Studies in Green

There were several reasons that prompted me to start this sketchbook in green. When Gail Harker was here, she suggested that I should do more studies in green and then see if the greens that I saw in nature were what I had produced on paper. Also, this year for our challenges we are working on color so I thought that fit in well. And lastly, I have always loved green. So how many different greens are there?

Green Pages

I started with Procion dyes in three yellows, two blues and black. I decided to do a variety of values from light to dark in each color. I had a 60 page sketchbook (4″ x 6″) and found that I ran out of pages before I ran out of shades of green.

Green Pages

Some of the greens are very yellow-green and some are much closer to blue-green.

Green Sketchbook

I didn’t do solid colors but generally ended up mixing two or more greens together on a page. And I didn’t keep track of what dye I used on what page. I just decided to play with green.

Green Sketchbook

Since I was trying to replicate natural colors, I neutralized most of the greens.

Blue Green Page

Then I started collecting a variety of leaves on my walks in the mornings.

Pine Moss Page

I matched the natural leaf with the painted pages. This is pine moss and is really bright ‘acid’ green when you see it on the trees.

Large Leaf

One of the problems that I am having is that the ‘live’ leaf color is not the same as the preserved leaf color. I used matte medium to preserve the leaves but they all seem to really dull down and turn brown. So they don’t match the page when they are completely dried.

Pages with Leaves

So I have decided to try a different preserving method using glycerine. I haven’t tried it before but I’ll see if that preserves the natural color a little better. I also think that I will do some green thread studies and dyed fiber studies to put on some of the pages.

Now that I have started making a green sketchbook I think it would be great fun to do one in all the primary and secondary colors. What’s your favorite color?

 

Posted in Sketch Book | Tagged , | 23 Comments

Artist Residency — Breckenridge, Colorado

Cathy Wycliff (Luvswool) shares her experience of her recent artist residency in Breckenridge,  Colorado.

Just about one year ago, I started thinking about artist residencies and how much I would like to be granted one.

I had lots of ideas in mind about where I wanted to go, and all of the ideas had to do with nature in all its beauty.

That could mean the ocean, the mountains or anyplace naturally beautiful. I started thinking about the National Parks in America and how much I have enjoyed visiting them over the years, beginning when I was just a child and the family packed up in the station wagon to begin the journey from Chicago to Colorado. We sometimes went to Wyoming and Montana as well, but we always started in Colorado.

There are many artist residencies available around the world, but I had my sights set close to home–that is, the USA.  Although I have enjoyed foreign travel over the years, I decided local would be a good start. I applied to three different organizations, and two of them came through for me (huge surprise!) and offered 2 weeks to one month artist residencies.

I completed my two weeks in the Arkansas Ozarks during April (you can see my previous post about natural dyeing on the Studio blog here   http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2015/05/09/dyeing-with-plants/ ).  I was thrilled when I received the Breckenridge, CO artist residency offer for the full month of June, but because of obligations at home, I accepted a two-week residency.

I flew into Denver from Chicago, and then shared a Colorado Mountain van with several other passengers, arriving in Breckenridge late afternoon. The mountains greeted me in all their splendor, and after meeting the director of the Arts Council, I tucked into my studio/living space at the old Tin Shop.  Yes, you may notice from the photos that the shop looks old, and it is–from the mid-1800’s when this was a mining town. Many of the “downtown” buildings have been saved, preserved and restored–and many of them have been turned into artist studios and classrooms for the arts.

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The first thing I did besides unpacking was to begin decorating the downstairs studio portion of my little house. But that would have to wait until morning, as I was struck with altitude sickness. Breckenridge is 10,000 feet and most well-known today for skiing, so that’s pretty high in the sky. I had read about this before leaving Chicago, so I was prepared with Advil, and I knew there was an Oxygen Bar in town. Some of the symptoms of A.S. include headache, fatigue, nausea, bloody nose, shortness of breath; and yes, I experienced all of them most of the time I was there.

So my art decor was not perhaps as good as it should or could have been (and neither were the photos taken with my I-phone), but I managed to spruce the place up a bit.  My main goal was to have a comfortable felting table table set-up facing the door so I could view folks as they walked in during “studio time.”

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I would have loved to have brought my framed landscapes with me, but it was physically impossible; however, I did have business cards with my portfolio weblink available to all studio visitors.  I brought as many “soft” and light, unstructured items as I could stuff into a box which I previously shipped ahead of my arrival. Since I would be teaching a class, I also stuffed in as much fiber as I could in my carry-on duffel!

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The terms of the residency were very generous, with open studio time a requirement, as well as teaching one class. The rest of the time was my own.

Some of the wet-felted items I made while in Colorado include a mountain landscape, a vessel I named, “The Colors of Breckenridge,” and a large panel inspired by the Nebraska crop circles we flew over enroute to Denver.

