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.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Banishing Ghosts

Normally, I like the look of eco prints all mixed together. It reminds me of the way nature really is. The fabric reflects flowers floating in a mixture of foliage in the garden or individual leaves that pop out from the visual mass of the tree. Sometimes however, the pattern of the individual leaf becomes the most important thing. In this case I am working on lampshades and other lighting ideas and so a clear background becomes important so that the light shines through the individual leaf print. In order for the leaves in one layer to not "ghost" through to another layer a barrier must be used. This leads to a fairly controversial topic-barriers. The controversy stems from the fact that the name most people use for this process is "eco printing"; meaning ecologically sustainable or sound. So, there seems to be something inherently wrong about using plastic sheeting, a petroleum product. The problem lies in the manufacture of the plastic itself and then there is the whole notion of steaming or boiling it.  It will put off fumes that you may or may not be able to smell, possibly creating a danger to yourself. Also, there is probably no way to get the petroleum molecules off whatever your finished product is, thus making it possible, in theory, to have the petroleum seep into your skin from the finished wearable. I don't want to get into the middle of the fruckus, but I do wonder if some of my nasal issues are from making those hair flowers using melted polyester-so I chose to avoid use of plastics whenever possible from here on out.

Hollyhock, Filbert, and Coreopsis, along with plenty of "ghosts".
So, what could be used instead? Since I already did a post about using layers of fabric in between the folds, I thought I would work with some aluminum foil. Trouble is, I get so into things when I am doing them I forget to take pictures. Earlier this week I decided to just set up some "stunt" fabric to show the steps clearly rather than a hodge podge of unrelated pictures. First off, imagine the fabric in the pictures is wet. It is silk dupioni with rusted steel wool as mordant.

Lay out plant material, remember that most leaves print out the under or veined side of the leaf.

Cover with foil. At first I thought cheap dollar store foil would be fine, but decided that heavy duty could be reused or refolded and was easier to work with without tearing it.

Fold over one layer of fabric, in this case I am working in thirds as I want the pattern straight down the middle of the fabric. Ponder what you want as your final effect and fold/layer accordingly. In this case I will just fold over the right side and proceed to the next picture.

Put on the last layer of foil. If you don't, you will have the ghosts of the leaves down the the last layer of the fabric in the bundle. Roll around a stick and tie it up for the steamer pot.
Ready to go!
As I said this was stunt fabric. The following is one of the actual examples I made, and then didn't take enough process shots for it to make any sense. This is silk noil with steel wool as the mordant, using black walnut leaves and marigold petals on both pieces. Raw silk is thick enough that you don't get as much ghosting anyway, but there is a definite difference in the background color and density. 

With no barrier layers

With a foil barrier. The background is clearer and the color of the walnut leaves more intense.
One important thing to remember is that aluminum foil will act as a mordant carrier blanket. It isn't terribly noticeable but you do get different colors than you would without. I am playing around with the whole carrier blanket thing and will post more about that later. The foil is mostly reusable if you get the wet plant material off right away and it can be refolded with the clean side out for reuse. Foil is kind of expensive but it is more effective than multiple layers of fabric. The interesting thing about using multiple layers of fabric is you get that fabric to use for something else.
Decisions, decisions.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Just Be

"Clarice scrawled, 'A question from when I was a little girl that I can answer only now: are rocks made, or are they born? Answer: rocks are."
Benjamin Moser, Why this World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector 

Spokane lies in the path of an ancient flood plain. Most rocks in the river are ovid gray stones, worn smooth by centuries of water tumbling them around and about. I love it when I come across rocks that are different from all the rest. Pushed here by the forces of ice and water they tell tales of faraway places.

Green and black, hiding in a place where fairies must live.

A loaf of bread! It looks like you should be able to slice into it. So much so that I had to poke at it to make sure it was a rock.

Swirls and eddies, a liquid as a solid.

Friday, October 5, 2018

So, is it Noxious, Poisonous, or Simply Obnoxious?

Since I am waiting for some samples using barriers to be done, I thought it might be a good time (or as good a time as any) to start a series of short articles about poisonous plants. What is too poisonous to use? What defines poisonous or noxious? This comes up because of some rather odd conversations I have had recently and a plant list I pulled off the internet (it was pretty confusing, even to a plant geek like me).

So, let's figure out what we are talking about first. When you search the word noxious for a dictionary definition here is what you get:

"Noxious: harmful, poisonous, or very unpleasant."

The definition of the phrase "noxious weed" is a bit different and I think it is important to know the difference; not only for the purposes of what is ok to eco print with, but more importantly, what not to plant in your garden. It is estimated that half of any list for any given area are plants that started out as intentional plantings. I found this definition on the Skamania County Washington Weed Board site and it seemed to be the most succinct:

"'Noxious weed' is the traditional legal term for an invasive, non-native plant that threatens agricultural crops, local ecosystems, or fish and wildlife habitat. The term includes all nonnative grasses, flowering plants, shrubs and trees. It also includes aquatic plants that invade wetlands, lakes, rivers and shorelines. Noxious weeds cause damage that has considerable environmental and economic costs."   

Note that it does not say that all noxious weeds are poisonous, although some are, if not to humans, then to livestock and possibly wild animals. By the same token, many native, naturally occurring plants are poisonous, so they are unlikely to make it on to a noxious weed list. For your own safety it is important to know what they look like and where you are most likely to come across them. Poison ivy comes to mind, it is poisonous to almost everyone and the rash you get is truly obnoxious; but unless a given environment is really out of balance, it rarely appears on a noxious weed list. You will be happy to know that this is one we sent other places, in the 1800's it actually got drug back to Europe as a garden plant where it escaped into the environment.

Invasive thistles qualify as noxious in every sense of the word; they are harmful and unpleasant as well as being invasive. But, believe it or not, most true thistles are edible at least when young. You have to wonder how hungry somebody had to be in order to try it out.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Looking Up

"The sky is always there for me, while my life has been going through many, many changes. When I look up at the sky, it gives me a nice feeling, like looking at an old friend."
Yoko Ono