Thursday, 31 March 2011

A light bulb moment

Yes, you can fix Procion dyes on paper.  Thinking about it, rather 
than just diving in in the heat of the moment, it became somewhat
obvious.  Soda ash.    I'm pleased about this discovery, now those
old dyes can be used, fixed, pasted on paper without bleeding.

I placed paper on plastic, wetted it with soda ash solution, then 
dripped dyes.  Left over night to dye, the next problem was how
to wash out.   Answer, place on tray, hold the tray diagionally,
pour water over paper until it runs clear.  I then put a little
Synthrapol in water water to wash over paper.  May be this
last bit is not necessary?!!   Anyway, it's worked for me.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The finished book

Pages 1 and 2

Pages 3 and 4

Pages 5 and 6

End Papers

 The exhibition, Lost for Words, is taking place at Walford Mill, Wimborne, Dorset.   
A collection of artists books featuring a wide range of different crafts.  Preview,
 Friday 1st April, 5.30 - 7.30pm.  A fundraising exhibition with proceeds to
 the Mill's Building Bridges Fund.

When I delivered my contribution this morning I had a quick peek at the few
 books on view.  Fantastic and inspirational.   Can't wait to see all the
other treasures waiting to be unwrapped.   It promises to be a great
exhibition  - well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Monday, 28 March 2011

sticky fingers

It's a bit yucky in my workroom.   The gluing corner is all I am 
prepared to reveal.   The painting area is like a disaster zone.
Tubes of paint, piles of painted papers, brushes, sponges etc.,
you get the picture.   However, the book x 2 is currently under
telephone directories and heavy tomes flattening out.

Under construction.   Painted, printed and stitched papers,
a little bit of fabric.  Instead of folding the card, I am joining
 the back and front square with a calico hinge.

The patterns are of Indian design, surprise, surprise!  This one
is reverse applique.  There are four pages in all, front and back.  

Fun to do and a huge, messy learning curve.  Getting carried
away with various pots and tubes of colour.  Finding, on
applying CMC paste, that some mediums bleed.   This was 
pretty obvious anyway, if I had engaged my brain!  Lovely
colours with old Procion dyes - of course they will bleed!
Any ideas on 'fixing' them on paper?!!  Is there a way?

Now I must clear up - there are trails of paper and bits all
over the house.  Not many clear surfaces in my workroom.
 This might take a little time!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Coffee break

I am having such a messy, but creative, day.
A deadline looming, like Monday, to create an
'Artist's Book' in concertina form.  Well on the 
way now,  a couple more pages to complete.
All a bit of a challenge - it involves painted/
printed papers, repurposed fabric, hand and
machine stitching, plus a whole load of glue.

I can share the front page

This is what the fabric looked like before painted with
bronze powders.

A fragment of Indian machine embroidery on organza.
Really faded and very tatty.   Now it looks quite yummy.

By way of distraction therapy, I also have bundles of
cotton yarn dyed and now batching for a couple
of hours.

Time to engage brain and tackle the last two pages.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Baneswar Fair

In southern Rajasthan, Baneswar is located in a delta formed by 
three major rivers.   The fair is held every year over a period of ten days
Bheels or tribal people from all over Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya
 Pradesh flock here taking  holy dips in the sacred rivers.  

The fair covers an enormous area, as far as the eye can see.
Streams of people arriving;  bathing, shopping, cooking, gathering
in groups, catching up with old friends.  

A new charpoy - flat pack Ikea style.

A refreshing ice cream, with florescent cones

Making parathas

Mr. Green demonstrating electricity
generating bike

Always the boys, constant companions
on our wanderings

and the giggling girls, daring
each other to have a photo taken 

We strolled in the heat and dust, taking in the sights, only 
covering about half of the area.  Crazy attractions at the fair, 
not to sure about the safety of the Big Wheels, the Wall of Death
 looked suitably terrifying.  Avoided men with snakes and
performing monkeys.

During the day the festival is amazing, so many people.
We had no problems, except with the police carrying 
lathi sticks.  Not happy with us taking photos.  For no
 reason, unless perhaps if baksheesh was offered??

