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.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Summer Colors

"Art is lunging forward without certainty about where you are going or how to get there, being open to and dependant on what luck, the paint, the typo, the dissonance, give you. Without art you're stuck with yourself as you are and life as you think life is."
Mark Vonnegut M.D. 

Coreopsis foliage with pre-applied rust mordant.

The orange is the coreopsis, again just the foliage, on silk with alum mordant.

Here is the plant, the flowers also print well.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Invasive Species

"If we want fewer house sparrows and starlings, we do not need to kill them, we need to create an urban landscape in which a richer variety of species can thrive."
Lyanda Lynn Haupt, The Urban Bestiary

I thought about the above quote while I was out harvesting some knapweed the other day. She was talking about birds in urban areas, but the same theory holds true for plants in suburbs, farmland,and the margins like areas around train tracks and roads. Most of the reason this pesky plant survives is because we give it everything it needs to thrive. We want monocultures and grazing land at our disposal, but both of these create the perfect environment for knapweed of all kinds. 

Spotted knapweed is the most common around my neighborhood.  One recommended method to get rid of it over time is to keep mowing it and never let it bloom(this is not advisable for Russian knapweed to my understanding). This stresses the plant and eventually it dies. Since the seeds can be viable for up to ten years one could hose the area with pre emergent, creating an unbalanced situation where nothing can sprout, leaving more room for the knapweed to come up later once the pre emergent has lost its efficacy. Each plant produces 1,000 seeds, there is no way to know you have sprayed each and every one. Our local lupines, when encouraged to grow do beat knapweed to the punch as their roots contain oxalic acid which discourages the knapweed seed to sprout, while local grasses are unaffected and grow right alongside the lupine. A healthy balanced environment creates a situation where the knapweed can't grow.
I do my part by hacking it down and bringing it home and putting it in my steam pot. This scarf was pretreated with steel wool and printed with Arrowleaf Balsamroot (a native wildflower) and spotted knapweed. It is kind of a picture of Eastern Washington all on one piece of fabric.

Spotted knapweed makes a lovely yellow dye on protein fibers with an alum pre-mordant. Don't boil, just simmer. If I remember right I let the plant material soak in the water overnight first.

Here are both plants in all their glory. On silk with an alum pre-mordant. Remember that safety comes first, wear gloves to collect plants in the wild and always steam the fabric bundles outside.

"Spontaneous" plants (weeds) can be a lot of fun and as long as you don't do anything to make the situation worse nobody cares if you come to take them off their hands. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Off to the Show!

"Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it."
Mary Oliver

I will be at Art Fest this weekend in Coeur d'Alene Park, located in Browne's Addition, Spokane Washington.
The scarf features Arrowleaf Balsamroot and knapweed.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Everyday Life

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

"Artists are not exempt from that truism. Fix Breakfast, do the laundry, write a poem: That is the real life of an artist."
Ted Orland, The View From the Studio Door, referring to the Annie Dillard quote above.

An experiment on 100% wool craft felt, something I had never thought to use before. I will take the next piece and tighten it up, or make it "feltier" if that makes any sense, with a denser surface the prints most likely will be more distinct.

Laundry both studio and familial.

Mixed up a concoction to relieve my dry skin.

First salad from this season's garden!

A reread of one of my favorite books.

And last but not least, my studio door!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Green Season

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others'  opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
Steve Jobs

Arrowleaf Balsamroot.

Geranium, arrowleaf balsamroot, and knapweed.

Cooking away!

Gnarly looking.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot print.

Knapweed print.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Operating at Peak Efficiency!

Ok, the next time you feel like you get nothing done, remember this post.

This morning I went to coffee with some artsy fartsy friends and got so inspired I made a pass by my local big box fabric store for a few items and then dashed home. Had a quick sandwich and then put my new purchase to soak in the basement bathtub. As I was headed back out to the studio I saw ants invading the hummingbird feeders. I had purchased ant traps for them last year but had forgotten all about it so I had to dig around to find them. While I had the feeders down I might as well clean and refill-right? So as I am washing out the feeders I begin to realize there is water coming up the kitchen drain which is not how it is supposed to work. I pulled everything out from under the sink and unscrewed the trap. Nada. This means that there is a truly evil, smelly clog in the pipe over the dryer in the laundry room (this is not my first rodeo with the kitchen drain needless to say). Then I had the horrifying thought that my husband had gone fishing yesterday and had cleaned fish in the sink. Which means there is probably day old fishy smelling water in the dishwasher. Opened it, yep, there sure is, and slammed it shut. Mr. Man was sleeping to recover from said fishing trip but I woke him up to ask if he wished to help unclog it (two person job-somebody has to hold a bucket while the other person snakes the pipe) or call a plumber. Naturally when someone awakens you from a sound sleep to ask if you would like to have sewage rain down on you the answer should always be to call a plumber. 

