Follow by Email

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dyeing delights

We're at the stage of selecting and ordering the fabrics for our schools art/science project. Dyeing will loom large, both disperse dyeing of synthetic fabrics and reactive dyeing of natural fabrics. In the picture the three left hand fabrics and synthetic and the one on the extreme right is cotton. The top row have been disperse dyed and the bottom row treated with reactive dye. We chose polyester crepe de chine from the top row because as you can see, it took the disperse dye best.
You asleep yet?
If you're still awake and alert you will have spotted synthetic fabric number three (dark green) masquerading as a natural fabric. That's because it's rayon, made from treated cellulose (wood pulp to you and me). Now aren't you glad you dropped by?
We wanted to give the kids a 'spot the synthetic' game to play so we'll have them reactive dye both the cotton and the polyester. As you can see in the bottom row the polyester crepe de chine stays obligingly white as the driven snow, thus identifying itself as the synthetic.
The cotton however will take a bit of disperse dye, albeit not so strongly, but we'll leave that experiment out. Don't want to confuse their tiny minds.
So 60 metres of fabric to be measured and we come!

State the bleeding obvious why don't you?

Here's my cropped and reframed piece of work. Have to admit it does look better. Decided it needed a nice new title to match. Used to call it Thinking Back because the bloke looks as if he is thinking and you can see the other bloke's back. Nothing if not pragmatic.

My dearly beloved finally came up with the new title. Stringfellows. Why? Because they are fellows and they are made of string. Don't you just love him?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

heart felt

My green charity wool gauge swatch did felt after a fashion and I quite like it. It's certainly softer. It was too small before felting so I've gone up a hook size. Actually thought it was now too loose but I'll bash on and and chuck it in the washing when it's finished.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Making Waves

We had a lovely cycling adventure on the island of Bute today the highlight of which was leaving the harbour.........just as the Waverly decided to enter the harbour. Playing chicken with the world's last sea going paddle steamer is not our idea of fun, so we backed off. Great photo opportunity though.

Lucky find?

I was passing a charity shop the other day, these boys were sitting in the window and, wouldn't you know it, they ended up coming home with me. It IS wool, but that kind of itchy, scritchy wool that feels as if it still has some lanolin in it. Either that, or it's been stored in the back of a chip shop. Nice.
I'm being unusually sensible I'm going to do my gauge swatch and machine wash it. If it doesn't come up to scratch - or should that be if it doesn't loose it's scratch - it will be continuing on it's journey via the next charity shop I pass. Lifetime's supply of dodgy wool anyone?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

In a spin

My next schools project, beginning after the summer, is a cross curricular art/science deal to make collaborative kinetic mobiles from fabric and wire. As usual, I don't have a clue what I'm going to do. I sat down with my box of bits last night and am pretty pleased with the results. This was a collaboration between myself and my dearly beloved. He did the engineering bit, I did the art. It consists of some stiffened fabric shapes (ignore the holes - aerodynamics to me is how many bars of bubbly chocolate you can stuff in your mouth at once), some washers for weight and a lo-o-o-oong spring. The fabric shapes twirl and birl from of the top of the spring to bottom, pushed by the washers which make a great sisly wizzly noise as as added bonus. Turn it upside down and it siszles and twirls back to the other end.

Sometimes it goes quite fast!

There is a wonderful blog called Bent Objects. The other day he published a mini working with wire tutorial and this is my first attempt at a wire drawing. Harder than it looks although I must say the resemblance caught in this self portrait is uncanny.

Off to play with my twizzly thing again. Auch, I just adore it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Think Pink

I discharged this one for half an hour but it was just too wishy washy for me so I did it again overnight. Seems to be they will go so far and no further, regardless of how long you leave them. Think of bleach and you think of white but white just isn't in the spectrum with this kind of discharge.

I got the message a few t-shirts ago about not having the lighter patterned emphasis around the belly. No matter how small your belly might be, it's not a good look. You want the eye to be drawn upwards so wrap your belly safely in the middle of the discharge ball.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Getting shirty

I've been at it again. Bleach discharging Tesco T shirts. I tried something different this time. I rolled them up in a vegetable net. I've been collecting vegetable nets since the beginning of time in preparation for the great vegetable net famine which I'm sure is just around the corner. Nice to be able to use one at last.

