"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers" Charles William Elliot
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, January 12, 2018
I am going to do this again when I get fresh berries, but I thought this was interesting. A year ago I made some ink out of Oregon Grape-which is not actually a grape for those that don't live in this part of the world. It looks kind of like holly but with dusty blue berries.
|This a picture of the ink experiments from last year. Very pink!|
|This year I decided to work with 3 different berries. Elderberry at the top, Oregon Grape on the right, and huckleberries on bottom.|
|The frozen berries were crushed in a bowl and strained to release the juice and get rid of all the little bits.|
|I have some really big stamp pads so I loaded the ink into those. My drawing skills leave a lot to be desired.|
|Oregon Grape, elderberry, and huckleberry.|
I mixed up the ink using a teaspoon of vinegar and a dash of salt as a preservative (last year I used alcohol) and I have to say it was good thing I decided to work on this when I did. The elderberry was busy turning into elderberry champagne. Fizzy and everything. It made the studio smell delicious, but another day and it might have exploded! There was also a touch of mold on the Huckleberry. This was after only a few days. Last year's batch with the alcohol lasted for months. I also wonder if the salt and vinegar are why the first two turned so brown, or if it was just because the berries were old. The huckleberries had been prepped as you would for food; no sugar, but they were well washed and had a lot of extra water. The other two I threw in the freezer last fall "as is" when I ran out of time to do anything with them. Freezing does help destroy the cellar walls and thus you get more juice, but I think overnight or just a couple of days would be better. While huckleberries are known to make a permanent fabric dye (also permanent on your pants, shirt and fingernails while you are picking them) they are not a cultivated berry, sometimes fighting bears is involved in collecting the fruit. I would just rather make pancakes with them instead!
Monday, January 8, 2018
"I am not trying to heal people. My job is to teach this guy a D chord, and a G chord, and a C chord, and then get him playing some tunes. If I focused on the larger purpose as opposed to the nuts and bolts, then I'd lose everything."
Henry Robinett, musician and guitar teacher for the California prison system. Sun magazine October 2017
Monday, January 1, 2018
More Eco Printing with Poinsettias
After the post on December 22nd I decided I didn't really need to do any more experiments on fabric until I have a better idea of how long the color from poinsettias will last. So, rather than waste the plant, I decided to do some prints on paper. Since people keep looking to me for instruction on paper I thought this would be a good way to show you what I do with paper, but there are several ways to do it. Remember to click on the pictures of the finished paper to see the differences in color and detail of each mordant.
I use small pans I got at the dollar store (approximately 9"x 13" and about three inches deep) to soak the paper in. It should soak about 30 minutes. You can soak it in a mordant solution one day, let it dry and re-wet it on another day and eco print, but it is perfectly ok to just soak it and eco print on it in the same day. No wait time is really necessary. I use 140lb watercolor paper, but any heavy duty paper will work. Remember, this is not archival, you are taking a perfectly good piece of acid free paper and adding all kinds of things that will cause its eventual demise.
Since your hands will be in and out of the mordant and, as we discussed the other day, poinsettias are kind of gnarly wear gloves both to build the blocks and open them up. Start by laying down a board with one piece of paper on it. Place the leaves (I used both the green leaves off the plant and the red "petals") with the veined side of the leaf against the paper. This is especially important if you are using paper treated with rust as unlike fabric, the rust is pretty much on only one side of the paper. Use paper with one mordant at a time, meaning work you way through one pan at a time in each set of boards. The eco print police won't come and arrest you for mixing different mordants in a block, but in the beginning you want to learn what the results are with each individual mordant. After that if you want to see what mixing the various mordanted papers is like-go for it. This is a very wet process and you will get different results when the different mordants drizzle through the layers of paper and affect each other.
|You can see the green leaf peeking out below.|
|Remember that wet paper is pretty delicate. I discovered a bamboo skewer is a great way to nudge one sheet of paper off the next one down and pick up stubborn leaves. Less damaging than your fingernail.|
|Here they all are laid out to dry. The top row is the copper mordant, the middle the rust, and the bottom the alum.|
|Up close with the copper. The green leaves tended to be beige and the red had all kinds of color coming out of them.|
|Up close with the alum. All the leaves tended to put out some sort of green or yellow, but a lot of the red ones put out purple splotches. Very zingy.|
After the paper dries out it will be somewhat warped. I have had pretty good luck ironing it out when it is really "bubbly" but I also use it as is most of the time. If you can't think of anything to do with it for awhile, you can set it under a heavy book. It can be used for journaling and scrapbooks, but remember it is not archival so it is best if it is not placed in a scrapbook where it will press up against photographs, especially vintage ones.
|The poor thing looks like somebody went after it with a weedwacker!|