Sunday, August 30, 2009

It Was the Blue, Dufus!!

The second attempt at the teal came out pretty much like the first- green! So the orange overdye didn't make a dent in the color on the first pieces I dyed. Here's the third attempt to get teal, drying on my Ikea rack-

That big spot of blue? I'm guessing it is where I poured on the soda ash solution.

Having decided that impatience was at the root of my issues, I thought about all the variables last night. The blue I used is a mixed blue from ProChem that a friend gave me a few years ago. I don't think I've ever used it on its own, so I have no idea how dark it can get. My guess is not very, since none of the pieces were particularly dark, and they should have been with the dye solutions I used.

I'm out of Cerulean blue, and probably won't put in an order to Dharma for a week or two. So I went back to my dye book- and found a swatch of cobalt blue and lemon yellow, on the Kona muslin even, that was reasonably close to what I want. The more I thought, though, the more I want to go get a yard of Kona cotton tomorrow, and try with that. For some reason, I just like the texture it added to this piece. And, I know I can get dark values with the cobalt dye.

In the meantime, having nothing to lose, I decided to overdye the green with straight cobalt dye. It's batching outside now- I'll probably wait til tomorrow to wash it out.

Having come to a standstill on the larger piece due in September, I went back to the small piece to be mounted on canvas. I bought a starter set of acrylic paints, even got to use a 40% off coupon from JoAnn's at Michael's. First I played on some watercolor paper, trying to see what colors I could get. I learned I'll use lots of yellow, I'll be getting a single tube of that. Then I painted the lime green I came up with on the canvas, using a foam brush. I just liked the texture that gave!

I checked it this morning, after all had dried. Wow, that green is IN YOUR FACE!! Having read in a book I checked out of the library that I can overpaint the color with another thin layer to tone it down, I mixed a pale gray, then mixed that with my glossy gel medium. I tried to stay with the texture I got yesterday. And yes, the gray did knock it back a bit.

There's a reason we ordered three canvases each!! I am thinking, however, of using this for a collage with more dryer sheets, adhered with the gel medium. Like the green fabric, I figure I have nothing to lose!!

Stay posted for the continuing saga of "Bev will get this teal fabric or dye trying!!"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Uglies

I did the overdye yesterday morning, and washed it out last night. And I was floored by the results- since when does dark teal blue plus pale, pale orange make--- GREEN???? (The swatch on top is the one I'm hoping to duplicate.)

In an attempt to salvage the pieces, I overdyed them again last night in more blue. After the washout this morning, I knew these pieces would be thrown on the ugly pile, and I'd start again from scratch. They are not only still green, it is not a pretty shade of green.

I decided I like how the pimatex took the color better, so I've got a half yard of it in what I hope will be teal- no overdyes this time.

This might have turned out differently had I 1)used the same blue, and 2)used the same fabric. I was out of cerulean blue, and haven't bought any Kona cotton for quite awhile. If this second attempt doesn't turn out well, I may just go get some Kona.

In the meantime, it's off to Sunflower for grocery shopping, and to Michael's to get some acrylic paints for the canvas I'll be mounting a small piece on. Hope my color mixing on that one works better than this weekend's adventures!

Friday, August 28, 2009

More Dyeing!

I have two yards in two separate dyepots, trying to replicate a color I got on one of Katy Widger's sequenced overdye system. I was auditioning fabric for a background on the challenge piece, and found some teal Kona that I'd done a few years back. I thought the color was perfect, but I had to do some wonky piecing to have enough- and I decided I didn't want any piecing lines. So I'm dyeing a yard of pimatex, and a yard of the Kona muslin to see which I like better. They're in their second dyepot, I did the blue last night and washed it out this morning. Now an overdye in a very pale orange should tone in down some.

The swatch of fabric on the right is the one I'm trying to duplicate. So far, looks good to me.

I tried Katy's formula for figuring out dye amounts on a single pot- like some of her directions, they were not easy to follow- I got lost. So I figured out my own system, and only have a little bit of extra dye.

Here's the piece I'm working on. I found some fantastic half yard and yard pieces of color parfait dyeing I did a couple of years ago- one was perfect! I did some fussy cutting, and this is where I am. I'm also using a piece I screenprinted at Rayna's workshop last April.

