"I begin with an idea ... and then it becomes something else"
~ Picasso

Saturday 25 February 2017

the mystery of indigo moons ...

back in November 2016 I attended a workshop on indigo dyeing
with maker Sarah Johnson at The Exchange Gallery in Penzance

before we got going with the dye...
Sarah gave us a short talk on the history of dyeing with indigo
a bit about the plant leaves and how to make up the dye bath ... "dos" and "don'ts"
and showed us various ways of creating patterns on cloth and paper with resists

to save time, Sarah had already made up the dye bath in preparation for the workshop
and kept it warm in a large vat so it was ready for us to use

here she is stirring the dye very carefully so as not to get too many air bubbles in it ...

I'm used to dyeing and experimenting with different methods using resists etc.
but I had never used a clamp as a resist before ...

a long strip of cotton fabric was folded concertina style and clamped together
before dipping in the indigo dye ... the longer you leave it in the vat the deeper the colour
(some people also use blocks or disks before clamping)

so ... now I know how all those perfect indigo moons are created that I see around the net

these are my indigo moons ...
and other cotton fabrics with folded, tied and waxed resists

resists with wax on cotton and paper

tied resists with elastic bands

squares created with pressure resist using wooden blocks and rubber bands

we each dyed a large pile of cotton fabrics and a calico bag to take our samples home in

I used all the techniques of folding, wax resist and tie dye resist to decorate my bag
dipping the bag in the dye at each resist stage

and this is the back of my bag ...

I lined the bag with greaseproof papers before applying the wax to the bag
and was rather pleased when I discovered that, not only did it serve it's purpose of
preventing the design on one side of the bag ruining the design on the other side,
but also had the potential to take the dye itself ...

so I experimented with creating waxed indigo patterns on the greaseproof paper ...

it was a fun, playful day with friends
we all went home happy with beautiful bags full of useful samples
that will come out one day for just the right project

at the moment ... I'm enjoying having them hanging up in my studio for inspiration

back to the Surface Treatment Workshop ...
I've finished up my samples (pretty much) working with aluminium foil
just to prove to myself that the last samples weren't a "fluke"
I painted another seascape on the foil using the pva glue and acrylics

I think I like this one even more ...
for the crackle, layers of paint and movement of the sea

like beach streams ...

in the last post I talked about drawing on the reverse of the foil instead of embossing
this creates great possibilities for working your own designs

I tried it with really simple pebble shapes to see how it would work out ...

I gave it a colour wash and then painted in some of the pebble shapes
using watercolours / h2o paints ... but zapping with a heat gun between applications

it's interesting and has potential as a technique

above ... I embossed the foil with pieces of real seaweed
before applying watercolour and h2o paints

and finally (with the foil) ... here are my limpets

a 3D piece capturing the texture of the limpet shells
and painting into the foil
(not finished yet ... in progress ... I've still got to add markings with artist pen)


some seaside inspiration from my flickr page and favourite artists / images

I've worked on covering my sketchbook and can now spend a happy afternoon
gluing in my samples for The Surface Treatment Workshop

I look forward to posting the next workshop samples
on Wednesday - experiments with masking tape
thank you for reading and for all kind comments x


Monique Tirtaine said...

que tout ce travail est beau!!

Carol Rigby said...

I love that technique with the pva glue and acrylic. I will have to give it a try. I am really enjoying this surface treatment project and can't wait to see more.


Merci Monique

Carol ... thanks so much. I hope you enjoy trying the pva glue and acrylic technique ... work the paint into the glue while it's wet and leave for a few hours to let it work it's magic xxx

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Oh. My heart just skipped a beat I'm sure. All that blue....just oooooh. Not that blue is my favourite colour or anything. Once I finished wiping drool over all the blue, then I had to re-mop over the seascape. Keep this up Carolyn and I'm going to have to waterproof my keyboard!!