Thursday, December 1, 2016

What in the world do artists think of us

Judith just sent me a link to a fiber artist who shares her experience with the fire blog. The artist name is Emma and her post can easily be translated by Google translate.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rust-Dyed Shibori: Some More Results

As noted in some earlier posts, I wanted to experiment with rust-dyed shibori using different liquids: sea water, black tea and a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water.

Here are some pictures of the fabric that was wrapped around rusty pipes and steamed for an hour and a half. Each of the pieces is very different from the others. In this instance, the fabric wet with vinegar and water became the most rusty. The fabric wet with tea also became somewhat rusty. That fabric also has some spots that were caused by the interaction of the tannin in the tea and the iron on the pipes. The fabric wet with salt water was the least rusted. Note that the patterning on each piece is different from the patterning on the other pieces even though they were all wrapped and steamed in the same way.

In my second experiment, in which I kept the moistened bundles in a warm oven, I also got the greatest rusting effect from the vinegar and water combination. The rusting effect was also stronger with the batching method than with the steaming method. The next best effect was from the sea water. The fabric moistened with tea had the least amount of rust, and it also had some black spots from the tea. This picture shows each of the results. The vinegar/water piece is on the left, the sea water piece is in the middle, and the tea piece is on the right.

What surprised me most from this experiment was the different kinds of patterning I got on each piece. All the pieces were wrapped in the same way: the fabric was wound around the pipe and tied with string. I tried to compress each fabric piece but was not able to do so because of the friction on the pipe. Despite this, I got some very distinctive and interesting marks.

In conclusion to my series of posts this month, I would say that it’s possible to use unusual methods to get shibori effects on fabric. The outcome of each method is different from what you’d get using traditional shibori methods with Procion or acid dyes, but interesting all the same. 

Finally, if you haven't already done so, please check out my book, Dyeing Alchemy. It contains a great deal of information on Procion dyeing and also includes a workbook that does all the dyeing math for you. And, please read the latest review of the book in Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot. The link to that review can be found on my website, on the Dyeing Alchemy page.

Thanks for reading my posts this month! I hope they were useful.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rust-Dyed Shibori: What Worked and What Didn’t

The steaming method of rusting was somewhat successful for the arashi shibori, but less so for the itajime shibori since I used plastic clamps and disks to hold my fabric in place. That was a bad decision. The clamps warped from the steam and didn’t hold the fabric. The same was true for the plastic disks. Here’s what happened to the plastic I used:


And here are some pictures of the fabric that was wrapped around the tin cans and tied with string. The fabric isn't washed or ironed yet, but you can see the rust patterning. Because it wasn't possible to compress the fabric and push it down the can, the marks are not true arashi shibori marks. Some of the rust will come out of the fabric when it's washed.

Earlier this summer, however, I did some itajime shibori at the same time as I was doing some botanical dyeing. I clamped some fabric to some metal plates, using 3 identical plates, one each on the top and bottom of the fabric and another one in the middle. I steamed this bundle for about an hour. Here’s a picture of the resulting fabric. This looks more like true clamped shibori than do the arashi pieces.

Friday, November 25, 2016

An Aside: Rust Dyeing and Botanical Printing

I recently become interested in botanical dyeing, and this summer I took two workshops focusing on the process. One of these workshops used plastic pipes or wooden dowels for rolling the plant-laden fabric, but the other workshop used rusty iron pipes. This led to some interesting discoveries as well as some great fabric.

In the second workshop, the fabric was steamed on the rusty pipes for several hours, depending on the fabric type. As the fabric steamed, it received a bath of vinegar every half hour. The steaming process transferred the images of the plant material onto the fabric, and it also transferred rust. 

Working with those pipes gave me the idea of using them for my experiments with rust-dyed shibori.

