Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Garden - Late July - Early Rousseau

I'm  going away for a few days and I know my garden will look very different when I return.
Some of the Daylilies are on their last legs already. Some are just beginning.
The Crocosmia is in full bloom for the hummingbirds. Too bad its just so hot to enjoy sitting out.
The Pictures will get me through the next winter.
Chicago Apache

Elaine Stutt
Silome Double Classic
Fanciful Finery
Common Echinacea
Strawberry Candy
Golden Prize and Chicago Apache

Image Transfer - Part DUH

I wasn't finished yesterday.
Until I could transfer leaf shapes, it wasn't finished.
I thought maybe the elm leaves were too tough, but then I realized there just wasn't enough contact for the pigments to move.

So I tried my old friend "Flower Pounding"

And the light in this photo is different. It's more natural, not my basement florescents.
These are from the red Japanese maple in my yard. Some have oxidized to black immediately.
I don't know whether there is enough Alum in the cloth from yesterdays' cooking to fix the red, or whether the black is a reaction with the iron. There is lot of room here for playing and learning.

I'd like the background to be a warmer colour. I'll have to experiment with different dyed cloths or over dying or painting.
As for finishing this one?...........
I have just the material!


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A Spark of Joy

I have been in a B$%$# of a mood for the last few days. That's according to hubby of course.
I dismantled the Yellow Balloons (as all my friends refer to them now, to my face too.) But I won't throw them out. They'll be used someday in something.

I've been searching around for a few days for something to inspire me. I've spent a lot of hours on the couch reading trashy fantasy.

At the back of my mind I've had two things simmering. The first one was a sample of the work of Maggie Vanderweit that I saw at the CQA show last month.
I'd take a workshop for this technique in a minute, but there doesn't seem to be one in the near future.
Her transfering of rust and nature prints to cloth just took my breath away.
These two pics are from her gallery.

The rust work is pretty straightforward but the leaf prints eluded me.


my last issue of Cloth Paper Scissors arrived. ( I was on the verge of letting this expensive magazine die the death all subscriptions.)
This issue 67 July/August had an article sooooooooooooo similar to her work!
I went hunting through the kitchen cupboards for a good pot to use. This lead to a Rip Roaring "DISCUSSION" between myself and the Uber Food Safety Guy that I live with...... So it was shelved.
(That's probably why the balloons were SUCH a DISASTER. My little muse was off in a corner sulking)

In the mean time I got thinking about felting and was hunting around for a source of natural roving. Everything I came across was dyed unnatural colours. Here hubby jumped in again and whisked me away to Elora, my old stamping grounds, to the Wellington Fibres. We'd been here before. I actually knit him a sweater about 20 years ago!
But this time I was after roving.
The woman had to hunt around for white. I was hoping to get a salt and pepper but no, and no brown either. (What's wrong with sheep now a days?) Looking for GRISLY colours. Alas, no.

So we headed back with three big bags of roving   AND

An expensive skein of "Grisly" brown. I decided I could un spin this fibre. Do I have a fibre blending board? NO.
But we hunted down the next best thing at Canadian Tire... dog slicker brushes! (McGyver strikes again!)

After five minutes of blending I now had this, well on its way to the right colour and ready for the felting machine.

BUT WAIT.. that's not the end of this tale. 
We also stopped at the Hardware store ( That was after he had me climb a road side apple tree for a bag of little green apples so he could make REAL PECTIN. ( None of this bottle stuff for my uber chef )
At the hardware store I BOUGHT A POT for my stuff and this morning I made this.

Closeup of the upper half

I used grass, clover, tarragon ( 'cause I hate the stuff and I'm trying to kill the bush) Oregano, ( 'cause it grows wild at the side of my house ) and for some substantial "meat", some elm leaves. Onto the material that I accordioned  to fit MY pot, I wove more elm leaves, tarragon and nails for rust. It sure SMELLED great. I followed the instructions in the magazine to the part that said "leave it for 2 or 3 days...if you can".......... Well I Couldn't, not for this first try. ET VOILA!

This I can do.
I can see my morning walks will consist of collecting different types and weights of leaves.
And now that I have a can wait a few more days, until this heat breaks.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Yellow Green - New Approach

I'm not sure why I'm being so stubborn about this.
Part of me thinks I should have chucked it into the garbage a week ago, and part of me is really really mad that I can't move forward.

