Sunday, April 27, 2008

Close ups

Dear God, what's the complaints process here?

I had no idea when I started this fibre art stuff that it was going to be so contagious and ...well...take over my life. I think a health warning is called for, y'know? Like we have on everything else here in New Zealand. The need to save people from themselves. Where's the Victim Support people? Where's the mental health funding for addicts like me? I have spent most of the weekend doing this:

The first photos show some of the early process, where I started with one or 2 colours as the base and used leaves and paper cutouts as resists. Each piece of fabric has had about 4 layers of dye and resists. The red and grey leaf print piece I like too much to cut up - the others I have chopped into 6 inch squares. Click on the photos for a closer look. These will actually be made into something. IF I CAN STOP MONOPRINTING LONG ENOUGH.

I could do this stuff all day long....actually, I just have. Sigh. Today I really must do some other stuff as well.

Friday, April 25, 2008

ANZAC Day, 25th April 2008

Today is Anzac Day. This is the day when we remember all the New Zealanders killed in wars. Australian and New Zealand forces served together making the Anzac army corps.

While I'm not aware of any of my relatives being killed in battle, I'm still mindful of and grateful to all the young men (and some women) whose lives were needlessly cut short. The images show Allied forces graves at Ypres, and the poppies that grew in Flanders which became the Anzac symbol.

This is the poem that inspired this:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though
poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

One sock.....

I love this berry colour that I've made - wish I could spend my days thinking up colour combinations and playing around dyeing stuff encourage me to make it TWO socks!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Stitch and dye with fabric & paper - part 1

This is an experiment that I'm doing with layers of fabric and including some hand made paper that was sent to me by Prue townsend, a Kiwi papaermaker, in exchange for a big bag of fabric scraps.

I knew that I wanted to include the paper in my work somewhere but hadn't found the right process. I started this experiment with a background piece of ordinary 100% white PFR cotton, then a layer of cheesecloth, and then the paper. this piece, which was quite heavy, had some red flower petals incorporated in it.

I stitched down one side with cottom embroidery floss, and then made up a central design in yarn. The yarn is 50% Tencel and 50% acrylic so I wasn't sure just how the colours would take. You can see that the stitching has creased the paper a lot.

Before I attacked the hand stitched piece, I did a small sample with the same layers but with machine stitching.

Because the thread isn't cotton, I knew it would stay white. I just wanted to see how the paper would react when wetted and re-dried. It's rather nice, although the cheesecloth is extremely difficult to dampen and so repels the dye.

Here's the hand stitched piece when it's dry. If you click on the photo, you can see that the paper has retained its "crumple", but was strong enough not to break down despite being heavily wetted with dye.

I have 2 more pieces that I'm going to stitch and dye with fabric and paper, but in these ones, I won't use the cheesecloth as it's too difficult to get the dye into it.

Watch this space.
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Arisa goes home

I took Arisa to the airport this morning, at the end of her 11 weeks in New Zealand. She is going back to Japan with the 26 other girls from her school in Hokkaido. She gave me this card at the airport, which I was to open when I got home. Although I was looking forward to having the house back to myself, I cried at the airport.
And this note was left in her room. While it was difficult for me to have a teenager from another country live with me after 5 years of living alone, I couldn't have had a nicer student than Arisa.

Today I'm doing some more experimenting with stitching first, dyeing afterwards, this time with layers. More soon!
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Autumn Reds

Pineapple sage beside the front steps
This looks like a Virginian creeper. It's only just turned red, so I really hadn't noticed it before.
And of course, my Berry socks! Err....sock!
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Random stitch'n'paint

I took a fat quarter of PFD white fabric and folded it in half - because I couldn't be bothered backing it. When I have a creative urge, I just want to GET ON WITH IT. Then I stitched it randomly with textured stitches with my Janome 6500P. I played with stitch sizing a bit, but it was very random.
Then I painted it with leftover dyes. There were only 4 colours, and I was dyeing onto dry fabric. To fill the gaps, I diluted some colours and put a wash over the white bits. I quite like the effect - it's quite different. I may do some more of this, in a less random way.
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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Animal crackers

When I moved to this house, I gave a lot of thought to the cat/dog flow. Poodles chase everything that runs. This means cats. In order to promote harmony in the house (translation: to keep me sane), I had a cat door installed in the back door near my bedroom, and put up the kiddiegate in the hall. The intention was that the cats would sleep in my room ( as they did before) and generally stay in the rear of the house. The dogs would be in the front and could come upstairs when I was working in my office/studio. A cunning plan, I thought.

I hadn't reckoned on 2 things. Firstly, the dogs were not used to stairs, and didn't want to use them. Secondly, my older cat Seven thinks more like a dog than a cat. Sev didn't WANT to stay in the rear of the house. So she started jumping over the gate and going upstairs.

Because I didn't want to have to keep the hall door shut, I have let this situation stay. If Sev walks across the back of the living room to go upstairs, the dogs watch her. If she runs, they chase her. And they chase her if she tries to get past them when they're close to the kiddiegate.

Frodo (usually called Dudey) is not the smartest poodle in the world. But he's learned to do the stairs all by himself, and now comes up when I'm there. I was interested to see how he and Sev would get along.

Yup, Sev just considers him to be another piece of warm-blooded furniture to rub against. Dudey doesn't know what to think.
Here is the "Kiwi" hat I've made for Arisa from the wool I painted last weekend. It's representing our national colours and I hope it'll be a nice reminder of her time in New Zealand, as she goes back to Japan in a week.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

In which I show off my hand dyed wool

This is the scrumptious berry mixture you saw being painted in the last post. These skeins are all reclining on my lovely white flokati rug which is in front of the fireplace.
Left is a Golden yellow, Lilac and Avocado mix, with several shades of each colour; middle is a pale Yellow, Turquoise and Blue mix; and right is Boysenberry in light , medium and dark shades.
This is the multicoloured brigade. Each one has 8 or 9 colours.
This Red and Berry mix is destined to become a pair of socks for me!
And this will be a hat for Arisa - already on the needles, as she leaves to go back to Japan in 12 days.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Boysenberry, Mulberry and Plum

Not a delicious fruit compote, but the colours that are going on this skein of wool. I went to a Creative Fibre (formerly Spinners & Weavers) open day yesterday, and got all inspired seeing as I spent 4 hours surrounded by lovely fibre. More photos coming once the skeins are all dry.
A Cute Animal shot of the dogs sitting together on the settee...all together now.....awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
One of my Zygocactus in full glorious bloom.
And a wee hank of lovely, soft silk in a vibrant blue colour. I have no idea what I'll do with this but I couldn't resist it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Evil Twin has been on Amazon again....

These 2 exciting books arrived today but I haven't had a chance to look at them yet. I haven't done much with distorting fabric, though I can get quite carried away with my little heat tool.
I thought this one might solve my problem of never getting the second sock knitted........what do you think?