It inspired me to use another for something else. To encapsulate my latest beach combing collection in order that it can come in the bath with me and have a wash. Was going to put it in the dishwasher but wasn't quite sure how I would explain a sand blockage to my dearly beloved. He would be bound to blame me no matter how fervently I denied it.

In the photo you will see my shrine to sea glass. Three of the best bottle neck rings I've ever found. One still has the stopper in. I found it while having a brush with mental illness and remember thinking if I can get this to unscrew maybe I can get my head to unscrew too. And here I am today, straight as a dye, picking up broken glass off the beach and collecting it in vegetable nets.

Anyway, I digress. I also used a different method of tying. Three giant Lakeland plastic bag clips and I really like the combination of what looks like deliberate and random marks.

I thought the back of this green one was groovy so I repeated the recipe on the front of this purple one and left it all afternoon while I went to work. Five hours later, here it is and I think it's my favourite so far. Will try leaving them all longer in the bleach future.

Bag ladies

I have complete exhibition fatigue at the moment. I just can't work up the enthusiasm to get things framed. If they don't sell, they lurk about being heavy and awkward and getting in your way every time you go into the shoe cupboard. What? You don't keep your unclaimed art in the shoe cupboard? How bizarre! Don't your shoes complain?
I've had this idea in my mind for a while as a way of displaying stitched sketches. The organisers can either hang them on the wall by their handles or stand them on any availbe space as bags. The purchaser, should anyone be daft enough, can use them or display them or whatever. I would quite like to work on starting with the same brown paper base but appliqueing things to them to make them a bit more durable. Might do that next time.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Environmental art

We haven't had all that many adventures to add to our culinary tour of Scotland so for this year, but we had a doozey today. We visited what used to be the Royal Hotel at Tignabruich. Its new owners had made it look very exclusive and it was. But there was also something fishy about it. You could have fish, fish or fish. No chips. Always a bad sign. You could have the set menu of soup, fish and pudding or the a la carte which was fish. A large portion or a small portion, but still fish. And just fish. If you want to go a la carte, your whole table had to do it. No cheapskates were aloud to have the set menu. And no, you couldn't have the soup first. That was on the set menu. Fawlty Towers eat your heart out!

The beach however was a mecca of finds and environmental art. We found an installation already made. It really did look arty although it looks like a random, windblown collection in the photo here. I added a rusty park plug to it set off with a piece of matching china.

Found a great rusty, old engine too.
Next door to the fishy hotel there was a retailing throwback. A traditional drapers and clothiers. Shut unfortunately with this FABULOUS point of sale thread display lying on the counter. It was a big drum full of small reels of thread and had the shop been open I would have made them an offer.

I Found three of these which I believe are collector's items. Do you know what they are? Old lemonade bottle stoppers.

Despite your fishy lunch, we did find some things to make us smile.

Friday, June 08, 2007


I've been preparing for another meeting with the school about the art/science project. I've also been collecting random images that inspire me and many of the structures are thread based.

That the dyed fabric will be our starting point is a given but there is nothing to stop us turning our fabric into yarn by ripping it up. Part of the science aspect of the project is changing the nature of things, like when a solid becomes a liquid. I would say this is the textile equivalent, wouldn't you?

Jury Schmoorie!

Many thanks to Helen S for this great link that fast forwards you to the gallery without any of this selection committee nonsense!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Cut to the chase

I have an exhibition coming up which I wasn't going to submit for because I haven't made anything new this year. But then I had a notion to cannibalise an old piece by chopping off it's heads and feet. Thought I would look at some of the possible chops here and see if anything grabbed me. Whatd'ya think?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Body image

Back to the bleach discharge again. Especially as the Tesco vest tops are now down to £3 each! I wanted to do something that looked a bit skeletal. You can see my spine here and you can see my fried eggs, so I guess I'm getting there.