At three in the afternoon on Friday there are no plumbers available. Anywhere. The ones that are willing to show up at five in the afternoon want several hundred dollars. Or to make an appointment for next Tuesday. Did I mention fish water in the dishwasher? Oh, yes I did, but I probably failed to mention 85 degrees on Sunday. So, no thank you, I will figure it out. 

Without raising my voice I made it clear that while several hundred for a plumber may seem high, it is lower than spending the weekend plus Monday and Tuesday at a hotel. He dashes (ok, saunters) out to the barn to bring in a bucket and proper tools and we head to the basement. Clog removed, dishwasher running to get rid of stink, mission accomplished. Oh, and hummingbird feeders cleaned and rehung with ant traps. It was about four by then, but I decided it was wine-thirty and the day is done. I will fix our dinner, enjoy my yard, and be grateful that Mr. Man is doing well enough to help with the clogged pipes which would have been unthinkable even a few months ago. It can all change so quickly.

Meet the newest porch cat, name to be determined. I think Buddha may be appropriate, as every time I am sitting on the deck worrying about something, the little beast brings me back into the present moment by biting my ankles. Kind of like the person at a Zen retreat that smacks you with a stick for slouching during meditation.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Off To the Moscow Renaissance Fair

Moscow, Idaho that its. This Saturday and Sunday, May 4th and 5th, East City Park, Booth 34-pop by and say Hi!

In addition to art booths, there is music, a May Pole, food, and parade featuring this guy!

Monday, April 29, 2019


"In the land of "I know," there is always competitiveness, jealousy, pretence, pride and arrogance. It is an aggressive realm-the realm of the ego. I say refuse citizenship. In the land of "I don't know", the inhabitants move without conflict and are naturally quiet, happy and peaceful. The wise stay here."

Bald sumac on silk dupioni with rust

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Results of Early Spring's Stew Pot

The eucalyptus I bought the last time had buds on it, I love the little marks it made!

The coral color is spiral eucalyptus and the little green leaf is a perennial geranium, known in my world as "stinky geranium" as the gardening catalogs describe its scent as lemony. Sorry-smells like moth balls to me. 

More stinky geranium. Nice prints though.

Monday, April 1, 2019


"Kindness and a generous spirit go a long way. And a sense of humor. It's like medicine-very healing." Max Irons


Black Hollyhocks-I can't wait for them to start blooming!

Don't remember planting these, but, yeah!

We are working on a friendship, sometimes we have disagreements, but we are always happy to see each other.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Signs of Spring

Well, I was hoping to take lovely pictures of tulips peeking through the snow, buds on the trees, etc. Trouble is, we have so many drifts left in the yard that even a couple of forty degree days hasn't made much impact. No tulips as far as the eye can see and I just don't have it in me to trudge through a foot or more of rock hard snow to take pictures of buds on trees. But, after looking around, there are some signs of spring, if you look hard enough.

Fabric prep. You would think I would spend the winter doing this, but you know what they say-if it weren't for the last minute a lot of things wouldn't get done.

Our neighbor looking over the plant starts in the hot box. Next weekend it will be time to turn on the actual greenhouse. Actually, it is past time, but better late than never!

Not the most interesting picture you have ever seen, but the fact that we can get this door up at all and the snow drift that was keeping it shut is almost gone is one of the most wonderful things I have seen lately.
So, now, hopefully, there will be more things to talk about on this blog! I turned my Etsy shop back on, lots of ceramic buttons, eco printed paper kits, some destash items, and a few scarves. To visit, hit the Etsy Mini link on the homepage of this blog.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Results of the Steamer Pot Picture

I posted this picture on Drye Goods Studio Facebook page the other day and it got some attention along with people asking to see results because of the foil liner. It functions as a barrier, but in a small way as a mordant blanket. I have done this before and have gotten zingier colors, but maybe that was because I was using fresh plant material, this was all done with dry leaves.

So here you go:

Vine Maple, the yellow is the "ghost" from the top of the leaf, the darker print is from the underside or veined side.

A side by side comparison of oak with and with foil barriers. The one on the left is without; the prints are a brown/plum and the background has more "noise" in it. The one on the right is a different shade of brown and the background is cleaner.

Acer Rubrum 

Not sure about the yellow and brown as a color combo, I may do something else with them while staring out the window watching the snow pile up.

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.