At night it is another matter.  Can you imagine, cooking
fires, folk songs, dancing, fireworks and those crazy
Big Wheels?  Sad to say we opted out on that one. 

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Grand Opening

The shop is open!   Splash!

Some indigo fabric, with more to come.  The weather is
getting warmer - the 'bluehouse' will be in use pretty soon.

Hope it works!!!!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

just around the corner.....

Driving past this tantalising scene, 'where they
 spin cotton thread', created another diversion.
It was lunch time and very quiet.   We were
warmly welcomed and invited to look around.

It was only the beginning of the process.
Huge piles of dried cotton bolls ready for 
processing.  The cotton is grown locally, and
organically, on a small scale.  I am guessing
that this small  plant is owned by a
farmers' co-operative.

At the end of the yard a building housing five
cotton gins.  Very clean and almost lint free.
Having seen documentaries of huge scale
plants, this was very heartening.

The cotton bolls are dried, put into the gins
 to separate the fibres from the seeds and
any other impurities.   In a very dark corner a
machine, which could be heard rather than
seen, clanked away making cotton seed oil
and feed for cattle from the debris removed
from the bolls.  Nothing is wasted.

The processed cotton is packed into hessian
bales, so roughly stitched I wonder how easy
it is keeping the cotton in.  All ready for spinning
and weaving.  T-shirts apparently.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Stumbled upon

We heard about  block dyeing in a village not too far away.  
Thanks to Samsu we found it with little difficulty.  Set in
delightful surrounding, we were shown around by the
very friendly and helpful workers.

the indigo vat

another view of the dye yard

too big for my suitcase

boys preparing cloth for printing

the cotton, known as grey cloth, has
many impurities.  Some occur naturally,
others are added during the weaving
process.   These must be removed before
dyeing or printing, which can involve
up to fourteen different stages

block printed cloth with a dabu (mud) resist, sprinkled
with sand,  drying out ready for the next process

a sari length with gold woven border
dabu resist.  This will be gorgeous eventually

madder printed cloth in the background, about 6metres in length,
laid out on the ground to dry in the sun.

For the record, I did managed to bring home some fabulous cloth.
When unpacked and ironed I'll take some photos.   Amazingly
my luggage allowance was spot on.  Hugh sigh of relief.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


First time back at the Mill with my stitching friends since January.
The Indian trip and my lurgy intervened.  It was good to be back.
Catching up and actually doing something with needle and thread.

Meanwhile I have gathered indigo cloth, time
to stock the shop.

All I have to do now is come to grips with my
Paypal button.  I kind of got the idea
yesterday!  Will give it another go tomorrow.
A bear of little brain, sometimes.

Then there is the excitement of setting up the
first indigo vat very, very soon.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Village India

A small taste of the countryside.   Miles from the nearest town, 
life goes on at a gentle pace.   No hustle and bustle.   The
countryside a riot of green.  Harvest time is near.  Galus,
(squirrels) munching;  goats coming home in the evening;
bullocks in harness.

At the end of the day - sunset over a lake.   No sound except
the bird life.   The nest of vipers at the bottom of the tower
thankfully asleep.   Happy hour with Kingfisher beer.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

New month - new beginnings

Well, that was a nasty bug.  The hacking cough, which kept me 
awake, has almost disappeared.   Feeling so much better today.

The photos have been uploaded at last.    I can spend a
happy few hours going through them.  The jury is still out on
the Nikon DX.  It's a heavy old thing to carry round.  Guess I
should make a considered opinion after looking at the pix.
I have a Cannon Sureshot, my second one.  I like the micro
lense, not available on the Nikon.   Both Cannons suffered 
from stuck lenses, usually when traveling. This might be
due to the heat and dust?  Decisions, decisions.

Meanwhile, signs of spring - taken on the Cannon.
No heat and dust to worry about in Dorset!

A much needed haircut this afternoon.  The 'to do'
list to be consulted, and the 'shop' to be stocked.
Plenty to do then.