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I also crafted a few nesting “balls” for the birds.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my artist residency in Breckenridge! People seemed genuinely interested in hearing about the process of wet-felting. The town of Breckenridge has done an amazing job of making the arts visible and accessible to all residents, including children. There is a full calendar of art classes, open studios, music and fun events throughout the summer. The downside was the altitude sickness which prevailed even with the help of Advil, the Oxygen Bar, and liters and liters of water. But the scenery, fresh mountain air, and the many friendly visitors I met made it all worthwhile.

Thanks Cathy for sharing this wonderful experience with us!

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More Dyeing

I mentioned in my last post that I’d been dyeing cellulose fibres recently. I’ve mostly stuck to staple fibres like the viscose I showed last week, and bamboo. These are the greens, blues, purples, silver and black shades of bamboo I did:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here are the yellows, browns and reds bamboo staple:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI tried a couple of shades of Rose fibre top (the photos of these were blurred) and they turned out well so I did some bamboo tops:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey came out really nice, so I used up the last of the blue and purple dyes on some viscose top:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd since I’d already made a mess in the kitchen and still had the table out, I started dyeing with acid dyes. Only these silk carrier rods were dry enough to photograph:

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More Cup Cozies

This week I made more cup cozies. I made 2 sets of flat ones that will have buttons. I started out with a rectangle. I decorated them in a random way. I then cut them into 4 at the prefelt stage. The purple has some orange blobs of orange throwers waist. It should show up again when they are dry. The green has some of my hand spun single yarn. It is quite stable until you wet it then it get its twist back and goes all crazy.

purple cup cozies green cup cozies

I finish them on a glass wash board. It is very fast.

roling on washboard

These are the rest of the ones I made. They will get buttons. Some will fit a coffee mug and some will fit travel mugs or water bottles.

fan of cup cozies

Here are some of my buttons I will be picking through for these. I have many more if I need them. I will use a thin round black elastic loop to close them. That way I think people may be able to adjust them by looping them once or twice as needed.

buttons

I also made some that are like the cardboard sleeves you get at take out places.

tube cup cozie black with white silk white with black silk

The multicoloured one was made using a batt and prefelt triangles I cut out of some scraps. The black one is regular merino top with a white silk hanky stretched over it. The white one is made with prefelt and a black silk hanky stretched around it.  The white one shrank much more top to bottom then the other two. I didn’t look carefully at the piece I had before using it. Prefelt is directional. If I had looked I would have used it in the other direction.

rolling tube cup cozieI use the washboard to finish them as well.

This is the group drying. I really like the way the back and white ones look like marble.

finished tube cozies.

If you made it this far here are two unrelated pictures. One is my grandson helping me with my ice cream cone at the farmers market on Sunday.

icecream

And the turkeys I showed you  a few weeks ago. The first one is when they are 1 week old. They are now 4 .5 weeks old. They grow very fast. They will be moving to new quarters this week.

turkeysturkeys

 

Posted in Design, Experiments, Prefelt, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Level 1 Experimental Hand Stitch Course in Kalispell, MT

As many of you my know already, I helped to organize a class with Gail Harker here in Montana. It was the Level 1 Experimental Hand Stitch course and it was held the last week in June. I was Gail’s assistant and we had 7 wonderful students.

Ready to Dye

There was lots of lovely color to play with.

Hand Dyed Thread

Threads were dyed.

And fabrics were “painted”.

Cathy with Dyed Felt

Lovely color was seen throughout the class.

Gail Demonstrating

Gail demonstrated many different techniques and stitches.

Class Learning about Thread in Camas Creek Cottage

The first part of the class was held at Camas Creek Cottage. Micki has a wonderful selection of hand stitch threads so if you’re in the area, don’t miss her shop.

Running Stitch

Stitches were learned.

Chain Stitch

And we even stitched on paper.

The Ladies in the Class

It was a great class and the students really seemed to enjoy themselves. You can see more photos on Gail’s blog. Thank you Gail for the wonderful class. We expect to see you back next year :)

Posted in Stitching | Tagged | 16 Comments

2015 Third Quarter Challenge

In keeping with our color theme for the year, this third quarter challenge is related to dyeing and blending from a picture using a color generator, then use the colors in a project.

We’ve had a very wet, cool spring so I chose a picture of a sunset at a Poipu beach on the island of Kauai where it was perfect summer weather. Thinking Spring/Summer!

I tried a few color generators  but settled on these two:  https://color.adobe.com/create/image/ and http://www.palettefx.com/

Here is the original picture:

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Then with the Adobe file:

Sunset Adobe

And the Palettefx view:

Hawaii sunset

I decided to dye some Icelandic roving with the three primary yellow oranges in the Adobe picture.   The colors at each end and in the middle. Let the mixing begin!

