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Archive for the ‘Dyeing’ Category

So, I don’t usually blog about my day job – I’m a Senior Lecturer (just got promoted this week!) in the Biology department at the University of Redlands. Anyway, in May we teach one intensive course, which I’ve just finished! So as soon as Graduation is over, I’m free for SUMMER VACATION!!!! WooHoo!

The course I’ve just finished is called “Mother Earth Chemistry: The Science of Self Reliance”, which I describe in m syllabus thusly:

In the last 100-200 years, we have become systematically more detached from where our food/clothing/shelter comes from and how it is prepared. In this class, we will attempt to rectify this by studying the chemical/biochemical processes behind many simple processes that used to be performed at home, as part of the everyday work of feeding and clothing a family. These include activities such as the making of soap, beer, cheese, yogurt, tofu and dyeing.

This class touches 2 of the things I care deeply about – feeding our family with food made from the raw ingredients as much as possible, and creating beautify things with fabric. This years class was really detail oriented, so when it came time for tie dye day (after a lab that studied the effect of pH on how Procion MX dyes cotton), they wanted to get some pretty specific things, so we had a blast using all my different swatch books to created just the right colors. Here are some of the results, there’s a bunch more on my Flicker site. Yes, we had a great time…and yes they learned a lot too!Mother Earth 09 017Mother Earth 09 023Mother Earth 09 026Mother Earth 09 028Mother Earth 09 032Mother Earth 09 034Mother Earth 09 037Mother Earth 09 046Mother Earth 09 064Mother Earth 09 072

 

Have I mentioned…SUMMER VACATION!!!!!!!!!!!

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So, I had a large deadline  to meet, – the Red Dirt Art festival, was April 24. I was overly optimistic about all the things I wanted to get made for the show, and able to accomplish the following:

Item Date Due % Done
Floral quArt 3/20/2009 100%
30 Tie Dye shirts etc…for Elixer 3/20/2009 100%
Design Clutch – Will Tuba 3/26/09 100%
10 Notelets 4/24/09 100%
5 Warm Colors Grab & Go 4/24/09 0%
5 Warm Colors Clutch 4/24/09 0%
30 Going Green Totes 4/24/09 70%
5 Cool Colors Clutch 4/24/09 0%
Cool Colors quArt 4/24/09 0%
Crazy Colors Bags 4/24/09 0%
5 Cool Colors messengers 4/24/09 15%
Candied Fabrics Quilt 4/25/09 0%
Medium tote for Nicholle’s sister 5/30/09 0%
Laptop bag for Liz 5/31/09 0%
Edit 2 baby quilt presents! June 0%

 

One of the things I’ve been doing this month is re-evaluating what exactly I want to accomplish with my business. I posted about this earlier this month, when I realized that I was actually beginning my 3rd year of business with this month’s Red Dirt Festival. I defined success as:

Being able to financially support my artistic endeavors, and to continue to grow as an artist.

And then promptly forgot it! At Red Dirt I did receive 2 commissions for bags, one of which needed to be done before this coming Wednesday. I was able to complete it, but really hit a wall while working on it. These complicated bags I make really take a lot of time. I AM able to save some time when I do multiples of them, but as each bag will take 4-5 hours to complete (less for the clutches) I really have to commit to a large chunk of time to make them happen, and it makes me miserable. So, DUDE, what is your goal? Making more bags does not help me grow as an artist, and although if I made more I could sell more, as long as I’m making enough $$ to support the endeavors, I need to allow myself time to make more art!

In the midst of my little nervous breakdown I had while discovering I’d left out the cell phone pocket on this commission bag, I told my husband(well, shrieked is closer to the tone, but you get the drift…) I wasn’t getting paid enough for this stress! This has led to a decision to switch my bag making efforts to commission only. It means investing time in setting up an album to show options regarding artistic style, color, and bag structure, but I really don’t want make any more bags unless I know someone really wants one. I also need to consider raising my prices…but in this economy, I’m going to hold off on that.