Shannon and I are off to Salt Lake today- I have a board meeting for surface design, and we will hit several stores. By the time we get back, I'll be able to wash out the dyepots. I did try something else different- I did not wash the fabric after the first dyeing, I just ran it through a couple of cold water rinse cycles in the machine. Don't know if I'll be able to tell any difference since the second dyebath is so pale. Anyway, the house has been cleaned from top to bottom, the laundry is started and will be easy to finish tonight. Hopefully that means I can spend most of tomorrow in the studio.

I'm continuing to play with my shutter speed on my camera- I stopped just west of Price on my way home last Saturday, and got these. I was going for the fuzzy water look, and liked what I got. I definitely need to get a tripod, however.

Hope your weekend is a creative one!

Monday, August 24, 2009

CQC and AQuA

I hung out in Grand Junction on Saturday after my workshop, mainly so I could attend a meeting of the statewide guild in Colorado- Colorado Quilt Council, and a meeting of the Art Quilt Association, the art quilt group in Grand Junction that I joined last spring.

The reason for attending CQC was to hear Barbara Olson from Billings. Unfortunately, the business part of the meeting took so long that we only got to hear about twenty minutes of her talk before we had to leave for the afternoon meeting. I did get a closeup look at a couple of her quilts- they were pretty amazing. This statewide guild has lots of members- I about fell off my chair when the treasurer gave her report. The group has a six figure bank balance, and I'm told that the figure doesn't include their CD's!!

The AQuA meeting was mainly for members to bring quilts for a challenge called Artifacts. Eighteen quilts were brought to be juried by Carol Shinn, who was doing a two day workshop for the group on Sunday and Monday.

Once all the quilts had been shown, they were on the floor where we could walk around and choose a member's choice award. I had a hard time, there were some well thought out and executed pieces. Here's the group, milling around to choose-

There was also a lively discussion about the future direction of the group- shows, workshops- the same kinds of issues we're struggling with in the surface design group in Salt Lake. AQuA has done a good job of finding venues for their art- this group will be hung at PIQF in California this fall.

I may not make more than three or four meetings a year, but I really enjoyed this group. They are articulate, encouraging, and have several members who consistently produce stellar art. I'm hoping to complete at least one piece for a show at Mesa Verde next year- Susan told me a number of pieces sold, always a nice thing! That would be next on my list of "to do", after the small pieces due at USDG in September.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

To Dye in Colorado!

I am home now- still tired, but feeling great after a wonderful two days in Grand Junction. I'm pleased with the results of my first teaching gig- we did lots of exercises to teach color runs, dyeing neutrals, and value gradations. The class was full of quick learners- some had dyed before, others had limited experience.

I learned that the prep work is as important as the class time. My work ahead of time paid off- other than trying to get the dyes mixed first thing that morning, I rarely felt stressed. And I was thrilled to get good feedback, with some excellent suggestions for making the next class even better.

The venue was great- a large room in the Goodwill building. We had to cover the carpet, but it had easy access to hot water, and it was roomy enough that everyone had their own table. Good thing, because everyone walked out with between thirty and forty small containers of fabric. A couple of people started their washout before I left yesterday- yes, I was very happy to hear that the colors were good. (My first nightmare was running out of dye powder, my second was having all the fabrics turn out pale and dulled!)

I did manage to get a couple of pictures of the class in the afternoon. They were a busy group!

Only one accident- here's Susan, who was also my wonderful hostess, after one of the dye container lids decided to come off while she was pouring.

Fortunately, it all came off with Reduran that evening! And, I am rethinking what I use for dye containers when I need larger amounts.

It was just a great day- lots of color, good camaraderie, and we even finished earlier than I was expecting. Everyone helped clean up the room and the kitchen- it just felt like it went off with very few issues. And I loved teaching it!

I was also thrilled to sell some of my fabric. I took parts of my stash to show colors, not with the intent of selling- but a couple people asked, so I sold! Next time, I'll be more prepared for that possibility.

