Sunday 22 December 2013

The magic of ecodyeing

Inspired by the successful completion of 'Jacqueline's Wrap', I decided to try another version - this time with a fine tissue silk extended hem (Jacquelines' suggestion). I firstly made the prefelt, limiting myself to making a piece just the length of the table. From this yardage I cut four sections - three to join together as the body, and the fourth to cut the sleeves from. When I cut the sleeve holes, I didn't want to waste the pre-felt, so used the four semicircular pieces to make a collar. Before attaching the tissue silk, raw edges were hemmed and the join between the two pieces french seamed - ooh la la! (I'm quite happy with raw edges myself, but I have learned over the years that my customers aren't so comfortable with them!) All of the pattern pieces and the tissue silk were handstitched together ready for felting, and the sleeves were filled with plastic to make sure they didn't felt together. Felting went well, and it was off to the dyepot......aaahhhh, slight problem there. Having decided to liberate a lovely chunk of rusted metal from the front yard to wrap the piece around, I found it would not fit any of my pots!! Yes, I did think to check this first, but made a slight error of judgement...
Matt to the rescue with the Big Boiler!!! Here we are setting it up together, bag of onion skins in my hand. The boiler has now taken up permanent residence in our garden. A lovely feature piece...? Well, it's interesting......
It was a successful pot, with some just beautiful blues and greens emerging. Due to my errrr...... interesting 'no-wastage' method of construction (equates with 'I just made it all up') the sleeves were rather widely set, so it was back into the pot, well, just a steamer this time, with some large marbles bound in it.

This not only solved the problem but looks fab, contributing to the lovely frill effect around the neck (fantastic use of those four semicircles!!)
I actually had my sister in mind when I made this, and when she visited today I got her to try it on, and it looked fabulous. She seemed quite taken with it too, so it looks like those two will end up together! So this has now been the story of 'Kiri's Wrap'!
Melted fabric

Life in StudioSvenja has been very busy in the last few weeks, from working on several entries for the World of WearableArt, to communication and preparing paperwork for a proposed series of workshops mid 2014.  Eleven days straight is the current proposal - yikes! What kind of training can I do to prepare for that?!!

I have also been motivated (by a dressing room filled with bags stuffed with scraps of lace, satin and tulle!!) to create a fabulous piece in a effort to shift it, as I simply can't throw it out! There's nothing like a heat gun for a bit of transformation, and I am liking this effect!! The lovely thing too is, that I can make an absolutely excessive, over-the-top piece and it will be a good thing, as it will be using up this fabric!! One of the creative joys of using scrap pieces is you are happy to try almost anything with it!
Due to the time of year there has been quite a bit of socialising of late, with one of my favourites being lunch at the Regatta with my two crazy Matrons of Honour,  Lyn and Sharyn!!
Yes, that too is on the list of projects - I'll fit it in somewhere!! Sometime.....
Wishing you all a lovely festive season - may you be one with your couch with a fine glass of something!

Saturday 7 December 2013

Ice Dyeing

Today was the final ATASDA (Australian Textile and Surface Design Association) meeting for the year, and it was also an opportunity to see the results other participants in the recent ice-dyeing workshop achieved. Sue got some lovely lines from the cake rack the silk was resting on:
Carissa used cotton, and got these lovely vibrant stripes:

 I'm not sure whose piece this was, but it was a beautifully delicate amalgamation of colours, reminiscent of gem formations in rock.
 And these lovely pieces by Jolanta done on a fine wool fabric have similar attributes. I just love the random nature of this technique.

 Dharma Trading Co has a tutorial on this technique on their website Interestingly, they put the ice on first then sprinkle on the powdered dyes, whereas we sprinkled dye first and then packed on the ice. Other variations to try are crushed ice - more like the original snow that this technique came from. Another technique I have just read about involves mixing the dye with the snow first. Others use liquid dyes squirted onto snow-packed fabric....

There were also other items on display from an eco-dyeing workshop - Lyn Baxter's beautifully embellished fabric has become her journal cover - just delicious!
It was, as usual, very nice to catch up with my textile friends, to enjoy show and tell with them, and to pick their brains on techniques! Thanks to the lovely Lili for sharing her notes with me on a technique I am wanting to explore. Wishing you all a peaceful festive season full of colour and texture!

Thursday 5 December 2013

Wild Things and Eco Dyeing


Last week, I packed up a picnic, picked up my mother and her friend from TAFE, and headed off to Mt Coot-tha Gardens to visit Sharyn Hall and Wendy Bailye's exhibition Wild Things. What a fantastic display! Beautifully colour themed, it was a sight to behold, and I didn't escape without a new book, Felt Passion, as well as some primo olive oil soap to try for felting. So much inspiration!!! It was also a chance to visit my fathers memorial seat, on my parents' 48th wedding anniversary. A bittersweet occasion. I love this photo of these two friends supporting each other, in many ways, as they have since they met at college 11 years ago, when Dad was still here......
I've spent some great time in the studio this week. After gathering some more plant material from Jacqueline's garden for a special dye project, I laid out 2 silk satin scarves with agapanthus flowers, geranium leaves and flowers, croton leaves, lily-pilly leaves and seed-pods, garlic flower, conifer, eucalyptus leaves, gaura flowers, rosemary, and some melaleuca leaves and pods. I also threw in some onion leaves in the wrap-up, as well as in the water. One scarf was wrapped in a copper pipe, and the other in a steel plate. I really tried hard this time to take note of what did what, taking photos of the layout, and paying attention as I unwrapped! Pam de Groot, you would be proud! A lot of material acted mainly as a resist, but this still adds a great dimension. I was really pleased that I actually got the image and the colour from the agapanthus flowers! Can't show you the results till next week, as it is a gift, and I don't want to ruin the surprise.
My next experiment in the studio was in wild felting - using fleece rather than combed top as I normally do. Inspire by a workshop by Vilte that I sadly did NOT attend, I wanted to create an almost sheepskin rug look. I was lucky to have a great variety of fleece to experiment with, but after a bit of a shamoz first attempt, I found that these latte coloured English Leicester locks worked a treat - and turned out a lovely creamy white!! I used resists in the second attempt to try and retain the hairy look, and am thrilled with the result. I have visions of using this with the truckloads of bridal off-cuts I now possess to create a very interesting WoW entry....!!! The other entry in leather work progresses well - I have actually done most of the main pieces, and am now dealing with the details.
The new addition Pegasus overlocker got a tickle and seal of approval from Barry from Sewmac this week - SO pleased! So really, StudioSvenja is complete! I am loving the time I have been spending wandering between the two studios. The freedom to play, everything there on hand - have I reached Nirvana?!!! As Barry said - you have arrived!!
Last night I took the boys to the graduate fashion exhibition at MSIT. I was most pleased to see that one of my favourite designs, using shibori, was awarded one of the Australia Japan Foundation Awards. 
I can't wait until it's my turn to see my work walk down the runway!!