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Archive for June, 2008

Piece de Resistance

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Today was the last day of our thickened dyes/liquid resists class, and there was a flurry of activity as we tried to fit in lots of dye painting. When I arrived this morning, I first went to work painting the resisted pieces from yesterday. I mixed up some dark turquoise for these pieces. The first is the potato dextrin resist in which I stamped netting and a plastic grid. All photos are clickable for bigger view.

This is the back side, and you can get a better idea of how the resist is working. It is curing and will get washed tomorrow.

I also used the dark turquoise on the yellow/green silk scarf which had combed potato dextrin. Here is the front.

Here is the back which shows how the design created from the resist. I don’t know how well this will take the dye. Jeannette says that silk has fewer dye receptors so a second dye does not usually take. I did not know this and have often over-dyed silk. So we shall see!!

On the white cotton fabric which was screen printed with circles and stamped with bubble wrap, I used chocolate brown. I will probably over-dye this. This is the back side.

My next activity was to wash out the resist from yesterday’s dye-painting. This is a blurry photo of the torn paper screen print with corn dextrin. I think that I will discharge and additional design element on this piece.

The dye in the corn dextrose worked, but the black color washed out to a gray. The potato dextrin crackle gave it some great texture.

Jeanette demonstrated painting directly on fabric with thickened dyes without resists. I had lots of fun. Here is some free from painting on silk habotai. Hey, Picasso, I’m not!

On some organza, I stamped chocolate brown circles with a round sponge and then squirted black paint with a syringe.

This organza is painted with left over thickened dye that I gathered from other students.

A great time was had by all. I feel more competent to play with thickened dyes in my own studio. just need more time!!

A Hot, Sticky Day in the OCAC Dye Studio

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

My car thermometer was registering 103° when we drove home from New Seasons tonight. It was too hot to cook and even too hot to eat on the deck. I was so wiped out from the heat of a day in the OCAC classroom. I took a shower and Mr C and I drove to New Seasons for some takeout and a replenishment of some fruits and veggies. I had one glass of wine and I was loopy!!

Back to the workshop. The first thing I did this morning was to dye paint three pieces that had dried over night. Then, was the excitement of washing the dextrin out of the fabric that had been painted yesterday. Here is a sampling of the class work hanging to dry.

Here are my first two potato dextrin resist pieces.

And closeups. I really love the mosaic-like lines that are created.

These pieces were created by stamping with corn dextrin as the resist. Click for better view.

These pieces are drying  and will be ready for the thickened dye in the morning.

Potato dextrin, using a grid and netting to create patterns.

A cotton/silk blend, stamped with corn dextrose

An ugly silk scarf with potato dextrin. I am going to paint it with turquoise.

I am having a great time in this class. The members of the class are a wonderful, educated and enlightened group of women. There are 9 of us in all. Jeannette took such good care of us today.  She had her husband bring us cold lemonade and salty treats to combat the heat.

Into the Thick of the Dyes

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Playing with thickened dyes is something I have always wanted to do. Now, I have lots of ideas permeating my brain. When we arrived this morning, our potato dextrin pieces had dried and cracked into wonderful mosaic designs. Here, I am applying black thickened dye with a foam brush. This is very tedious and an Ipod with great music is a nice accessory. The dye has to dry and is then wrapped in plastic to cure for 24 hours.

This is the piece that had the masking tape and potato dextrin. I used a combo of black and red thickened dye. I should have taken a photo of the back because you can get a hint of how the resist is working and the wonderful design that is left. This was taken outside in partial sun. (It was nice and hot in Portland, today.)

Last night, I posted to the Complex Cloth list about this workshop. Someone mentioned that you can add thickened dye to corn dextrin and paint it on the fabric. Then, when it is dry, you can add potato dextrin and add another layer. So, I had to try it. Here, I have used a thermofax screen (I didn’t have the corn dextrin thick enough). I have added a layer of combed potato dextrin over it.

For this piece, I used a construction fence to paint the corn dextrose. After drying, I added potato dextrin.

