Seward Art Crawl 2017

3 12 2017

My 8th year participating in my neighborhood Seeard Art Crawl in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Balmy weather this year, in the 50’s! Some years the first weekend in December has brought below zero temps and snowstorms. Good weather for “crawling”!

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And some photos that go with the ice fishing house theme… Ice caves on the shore of Lake Superior when the lake froze solid a few years ago. Apostle Islands in Wisconsin. Brrr, that was a cold photo shoot!C998E483-AAC7-4E8E-9DB3-9C4DBBEA2C99FFA22601-B3A8-4EF1-8EEF-96769FF662DA

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Dyeing Silk with Brazilwood Shavings

8 05 2017

My friend and master violin bow maker Lee Guthrie gave me some shavings from Brazilian Pernambuco wood, which makes a stunning crimson red dye. Known as Brazilwood by dyers and favored by bow makers, it’s also an historically important dye material. The name for the country of Brazil is actually shortened from Terra do Brasil “land of brazilwood”, since it was so important to the economy. Brazilwood dye can also refer to a related Asian species of Caesalpinia or Sappanwood. See the Wikipedia entry for more background information.

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Simmering Brazil wood shavings

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Shades of red from Brazilwood dye

To make the dye, I poured boiling water over a big handful and let it sit overnight. I soon discovered that it’s a very strong dye, so I removed some shavings and simmered the rest for about 1 hour. The silk scarves were pre-mordanted with alum, then brought to a simmer, turned off and cooled overnight. Shavings can be dried and used again for lighter shades. Iron darkened the color to a burgundy. Eco printing with leaves was done after dyeing.

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Silk Scarf dyed with Brazilwood and eco printed with local leaves

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Brazilwood dyed silk scarf with iron


*  View my available scarves in the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP. *






Indigo and Eco Printing Workshop with Pia Best-Reininghaus

25 02 2017

Here are some images from a great workshop I took with Pia Best-Reininghaus, assisted by her daughter Maria, on combining eco printing with Indigo dye. Robbin Firth of Heartfelt Silks in Hudson, Wisconsin organized the workshop and it was held at the Textile Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has a great dye lab. Fall 2016 workshop.

We dyed and printed on cellulose fibers (viscose rayon, cotton & linen) as well as silk, incorporating rusty iron for some stunning results.

Here are a few of my favorite results, indigo dyed and eco printed leaves on rayon, cotton and silk:

This was a good introduction to indigo dyeing for me, only the second time I had access to an indigo vat. I ended up taking home some of the leftover indigo dye. After finding a big used pot with a burner so I could heat it up outside, I was able to revive the indigo and dyed more scarves and fabric, plus tried some Shibori folding techniques.

The vat froze pretty solid over the winter in my garage here in Minnesota, so I’ll see if I can revive it when it warms up. No idea if that’s possible! This leftover vat used thiox and soda ash.  I dislike the strong chemical smell of thiox/Rit Color Remover, so when I mix up my own vat from scratch next time I’ll try Michel Garcia’s organic fermented vat 1-2-3 technique.


*  Visit the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP. *


 





Eco Print Workshop with Irit Dulman

9 11 2016

Fusion of Botanical Print and Natural Dyeing.  

I am SO behind on updating my eco printing blog!  Better late than never… I attended two wonderful eco printing workshops this past summer and fall. The first was with Irit Dulman, a master eco printer who lives in Israel, at the Pacific Northwest Art School on Whidbey Island in Washington in June 2016.  She’s a master eco printer with the artistic eye of a designer, who seems to keep experimenting with new techniques.

I was able to combine my trip to Washington with a mini-college roommate reunion, since one lives only about an hour north of the art school. Here are some images of the workshop. Click on an image to see a larger view.  If you ever have the opportunity to take a workshop with Irit, go for it!  I learned so much.

Irit Dulman workshop

Some of my results:
Natural dyes: Logwood, Indigo, Cochineal and Weld
Leaves: Smokebush, Japanese maple, Sumac, Horse chestnut, etc.



** View available scarves in the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP.**






Dyeing with Onion Skins: Red or Yellow?

12 04 2016

Onion skins are one of my favorite natural dyes, with colors ranging from yellow with alum mordant to deep rust and brown (with iron).  I usually just mix them all in one dye bath… I’ve been curious whether red and yellow onion skins give different colors when dyeing silk, so I decided to do a test. I separated, then weighed out equal amounts of red and yellow onion skins, then simmered them separately in stainless steel pans for about an hour and let the dye cool and sit overnight.

red and yellow onion skin dye

Comparing dye color from red and yellow onion skins

I added some squares of silk into each pot: no mordant, alum pre-mordant, iron pre-mordant plus some cotton. The red onion skins gave a slightly darker, more muted color. I was surprised that pre-mordanting with alum didn’t make a difference in the color, at least this time. Simmering it longer, about 15 minutes, made more of a difference in color. The silk squares pre-mordanted with iron turned a very dark brown.

Dye test results

From front: Silk no mordant, with alum, simmered longer, iron mordant, cotton with alum

Onion skin dye test

Onion skin dye on silk: red on left, yellow on right

Results:

  • So far I still like the color I’ve gotten using a mix of red and yellow onion the best.
  • More onion skins to fabric and longer simmering times gave more intense colors.
  • Pre-mordanting the silk with Alum had little, if any, effect. (I don’t quite believe this one, so I’ll keep throwing test squares into future onion skin pots.)
  • Just a bit of iron mordant gives a very dark brown.

Here are a couple of examples of my eco printed scarves using onion skin dye.

scarf dyed with onion skins

Eco printed silk scarf dyed with onion skins (mixed colors)

eco print scarf with onion skin dye

Onion skin dye modified by iron, eco printed on silk with sumac leaves


*  Visit the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP. *






Eco printing on eggs

27 03 2016

I hadn’t used leaves and natural dyes to decorate Easter eggs in years, but since I seem to want to print leaves on everything these days, from cloth to clay, it was time to try it again. All my eggs were brown, so I stopped at the co-op to pick up some white ones to dye, and raided the bottom of the onion bins for skins. After a huge Easter brunch out with my friend Maria, I found a few small yarrow leaves that were up in the garden, plus some small sprays from a cedar tree. We layered the leaves under the onion skins, wrapped them in pieces of old pantyhose and rubber bands, and simmered for 10-15 minutes.

I love the golden brown the onion skin dye often produces, although Maria pointed out that the color wasn’t that different from my brown eggs!

Eco printed eggs

Eggs with leaves and onion skins

and on clay…

 








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