Sunday, June 10, 2007

The loneliness of the long-distance dyer (apologies to Alan Sillitoe)

This is Oamaru today. It is Sunday, around 9am. The weather is dull and cloudy. It's 4 degrees C (39F), as it's early winter here.

What does this day say to you?

Does it say : stay in bed? Go get some spiritual enlightenment? Sit by the fire and read the Sunday papers?"

Here's a hint of what it said to me:

I'm afraid so. It said "why not stand out in the cold and do some dyeing?"

You see, I'd been looking at Melody Johnson's blog.

Melody is an artist-turned-quilter whose work I admire greatly. She has a wonderful eye for colour. I've been admiring the small works of art she's been making lately, with their clear bright colours, clever use of contrast and all-round appeal to a colour tart like me. Melody often uses bright primaries in her work.

I've been working lately with my more subtle blended fabrics,so I thought to myself "Ha! I can do that too!"
Just the odd thing that I had overlooked.

Like.....I don't have a studio like Mel. Hers is probably heated, too. Nor do I have racks of boards where I can dry my fabric flat. I have exactly 1 board. And even if I hose it down between pieces of fabric, I still get dye transferring from the previous piece. This is fine for my blended fabric, as I aim to get colour layers. As for not drying flat.....well, of course having to hang my work up to dry, the colours run into each other somewhat, and where the fabric touches itself or another piece, colour transfers. Again, not a problem with blends, but it IS if you're trying to achieve an expanse of clear colour.

So I'll see how these come out. The really dark ones are earlier dyed pieces that I used the leftover black and red dye on because they were a bit boring. They won't look this dark when dry.

Whenever that is. Yay, it's way up to 5 degrees now (41F).


candyschultz said...

Excellent title. I wonder how many people will get that. I happen to be a runner.

Shirley Goodwin said...

Only ones who know about the book (and movie) I guess!

Bird on a wire said...

Lovely pieces, they remind me of Heide Stoll Weber's dyeing.

joyce said...

Your clothes line looks so colorful! If you don't like the darks you can always do some discharging. I've seen some wonderful results from that technique.

Judy said...

eeeeeeeeeeew, Shirley! I love those colors you're getting!! I bought some cheap, cheap shelving at Target and then had a friend cut some 3/8" thick plastic sheeting for me (much less expensive than plexiglass and it doesn't absorb the dyes)to fit the shelving. It works miracles for drying things flat. Maybe you could try that.

Beverly said...

Your colors look lovely- dyeing i such a magical experience, isn't it? I can't imagine dying outside in that weather, though!! I'm lucky enough to have space inside, and in winter I use heat lamps to keep my dye pots or baggies warm overnight. I don't have shelving to do flat pieces- but it is tempting to figure one out, I also loved what Ms. Mel got when she combined black with the clear colors.

Ali Honey said...

That cold! We just escaped in time!
I took the indoor by the fire option cause actually it wasn't very warm here either!
Great colours!

Helen said...

I love Mel's colours too. If I could buy hand dyes in those intense colours here in NZ I would, but most of what I see is on the 'muddy' side. I think she uses quite a concentrated mixture to get them that bright?

marion said...

We really *do* think the same, don't we???

Suzi-k said...

Well the day would DEFINITELY not have said "hang around outside" to me, more like "curl up in a deep chair with a good book, a cup of hot coffee and a kitty curled up on your lap", but the results of your bravery are lovely, you have a wonderful sense of colour!

MargaretR said...

I love these colours, they are so rich. the fat quarters you have ironed are also lovely. I wonder why it's easier to iron such things. I have a load of shirts waiting since my last wash!