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Maples

Cutting into a strip of the botanical prints turned out to be quite liberating. I’m certain there is a psychological term for it but I’ll just stick with ‘progress’ and be happy for it.

I love the shape of a maple leaf and isn’t it wonderful that there are many varieties? Here is a small grouping of very delicate leaves. I have joined them with the last scrap of silk fabric that reveals the twine markings from the cochineal dye bath — see this posting for more explanation — and, on the right side, a piece of silk that I silk screened ten years ago.  Click on the image for a larger view.

Note that these sections are not pieced in the traditional way with a quarter-inch seam. Instead, I overlapped the fabrics by one quarter inch (or less) and used a very narrow zigzag stitch to attach them. This allowed for maximum use of each of the fabrics.

I auditioned quite a few threads for thread painting the leaves and decided on using another variegated hand-dyed pearl cotton that I purchased from Elin Noble. I’m quite happy with the results.

The thread painting went a long way in brightening the leaves. To continue with that idea and bring more balance to the bright silk strip on the right, I chose one of the Nature Colors collection from Superior Threads.

Things are coming together so I am back to work. There are a lot more circles to stitch before this small piece is done. It will measure 12″ x 12″ when completed. Stay tuned.

Botanical Printing and Natural Dye Part 3

After several days of printing with the larger pieces of fabric, Kristy brought out note cards for us. What a great bonus! Here is my first bundle of 5 note cards ready for a bath in cochineal.

And here are the iron  blankets and the cards.  Again, so fun to have two prints in this process. I am thrilled with the detail on these prints, with both the paper and the cotton cloth.

Each of us did our best to bring fresh cuts of plant samples for the days’ printing. My fellow students and Kristy all had access to much more than I did so I was very grateful for their contributions. Not only did I get some great prints but I also learned about more plants.

Back to more experimentation. I was specifically interested in the ability to print using dogwood with the flower. I also brought a bright yellow-green linen from my stash and used that for my iron blanket.  The green was much softened by the iron bath. I have taken two photographs of this length of fabric. In the photo below, the first two prints are of dogwood. In the first print I had removed the large node from the center of the flower, placing the petals in the right locations. I did not remove the flower node in the second print. I am actually happy with both prints. The lavender, yellow and grey colors on the silk noil are simply wonderful. I dipped the botanical specimens in iron water and used the linen fabric also dipped in iron water. The last leaf is an oakleaf hydrangea.

I am over-the-top happy with the second half of this experiment. The cedar is beautiful, detailed and, frankly, better looking that this image reveals. The print on both fabrics is completely usable. The wild blackberry leaf and dogwood spray also printed beautifully.

The next three images are of one piece of silk noil fabric dyed with weld. All of the botanical specimens were dipped in iron and placed on the fabric. The end of the fabric (here, the right end of the first photo) was left exposed. No iron blanket was used. The bundle was submerged in a cochineal bath.

I am thrilled with the subtle, detailed prints in all the leaf samples. I went for large leaves in the experiment and the reward was far more than anticipated. The fabric is 11″ wide.

I will be using every scrap of this fabric!

I was so much ‘in the moment,’ focused on each step and being accurate with my notes, that I forgot too often about taking photographs. I kept my wits about me here though. This is a white silk scarf with plants dipped in an iron solution and the linen fabric (you can see the original color here) also dipped in iron solution. Half of the scarf here

and the other half. The iron blanket was then placed on top and the sandwich was rolled and tied.

Here is how the bundles looked when they were ready to be steamed or boiled. My initial is on the label as well a the time that it went to be processed.

And here are the results. Again, the linen iron blanket was softened by the iron.

The colors, detail and outline of the leaves are crisp and wonderful.

On our last day of class I couldn’t resist bundling another bunch of small leaves with the note card paper. They are so charming.

The four of us in the class will be gathering next month at Katherine’s home to do more printing. I plan to take prepared cotton fabric. I can’t wait!

If you missed my first two posts on this class you can find them here and here.

Botanical Printing and Natural Dye Part 2

If you missed my first installment sharing the results of a 4-day class on Botanical Printing and Natural Dye, just click here to be all caught up. A reminder that I am not showing everything I did in this class, just the pieces that I found the most exciting and that I can see using in future art pieces.

The example below, shown in two images, was one piece of silk noil fabric with half of the piece being covered in an iron-dipped cotton cloth. I love the results on both halves. The first photograph is the side with the iron blanket. The prints of the leaves are sharp, though the pigment transfer did not highlight veins of the leaves, except in the far right leaf.  I really like the subtle color background on this fabric — it’s uneven and has a dreamy, quiet feel. The iron blanket prints were unsatisfactory so I won’t show it here.

The leaves on this side of the fabric were dipped in an iron solution. The veins are well defined in these prints. The colors that came from the leaves varied — there is brown, gray, black, yellow and violet here! A wonderful mix that has great possibility! Again, I have some splotching where the iron solution dripped from the leaves while they were being placed on the fabric. This is one yummy piece of fabric!

I almost passed on the opportunity to print with this next fabric, a silk jersey dyed with logwood. This is not a fabric I would ever choose to work with. It slips and slides just looking at it. But boy, am I ever glad I did! The prints that I got are incredibly clear on both the silk and the cotton that was dipped in iron solution. Thank you, Kristy, for that gentle nudge in the right direction.

I’ve taken two images of this piece of fabric to better show the prints. I love the sharpness of the prints, the variety of colors and the bonus of having two great images of each leaf. I will stabilize the jersey fabric with Pellon Shirt Taylor before I incorporate it in my work.

Stay tuned for part three. I think you’ll discover some nice surprises.

