Friday, April 29, 2016

Carol Soderlund's Dyeing technique

Last year I attended one of Carol Soderlund's workshops and learnt how to dye neutral colours using Procion MX.
She also taught us her dye technique that I have since been able to set up in my studio.
This is the set-up for weighing dye powder to make the stock solution - cardboard box, newspaper, spray bottle full of water (not shown), face mask (not shown), fresh dye powder from Pro Chem, scale from Amazon.

Dye Station
Dye weighing and stock solutions behind, dye mixing and dye application in front. 
This set up is to make colour samples. I would move the dye application to a larger table to dye yardage.

 Dye samples on plastic covered tables overnight to 24 hours plus.

Keeping light and dark fabrics separate the excess dye is washed out under cold running water in the right-hand sink. Then the fabric is put into fresh, cold water without being crowded, on the left side.

Filling the stock pot from the instant hot water tap, kept at just below boiling temperature.

Setting the Dye
The pot is put on an induction hot plate. The temperature is set at boiling and timer for 10 minutes.
After the fabric has been boiled it is transferred to the spinner where excess water is spun out and drained out into the sink.

I like to steam iron damp fabric dry. In laundry jargon, it is called polishing. 
I use a Reliable brand, heavy iron that produces a lot of steam.

The rectangle shaped ironing board is ideal for ironing yardage but there is a weakness in the design. When working at the left end of the board it tends to tip. My solution is a counter-weight at the other end - a lovely piece of granite that turned up when earthworks were going on for the Backyard project.
This dyeing set up is simple, flexible and works so well. I am very grateful to Carol for so generously sharing what she has learnt over years of experimentation to understand the fine details of the dyeing process.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Real Time Update April 26 - Backyard Project

In the cut flower bed, the first iris has bloomed.
Why is it that the white is the first to bloom for many flowers?

Also in the cut flower bed, the first allium has opened up.

In the rock garden beds, the green manure crop is being turned under and a mulch layer of straw is added.
In a week or so these beds will be ready for planting another soil building crop.

I have set up a straw bale garden bed on top of one of the new beds where the soil mix was not as rich.
Layers of compost, coffee grounds, and straw were piled on top of the straw bale. It was deeply watered and left to cook.

In a couple of weeks, the internal temperature has gone from 50 F degrees to 120 F degrees. The rise in temperature indicates a certain group of soil organisms is at work decomposing the material to make soil. The temperature needs to rise into the grey area for the next lot of organisms to get to work. Once the bed temperature has dropped back down to the 60s F again it will be ready to plant.

The days have suddenly become much hotter. I am watering the new plants every second day.
Here is the beginning of the path through the gravel bed garden.
There is lots of activity in the garden.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

All Beings Confluence - Martha Cole's Community Project in Victoria

Martha Cole, a Saskatchewan fibre artist, has brought her monumental community art project to Victoria for the first time. You can see it in the Cadboro Bay United Church until May.

"All Beings Confluence is a community-based, interactive project that was directly inspired by Carolyn McDade, a composer, social activist and environmentalist whose music has sustained and nourished many over the decades."

The opening reception at Cadboro Bay United Church was a moving experience. One could walk around and through the many panels while listening to music, singing and poetry readings.

Martha explained how the project came about and how she came to bring it to Victoria.
Next stop is Parksville, Vancouver Island.

When Martha arrives in a community she runs a workshop where people work on long sheer panels each depicting one being found on our planet. These panels are then hung together with previously made panels creating paths and a changing kaleidoscope of views through transparent layers.
Here is the website to learn more.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Textile Treasures Exhibition - Mark Makers at Tulista Gallery, Sidney

The Mark Makers are exhibiting again!

Here is a peek at what they have produced over the past couple of years.
This is the view as one walks into the gallery - wearable art and 2D and 3D wet felt.

To the right are the results of a challenge to produce interpretations of the Melford Messenger Bag with a focus on upcycling, recycling and embellishment.

To the left - 2 different ways of working on top of a printed image.

Wet felted wall hanging, upcycled jacquard linen table cloth transformed into a blouse, embellished bags. 

Exploring the water and sky themes.

Upcycled pillows, soft sculptures and wearable art.
Hand and machine stitched framed wall pieces.

Art dolls, soft sculpture, wet felted forms.

Wet felted hats, scarf, bag, neck art.

Hand and machine 2D and 3D fibre art.