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Using a printout of the Adobe pic, I used my acid dyes which were already prepared and mixed each color using what I thought would come closest.  It’s really hard to tell from the color of the mix so I used coffee filters to write my formula and drop a sample at each stage.  It still wasn’t showing a huge difference.  I had already prepared the fiber, soaking it in vinegar water so I was ready to dye and hoped it worked.

I started with the middle color which the generator marked as base, then the color on the right, then the left.

Since I only have an induction stovetop in my work area, I wanted to do all the dyeing at once. So, I used zip bags and steamed them together in a large pot.

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After steaming them for 30 minutes, I left the bags overnight to cool. The next morning I opened each one and was surprised that the roving was mottled.

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Once the roving was rinsed and dried, I ran each through the drum carder.

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The blended batts weren’t exactly the colors I had wanted, so I took it once step further and started blending the batts with more roving to try to get the colors I needed.

2015-06-28 15.46.44Much better.

2015-06-28 15.49.17You can see the  blended colors were closer to the samples I had made with the dye.  Go figure.  I guess the white filter paper may have lightened them up.

Here is the progression:

2015-06-17 14.30.03 2015-06-17 15.31.14Number 1 (in the center) the formula was one tablespoon each red and orange, one drop blue and 2 drops black in one cup water.

Number 2 (on the right) –3 tablespoons red, 1 yellow, 1 drop black and 15 drops blue.

Number 3 (on the left) 3 tablespoons yellow, 1 red.

When I carded them I added white , black or blue to lighten or darken or mute the color.  I just adding until I thought the color was close enough.  There is no contest here, just satisfy yourself the color is close enough.

I really liked the purple and gray in the PaletteX picture.  I had some merino close to the colors so I carded the purple with white to lighten and black to darken and yellow to mute.  Then I had some steel gray merino that matched the gray.

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Now, what to make?  After a lot of thought, I decided to make an Ipad cover.  I didn’t want to replicate the picture just use these colors to to give the impression of a sunset.

I made the resist using a 30% shrinkage rate, then covered the resist with hand dyed silk habatoi added a later of gold merino I had dyed a couple of weeks ago.  The next layer was white Corriedale.

2015-06-26 11.33.14 2015-06-26 11.55.20 The final layer was the design using the colors I had just dyed and carded.

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Front

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Back

Inside

Inside

The inside ruched nicely and even mirrored the design on the outside.

Then in went the Ipad.

2015-06-28 15.56.05It is slightly larger than the Ipad.  When I calculated the shrinkage, I based it on Merino shrinkage not Icelandic.  But its okay since I can put in a pen and stylus.

So, for the challenge you can pick a picture and decide which colors you’d like to use, then dye/and or blend roving to get your colors.  There is no set number. I just got carried away. Then use them in a project of your choice – wet felting, needle felting, spinning, etc. Whatever, you’re comfortable doing.

This was challenging for me, but I learned  about color mixing and blending and just what the eye sees.  Of course, the printed version and screen version may also be different.  Just have fun with it!

I look forward to seeing your challenge pieces on the forum.

 

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Naturals and Dyes

I laid this wall hanging out about a week or so before I got time to felt it, and I think it ended up being ‘upside down’. I wrote down the wools and fibres I used as I laid it out, but I think I forgot a few! Also, I added a few locks to the bottom just before I felted it, but I’m certain that was originally the top:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI added some pieces of hand-spun yarn I’d made mostly from bits left over from carding, I spun them quite thickly, and didn’t do anything with them after wards, just wound them onto card. This one is on the row of white Chubut, a ‘new’ to me wool I got from wollknoll, which felts so nicely and looks really nice too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are some cotton fibres: cotton top, cotton fibre and cotton nepps on carded Portuguese Merino, with some soy staple and carded Gotland.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been dyeing some cellulose fibres recently too for taking to the Makefest at the Science and Industry Museum. I’m getting the hang of it now, but I don’t think my first lot of fibres turned out as nice as I’d like. I did some Viscose fibre recently, and this turned out really nice. These are some of the reds, oranges and yellows:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd some yellows, greens, blues and purples:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t like the way dyeing cellulose fibres wastes so much water with the rinsing, but it is easier for me to do large amounts than it is with acid dyes, not that I had much choice, even mixing up just 500ml each of red, yellow, blue and black was more than enough to dye about 200g of fibre and I had to look for other things to dye so as not to waste it :) I tried dyeing Kapok fibre too, that stuff is practically impossible to wet, it seems to form a ‘skin’ around itself, so dyeing gave some interesting results as it behaved the same way, and when the fibre was separated, the centre wasn’t dyed. This is some rose and lilac coloured kapok:

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Posted in Dyeing, natural wools, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments