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.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Gray Fall Days

 "The color of truth is gray."

Andre Gide

I went walking the other day before the rain got going, to look for sticks for a project. I love this old tree, it is down near the river bank. At some point it split in two and both halves, the one still vertical as well as that laying on the ground continued to grow. The one on the ground seems to have finally given in. Sad as that is, I am always intrigued with the weathering of the exposed wood. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Happy Equinox

 "We must get back into relation: vivid and nourishing relation to the cosmos and the universe... We must once more practice the ritual of dawn and noon and sunset, the ritual of kindling fire and pouring water, the ritual of the first breath and the last."

D.H. Lawrence

Virginia Creeper 

If the pandemic has done anything for me it has made me slow down and appreciate the seasons. Eco printing does that anyway, you work with what nature is giving you at the moment. In the past, fall has always been a sort of rush before the first frost puts a stop to things, but this year it has been a relief. Although some plants I would normally work with at this time of year were toasted by the alarming summer heat, there are still plenty of survivors. Some may not give the same result as they do when not stressed, but they are still hanging on, just like a lot of us. 

I will be participating in the Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour this weekend at Clay Fox Pottery Studio, click HERE to get a map, I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Do it for the Process

 "Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work, All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case."

Chuck Close

You hear the first part of that quote a lot, but I think the rest of it is just as important, if not more so. This week, so far, has been all about process for me. Over the weekend Urban Art Cooperative had their raku firing, a ceramics process that could be compared to eco printing in that there is a lot of serendipity. Being there, learning about how to steer the variables gave me about a hundred other notions of what I would like to do with it. Sorry, no pictures this time, it is a process that goes pretty quickly and there really needs to be a designated photographer! Google raku and you will get the idea, lots of heat and flame with flashy results.

At the home studio it was the week for indigo. Keeping the poor Japanese indigo plants alive this year has been a real challenge. While they do enjoy heat, they weren't tolerating Hell's front porch very well. Neither was I. Indigo is something I haven't done very often, so I am still learning. I decided to use Rebecca Burgess's Harvesting Color as I had used it before with pretty good results. 

Heating the leaves

The magic with indigo is that the water is kind of a yellow green, but when you pull the fabric out, it turns blue right before your very eyes!

And here they are, turning blue!

I had eco printed paper laying around that was less than exciting, so on the third day, when the last pot of dye was pretty close to exhaustion, I decided to throw in a stack just to see what would happen. It is just as much fun to watch paper turn blue as it is fabric!

In addition to the cotton scarves, I did two silk blanks with a lot of folding so there would be  large white spaces for eco printing later. Then I had a couple eco printed scarves that I thought might benefit from an overdye. Since the scarves had been mordanted for the original eco prints, I was not sure what would happen, but proceeded anyway. The results were mixed, they came out a screaming turquoise color, and it seemed to take forever for them to thoroughly discharge, so not sure if that color is going to be permanent in the long run. The paper on the other hand, is leading me in all kinds of directions!

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Watering the Grass

 "The grass is  not always greener on the other side of the fence. The grass is greenest where it is watered."

Robert Fulghum

This could be either Old Witch Grass or Purple Love Grass. The plant ID app can't seem to decide. The scientific names for either are not in my copy of Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest or Northwest Weeds, so both the app and I could be on the wrong track. At any rate the common names are charming and it is an interesting element in the paper samples especially. As always, the fabric sample will hang with me over the next year and have an occasional bath, just to see what happens.

Watering the grass in our climate change fueled summer is pretty much a pointless endeavor, you can get brown grass without wasting a bunch of water and time. Mr. Man and I will be discussing its replacement this winter. Right now I am watering flower beds in order to weed them and put them to rest for winter, not to mention trying to keep my dye and print plants alive until they can go to sleep on their own. In poking around I found this crazy grass tuft that looks like a fiber optic lamp from the 80's. If it holds on fabric, it could be an interesting connecting element between leaf prints. It looks like Mr. Man and I will be having another chat about what is a weed and what is an art supply. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Traveling Again

 "If I waited until I had all my ducks in a row, I'd never get across the street. Sometimes you just have to gather up what you've got and make a run for it."

Judge Lynn Toler

Coreopsis, catmint, and salvia on paper.

I am off to the Edmonds Arts Festival I hope to see you there. The paper pictured here is for a project that will be shown next April, I just thought it came out great and had to share it. I will have my wearables at the Edmonds show, booth 332, and the truck is packed to the rafters-come see!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

ORANGE! (In a good way!)

 A few weeks ago I posted the start of an experiment with padauk sawdust my husband gave me-and here is the result!

The top is an overdye of an eco printed piece of silk crepe that I had done a "re-mordant" (is that a thing?) with alum; the next one down is silk twill that had a faint yellow dye on it (my guess would be tansy flower dye) to start with and thus some alum; the redish one is an overdye of an eco print on crepe with no additional mordant, just straight into the dye pot with it, and the vivid one at the bottom is another piece of silk twill that had an alum mordant applied. 

This is eco printed paper, front and back of the same piece. I have taken to keeping the "so-so" paper prints in a stack off to the side for "spent" dye baths. This particular paper was printed with poinsettia so the paper had alum applied before printing. I tossed it into the warmish padauk dye when I was all done and promptly forgot about it. So, imagine my surprise when I hauled the dye pot out to the compost pile and the last thing to come out of the pot was this piece of paper! It had sat in the dye so long it had sunk to the bottom.

I have another batch of sawdust soaking in vodka for another round of samples. This time I want to fiddle with the ph of the dye bath to see if I can get more of a red. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 6, 2021

"Sketch" Books

 " What is possible in art becomes thinkable in life."

Brian Eno

Tiny books

I did some samples with the padauk sawdust I had soaking today, and of course ideas lead to other ideas, so I am not quite done with that in order to do a post. But if it weren't for these little books I might never have started the whole process. I have been reading Sketchbook Explorations by Shelley Rhodes and am really inspired by it. When I used to make a lot of clothing I doodled ideas down on random slips of paper, but never really kept a sketchbook. Shelley takes so many approaches to a sketchbook, it is hard to pick something and get started! I have had these little books forever, I can't even remember where they came from. I liked the way they looked so much, just as they were, that they became too precious and I was afraid I would "mess them up" somehow. It's a sketchbook for crying out loud-use it!

They are about four inches square, the covers are heavy pasteboard, like a children's book. They are held together with gunmetal gray binder clips. The first thing to do was to take the original papers out of them. I started with the one in the center. The paper was bonded, or had some sort of finish on it, so when I dipped it in that kind of sheen that is on the top of indigo dye it ended up looking like marbling. The one in the center back is a mixture of the original paper and watercolor paper. All the pinks, blues, and purples come from hibiscus tea. The more yellow looking paper is the original paper in the book. Both were allowed to soak in the tea and as you can see, the watercolor paper "dyed" and the tea tended to puddle on the original paper. The tea changed color, from pink to blue and purple, as it dried. The other two books are all eco printed papers. The brighter on the left is poinsettia. The one on the right is the more interesting parts of some ho-hum eco prints that I cut to size. As you can see in the two center books I used hole punches and stamps on the pages. I haven't decided what the next step is for the eco printed ones.

There is no pressure with this-they aren't "for" anything. Working in layers and letting something from underneath show through pleases me. I also liked machine stitching on the paper and may do more of that, or some hand stitching-we will see. These little projects lead to bigger projects.

Anyway, just letting you know that the results of the sawdust dye are on the way and I had hoped to post those the next time, but now I am soaking more sawdust as I want to try a different approach to the mordant.