I know some of the people in the workshop took pictures, including ones with me- I'd love to have some of those! And, I hope students post pictures of the fabrics they dyed!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back to Square One

After a couple of sleepless nights, a WAQ meeting (where I think nobody knew just what to say!), and an hour or so trying to figure out quilting designs- I have decided that this

just will not work. The negative space doesn't work, and I think I am trying way to hard to make my fabric be the idea. So I'm scrapping it.

Since I have four pieces I printed, I thought I would see what would happen if I cut it in strips and rearranged.

Nope. Maybe for a border, but it doesn't work on its own. So I'll toss these in my drawers where I keep bits of fabric for smaller pieces, and start over. (I will, however, keep this fabric in mind if I ever decide to do a Rohrshak quilt!)

How I am interpreting 'Passages' hasn't changed- stages of life, life passages we all go through, from birth to death. And, I want it to be abstract, not pictorial. So I came up with a shape, drew it in several sizes and iterations, and started playing.

I did a couple of designs with these shapes, then added circles in different sizes. Here's the two designs I came up with.

The bottom one just has way to much going on for me- it feels busy, no place to rest. I may try a couple of others, but reverse my process- figure out the circles first, and then add the second shape, which I want to predominate. And, I remembered why I wanted some vacant negative space- I may decide to add some text.

I want to get back to where I was when I made 'Out of the Blue'- it all just seemed to flow, nothing felt forced. And that one definitely started with fabric, but it was lots of fabric that shared some design elements. So how to find that flow again? I'm toying with doing some disciplined design exercises out of a couple of books I own. I'm also trying to figure out a more disciplined process with the photography- finding the shots that are under my nose that I'm not seeing now. When I figure it out, you'll know.

And, for something totally different- yesterday Shannon and I went to the Provo farmer's market again, and had lunch at a couple of vendors. We found Thai food that was good, and topped it all off with Hungarian crepes- filled with Nutella, topped with whipped cream and strawberries. Yum!

i will be getting my lists and supplies ready for my trip to Grand Junction on Thursday- I don't want to forget anything. My handout is ready, just need to photocopy it, grab a couple of dye colors from my stash, and get it boxed. I am so looking forward to getting away for a couple of days to spend it with folks who like fabric, quilting, and art as much as I do.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wilderness Adventures

Without going into a lot of detail as to the why, I spend part of the day up Diamond Fork canyon with a group of people. It's about ten miles or so from our house, and was lovely, green, and beautiful where we were doing our activities. I wasn't able to participate in all the activities due to a schedule conflict, but I did do this one- the second time I've done it in twelve years. It is a rush, my muscles are still feeling it.

Obviously neither of these people is me, since I took the picture after I came down. But if you click on the picture, you can see how we have two lines coming down. On the left, the rappeler is halfway down; on the right, the track I took, she's just getting ready to come over the edge. And if you think the rock face looks like a nice easy slope, it's not- it was pretty vertical much of the way down.

The climb up was a killer, I wouldn't have made it without some help from younger folks a couple of times. But it was worth it!

Sunday, August 09, 2009


I have been trying to get my challenge piece for the October show screenprinted all weekend. For some reason, I am getting a line on some of the prints, it is texture that is on the screen. And I can't figure out why.

The first one that I posted yesterday has it, a vertical line on the left. I did a second one, and managed to avoid another one until the LAST pull! So now I have done the first two pulls on my third piece of fabric- this time using a brush instead of a squeegee. I'm not sure how well that is going to work, but no lines so far.

I only have one more piece of this fabric, unless I use a lighter value for the background- and I'd rather not. So I will let the first pulls dry for an hour or so, and do the second, using a credit card instead of my bondo scraper. If I avoid one part of the screen, it seems to work better.

In the meantime, my hands are turquoise because gloves get in the way. If I am finally successful, I'll post a picture. Otherwise, you just might hear me screaming all the way across the country.

Friday, August 07, 2009

A Bit of This, A Bit of That

I have been in the studio today- in quick bits, since I need to let the dyes dry some before I print close to the previous section. I'm using thermofax screens I made a few weeks ago- I finally came up with a design on the computer I'm happy with. Here we are so far, I still have some more screening to do.

