Posts tagged ‘rust dying’

October 4, 2011

Textile Tuesday::Experiments with Bits of Cloth and Thread

by heatherkp

 

In the midst of the moving madness I’ve managed to continue to do a bit of textile work.  Expanding upon my rust experiments I’ve done some scarf dying.

This is a detail of one end of a long narrow scarf.  I am so intrigued by the metallic shades, rainbows and oxidation that occurs on the fabrics.  The effect here partially washed away after I rinsed the fabric.

I’m embarking upon the exploration of natural dying, slowly trying to learn a bit more about it because I’ve never really done much of it but am now very interested.  It seems a natural progression bringing together my interests in gardening, sustainability and textiles.  I’ve started with onion skin collected (from my local CSA) over the last couple years (because I don’t need to MOVE them!), both yellow and red.

I got a variety of hues and shades on both fabric and yarn varying from a green gold to a warm pale brown.  I experimented with silk, cotton, wool and linen and used alum as a mordant.

I’ve also been experimenting with the process of natural dying via bundling bits of dirt, bark, lichen, leaves and other debris in fabric Ala India Flint.  These experiments haven’t been tremendously successful but it’s new and fascinating to me so I’m enjoying the process.  I think it’s time I get India’s Book “Eco Color” though so I don’t waste too much time and fabric in the learning process.  I did have some faint success with fern leaves and with mud so far though.

Finally I’ve been trying my hand with a little textile and mixed media assemblage.  This is a work in progress that I’m playing around with.

…PS…Knitting season has returned (I usually put down the needles in the summer) so I’ve picked up the needles again and have a couple projects going (they are gifts so I can’t show them yet).

 

August 30, 2011

Textile Tuesday::What I made at Summer Camp

by heatherkp

Now that summer is almost over and school’s back in session I need to wrap up my experience at Penland.  I’ve been writing for the last few weeks about my whole experience  but haven’t really posted much about what I made personally.  There was more experimentation than finished product but I’ll be sharing some of my creations.  I took with me my sewing machine and, several bins of materials (paper, fabric, threads, inks, brushes and more) even though I knew I wouldn’t use it all.  I wanted to have enough variety for whatever we ended up doing since I wasn’t quite sure other than “mixed media” surface design.

Lets begin with some of the more informal exercises.  As I mentioned in my previous post here, we began working on black museum board in an 8″ x 8″ format.  We started with limited supplies, gesso, inks and colored pencils.  Here are a few of them in progress on my large almost 10′ x 3′ (fabulous!) work space.  Man I loved having all that room to spread out!  I was able to get messy and still have room to work!  I’m going to start talking more about this subject here on my blog because I became a little obsessed with observing how other artists work, are they neat and orderly or totally messy?  At what point do you stop and clean up your space because it’s too messy?  These are some of the questions I started asking fellow artists…but getting back to the class:)

Some of the pieces above came home with me unfinished and I’m continuing to work on them a little at a time but below are some details of completed pieces.

I loved how expressive, spontaneous and painterly these exercises were.  I found working on the black background both challenging (seeing colors in a new way) and liberating (leaving my “typical” color combinations behind).  I thought that the square format would be good for me (i.e. challenge me even more) because one of the things I really wanted to explore at Penland was my understanding of composition.  Sure, I’ve got degree’s in art but my past 12 years as a designer of repeat patterns has stunted my ability to create artwork with “proper” composition.  I found this out as I began to explore photography.  As a designer I tend to center or repeat things out in a certain manner so I wanted to throw that aside while there and focus on understanding composition better. 

Another very fun and liberating part of the class were the quick 15-30 min exercises we spent each morning exploring a certain mood, idea or expressing a feeling (these were centered around the discussions of various Astrological signs).  I had gone with certain expectations of this class (I tried not to but inevitably there were some) and I didn’t realize how much expressive drawing and painting we would be doing.  Some of these exercises were quite large in scale (compared to 8″ squares) and I enjoyed the movement involved in creating these!   Sometimes you’ve got to get your body MOVING to make ART!

We continued to work on these quick exercises at the beginning of each class almost to the end.  Sometime after the first few days we began to explore other ideas and expand beyond the small format and black background.  That’s when we started (not the whole class but some of us) experimenting with rust dying on fabrics.

We did a whole batch of scraps to see what kind of results we liked and from there I decided to create a silk scarf using the rust dying technique and some shibori pleating.  I had particularly liked the results of a couple of pieces of metal from our experiments so I used them to wrap my pleated scarf around.

Since this was quite a large scarf I used 2 pieces of metal and pleated and rolled from both ends to create different effects on both sides.  Then I used a wire that would rust to secure the whole bundle.  

This is what the bundle looked like after 24 hours and before I unwrapped it.  Promising but a little un-nerving.  There’s something exciting about the juxtaposition of using these industrial rusty, dirty metal pieces to “Dye” this beautiful delicate, “precious”, pure white organza silk!

I’m so glad I photo documented this unwrapping process!  I love the swirly shapes created by one particular piece of metal and once this was un-pleated and unrolled completely it would never look exactly like this again.