So, as definition of success includes artistic growth – my new goals for the month of May, both business & artistic, are:

Item Date Due % Done
Little Wallets 5/9/09 0%
Dye & IRON 47 scarves 5/9/09 70%
Custom Bag info album 5/9/09 0%
Send out package for giveaway 5/9/09 0%
RAA Newsletter 5/11/09 0%
Medium tote for Nicholle’s sister 5/30/09 0%
Color Fields Quilts 5/31/09 15%
Cool Colors quArt 5/31/09 0%
Candied Fabrics Quilt 5/31/09 0%
3-d Birdhouses 5/31/09 0%
Mega-messenger for Linda 5/31/09 0%
Laptop bag for Liz 5/31/09 0%
3-d Row Houses 5/31/09 0%
Scarves Website Created 5/31/09 0%

I know not all of this will get done, but it’s a little more skewed towards making the art I need to make, rather than another 10 bags I may or may not sell!

And because no post is complete without a picture, here is a new colorway I came up with while dyeing a batch of scarves this past weekend (ironing on all but 1 still to be done!) While I was stopping by the Redlands Art Association with more scarves for sale, the member behind the desk mis-heard my name for a scarf as “Earth, Wind & Fire”, when it was actually called “Earth & Sky”. Anyway, I was taken with the name and decided to try and dye a scarf that is Earth, Wind & Fire…what do you think, did I hit the mark?

Earth Wind and Fire

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Dyeing Day

This doesn’t look like much… scarf dye 001

but it’s 47 scarves being dyed!!!!scarf dye 002 scarf dye 003

I had an incredibly busy week, the month of May I teach one intense class that meets for 4 (or more hours each day), but the students get a lot out of it, and it exhausts me! I’ll have my tent set up next weekend at Art in the Park, so I needed more scarves! It’s always amazing that some thing that looks so blah like above turns into something like this:

Silk Charmeuse Crocus 002

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I did get to 2 performances of the opera I made tie dye tees for last weekend. The costumer did a great job of taking the tees I dyed and turning them into all sorts of differently shaped shirts! What I don’t have is a photo of the pareo I dyed for the lead to wear with a black bathing suit…it turned out great, and hopefully someone else has a photo of it. Anyway, here’s some photos (excuse the blurriness – these were all taken in a dark theater with the flash off). More photos are on my flickr site.

Elixer Saturday Perf Elixer Sunday Perf (62)Elixer Sunday Perf (64) Elixer Sunday Perf (8) 

I’m trying not to panic, but I have a lot of work to do for my next show. Plus, it’s getting towards the end of the semester, and I have to get ready for MayTerm! AAAHHH!

Item Date Due % Done
Floral quArt 3/20/2009 100%
30 Tie Dye shirts etc…for Elixer 3/20/2009 100%
Design Clutch – Will Tuba 3/26/09 100%
10 Notelets 4/24/09 10%
5 Warm Colors Grab & Go 4/24/09 0%
5 Warm Colors Clutch 4/24/09 0%
30 Going Green Totes 4/24/09 30%
5 Cool Colors Clutch 4/24/09 0%
Cool Colors quArt 4/24/09 0%
Crazy Colors Bags 4/24/09 0%
5 Cool Colors messengers 4/24/09 15%
Candied Fabrics Quilt 4/25/09 0%
Laptop bag for Liz 5/31/09 0%

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30 Tees and Counting

Well, we had some sun today, which is great, as I’ve got to dye 30 tee shirts as well as 9 1/2 yard pieces of knit-fabric and one very large piece of silk for a production of Donizetti’s “Elixer of Love” – set in the 1970’s! All the chorus people are hippies! Anyway, here’s all the dye I mixed up:

Elixer 001

Here are the tee’s all dyed up and batching:

Elixer 005

Here’s the long piece of silk – the costume designer wanted green through dark blue to blue:

Elixer 002And just as I was cleaning up, I dropped a new jar of cerulean blue!!! Completely upside down! Thanks goodness I was able to get the dog in the house (phew!) and use a piece of cardboard to slide under the jar and flip the whole thing back over again. That could have been bad. Here’s all I couldn’t scoop back in the jar:

Elixer 007

You know, I’ve died a lot over the years, and this is the worst spill I’ve had – I should count myself lucky! Now, for the washout!

