Saturday, May 23, 2009

Indigo Dyeing Day

Today was Indigo Dyeing Day. Jennifer Gould hosted an indigo dyeing workshop at her home for our Fiber Arts Guild and some friends. Jennifer provided the dye and the instruction, a variety of goodies, and perfect weather.

While the dye was being prepared, we soaked our fabric and yarn. Then it was time for the dye pot. Here is Jennifer pulling the first product, her yarn, out of the dye pot. We left each piece in the dye for only a minute. When we pulled the fiber out, it was green. Once in the air, it quickly oxidized and turned a dark blue.

Here are two pictures of our fabrics and yarn drying. Notice the amazing pseudo-clothespole holding up the rope. It was created from two ladders and some concrete blocks by Jennifer's friendly neighbor. Many of us tried some shibori. We stitched and tied the fabric and the thread or string acted as a resist to keep the dye from that part of the fabric. You can see some of the fabric tied together in the first picture.

In this picture, you can see some of the fabric after the stitching or tying has been released.

And these are the fabrics I dyed. I hope to use them together to make a vest. For the piece on the far left, I pulled up little bunches of fabric and tied them off. For the second piece, I gathered the fabric in wavy lines. For the third piece, I gathered parallel lines. This was the first piece I did. I realized quickly that I would have to use a different method if I wanted to get all my fabric done. For the fourth piece, I tied little stones into the fabric. For the fifth piece, I pleated the fabric diagonally and tied it every couple of inches. For the sixth piece, I scrunched the fabric diagonally and tied it.

And here is a little something extra that I found after I got home. The dye went right through my shoe.

Thanks, Jennifer, for a great day!

Friday, May 22, 2009

What To Do? What To Do?

Well, I'm in a quandary. What to do? What to do?

I decided that I would use moonstone as my birthstone, and I found some beautiful jewelry using blue moonstones. Extremely expensive. But blue moonstone--just the thing for my doll, I thought. I made and stuffed the doll. Then I made the face cab and painted it a lovely light blue. She has a minor scar on her cheek, so I put the project aside for a couple of days while I contemplated plastic surgery or a total face transplant. Hey, lots of time till June 15.

Then Thursday, I stumbled into, er, made a special trip to, our not-quite-local bead store. I was feeling flush, with a pocket full of crumpled dollar bills and quarters. I had been reimbursed for supplies by participants in I workshop I had just taught in that town.

Then I saw it: A tube of beads labeled "Moonstone Mix." They were cream, white, peach and grey. I was smitten. The perfect colors for my birthstone doll. And then there was a coordinating tube of satin Delicas also labeled "Moonstone." I was beyond smitten. I was in love!

I went into meditation mode, trying to keep myself under control. I spent half an hour looking at every single bead in the shop. Twice. And then I purchased. Woo-Hoo!

Now I have to decide if I will use the little blue doll or change my color choices and make a new one. Lucky for me, I don't have to decide right away. I'm going an indigo dyeing workshop all day tomorrow so there will be no beading.

Don't worry, Little Blue Doll. Mommy loves still you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's All About Control! Or Is It?

I thought it was going to be about the challenge, but it was all about control. Or was it?

I mentioned earlier that I am not an orange sort of person. But I decided that I was ready for the challenge of the orange beads. So I started beading.

The orange beads became obstinate. Obnoxious. Ornery. I was outraged!

Let me be clear: I did not expect obedience. I was looking for collaboration. A melding of our muses. The orange beads and I would create art together.

What I got were teenagers who knew no limits. And we all know where that will lead. To no good end.

So I took control.
There was a clear goal: Orange beaded art.
There were definite limits: Only rectangles.
There were guidelines: All lines would be straight.
There was collaboration: The beads and I would decide together how large the rectangles would be.
There were opportunities for developmentally appropriate choices: The beads could choose who they were next to.

And this is the result:

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff sprayed with orange Memories Mist.

The beads are 15/0s, 11/0s, 8/0s, and 6/0s. There are three different colors of cubes and some Toho triangles. No bugles at all.

The entire piece is done in the backstitch.

This piece is 2.75 inches by 2.75 inches.

I used tan C-lon thread.

What I Was Thinking:

I really wanted to focus on meeting the challenge of the uncomfortable orange beads. But I couldn't let them go wild. The color orange has so much going on. To me, it's hyper. The only way I could appreciate the beauty of the beads was to limit the movement in the design. For most of the beading I thought it was about control. But then I realized it was about showing the colors, shapes and textures of the beads without distracting from them with an elaborate design.

