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.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Eco Printing on Gourds

"Inspiration exists, but it must find us working."
Pablo Picasso

Eco printing with walnut leaves on a gourd. I was messing around with eco printing on porcelain and then decided to see what would happen to a gourd, since I have a lot of them. I never had figured out exactly what I wanted to do with them-maybe this was the idea that was supposed to come along.

I soaked the gourds, the plant material, and the wrapping all in iron water and used leaves that usually work well with iron, kind of stacking the odds in my favor. Getting a gourd to actually soak is kind of trick-they want to bob around. As long as they don't have any cracks or holes they do not get mushy.

Trying to figure out how to keep the leaves attached until I could wrap the blanket around it. This worked pretty well.

Wrapped up and getting ready to steam. Needless to say the lid wouldn't go on the pan, so I made it a foil tent and steamed it for an hour. Since we have now officially run out of summer here (13 degrees last week-yikes!) gourds will have to wait until next year. I am getting some things together with the porcelain, pictures soon!
The holidays are coming! As promised I did put some scarves in the Etsy shop, along with many new buttons, pendants, and papers so be sure to check that out.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Fall Days

"To most human beings wind is an irritation. To most trees, wind is a song."
Mokokoma Mokhonoana





Friday, October 4, 2019

New Weed

And no, I am not trying to increase my SEO (search engine optimization) with that title-although it did cross my mind. Any-hoo, I thought I would show you my results using Watson's Willowherb.

This is what it looks like, sorry it is not the greatest picture, by the time I decided to try the plant it was at the end of its season. Those long curly things are the seed pods.

I decided to throw it in a stack of paper. I was alternating sheets soaked in iron with sheets soaked in alum. I do like the burgundy red with the mint green and I was really excited to see the wispy seed pods printed too.

Of course, I had to see what would happen on fabric so I went scrounging around in the weediest garden border on the north side of the yard and lucked out-there was some hiding behind the sour cherry tree! Since it worked really well with the iron/alum combo on paper I decided to do the same with fabric. This is silk crepe de chine pretreated with alum using an iron blanket.

And this is the iron blanket! I was so surprised this printed so well.
Be sure to check out my Etsy shop, there are lots of new things and I have been restocking the old. 

Monday, September 23, 2019

Surprises

"Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks."
Samuel Johnson



As it turns out, the gingko leaf actually does discharge, that is, bleach out color. I had 3 "bummer" scarves hanging around (as in, I opened up the roll and went "Bummer!") So I decided to give this technique a go. Although I would be the first to admit this is probably the worst example ever created, I am so jazzed that anything happened at all! Also beware of internet photos-this looks way better here than in real life; but it makes me want to run around dyeing fabric just to do it again and again-practice makes perfect! Or better than this anyway.

I will fiddle with it some more after The Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour (do you like how I worked that in?). This Saturday September 28th, I will be at stop number 3, Jill Smith's studio, come see me! 10-5 rain or shine.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Blue

"Sun-bleached bones were most wonderful against the blue-that blue that will always be there as it is now after man's destruction is finished." 
Georgia O'Keeffe


Madrone leaves and wild rose, nice, but could be better.

The same scarf with a black bean over dye.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Green

"It seems very safe to me to be surrounded by green growing things and water."
Barbara Kingsolver

Sunflower and Filbert on silk crepe de chine

Maple and Virginia creeper with tansy dye and iron bath on silk crepe de chine.
Remember to check out my Etsy Shop, Facebook, and Instagram

Friday, August 30, 2019

And Now We Wait

I taught a class last weekend and while I was gathering plant material I grabbed a couple of "experimental" ones. Meaning, either by some miracle I had never tried them, or, I did and couldn't remember whether they worked or not. I like to include an unknown as I think it gives students the "permission" to go out and take a chance on something. It is not the end of the world if it doesn't print; and then I remind them that just because it didn't work with the mordant we are using, or at the time of year the plant was picked doesn't mean that it wouldn't print under other circumstances.

We are living in a jungle of  flea bane (Conyza canadensis), also known as Horseweed as supposedly it is irritating to horses. There doesn't seem to be a consensus as to whether it actually repels fleas, but our dogs never had any!
Conyza canadensis, also known as flea bane or horseweed with antique tractor.
I simply love it when I find something that is everywhere, in the way, and generally making a nuisance of itself, prints. In this case it is a member of the sunflower family, so it does make sense that it printed yellow or green.

On paper. On the left the paper was soaked in alum water and the flea bane was soaked in iron water. On the right the paper was soaked in alum water and the plant material used as is.


Top photo silk crepe de chine pretreated with alum plant material used as picked. Middle photo silk crepe treated with alum, plant material soaked in iron water. Bottom photo silk twill soaked in iron water, plant material used as is. Be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge them in order to see the details.
   Since it is a member of the sunflower family and it "should" do this I have no reason to believe the paper would change much over time. Fabric can be a different ballgame so I will leave it hang on my studio closet doors until next spring to see what happens to it. Once the out of control grapevine has been put back in its place for the year that wall will get moderate morning sun through the windows until we really hit the depths of winter so that is a pretty good test on "wearability". I will wash it out then and see what it looks like.