I mixed up a great green dye which I used for the corn dextrin pieces. I think they are going to look great. Today, we had a session on screenprinting, which I didn’t really need. I did this torn paper screen print of corn dextrin on this piece.

I was so excited to find out that one of the bad girls in the back of the room made this “Bare Rug.” Tamara teaches at Lynfield College. The rug was on display and was stolen. You can read about its disappearance, here and its recovery, here. She brought it in for us to see today. This is a first in a series that she plans to do.

While I was waiting for Reva to drive us home, I saw this adorable young robin, playing in the shrubbery.

Will You Have Corn or Potatoes With That?

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

I spent the day up at the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts taking the workshop, Working with Liquid Resists and Thickened Dyes. Most of the morning was spent going over the usual safety guidelines, recipes for all the stuff we will be mixing up and samples of finished work. Then we selected 4 pieces of fabric to soak in soda ash solution and we each got some time to mix up containers of potato dextrin and corn dextrin.

Here is a photo of the classroom. I love the high padded tables that we have for our work space.

Reva is taking the class, too. We arrived a little late and so I ended up at the back of the room. I am one of those first children that likes to sit near the teacher and be the teacher’s pet. Instead, I am in the back of the room with the bad girls. I am kinda enjoying  it.

Here is my goopy work for the day. This is some blue hand-dyed fabric, before and after stamping with corn dextrin. I used two sized of bubble wrap and a round sponge.

This fabric is covered with potato dextrin. I ran a toothed plastic wedge through it on one side. The other side has plain dextrin with thin and thick layers. As it dries, the thin layers will get small cracks and the thicker areas will get bigger cracks.

This piece has masking tape with potato dextrin over it and then it was combed.

And this yellow fabric was stamped with corn dextrose.

These will dry over night and tomorrow, we will paint them with thickened dyes, which will then have to batch in plastic for a couple of days.

Here are some of our tools for making marks.

Reva irresistable today!


I want to thank all of you who responded to my Tasteful Art post. I really appreciate all of your comments. I wanted to hear what others thought about this. Collectively, the comments were very constructive. I was interested in how many of you mentioned the addition of another color to push the design. That was actually a comment from my critique group. One idea was to have different reds in the silk squares, or perhaps a lime green. I may try something like that. I will share my attempts to make it less tasteful!

I love my crit group. I have learned so much from them since we have been meeting together. Sometimes, I get so in my own head that I can’t see the forest for the trees. I couldn’t wrap my mind around this comment, and you all helped me work through it.

Tasteful Art

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

At my last critique group get-together, I brought this piece. It is constructed from some fabrics printed in a Rayna Gilman class, using found objects. They are combined with a batik fabric and some red silk. It is hand quilted with perle cotton. I named it Black and White and Red All Over. I know, how obvious and trite. It is not that large, about 10 inches by 12 inches. If you click on it, you can see a larger view.

Two members of the group said it was too tasteful and too predictable. The third said, what do you mean by that? Suitable for a hotel room? Then she said, but if you want to sell it, shouldn’t it be tasteful? As the person having my work critiqued, I am not allowed to say anything until they are finished. I think the consensus was that was what they meant. I admit to being taken aback by this and have been mulling it over for almost a week.

What does it mean when art is tasteful, too tasteful or not tasteful? Or what is the description we are striving for—edgy, interesting, cutting edge? But, can’t work be those things and still be tasteful?

Webster gives the following definition of tasteful:

having, exhibiting, or conforming to good taste

The definition of tasteless (I guess that is the opposite of tasteful) is:

a: having no taste : insipid b: arousing no interest : dull 2: not having or exhibiting good taste

I am sure that the critiquers did not think that art should fit the above definition for tasteless, but they obviously felt that there was something inherently wrong with art being tasteful or as they said – too tasteful. So, what should it be? What would make this piece less tasteful and is that what I really want to go for?

Help me! Please let me know what you think about this description. How would you interpret a critique of your work as too tasteful?

(Note: To clarify, this was not the extent of my crit — many design principles were discussed. Repetition, balance, etc. A look at the meaning (I had none) ensued. The predictable, too tasteful comments came up at the end of a pretty good crit.)