One of the most interesting rusting effects I got during the summer was accidental. I was steaming some delicate silk, and I did not want the silk fabric to get too dark during the steaming process by being in direct contact with the rusty pipes for a long time. To prevent this, I cut a piece of linen fabric the length of the pipe and rolled it around the pipe, tucking the ends into the openings at the ends of the pipe before placing the plant-covered silk onto the pipe. The plant material on the silk also transferred to the linen. In addition, the ends of the linen that was tucked into the pipe end openings created a lovely rust pattern.

Next year, once the plants are back and the weather is warm, I plan to experiment more with this process since I think the combination of rust and plant images create very nice fabric.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rust-Dyed Shibori: Preparation

After reading Alice Fox’s book, Natural Processes in Textile Art, I wanted to experiment with different wetting agents in the rust shibori process. I used 3 different agents: (1) sea water from the Atlantic ocean, (2) black tea which I made by steeping loose tea in hot water, and (3) a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and water. I soaked my fabrics separately in each of these liquids before doing any fabric manipulation. In the past, when I did rust dyeing in a dishpan during the summer, I used only a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and water. This time, I wanted to see if I could get different effects and different patterns using liquids other than diluted vinegar.

For my rust dyed shibori experiments, I rolled fabric around iron pipe. I had previously tried some clamped shibori but it was unsuccessful because I didn't have rusty objects of the same size to put in between clamps and because I had not very smartly tried it using plastic clamps and then steamed the fabric. 

For the arashi shibori examples, where the fabric was rolled around the rusty iron pipes, my original intention was that I would wrap string around the pipes, just as I do in regular arashi shibori, and then compress the fabric along the length of the pipes. When I tried to do this, it was impossible. The pipes I used were very rough, and I could not push the fabric down along them. So, I then decided to wrap the string tightly to see if I could get strong string impressions that would give the effect of arashi shibori. This is how the fabric looked on the rusted pipes.

I will show the results in my last two posts.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Rust-Dyeing: Some General Comments

Since the Fire blog just included a segment on rust dyeing in October, I have only a little to add here about the rust dyeing process.

In my experience, successful rust dyeing requires warm to hot temperatures to speed up the rusting reaction. When I tried rust dyeing in the past during the fall and winter, I was unsuccessful and got little reaction.

Since I had a very busy summer this year, I did not have the time to create the rust dyed shibori samples I needed for these blog postings. Given that, I had to resort to some other methods of supplying the heat that was necessary for the rusting reaction.

First, I decided to create some arashi and itajime samples using rusty cans and other objects and then steam them in a large pot over boiling water. The steam would supply the heat and moisture that is usually present in the rusting reaction.That method led to mixed results which I will discuss in a later post.

The second method involved rolling the fabric on rusty pipes. I then put the manipulated fabric into separate plastic bags and put the bags, on a metal tray, into my oven along with a bottle of hot water. I kept the oven turned off, but left the oven light on. The fabric stayed in the warm oven for 3 days. (This is the same method I use for batching fabric that I have printed with thickened dye, although then the batching period is only 24 hours.) The plastic bags kept the fabric moist, and the heat from the oven was enough to create the rusting reaction. This method was more successful than the first one .

I did not try itajime shibori using my second method since I didn’t have any rusty objects that I could use for the clamping process.

With both methods, I experimented with different wetting liquids to create the rusting process, and I will discuss these in my next post.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Snow-Dyed Shibori - Some More Results (2)

As noted in an earlier post, I decided to experiment with whiffle balls as a way of manipulating my fabric. Doing so gives circular elements to the finished fabrics. Sometimes the results look like geodites. Here are some examples:

I was much happier with the fabric in which I used fewer colors of dye (the lighter green fabrics), but this may be because I tend to prefer palettes that are monochromatic or that use analogous colors. I find these fabrics easier to use in my finished pieces. While the center blue and green piece was very vibrant, I couldn't make it work with the other pieces.

Here is a large quilt, Evocation, that I made using some of these fabrics. It is heavily embroidered and machine-quilted.