Issues That Came Up:

Am I a control freak? (Please say no...)

I am surprised I like this page so much. Orange isn't all that bad.

I finished the bobbin of tan C-lon. I still like Nymo better, but I did get used to the C-lon.

I know lots of people use just basic colors of thread--black, white, tan--when they bead. But I do like the match the thread to the beads. I guess I've spent too much time sewing.

How in the world did I get so many different kinds of orange beads? Ok, I did buy some especially for this piece. But not all of them. I won't need any more orange beads for quite a while.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Local Update

On Saturday morning I went to the fabric store, and this is what I saw:

Then I went to the library, and this is what I saw:

And then I came back home, and this is what I saw:

I must have forgotten to put the sign on the door.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Meditation in the Color of Orange

I am not an orange kind of person. I am not outrageous. I am not vivacious. I am not exciting, stimulating, aggressive, dramatic, impulsive, challenging, or dynamic. I do not have a hot temper. I am not an orange kind of person.

I am a careful, thoughtful, reflective, calm, reasonable person. Mostly. Not an orange kind of person.

My experience with orange is limited. Once I had an orange shirt. It was an oxford cloth, button-down collar, long sleeved shirt. Think deranged Brooks Brothers. My mother bought it for me on sale. I wore it when I worked as a camp counselor while I was in college. That was 40+ years ago, in the pre-psychedelic days. It was the summer we were told the counselors couldn't wear t-shirts or other knit shirts because they were too revealing. (Revealing, huh? Anyone looked at a department store ad recently?) We couldn't wear sweatshirts or jeans, either. (Too sloppy.) I saved my orange shirt for special occasions. Occasions when I felt especially cranky, like when we'd had several days of rain in a row. Everyone was cranky then. I declared an "Orange Blouse Day," and I fought back. I have never owned any other orange clothing. Not even socks. Not even underwear.

I've been picking up orange beads now and then, thinking I should challenge myself and use them. I really should. And I will. I will use orange beads for my May BJP.

I spread out my orange beads and looked at them. Then I decided to use aqua.

"Chicken!" I shouted at myself. I got out the orange beads and looked them over again.

Then I did the only thing a reasonable person could do. I went online and ordered more orange beads for my May BJP.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Choosing To Grow--April BJP

"Grandma Marty, you're not growing any more," he said.

I replied with the usual evidence of grown-ups growing one gives to a five-year-old. Fingernails, toenails, and hair.

He thought. "But your hair isn't really growing because it's curly," he asserted.

I'm sure there's some logic there, but I'm equally sure that my hairdresser (the person responsible for the curls) and I do not share that logic.

I may have missed a teachable moment here, but I decided against a discussion of neuroplasticity in older adults.

He got me thinking, and so my April Bead Journal is "Choosing to Grow."

Technical Details:

I used Lacy's Stiff Stuff as the foundation, sprayed with green and yellow Memories Mist.

The beads are 11/0s, 8/0s, 6/0s, cubes, bugles, triangles, and a few special shapes. All the beads are green. The ones that look silver are a greenish silver.

The backstitch again dominates.

The page is 2.75 inches by 2.75 inches.

I used taupe C-lon thread.

What I Was Thinking:

With "Choosing to Grow," I focused on how we can choose to grow in our responses to difficult situations. For me, the difficult situation is the Scary Medical Tests. This year they were scheduled for late April. (Note: I passed the tests.) As I worked on this page, I repeated to myself, "I'm choosing to grow." My idea was to train my mind, change my brain and transform myself, as stated on the cover of Sharon Begley's book. Did my strategy work? Sort of. I made it through the time before the tests, the tests, and the waiting for the results without turning into a mass of quivering gelatin dessert. OK, so I may have been gelatin dessert, but at least I didn't quiver! I'll keep trying the "I'm choosing to grow" mantra. This page is a partner with "Not Quite Pink."

I selected a new green color to represent new growth. The vertical columns of beads are growing from the horizontal foundation. While they look like new plants growing, they are intended to represent personal growth.

Issues that Came Up:

I still like Nymo better than C-lon, but I wanted to use up the C-lon I had. Of course, all the time I was using it I was wondering why I didn't at least buy some in chartreuse.

The first background for the vertical columns didn't work at all. It offended my artistic sensibilities, such as they are. So I ripped it out yesterday. That was April 30. The plain background worked for this page, but it isn't my favorite technique.

This is the most representational page I have made, except for maybe the September page. I prefer making more abstract pages.

Now on to May. I'm thinking flowers. Oops! That's representational.