Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When we last spoke

of the things I do, I was doing some heat setting experimentation. On the whole I was not really all that keen on the heat setting. Part of the problem was that the elastics/rubber bands that I was using were in fact the ouchless ones that I found out were plastic. They didn't withstand the heat of the heat setting machine. As a result, about halfway through the heat setting phase, the elastics would give way and the fabric would relax making my forms less than crisp.
My first reaction to my samples was "oh. look. wrinkled fabric"
Then I wrapped some around a pole in a traditional shibori technique and found something that I was able to get a little more excited about. I also did the nail fabric which I also found to be quite exciting. I was looking in a magazine for something totally unrelated and found an article on heat setting where they use a steamer. I tried it with my wrapped pollen fabric and it worked wonderfully! I am working on my pollen still but I need to tweak it a bit. I am not 100% pleased with my results so far. More on that later.

While I was sitting around waiting for my fabric to melt and harden, I did a bit of dyeing of scarves. There are never enough hours in the day to do all of the things that I want to get done, so I managed to multi task a couple of days.

I was also asked to work a couple of extra nights last week because the night time blanket weaving class that is happening now is coming to a close (two weeks left) and a lot of the students will not be finished on time. It was thought that while other classes were happening in the evening and the security guard was there that the blanket weaving students could come and work on getting their blankets on the looms. They are also able to come during the day while classes are happening (and I am there to help) but some people work during the day and were given the night time option. Some took advantage of my being there and progressed quite nicely. Others are still behind. We will see how it all turns out.

Last Wednesday I was also asked if I was putting a piece in the New Brunswick Crafts Council show. The show's theme is "Traces of Architecture": Inspiration from New Brunswick Architecture. When I said that I hadn't thought to, I was encouraged by the curator to submit something. So I started to think and came up with a couple of ideas. The one that I chose is a direct interpretation of the theme. I decided to make a life-size doorway based on the doors is my house. I started with silk dupioni which I cut into doorway shape and sewed the edges. I knew that I would be dyeing it so I wanted to use a type of thread that would dye like the silk. Polyester thread was out, and so was cotton because cotton takes fiber reactive dyes slightly differently than silk. I decided that some of the weft thread would work well.
Ha! After faithfully pulling about 30 yards of weft thread out, putting it on sewing bobbins and trying to sew with it, I came to the conclusion (after about 10 breaks in the thread) that the weft thread wasn't spun enough.
What to do? 10 pm on a Friday night, I knew that in order to have the piece ready for Monday I had to sew it that night, no stores are open (and if they were would they even carry silk thread?)
And then I remembered some fine spun silk yarn that a friend gave me thinking that I could ply with it. I thought that I would dig it out and try it. And it WORKED! Just like thread. I was so pleased, and it was a joy to work with after the cursing that I did using the other silk. I cursed some more when I decided to pick out all of the stitches of the first attempt. But I am happy with the result.

Here are the pieces ready to dye.

In order to dye them, I first stretched them on stretcher frames and painted them with fiber reactive dyes. I had to let them sit for 24 hours and then wash and dry them. Then sew them together. I don't have a picture of the finished piece yet because I haven't seen it all assembled. The opening is this Friday 5-7 at the Charlotte Street Art Center if anyone is interested.

I hope to get a good photo of it hanging for all of you that can't be there in person.

So that is partially why I haven't been posting much. Who has time?


Christine said...

I love the door!

It reminds me of Monsters Inc.

Leigh said...

What a glorious photo of those scarves! You are inspiring me to do some dyeing.

I hear you about "who has time." Still, the blogosphere is always here.

Julia said...

You never cease to amaze me with your creative ideas.


Dani said...

I love the colours in that door!

mira's papa said...

Yeah, that door is the same colour as Sully in Monsters Inc.