This is how it looked completely unfolded.  I love the results and it’s got me hooked on rust dyeing.  But wait, I wasn’t finished yet!  I decided to take this another step and I over dyed part of this with a coffee/tea stain using a bound shibori process to resist a large portion of the scarf from being dyed.

I let it dry and in the meantime spent some time trying to learn how to create a rolled hem with the appropriate presser foot.  I wasn’t pleased with the results so I decided to bring it home with me and create a hand rolled hem to finish it.  When I got home though, I decided to do a little more experimenting with the machine rolled hem and to my surprise I was able to find a great tutorial and with a little experimentation I was confident it would turn out successful so I bravely finished the two ends (the sides are selvedge edges).

I am totally happy with the results of the finished scarf and I have plans to create more, similar pieces in the future!  I’ve always loved shibori and dying but have been hesitant to continue to use chemical dyes as I get older.  I’ve experimented enough with them over the years but I don’t want to prolong my exposure to them.  The process of rust dying opened my eyes to a whole new medium to explore, along with other natural dying processes.

The finished piece has been over dyed with the coffee/tea stain on one side which created a beautiful grey which occurs naturally as the tannins in the tea react to the rust.  The neutral colors of this scarf are so versatile and sophisticated!

I may finish this piece off with a few beads at the ends to give it a little extra pizzaz but nothing flashy.  I love the simple beauty of it.  As you can see there was a lot of exploration and self expression that came out of this class for me.  I’ve got some other bits I worked on as well that I’ll probably share down the road but this give you a good idea of the amount and kind of work we did within the two week class.  It was fabulous!

 

August 19, 2011

Friday’s Field Trip::Penland Surface Design Class

by heatherkp

I’m finally getting around to sharing the ART part of my experience at Penland.  It was such an inspiring time.  I loved the energy of working in the studio every day with a variety of other artists.  I don’t really have a studio space at home so I often feel guilty if I leave my art supplies out for a long period of time but for me I need to be able to walk away and come back to my work.  I learned a lot about how I like to work while I was there.

Knowing yourself as an artist means knowing how you like to work, for what period of time, when to step away from something and knowing when to push through and let the inspired moment sweep you away.  Being in a class for the first time since some graduate classes I took back in 2004 offered the balance of exploration and structure which also helped me grow as an artist tremendously.  The irony of this is that as a designer I was trying to loosen up and allow myself to be more free and expressive (and abstract).  Each day our instructor began the class with short exercises that allowed us to be gestural, free, expressive and not to over think what we were doing.  These were fantastic and fun.  I didn’t always like the outcome of what I created but that wasn’t the point.  It was about just getting out of my own way and letting whatever creative expression inside the chance to escape.  Some of the works created by the class in these short exercises are below.

Another fun aspect of the class was that our instructor, Jason Pollen (check out his amazing work if you don’t know him!) used Astrology as an inspiration for us to focus our creative energy on.  Each day we discussed a different planet, the corresponding sign and the energy surrounding it.  In this way we were encouraged to channel certain emotions or energy to put into our work.  This class was primarily a surface design class and we began with limited materials and an 8″ x 8″ format using black backgrounds.  The way we see color on black is different and this encouraged each of us to shake free of the “normal” color combinations we might use.  We started with only gesso and color and eventually were encouraged to add stitching, collage or whatever else we wanted to.  I find it tremendously helpful when I’m creatively stuck to really limit my options, within more restricted boundaries I find my self stretching to explore those limitations.  After a few days experimenting and playing in this smaller format most of us began to explore other mediums and formats for our work.  A group of us in the class began raiding the iron departments scrap pile and we began experimenting with rust dying.  There is a good description of this process over here if you want to learn more about the technical aspects.  I loved how as a group we got swept up into this creative process together.

Rusty metal pieces laid out with fabric for rust dying.

Completed pieces of rust dye fabrics.

Another process we began to experiment with was Encaustic painting.  Although this was not a class in Encaustic one of our classmates was using encaustic and there was also a class being taught so those of us interested in experimenting with this process got the chance to give it a try.  As you can tell we covered a lot of ground in this class.  It was so freeing and inspiring, I came home with several new materials, techniques and ideas to work through more thoroughly.  Both Jason and our studio assistant Debra Smith were fantastic about assisting and encouraging each of us in our own directions.

Jason working on one of his stitched pieces for the auction.

Debra’s scarf and a collaborative piece by Jason and Debra, donations for the Penland fundraiser auction.

Debra modeling a purse made by one of the students for the fundraiser auction.

Below are a variety of samples of fellow classmates work and working shots.  My class mates ranged in age from 18 to over 75 and came from both the east and west coasts with all different backgrounds.  Each one of them was an inspiration to me.  I am so glad we all got to meet and work together:)  Thanks to each of you!!One of the final projects I worked on was a collaboration with 3 other students which we donated to the Penland Session 4 fundraiser auction.  I love to collaborate and this piece turned out well.  I wish I knew who bought it…

Next week I will be back to share some of the work I began personally in class.  Some of what I started is still incomplete but hopefully won’t be by the time I post again.