I finished ALL the balls as tree bits and mounted them together on the background.

Yes, it's a different background. I realized in the middle of the night the green background was too aggressive so I did two things. I turned the green sideways like grass and inserted a sky ( which is the Berber blue cloth from last week)

What was I thinking?     Balloons floating on  the grass? Geeeesh!

So I went hunting through my piles and came up with an unfinished tree.

So using almost all the "balloons"....................

It's different!
Yep..... just might toss this one!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Making The Lolly Pops LOOK LIKE TREES

I went to work on these, this afternoon. ( Only one day left of Le Tour )
I continued what I had begun yesterday, cutting hundreds of LEAVES using my pinking edged rotary cutter. You get to be pretty good at lining it up each time to get fresh pieces.

But I was unhappy with gluing on the bits.
To make sure they were well adhered I put the iron on one and didn't like how it flattened out to nothing.

So I decided to stitch around each leaf with a layer of netting over top!
It didn't look bad....or good. I put a piece of batting behind and tried again. Much better.

But the prospect of gluing all those piece in place was depressing. I had to find a simpler way.
Each piece had to be individually placed because dropping them didn't work to spread them or address the one side up only issue with some of the material. Hand placing them was the only way.

I tried covering one, after I'd placed the tiny pieces, with netting over which I'd streaked a glue stick. Yuck!
Then I tried spraying the netting with basting spray. Really messy to handle.
Finally I sprayed the lolly pop, BEFORE I place the leaves. When I covered it with the netting at the end and set it aside for about half an hour, it went through the sewing machine with no tackiness.

Starting my stitching in the centre went a long way to controlling the distortion in these small unhooped circles.

The netting was trimmed to the circle edge and will be tacked down when the circle is stitched to the backing.

Placed on the background, they do look less like lolly pops.
Not sure they look like trees yet!

Friday, 22 July 2016

Yellow Green " Lolly Pop " Trees

I don't want lolly pop trees but that's where I am!

I have yet to play with rearranging the crowns of the trees but I need to make them LOOK more like trees.

So I consider leaves.
They're already quite small, so the leaves need to be also.
Back to my pinking rotary cutter. ( This one is starting to get dull which is really annoying when you're counting on smooth complete cuts.

So here's one idea.

Using the same fabric, I cut a few dozen leaves.
Not bad, definitely more interest.

This one too, is...... ok.
But I wonder if that's because the fabrics are not solid.
Or if they're floating on top.

Is it more "natural" ( nothing is natural about a lollypop tree, who am I kidding ), if I mix the fabrics.
In a leap of faith (well they aren't very big but I hate wasting my time) I glued the bits to the circles trying to stay random and open ( I did consider filling the whole thing,.......but I thought I might end up burning it if I tried that).
I put them back on the backing in what appears to be suitable place, as a trial. I needed to see them in place to decide whether to continue. 

Hmmmmmmmm............. it does have possibilities,............. but I think I need to see a bigger one.
This could take a while.
(Very meditative?) 

Play Date with a Friend

When a friend takes a trip to Morocco and brings back baggies of Dyes and wants to play.... how can I say "no time"!
These dyes are from the historic region that gave us what we call Persian/Oriental rugs. Some of those colours are unbelievably lush. This regional industry, like a lot of other ancient crafts is in trouble because of all the industrial knock-offs.
Since these dyes were of unknown manufacture we made the assumption they would be similar in to the labeled and familiar dyes available to the amateur.

It was fun discovering what colours were there, as some of the powders bore no resemblance at all to the wet dye.

There were two blues. The two bottom ones were the same dye lot, the middle one being placed in the "spent" dye solution. Water and sky!
The top one was know to be Berber blue. We got the concentration/timing  wrong so it came out a pale color, but again a delectable SKY.

The green was too weak a solution. It looks almost minty. The Ochre colour too, probably would have been more intense with longer timing. (We were so impatient.)
And the middle piece was the pale green over dyed with the spent ochre, and interesting ( to me ) tan/yellow.

And the RED we under did as well.
I was loath to use all her dye powder considering the true cost and that there was no way to replace this purchase. But we have some nice rose and pale pinks. I'll find a use for these at some point.

