Sunday, October 11, 2009

Indigo Magic!

Indigo Magic!
It was a wild ride in September teaching natural dyeing while learning how to do it myself. Students teach me everything I didn't think to teach them. After trying cochineal (scarlet to fuchsia), annato seeds (gold) onion skins (yellow to apricot), red cabbage (pink and, cutch (tobacco brown), eucalyptus (another yellow), rosemary (yellow-green), the grand finale of the month was a vat of indigo. Indigo is different than the other natural dyes, which simply take the color while soaking or cooking. When you dip the cloth into the indigo vat it turns watery green. Only in the air does it turn deep blue. I found 3 very different recipes for using "pre-reduced" indigo. (With pre-reduced indigo, soda ash does the same job that lye does in traditional indigo, but with less exposure to a very nasty chemical.) It's supposed to be a lot simpler to make a pre-reduced indigo vat that a traditional one. So I tried the recipe from Pro Chemical. Maybe it was beginner's luck, but the vat worked beautifully. We got some wonderful blues with shibori-stitched white resists making high contrast, plus rich greens and purples when we overdyed the yellow and red wool and silk. It was messy and drippy: the floor under the drying racks was covered in old towels, but it was really exciting to see the colors change to beautiful blues.

There is some interest in a Natural Dyeing Weekend Workshop at my studio, where 2 whole days will be plenty of time to simmer,soak, and dye, with access to an electric stove. (Three hour class units of time are not ideal for natural dyeing!) Probably in mid-or late November. Contact me for further details.
October is felting season. We're now using thenatural dyed fleece in wonderful shades.

Website Make-Over
Many edits, additions and revisions later, my greatly improved website is finally on line. It's at the same address; ( If this link does not work, copy and paste the address into your browser.) What's new is a whole page of photos with descriptions of workshops, and lots more art quilts, including a page of my Gees Bend inspired pieces, called 'Round the Bend Quilts. Take a peek and let me know what you think.
I especially want to recommend my webmaster Chris Pagels. He is incredibly meticulous and his rates are very very reasonable. .

Cyber-Fiber -links of interest to me and maybe you...
Shibori stitching techniques:

Natural dye related: Natural dye supplier with interesting stories about the dyestuffs tapestry weaver/knitter using exclusively natural-dyed fiber

Submissions: a giant quilt seeking submissions paper mache heads contest for Dia del los Muertes is jurying entries in October for their "tiny 09" holiday show. Entries must be less than 7" and under $400. This is the gallery that sold my quilted pizza. They are nice folks to work with.
Art: really amazing quilts

PIQF, the Pacific International Quilt Festival comes to Santa Clara October 15 - 18. A rilly big shew of everything quiltish. This year it's on the same weekend as the other gigantic quilt show in Houston. So if you can't go to Houston, be sure to get to Santa Clara. (Look for my Obama quilt in the New Quilts of Northern CA section.)

I don't know who is reading the blog except the few people who are "followers". Please send me a note or a comment and tell me that I'm not just talking to myself and 3 other people.

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