Friday, August 31, 2012

Ice dying, finished fabric

Here are the fabrics from my ice dyeing.

1st batch, blue, jade, and bronze:

 2nd batch, blue, jade, bronze and bright yellow:


 1st batch: purple, blue, and dark cherry:

 2nd batch, purple, blue, black cherry, and bright yellow:

Always fun, always unexpected results. I hope you give it a try some time.  I am off to do some Setacolor sun printing.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ice dyeing

I love to dye fabric using the ice dying method.  I love the random, uncontrolled results that you get.  I had bought a bunch of new dyes from Dharma Trading and have been looking forward to giving them a try.

I mix my powdered dyes with water.  This is because I am impatient.  If I sprinkled the powdered dyes on the ice instead, I would have to wait until all of the ice melted. With this method, I can dig them out of the ice prior to all of it melting. More on this later.

Here is my setup for adding water to the dyes. Please research the health hazards and recommended safety directions for mixing dyes to be as safe as possible. I have a mask to prevent breathing in the dye particles (I plan to upgrade to a better mask then the one shown).  I have a table with a damp towel to catch any loose powder that may get airborne. I have gloves.  Please note that anything used for dyeing and crafting should never be used for anything else. I label stuff as "craft" so my husband does not think this funnel, my water measuring cup, my water buckets, etc can be used for anything else.

Here I am measuring my powder into squirt bottles using a funnel. I then add water through the funnel to help rinse it and the measuring spoon. I have this table right next to the bathroom sink, so I move the bottle with funnel and spoon over to the sink, then remove the funnel and spoon from the bottle and place them in the sink for rinsing. I screw on the bottle top and give it a shake to make sure the powder isn't stuck in the bottom of the bottle.

Here you can see blue powder that is on my damp towel from this mixing session:
 And here are my two sets of colors, as I am doing two buckets at the same time. One set is Bronze Jade Green , and a blue. The other set is Lapis, Ultra violet, and Black Cherry. I put about 1 and 1/2 tbsp of powder in each bottle.

 So while mixing the dyes, I have had by fabric soaking in water that has soda ash in it.  About a cup of soda ash to each gallon of water. I usually soak them about 2 hours. A mask and gloves should be used when adding the soda ash to the water.
I take my fabrics to my outside table that has a vinyl drop cloth on it. I wring out the fabrics and I usually just scrunch mine. They could be folded or spiraled or any other type of tie dye method for creating pattern, but usually I am a scruncher. 

 I then squish them in my hands and carry them them to my dyeing setup.  This is two plastic buckets from IKEA and an old window screen across them.  You could also clip mesh screen material across the buckets instead, if you don't have a pre-made screen handy.
Here I have put ice on top.  You have to use enough ice that you do not see the fabric any more. I used about 25 lbs for this setup.
Squirt the dyes onto the ice. I did lines so I have more than one color on each fabric, but you can do it however you like. I recommend gloves for this as the little tops on my bottles are hard to get off and the dye always get a over my hands. Don't wear your favorite clothes, my cute yellow capris now have blue spots.

Then you wait for the dye to make it's way through the ice.  I will go in and watch TV, cruise the Internet, do some laundry, whatever you need to do for about an hour.  This is what you want it to look like. The ice is totally clear and the dye is now on the fabric.
Here is a picture of the fabric with most of the ice removed:

When I decide to work on a technique, I usually want to get as much bang for my buck (and time) as possible. Once my ice was clear, I took it off the fabric and put it in some buckets, and rinsed my screen (but not very well). I have another bucket of fabric soaking in soda ash water (which I started soaking as soon as the last batch was out of my soda ash water bucket). I do another round, scrunch fabrics, lay them on the screen, add the old ice (which does have a couple colored pieces, but not much). I add some new ice to get enough coverage (15 more lbs), then squirt on my remaining dyes. I used about half of the dyes on the first round but thought I might be short, so I mixed up some Bright Yellow before I put the ice down. Here is batch two.

I let this batch sit outside all night, and just let the ice melt.  In the morning, it will be laundry time.