Side by side comparison

Remember to take a look at my Etsy Shop, Facebook page and Instagram

Monday, August 26, 2019

Pink

"Pink makes me feel both young and old. There is no in between." 
Anthony T. Hincks

Big Leaf Maple on the forest floor 

Classroom samples with a madder root blanket, the other pot is with an iron blanket

Pink madder and lime green walnut


You can catch up with Drye Goods Studio on Facebook and Instagram and I am putting new things in my Etsy Shop almost every day!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Only Constant in Life is Change

"Man cannot discover new oceans  unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
Andre Gide


Low tide

High tide

Monday, July 29, 2019

Off to Anacortes and Coupeville!

"We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.."
Anais Nin, The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 7

Friday, July 19, 2019

"Free" Shipping?

This is a bit of a rant, so I will counter that with some nice pictures, I promise. Recently Etsy announced that they will only let sellers rise in their search engine if they offer free shipping. They encourage sellers to "adjust" their pricing to cover the cost of the shipping. Meaning, the shipping is not free, but included in the price. 

New Work

This raises some questions and issues.
1. A brief explanation of how Etsy works. In addition to taking a percentage of the sale of the item, they also take a percentage of the shipping charge as well. Due to the increase in postage in the last few years the amount I charge is usually about on the nose for what the post office charges me and doesn't include the price of packing materials (in my case not that big a deal since I use recycled whenever possible) or the time it takes to pack it up and take it to the post office. I could go on some tirad about what my time is worth-but that aside, look at it this way. If I had to hire somebody to help in the studio I would be paying them, so their wage would be going toward packing up your order. I decided that I was better off to make the shipping charge look reasonable than to actually account for the all expenses involved, so I am not charging what it really costs to get an item to a customer as it is.

Taking pictures in the garden and fiddling around with the filters on the phone.

2. Let's say for the sake of argument that I just go ahead and raise the price of each item the amount I am charging for postage now which is about $3.95. So, a customer orders one button or pendant. No biggie, they are paying the same they would have anyway. But, if a customer buys several items they would be paying that added cost on each item, way more than they would have since up to this point I do a flat fee. The boxes I had to buy for the ceramics to ensure they reach you in one piece hold several pieces and the added weight is minor, so it is a way to encourage people to stuff that pup full! Why not keep the price of everything clear? To have "free shipping" all the time also doesn't allow me to use it as a marketing tool, instead my only options are to do some sort of discount on the already over priced item. Again, why not just be clear that there is a value for the item and a value for the shipping?

Here are some of the students of the eco printing on paper class I taught at Art Salvage.
3. Speaking of pricing. I started up this version of my shop in February and after a fair amount of research came up with a pricing plan that covered the cost of expenses and labor and was competitive. So when you search "ceramic buttons" or whatever you type into your browser you will see similar pricing for similar work not only on Etsy, but out on the web in general. Adding to the price only makes me look like I am charging too much or think a whole lot more of myself than I should! My inclination as a shopper is to not click on the Google listing for the higher priced item, meaning, I may never see that the shipping is included. Then there is the whole matter of refunds. It may seem like semantics but there are actual laws regarding what you call things in advertising. When something is called free, it is supposed to be free. If a customer wanted to return something in the past then the normal procedure is to refund the price of the item, not the shipping, as it was shipped after all. But if you call it free shipping than technically speaking you weren't charging them for it to begin with so they get the entire purchase price back regardless of the fact that the money was spent at the post office and the item delivered.

This studio helper gets paid in cat food and treats. That being said with non-opposable thumbs she isn't much help in the shipping department.
I tend to be an over thinker, so I will close this by saying a few things and be done. When I put scarves or other higher priced items in the shop it is truly, honestly, free shipping. You hate the thing when you open it up, you can send it back (following my return policy) and you get the price (all of it) back. It is just cost prohibitive for me to do that on $6-15 buttons. Etsy's new policy applies to things over $35.00 so it shouldn't make that much difference items priced under that amount, in theory. I guess my problem is that it is just another way that people don't understand the actual value of an item or person. People working in the small studios are not the same as Amazon. We don't have those resources. If somebody paid me a hundred bucks a year for no other reason than to pay me a hundred bucks a year, then yes I would give them free shipping. Hey-now there's idea! I will let you know where to mail that check. It is one thing to have the rest of the world devalue your education and skill, but then to have an organization that is supposed to be supporting the arts devalue you, it is very disheartening. Etsy should quit worrying about trying to compete with Amazon and go on education campaign about how things are made, along with the time and skill it takes to make them,  and why it is better for the economy and the environment to shop small.

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.