Friday, June 24, 2016

Messing About with Dyes

In Kenneth Grahame's classic, The Wind in the Willows, the Water Rat says to Mole,

"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

A great quote that applies to dyeing as well, in my view. There is nothing half so much fun as messing about with dyes -- which is what I did yesterday with my two talented friends, Joan Rusitzky and Eve Botelho. We played with Pro MX Fiber Reactive Dyes all morning, mixing colors and cleaning up spots on Joan's basement floor. I was dyeing cotton muslin, using some shibori-resist techniques I learned from the wonderful book, Textile Dyeing: The Step-by-Step Guide and Showcase by Kate Broughton.

My results are pictured above, after taking the pieces home, still bound with string, discharging them in thiox, and then over-dyeing them in indigo. (I'm not a purist, so I mixed chemical and natural dyes as needed.)

Thanks to Joan and Eve for a wonderful day. 

And, if you're curious, here's the entire quote from The Wind in the Willows.

"Is it so nice as all that?" asked the mole, shyly...

"Nice? It's the only thing," said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke. "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

"Simply messing... about in boats -- or with boats... in or out of 'em it doesn't matter. Nothing seems to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not.

"Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together and have a long day of it?"

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Textile Museum of Canada: A Totally Arbitrary Look at What's Up

Detail of "It's Beautiful, It's Crazy," 2011, by Zondlile Zondo, Zulu, South Africa

Last weekend -- Father's Day weekend -- we went to visit our son in Toronto. While Jake and Dad were having barbecue on the beach, I went to one of my favorite places: the Textile Museum of Canada. The current exhibit is "Worlds on a String: Beads, Journeys, Inspirations" featuring beaded works old and new from all over the world. And then, as if that wasn't enough to feast on, the museum also featured "Bliss: Gardens Real and Imagined," highlighting floral-inspired works from the collection.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a random look at the exhibits.

Full view of Zondlile Zondo's piece

Yoruba king's crown, Nigeria, 20th century

Child's moccasins with porcupine-quill beads, 
Sioux, North American, 1890-1988

Blouse, Philippines, mid-20th century

Aubusson tapestry, mid-18th century, France

Suzani wall hanging, Uzbekistan, 19th century

Embroidered carpet, Uzbekistan, 19th century

"Neon Bloom," thread and machine-embroidery work, 
Amanda McCavour, 2014-15

What's on the Loom?

More accurately, what's going on the loom? At this writing, I'm in the process of winding on a painted warp for a Jin design on 28 ...