By the way, I have used this same dye setup in a bathtub in the winter. I had to put paint buckets under the plastic bins because of how long the screen is (it is longer than the tub so I use the paint buckets to raise the screen is above the top edge of the tub). I also put a plastic drop cloth in the tub, but I usually can get dye stains out with a good old-fashioned scrubbing.  In the winter, when I do this in the tub I sometime use snow as it is free and convenient.  I call them snow cones as that is what they look like when made out of snow. (When using snow, you have to let the snow melt completely, I will use sprinkled dye powder sometimes, as opposed to mixing them in water, since the snow has to melt all the way down.) Luckily our tub is separate from the shower, so the tub is pretty much designated for dying and such.  My next post I will show the results!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Denver Modernism Show and some good eats

It was a busy weekend at the Denver Modernism Show. Susan and I shared a booth.  I made these cool suitcase tables. These two have the original interiors and are super nice.

This one I decided to have some fun with as it was not in the best condition. I took out the interior liner and spray painted the interior red. I used blue painters tape to create a pattern. Here it is before I removed the tape.
 And here it is afterwards, I love it.  I have another black suitcase that will probably get a similar treatment.

Also for the Mod show, I did some silkscreen prints on wood veneer. I cut stencils out of Mylar which were then taped to the silkscreen frame.  I am not a silkscreen expert so am going to leave the "how to" to people with more experience, but the results were good!

I hope you had a good weekend! I rewarded myself by making an Apple Crisp yesterday. Here is a picture before the topping.

 I downloaded the food network recipe app onto my phone yesterday.  I made the Neely's Apple Crisp (delicious), which I made in a 8" x 8" pan instead of ramekins. I used Robert Irvine's Thai Spicy Shrimp recipe, but just did it as a stir fry (with way less oil).  It is basically red onion, grape tomatoes, garlic, Thai chili paste, and shrimp. We ate the whole thing.  It was so good and I had leftover ingredients (except shrimp) that I put them all in my scrambled eggs this morning. I tried to make fried polenta cakes, using pre-cooked polenta that I added marscapone to, but they wouldn't hold together so we just had creamy polenta.  I am a bit of a "fly by the seat of my pants" cook. I sometimes don't use a recipe and just throw stuff together.  I want it to be easy, 10 ingredients or less, and preferably with minimal slicing and chopping. Slicing five apples was about the the limit of my slicing endurance, but I am a "sweet" fanatic so the benefits outweigh the work involved.  On the other hand, my husband is a serious cook.  He likes a challenge, prefers elaborate recipes, and finds chopping meditative.  It's nice to have dinner worthy of a fine dining restaurant without leaving the house and not doing the work. His meals are awesome. On Saturday we had veal cutlets, Bearnaise sauce with crab meat, asparagus, and a sausage risotto. Maybe he should cook all the meals?  Too bad I already plan to make Ina's eggplant gratin for dinner (slicing some eggplant shouldn't be too challenging and it has exactly nine ingredients).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sunprinting, another layer

I am trying to finish up items for the Denver Modernism show that is this weekend at the Western Stock Show complex. I hope to post some pictures tomorrow of my artwork and vintage finds that I will have at our booth.

In the meantime, a week or two ago, I showed some sun printing with transparent Setacolor paints. The red one did not turn out so great. The circles I used as stencils did not do much and the paint just looked like a mess. Here's a close-up. I decided to do another layer and see if I could improve it.

Instead of going the safe route using similar colors, I felt like it needed some contrast.  I put purples, blues, and reds. It still looked like a mess, but I stick it out and hope it will improve. I put some pieces from my shrubs as my items to sun print.


Here is my resulting fabric.  I think it's better than when it was red, but I do not think as a whole it is looks very good. But there are large chunks that are very nice so I will be cutting it into pieces when it gets used.

By the way, I did not indiscriminately hack away at my plants in order to do sun printing, they needed a trim. And the grape vines from the previous sun printing post grow over my fence from my neighbors yard, so I am always trimming those back anyway.

I hope to do another round of sun printing next week as the pod tree and cherry tree in the front yard need a serious trim so why not put them to good use. I bought some spray bottles so I am going to use them to apply the paint instead of brushing it on.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Susan and Sabyl's studio

Two of my dearest partners in all things art are Susan and Sabyl.  They share an art studio near Broadway and 1st in Denver, where there are a bunch of funky boutique shops, tattoo parlors, and vintage stores. (Hello, Fancy Tiger, for all things fabric and knitting!). Someday I will do my top 5 (or 10) of places to go on Broadway.