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Well, my break is just about over…boohoo! What did I do? Not much…but I did get some dyeing done. I thought I’d give you a glimpse of how glamorous it is to be a dyer:

Here’s a shot of a 10 yards of cotton duck and 30 of the going green totes waiting for washout:

Dyeing them all scrunched up like this gives me the texture I like.

Dyeing them all scrunched up like this gives me the texture I like.

Here’s where I do my dyeing:

We bought the sink top years ago at an auction. My hubby built the cabinet from leftover plywood & 2x4's. As you can see it needs a new coat of paint!

We bought the sink top years ago at an auction. My hubby built the cabinet from leftover plywood & 2x4's. As you can see it needs a new coat of paint!

The sink is out on our back patio (Hubby plumbed it him self – he used the cold water supply for the outside hose faucet and the drain goes through the house and joins up with the kitchen sink drain which is directly opposite the outside sink! Many times I’ve been rinsing scarves out oustside while my hubby is inside washing up or prepping for dinner! Please note the lines of shade – we have a trellis-like structure over the patio, but it doesn’t provide total shade, and the vines we’ve planted need a few more years to grow:

Backyard in Late February

Backyard in Late February

So although it’s beautiful in my backyard right now, pretty soon it’ll get hotter than Hades out there. I think we’re going to put some shade cloth up under the section of trellis over the sink so I don’t get sunburned shoulders!

I use lots of specialized equipment… not!

I've culled whatever random plastic stuff that doesn't fit under here...these are the containers I use. Either recycled food containers, some cheap plastic paint mixing buckets from Lowes or some dishpans.

I've culled whatever random plastic stuff that doesn't fit under here...these are the containers I use. Either recycled food containers, some cheap plastic paint mixing buckets from Lowes or some dishpans.

Then of course, there’s the ironing:

Wet scarves awaiting the iron!

Wet scarves awaiting the iron!

I drape them neatly in case I don't get them all ironsed before the dry. Which is the case this week - 60 scarves is a LOT to iron!

I drape them neatly in case I don't get them all ironsed before the dry. Which is the case this week - 60 scarves is a LOT to iron!

Although I hate the ironing, it does give me a chance to see what i’ve dyed. I revel in the way the dye moves across the silk and am reminded that I want to start making silk quilts… I also come across ideas for new color combos. The new combo name and idea I came up for yesterday – “Daffodil Skies” – I need to try to recreate what’s in my head…soon!

Again, there are not enough hours in the day!

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I threw a baby shower for good friends at the beginning of June.

Of course, baby tie dye is always fun!

Of course, baby tie dye is always fun!

I had a lot of fun making presents for them, but as they were surprises, it was quite stressful. I always get worried that they recipient won’t like what I’m making, but have to say they like it because I made it…does this happen to you too? I wanted to do a quilt for the baby, and a friend of both Brad & Nicholle and myself commissioned me to make some quArt for the baby. He chose the large piece from my stock, then we talked about how he liked unsymmetrical things, & we decided that since the baby’s room was painted light green, we needed to avoid that background color. This is what I came up with!

A friend of both Brad & Nicholle and myself commissioned me to make some quArt for the baby. He chose the large piece from my stock, then we talked about how he liked unsymmetrical things, & we decided that since the baby's room was painted light green, we needed to avoid that background color. This is what I cam up with!

Construction for Brad & Nicholle's baby

And the quilt has a simliar feel to the square bits of the quArt:

Front

Back

And here are the happy parents-to-be:

Nicholle

Brad

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