I'm glad I figured this to be a practice piece, since I already have a print goof. But it will still give me an idea of how the colors will interact, and if I have my images lined up like I want. Any idea what the screen image is?

I've been playing more with my camera. I took a three hour 'DSLR Essentials' class at a local camera shop last week. In September, I think I'm going to do the one they have outdoors, taking pictures with the teacher. I learned more, got some stuff clarified, and feel more confident with the camera. It was an interesting experience, being the lone Pentax in a sea of Canons and Nikons.

So tonight after dinner I decided to drive to where I have a good view of the windmills at the mouth of Spanish Fork canyon. I'm comfortable with aperture and depth of field, now I want to play with shutter speed. I figured the moving blades would be interesting to try to capture.

On the way to the windmills, however, I encountered two does having a late snack in someone's yard. I managed to get off a couple shots before they headed behind the trees.

That was a quick stop, however. I found a place with an awesome view of the windmills, and tried multiple settings on my camera. I love having the anti-shake function, since I don't have a tripod yet. I got this shot at the slowest shutter speed- love how I got the blurred motion!

It's a nice feeling to know I can use all the functions this camera came with- and get awesome shots. More incentive to work on my composition skills!

Tomorrow is Bentlee's ninth birthday party, we are doing it here. So Shannon will be making a small cake, and cupcakes in ice cream cones. No swimming, since it has turned a lot coosler- it feels pretty good. Hopefully I'll have time in the morning to hit the farmer's market in Provo.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Springville Art Museum Quilt Show

I not only got the binding sewed on and the housework (mostly) done, I snuck out for an hour in the afternoon to see the show at the art museum. It seemed a little smaller this year- there is road construction around the museum, making it harder to get to, and it looked like they are also renovating parts of the museum itself.

There was the usual assortment of traditional quilts, some of which caught my eye- but there were also some that were not-so-traditional. And, for once, I wasn't baffled by the judging. The quilts that got ribbons deserved them, IMHO.

Kaye Evans did this vibrant New York beauty quilt. The colors just sing!

I liked this playful arrangement of squares, and her color choices. This one was done by Lucy Peterson Watkins.

Lisa Brothman, who is in my surface design group, had two quilts in the show. This one really showcases her machine quilting skills.

I'm going to have to go back to the show to get this quiltmaker's name. I loved the textural dimension added by her quilting. I had a hard time getting the colors right on some of these pictures.

Shauna Mooney Kawasaki had two pieces in the show, both playful and NOT traditional. This one is titled 'Center Stage.'

I almost missed this piece, it was hung next to the old entrance area. To say it is textural is an understatement. This was done by Kirsten Barnhill.

I also went out to the newly opened sculpture garden. The garden area was green and restful, but I had to wonder. The sculptures ranged from classic to modern, in all kinds of sizes- there didn't seem to be any sort of unifying element among them, other than they were all the same medium.

I was playing with some settings on my camera for this one, and managed to get the picture I wanted.

Here's a couple of the modern pieces.

While I like the concept of art in the outdoors, the overall execution of this idea just left me cold.

I'm off to church this morning, then hopefully will get the studio cleaned up and the gifts ready to box and ship. Hope your weekend was a creative one!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

More Baby Goodies!!

I found out the onesies take the dye great- so we went out and bought another package. Here's the results for the smaller size we bought-

I did manage to get a couple of pastels, which is what Marly prefers. I thought the hot pink and turquoise would be more pastel- but hey, we got bright and vibrant.

Here's the next batch-

Isn't that shibori awesome!! The one on the far left was at the bottom of the color parfait, and came out a little muddier than I would have liked. But, it is pastel! The other two from the parfait got another dyebath in pale blue, which turned them a nice shade of green. Then Shannon added some discharge- nice,no??

I got the bumpers done, and a nice cuddly blanket only has the binding to be hand-sewn. Here's a bunch of the goodies that will be boxed up and shipped to Florida this week. I love the headbands they have now, they are so soft and stretchy!

So today is mundane housework and stuff, hopefully I'll also squeeze in getting the binding done. I also want to play with my thermofax screens for the quilt for September's show.