Susan and I will have a booth at the Denver Modernism show at the Denver Western Stock show complex August 24th (PM) thru the 26th.  Susan's collage art includes 50's and 60's women's silhouettes that totally fits with the theme. I have some art that will work for the show, but I also have collected quite a few vintage items that will be for sale at the show. I have been collecting a lot of vintage aprons lately. I also have vintage suitcases that I am going to add legs to in order to make them tables. I will show them in a future post.

I have a vintage looking tablecloth (it is a reproduction) and since it is not actually vintage, I thought about making zippered card holder pouches or tote bags out of it.  I decided to wait until after the show, but by then I was motivated to make the pouches. I happen to have a very large stash of felted (recycled) sweaters in my studio.  I grabbed an Ikea bag full of sweaters (which means way more than I could possibly use in one sitting) and met up with S&S at the studio. They are so nice to let me take over a corner of the studio to work with them, which is way more fun than my basement studio at home.

Sabyl and an example of her work:

Susan and an example of her work:

 I did not bring my sewing machine and unfortunately the one at the studio was set up for free motion and we could not find the other feet for it. Since I could not sew the pouches, I made a cardboard template and worked on cutting them out of the felted sweaters. And, oh, a couple more. And doesn't this stripe look cute, let's do some striped ones. Then I was up to 30.  Crud.  Whenever I decide to make a bunch of anything, I usually am sick of them by number 8.  Hopefully since these are small (and unlined) I won't hit this barrier. Right now they look too darn cute.

Here is a picture of me with my cut out zippies. You can see my Ikea sweater bag on the floor.
I am going to embellish some of these with needle felting, but that will be a future post. Some, like the striped ones, or the ones that were cable-knit sweaters, will be sewn without additional embellishment.

Here's a picture of part of the vintage tablecloth I was going to make into pouches or tote bags. What do you think? Is it better to keep it whole, or do you think it would be more fun for it to be made into other things?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Denver County Fair

On Sunday, my husband and I went to check out the Denver County Fair.  I believe this is only it's second year.  It is a small affair.  We went to the Colorado state fair a couple years ago and it is mega-huge in comparison to the Denver one. 

I think it would be more enjoyable if you had kids with you, but it was fun to see the chickens and roosters.  I enjoyed looking at the art, cool robots, quilts, and crafts submitted for judging. I thought about submitting something myself, but was intimidated by the winner from last year (Laurie Gibb), whose piece called "Turtle" that was a travel van covered with art quilts.  It was very impressive. But looking at this year's entries I shouldn't have let that stop me and I should have put something in.
I think I should have looked at the schedule to find events that would appeal to us (robot wars, sewing contest, etc) as I am sure that would have upped the fun factor. 

 I love this yarn bomb archway! Check out the giant buttons.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Second Saturday club

The second Saturday of the month is what I call Art Club.  A group of fellow artists get together at my friends' (Susan and Sabyl's) studio for a 3 hour mini-workshop. Sometimes it is a project, usually it is a technique.

This month we tried our hand at 5 and 10 minute collages on 3" x 5" substrate (we used watercolor paper). The idea is to work intuitively and not think too hard in making decisions to make the collage. Afterwards, we started working on larger 6" x 6" substrates using what we learned from the fast exercises to create a larger piece (but with more time and therefore more thought).

 Attached are photos of the artists and their work.

 Here is Joannie working on her 6" x 6" and her small pieces:


Here is Sue working on her 6" x 6" and a picture of her smaller works:

Here are Sue C's smaller pieces, she was packing up and I didn't get a picture of her at work:

Here is Diane at work on her 6" x 6". I don't have a photo of her smaller pieces.

Here is Sidran and her smaller pieces:

 Here is Laurie, her small works and her 6" x 6":

Here are mine ( I cheated and did 4" x 6"):

Here are Susan's:

Here are Sabyl's:

 (Thanks Sue C for the additional pictures).

This was a fun exercise and a good way to loosen up and also a good way to dive right in and get creative.