 

 

Botanical Printing and Natural Dye Part 1

I spent four days in early July with Kristy Kun of Opulent Fibers and three classmates learning about the process of botanical printing and natural dyeing. Kristy spent the week before our class preparing the fabrics with mordant — a substance that prepares the fibers of the fabric to bond with natural dyes — and dye so we were able to hit the decks running from the first day. We produced prints on a variety of fabrics and a good range of natural dye such as logwood, madder, cochineal, weld and chestnut. I am more interested in printing with botanicals than I am in dyeing fabric using plant resources and you’ll see that reflected in the samples I will share here.

Each of us brought our own fabric to use as the iron blanket — fabric dipped in an iron solution or fabric wrapped around some rusted metal– that was used for many of the prints. I was delighted to see that many of the plants I used printed very successfully on the primary fabric as well as the iron blanket. This first sample shows just that. The fabric on the bottom of the photograph is silk noil with chestnut dye. The blanket is cotton fabric dipped in an iron solution. Plants used were sumac (a variety I was not familiar with but what a beautiful leaf! My classmates referred to it as ‘fancy’ sumac.) and peony. Click on photos to reveal a larger view.

Plants here are peony, dogwood and sumac. I can definitely imagine using both the silk and the cotton prints.

The following images are of two panels (two images per panel) of silk noil using plants dipped in iron solution and no iron blanket. Panel one has wild blackberry, maple

hawthorn and oak. I’m very happy with the shadowy effect that was caused by some dripping of the iron solution as I placed the leaves on the fabric.

The second panel has eucalyptus, maple

and sumac. I love the strong colors and crisp edges produced in these samples.

Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.

 

Oregon Society of Artists

I have three pieces of art in 200 for under $200, the November juried exhibit at Oregon Society of Artists. All of the art in this exhibit will be on 12″ x 12″ pine cradle boards. I have mounted three of my fabric postcards, each already mounted on archival mat board, onto the cradle boards. One could hang these pieces as they are displayed at the exhibit or remove  the mat board and place it into a suitable frame for hanging. Here is a close up of the postcards (click on image for a larger view):

Maple, 4 x 6

Maple, 4 x 6

 

White Ginkgo, 4" x 6"

White Ginkgo, 4″ x 6″

 

Exotica II, 4" x 6"

Exotica II, 4″ x 6″

If you are thinking about holiday gift-giving, this is a good place to start. The art will be top quality in a variety of mediums.

200 for under $200
Oregon Society of Artists
2185 SW Park Place (corner of St. Claire)
Portland, OR 97205

November 4 – December 1, 2016
Gallery open Monday – Saturday, 1 pm – 4 pm
Artist’s Reception: Friday, November 4, 6 pm – 9 pm

I hope to see you there!

 

 

White on White Done

The four designs I chose for the White-on-White theme with Postmark’d Art are done. Ta da! This has been especially satisfying for me because the inspiration for the 4 designs was immediate and all are completed before the official start date for the trade has begun. Believe me, it doesn’t always happen that way so I am celebrating.

Plus — and this is a BIG PLUS — thanks to Kalia, a reader who shared tips on getting better photographs of these postcards, I actually have images that are much truer to the actual postcards. Thank you, Kalia! To honor the time and effort you shared with me I looked into the resources you shared in your comment (see the comment here) and I had great success. (I’m looking forward to even more refinement with my next photo shoot because the recommended wattage for the light bulb was 100 but I had only a 75 watt bulb.) So here they are, all ready to stamp and drop in the nearest mail box. Click on an image for a larger view.

The metallic zing of the thread stitching here still does not show – – I need to do more research on how to achieve that with the camera. I chose an elegant silver rope-braid cording to finish the edge on this floral design.

Franki Kohler, White FloralThe ginkgo fairly begged to be finished with a traditional quilt binding. How could I refuse? Binding a postcard with fast2fuse™ in the middle is a challenge but I think it’s worth the effort.

Franki Kohler, White GinkgoWhite satin cording finishes the edge of the Maple

Franki Kohler, White Mapleand the sunflower.

Franki Kohler, White SunflowerNow, on to a larger project that is calling me.

This posting is shared with Off the Wall Fridays.

Maple Print

I played with quite a few possibilities for thread painting the final maple leaf prints. I wanted a clear contrast to the weight and value thread I had used the first time around. I chose two threads:  a dark navy and a 1960’s green (think Laugh In, mini skirts and Goldie Hawn), both 60 wt. cotton.  Both go through the same needle.

I’m happy with the level of contrast.

I also like the way the two threads pile up on the surface of the fabric, more like the thick work of hand embroidery than the fine line of the varigated thread. I’m not sure how I’ll use this print but I like what has happened to it so far.

One-Sentence Journaling

Late in 2009 I learned about a woman who began keeping a one-sentence journal in an attempt to capture highlights of her life on a regular basis. I thought it was a great idea and something I could commit to. For ease, I decided to keep it on my computer and augment the written journal with photographs. Naturally, I often write more than one sentence. But for those days that I record just one sentence, a photograph or two go a long way in fleshing out that sentence. They don’t say “A picture is worth a thousand words” without cause! This process not only captures small moments I don’t want to slip away from me, but it means that I am using my camera more — especially for documenting my art-making process.

If I weren’t journaling I wouldn’t have thought to capture this charming yellow-rumped warbler who visited my backyard

or the result of trying a new recipe for pumpkin cheesecake

or the incredible splash of color that a maple tree in my front yard was wearing recently.

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and the rest of the year will flash by at the speed of sound. I’m looking forward to holding on to at least a few memories as we crash into 2012.