Monday, 30 March 2009

Make do and mend

From BBC Radio 4 to the Sunday Observer Magazine, articles 
are appearing on ways to save money and save the planet etc.   
How to hem, darn, sew ona button.  Knit, crochet, patchwork.   
I think I have heard this all before.

But, hey, it's good.  Now we can all feel justified with the little 
hordes of saved string, brown paper and 'things' that might 
come in useful.   

Mending - I have a small Pfaff sewing machine, basic but 
light enough to take to workshops.  I left it at The Mill in a 
cupboard for several weeks, only to find when next required 
the bobbin race had rusted.   Enter John the Sewing Machine 
man.  Brilliant, got the wire brush out, reburnished the casing 
and it is as good a new.

Making do - instructions to use the machine to get it really 
going again. Just the thing, one of the Journal Quilts on my list.   
This one is for the group Infinity.   Subject - Glass.

Raided my inherited button boxes for glass buttons, the scrap 
bag for fabric.   Glass beads and shisha.   Tick.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A suitable case for ..............

Today, amongst other things, I managed to wrap 
another couple of poles.Small diameter plumbing 
pipes, not small diameter plumbers pipes as I said
in last post.  (No thin plumbers to be seen).

I used thicker fabric this time, so the dye did not 
penetrate all the folds.  Interesting shapes nevertheless.   
The fabric has been overdyed.  Next move?  
Perhaps printing or discharge.


Tuesday, 24 March 2009

I've been taking time out, walking on the Purbeck Coast, lots of fluffy 
sheep and lambs;  hacking through the overgrown hedges and shrubs.
It always amazes me how much stuff is generated when 'gently' 
pruning;  and generally just being outside enjoying the sun.

Conservatory is coming on - shelves on walls, and in the cupboard 
under the sink.  A great deal of sorting and 'filing' of dyeing and silk 
screening paraphernalia.   Can't throw any of it away, really!    
However, I can get back to some dyeing, and first off some samples 
for my next shibori class on pole wrapping.

We only have a two hour slot, not enough time for big 'poles', so 
I have made up samples using small diameter plumbers pipes.

Three poles wrapped in different ways,
laying in soda solution



No.1 - Wrapped round pole without edges touching

No. 2 - Fabric manipulated to fit pole

No. 3 - Fabric folded before wrapping

I like the last piece especially.  Think I might
try some alternative folding tomorrow.

Monday, 16 March 2009

It's Spring




and a new shiny sink.

       The conservatory is looking good.  Pine doors and shelves 
         re-varnished, with a slightly distressed look at the bottom of 
           the door.   Well, all those years of dyeing just had to leave 
             their mark.   Shelves to be put up for storage, ready for 
dyeing workshops in the summer.

            What a gorgeous day.  The first taste of warmth this year.  
          Perhaps I will abandon work indoors and escape to the 
green gym.   

Sunday, 8 March 2009

More threads

Back to India! I was given an introduction to 
Alimohammed, a true master dyer. 

He gave me permission to photo his experiments with
natural dyes and different mordants.   Very subtle, 
especially on different weights of silk fabric

This piece of cloth was drying on the line,
and 'untied' to reveal the colours.

Isn't it gorgous?   The colours are more vibrant than shown.
Indigo background, rust orange and deep cream.

I managed two very short meetings, time was short.
I shared with him my method of colour stripping
indigo, and he was a mine of information and very
generous with his knowledge.   The pots, bags and
jars of leaves, bark, powder and gum in his dyeing 
studio were intriguing.  It was also very hot - outside
 temp 33c, inside roaring fire and steaming vats.

Now I have met Alimohammed,  I shall make 
sure I visit again and perhaps get to do some 
dyeing with him.

Getting on with things

The sun is shining, but there is a very cold March wind outside.   
The good news is, it is perfect in the conservatory to catch with 
with some dyeing.  First job to dye some threads.

Next prepare and dye samples for the shibori workshop at the end 
of the month.

Frantic activity 'cos with any luck Keith is going to revamp the 
conservatory in the next week (or two), which means no dyeing
 until it's done.   I have been using it as my 'wet room' for at least 
twelve years so you can imagine, despite all attempts to keep
  things relatively clean, the odd dye accident has happened!   

New square sink, with draining board this time, more shelf 
and storage space, and an excuse to visit our new Ikea 

Thanks for comments on last blog.  I think we are all the same, 
regardless of 'filing' systems.   So, bring on the creative mess,
 the search, and procrastination, it's all part of the process.


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Pots - Part III

Getting back into the swing of things again, here is my March 
Journal Quilt.    A little bit of dyeing and some mono printing, 
but not too much, it has turned cold again and the 
conservatory is not a place to hang about in when the 
temperature drops.


Nothing to do with the weather, rather shapes, pattern 
and texture from the previous two Journal Quilts.   
Lots of hand stitching, french knots, fly, seed and 
blanket stitch on background of calico, dyed 
muslin and snippets of fabric.   Breaking out a bit 
here, trying to lose the Virgo tendency to neatness 
and straight lines.

Of course, I had to delve into every box of fabric to 
find just the right pieces, then to find threads.  
Result - room in total mess.   I can feel an attack of 
the Virgo's coming on.....hmm, perhaps I should 
have a tidy up.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Kala Raksha

I started my blog last January with the idea of a visual diary for family, friends and students.  The reason for my trip was an invite to a Mela and the graduation of students from Kala Raksha Vidyalaya.   Truly amazing.    The Fashion Show could have hosted the stages in London, Paris or Rome.

Judy Frater founded  the Kala Raksha Trust in 1991 - see link.    She has been chosen for the 2009 Sir Misha Black's medal for distinguished services to design education, and will be coming to London to received the award.   If you can make it, there will be a Trunk Show with Judy Frater of  the work of artisans from Kala Raksha from 25th to 28th March at Joss Graham, 10 Eccleston Street, London SW1W 9LT.

Aly and I spent a wonderful day with Judy at the Design School, sitting in on the Mens' Design Class and enjoying the presentation of homework by Dr. Ismail's nephew.   The sample was ajrakh cloth, using first primary colours, then secondary colours, tertiary colours etc.  Wow, there were some amazing results - lifting the traditional craft and colour combinations on in a way probably never envisaged before.