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.

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!