror for regional high school art competitions. All of this has lead her to want to pass on her knowledge and love for clay to others. She has spent the last year taking college courses and expanding her studio space to accommodate workshops at her studio GO Art Center. Ginger says "In all aspects of my life I've been learning about being independent and how to thrive with what I choose as my artistic passion and how to be thankful for what I have been given."

In process

Have you always made art? 

No, I haven't always made art. I have always appreciated art and noticed beauty. Mostly I've been a daydreamer but when I was young I let everything out in song-I loved to sing.

When did you start making art? Why clay? 

Over twenty years ago. I suddenly "had to buy clay"! I had an overwhelming urge to hold and make things in my hands. It was pretty spontaneous that I stopped at the clay supply store and dove in. I had memories, stories, and thoughts that just appeared when I started sculpting and carving in clay. Much the way someone looks at the clouds and sees images, the images presented themselves as I worked. I found out around the same time that I had the beginnings of macular degeneration and I think the clay was a way for me to prepare myself for feeling my way through life; but I think the clay chose me.

How do you describe your work?

My sculptures are hand built with images of human form and nature. As I look back to my first work, I believe I was asking myself questions and finding answers in the clay. What do I love about the ocean? When do the faces in the tree bark speak? How can I express emotions in response to love, joy, fear, or oppression in clay? What are we keeping in that needs to come out and what is on the outside that needs to come in? These were the things and thoughts that are the beginnings of my sculptures.

The Lines in my Face

What inspires you?

All Aspects of nature and the human condition interests me. I'm an independently spiritual person and find my spiritual energy in life and nature around me; drama found in the details of life. Often there are stories below the surfaces and the clay speaks. I recently returned to Hawaii to join 150 other ceramic artists in a workshop firing raku on the beach. This camaraderie is a very inspirational experience.

Sunrise at Oahu Northshore Raku Workshop 

Tell us about your process. Do you have any favorite tools or equipment?

I prefer to work without a predetermined plan or expectation. It is important to have technical understanding of how clay works but, thankfully, that part becomes muscle memory and I can create in free flow. This free flow technique allows me to hold a lump of clay and as I roll, squish, and pet the clay I see images that call me to fine tune and embellish them. I especially like to use coil building techniques and I almost always finish a piece with a lot of surface design or textures. I'm not very safe in my approach to building and often times will make things very thin or delicate. My favorite tools are my carving and smoothing tools. Some of them are wooden and others are metal but my favorite is using a smooth stone for burnishing. The best way for me to create in clay isn't a through a tool but the process of firing with alternative methods. So far the ancient Japanese method of raku firing has been my favorite. Raku is very random because you put your work directly into flames. many times the work doesn't make it through the stress of the extreme firing-but when it does, it's worth the risk.

Raku firing

Tell us about the classes you are teaching in your studio GO Art Center.

Since I started feeling my way through life via clay I discovered the importance of relaxing and working out thoughts while creating. Last year I had the opportunity to expand my personal studio and now that it can accommodate more working space I've invited others to share private time in the studio. I offer families and friends the chance to spend time together creating in clay. I also have a few people who want to just be alone to independently create clay work in my studio. I help new people learn basic techniques and then allow them to have free flow time creating without pressure.
I like sharing the techniques and information I have learned over the years and now that I have room, sharing that information makes me feel like I'm helping others relax and play which is something very important that we often overlook.

Visit the center's Facebook page GO Art Center for more information

You can see more of Ginger's life in clay at her other Facebook page GO Art Studio

Workshop at GO Art Studio