Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Blue and other colours

Finished Bandani Breakdown II. Something I have been stitching for a day or two!  

For a change to the usual hanging sleeve, the completed piece has been stitched to silk noil.
Stretched over a blank canvas and secured with a staple gun.  Not a tack or stitch in sight!


Back to the dye pots;  indigo vat definitely put away until next year.    

I have a new 'toy' to play with - a batik wax pot. Been deliberating on whether or not to buy one - considered electric frying pan, but not the option of a tin in a pan of hot water!   Having discovered soya wax, which can been washed out, without all the bother of parrafin wax, I shall enjoy experimenting.  Eventually.

Next task, a few metres of velvet, cut into scarf lengths, to pole wrap then dye.

Sunday, 21 September 2008


Out of the Vat
a subtle difference between rayon(left) and silk/cotton mix(right)


and Blue Sausages

It's official The Met Office has pronounced it the wettest summer ever.  However, this weekend is fantastic, clear blue skies, and warm, with just a hint of autumn in the early morning and evening.  Wonderful - perhaps I could get one more indigo vat going?!!  Today is also the last day of summer.

I've always associated Indian Summers with the sub-continent - well, I would wouldn't I?   Not so, I read it probably originated in New England.  American Indians and early colonists used this pleasant autumn weather to complete their harvest, gather nuts and berries and lay stores down for the winter.   

I can feel a bit of a forage coming on.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Possibly the last indigo vat of 2008

A varied week.  Sunday to visit my sister Lesley and family in Berkshire, to celebrate my niece Lottie's big adventure.   She is off to Sheffield University this weekend.  

Sent off four Journal Quilts to Creative Stitching(?!) Exhibition in Exeter and another four to Harrogate Fashion and Embroidery Show

On Monday I took a workshop on Indian Stitch techniques with the lovely ladies of Tavistock Embroidery Guild.   I enjoyed myself, and I think they did too!   

Meanwhile, back home lots to get on with, including setting up an indigo vat.   Everything ready to go, but the weather.   What a summer it has been.   I was hoping to set up a dustbin vat, invite friends around for an Indigo Day, but that wasn't to be.   Watching the weather forecast, Wednesday seemed to be the day, but not so.  Cold wind. Today a bit iffy.  Instead I typed up the itinerary for our trip to India, only five weeks to go!   So, hello to you all in Delhi and Udaipur we'll be visiting the first week of November.

Around 4.00pm the sun came out, the temperature rose.  Grabbed the opportunity, and managed to dye the bits I had before the sun disappeared.  I can now see a line of blue fabric from my window.

Ready to go

Still oxydizing

On the change - one silk and one rayon piece, pleated on the smocking machine, plus what looks like blue sausages!

First dip, going blue - two more dips to go.

I'll leave them on the line tonight, let them dry then wash.  I'll undo my little bundles and post the results soon.

Tomorrow, a day with my friends at Walford Mill.   Stitch, cake, coffee, chat.   Lovely.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

By way of experiment

Tidying up my room I found samples of a deconstructed screen experiment.   Whilst not exactly exciting, it was a good learning curve.    To throw or not?   

Since it didn't matter, time to experiment and see what happens if it is covered with fine chiffon to age it, then add calico boarders and stitch heavily.

Then paint it.
Couch down dyed muslin to finish.   



Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Day Trip

A day out to London, visits to Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Library.

The coach was good, the weather and traffic awful.  Still, good things about coach travel - a 'green' way to travel;  you can look over hedges;   you can have a doze on the way home.   Bad things - a coach trip seems to take forever. Answer - go into Indian travel mode.  Loose the desire to rush around - sit back and relax - look out of the window, daydream - you will get there eventually.

The V&A is such a treasure trove.  First call,  The Neru Gallery.   Indian artifacts from the Harappan period up to The Raj.  I haven't had a good look around for years, so it was interesting to 'see' with fresh eyes, and a little more knowledge.   The mochi embroidered cloth from Gujarat was exquisite - the stitching almost too fine to see.   Painted cloths, palampores and chintz, delicious.  

Next stop the Fashion Gallery - oh, the Mariano Fortuny black pleated evening dress with printed moss green velvet jacket!  I could happily wear that outfit (if I could add a few more inches to my height).

Well, I had to go into the shop.  Fortunately for my wallet, the shop was in disarray - stocking up with Christmas goodies. Did manage to bag one book - Woven Cargoes by John Guy.   Researching on the East Indian Company of London the textiles mentioned are coming to the west, in this one they are going to the east either for barter or high status goods.   That's going to be an interesting read.  

Mochi embroidery from Kutch, Gujarat.  The embroidery is done with an ari hook (tambour).
Very fine stitching.  Why mochi?  It is thought this form of embroidery developed from the 
cobbler's awl used to decorated leather shoes.  Mochi - cobbler.

Love and Valour in India's Great Epic

Made time to get to this exhibition, before it closes in a couple of weeks time.   Truely fantastic -  over one hundred paintings from Udaipur, illustrated in the 17th century.   The tale of Rama and Sita as main players.  A caste of thousands - Hanuman the Monkey God had a good few followers for starters.   Bright bright colours, fine highlights in gold.   Exquisitely fine painting.  So much going on.   Had to buy the book!

Also in the gallery a large painted cloth of the battle of Hanuman and his 'monkey army' with Ravenna the ten (?) headed god.  Whilst admiring this you had the option of listening to gamalan music as well - what a treat.  Then there was the hugh papier mache model of Ravenna towering over us all.  I left with my head in a whirl.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Happy September!

A new book - gosh all those white pages -  Sketch Book /Journal for next project, waiting to be filled.

Some homework done - painted papers.

 Shopping list - new pens, pastels, glue etc.   Just like being at school.