The alcove has a display of old traditional, handmade textiles from the 5 continents. They illustrate the history, techniques and skill mastery behind the Mark Makers' work.
This is just a taste of what is on display at the Tulista Gallery in Sidney, until May 1st.
There will be artists in attendance every day to answer your questions and to tell you the stories.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Studio: Pattern Language # 145 Bulk Storage

Pattern Language #145 Bulk Storage
Problem - 'In houses and workplaces there is always some need for bulk storage space; ...- all those things which you are not ready to throw away, and yet not using everyday.'
Marie Kondo would agree this problem needs a solution but those who work with cloth have a much greater need for lots of bulk storage area.
The architect took advantage of the sloping ground and with only a little more excavation we have a 'crawlspace' under the studio. Our municipality does not allow a full height room in an outbuilding but 6' 2" is still a comfortable height to move around freely in.
Coming in through the side door to the left is my natural dye storage station. That is Japanese indigo hanging to dry and walnut dye in the jars, both studio warming gifts from thoughtful friends. The plastic containers are 2 different types of rust buckets.

To the right of the opening is storage room for leftover building materials for repairs and other uses. I am also drying 7-foot tall teasel stems here.

Further along this side is where I placed all sorts of hanging devices and the longest packing materials.

One day I found this boat stored in an empty spot! I was assured it was the perfect spot for it over the winter. It can stay as long as I don't need that space

Straight ahead is where I store completed artworks in their shipping materials. Most of my finished work I prefer to hang in the house because it fares better there.

Into a small alcove is a stack of packaging and shipping materials...

...and to the left my Etsy packaging and shipping supplies, pillow forms and pillow covers.

 In the centre of the alcove are 2 small raised tables where I package works for shipping.

We finished the crawlspace with a polished concrete floor and low-grade plywood on the walls, both hard wearing, low maintenance, low-cost finishes and utilitarian in style. It is completely moisture-proof and there is a small wall heater on a thermostat to keep the room above freezing in winter. It works out about 50% of the whole building area is flexible bulk storage space.

Pattern Language # 145 Bulk Storage Solution
'Do not leave bulk storage til last or forget it. Include a volume for bulk storage in the building - its floor area at least 15 to 20 percent of the whole building area - not less. Place this storage somewhere in the building where it costs less than other rooms - because, of course, it doesn't need a finish.'


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

'Know Your Place - Ideas In Art Form' Exhibition at Tulista Gallery, Sidney, Vancouver Island

Sherley Gordon Edey has invited 7 other artists working in different media to exhibit their work with her photography while exploring the many layers of meaning in the statement
'Know Your Place'

Sherley presents her work in a wide variety of formats, including video and keeps the viewer looking for the story. Often several different stories will emerge from one collection.

The artists who have joined her: Colleen Golumbia, Norma Lofthouse, Dale MacEwan, Terry Murray, Pamela Truscott-White, Lesley Turner, Jean Weller, tell their stories about knowing their place through their own media: clay, wood, baste fibres, fabric.
It all makes for a most stimulating exploration of the theme.

Starting nearly 150 years ago twelve percent of the earth’s land mass was divided up by a straight line grid system, a system now deeply ingrained in western Canadian rural culture. A hierarchy of roads and fence lines mark the boundaries of land ownership. Land parcels have been passed from one generation to the next and continue to be bought and sold. The boundaries of one’s place are still defined by those original Dominion Land Survey lines now deeply etched into the landscape.

This is my contribution to the exhibition. 
Throughout history, many people have been told where their place is, whether a surveyed plot of land, a designated reservation, a placed they fled to or a legally enforced place of incarceration. 
Some have a long family history of living in one place with the passing of each generation reinforcing their feeling of belonging.
Others travel and respond intuitively to their surroundings sometimes arriving and knowing this is where they belong.

As a geographer, I explored one's connection with the land. The other artists explored very different 'Know Your Place' associations. 
I do hope you can make it to the exhibition and see the works for yourself.

CACSP Community Arts Centre at Tulista Park, 9565 Fifth Street, Sidney
April 11 - 17, 2016
Monday - Friday 10 - 4, Saturday and Sunday 12 - 4  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Backyard Project - Recap and Coping With Winter Rains

It has been so long since I posted on progress on the Backyard Project I'm going to do a quick recap of where things were at in the beginning of November.
The raised studio beds were constructed, filled and planted with spring bulbs.
The 3 hugelkultur beds were constructed and planted with a winter green manure mix.
Soil was laid down for the meadow plants in the flat areas in between.

Here am I planting comfry roots around the base of all 3 hugelkultur beds.

I mulched the studio beds with fallen maple leaves making them ready for the winter.

Tom had excavated and placed the rock for the gravel bed garden.

He had also constructed all of the raised rock garden beds and filled them with logs and soil.

Then the rains kept coming turning the gravel bed garden site into a swimming pool. It served to highlight where we needed to place the French drain.

The areas around the hugelkultur beds got super-saturated. We want the water to accumulate around these beds where the buried logs have the capacity to absorb huge amounts of water but the amount of water showed us how much we have to build up the pathways.

Meanwhile, the raised rock beds soaked up the above average rainfall like a sponge. The rotten logs under the soil are doing their job.
And this is how we left the project until the new year.