Then there was the purple. Considering the amount that washed out we over estimated how much powder we needed for this one. We based it on the blue and red, but that turned out to be wrong!
The mottled piece was cloth that still had the sizing. So it acted as a resist. Cool.

And last but not least are my mop up cloths. They will be used.

We had a great time, albeit HOT, but we worked in my garage and the breezes were up. I think we enjoyed ourselves so much we didn't notice the heat.
Until today.......I'm exhausted.
Good day to stay inside, in the basement, where its cool.

What's next?
She has some Indigo!
We decided to give that a day of it's own as it has special needs.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Yellow and Green - Enough Circles

I think!
I added in one more fabric. It's a pale brown with a touch of rust and green. It works well with the others. but it's only there in small amounts.

I started auditioning Stems/Trunks.
Black,brown, grey?
I'll try a few more and a few different arrangements of both the circles and the stems.

I've also been considering ornamentation for the "trees" but I haven't worked that one out yet.
Step by step!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Yellow and Green - Forest Scene

In this case, more is better.
I decided I needed to make "plenty circles" of various sizes before I would have a clear view of where this was going.

The first things was to make templates. I used a file folder and made 5 different sized circles, ranging from 4 inches to 8 inches.

There are many ways to make appliqued circles and I've probably tried them all. Some work better under different circumstances. I knew I didn't want turned appl., that would take forever. I'd made reverse appl. as well but this was not the place as the background was bulky. Sewing two circles together and inverting them gives a nice edge, but as I was layering many circles, I was afraid the buildup on edge material would become cumbersome.

So I went with the tin foil method.
First, trace and cut the material about 1/4 inch bigger than the template all around.

Lay the material wrong side down on tin foil and place the template in the centre.
Roll up the edges of the tin foil and Iron.

After removing the material from the tin foil and the template from inside., run a line of glue (I use school glue sticks) all around the crease. Iron it down carefully using a pair of tweezers to position the fold to get a nice round circle.

I just pinned them onto the background for a feel of what I can do with this. I think I will add more and different materials in small patterns.
Looking at this I'm feeling flowers instead of trees.
That would work also.
(Look how nice my new yellow fabric shows on the green!)

I don't know yet where this will go.

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Terror in My Garden

Bold he is.
Fed well on bulbs. perennials. clover and bird seed.
If he (or more likely one of his ancestors) hadn't trashed my shrubs a few winters ago, I could ALMOST think this was a bucolic scene and say AHhhhhhhh!

At least the bird feed seem to be keeping him from toppling the flowers, for now.
I can't really do anything about him till freeze up........
so we have an uneasy truce.............

( All I need is eat the Hosta...........)

Auditioning Fabric

Well before I finalize in my head the method, I decide on the fabric.
Batiks would be ideal, as both sides are the same and they can be used with less fuss. But yellow/gold is not a colour I normally stock.

Going through my stash this morning, these are the possibilities. Most are leftovers from the south western piece I made for my son a few years ago. Or they're part of a bundle, the part I didn't want or need at the time.

There needs to be a combination because trees are not one colour and fall displays have even more variations. Some of these fabrics are commercial, some are my painted pieces, some are batik or vat dyed.
Some are solids, some are textured, some are small prints.

The question becomes how much mixture do I want and how will I achieve the look I envision.

On the other hand, one fabric and variations created with thread painting or sketching is another way to go.
I cut nothing until all these decisions are made. ( And THAT can take a while!)

I tried a few thread styles on some possible fabrics. The left was a last minute decision of a gold "suede". I thought the texture might add somersetting but the thread sinks into the fabric and really doesn't show at its best. The right is mottled cotton with a touch of metallic flecks, in keeping with the background. The stitch size I need doesn't really work here either.

Back to the drawing board!
I played a bit with circles for the tree tops. One looked pathetic
and I almost through out the idea but I cut out a few more from different fabrics. Not bad. I did take a while to warm to this. But the colour is wrong. The yellows and golds are washed out compared to the green.

I COULD go to the shop down the street and see waht fabric they had to tempt me
I could paint my own .......................................

Now I have a fabric that will stand up to the green. 

Not bad for a day's work.