Archive for May, 2010

Playing with Color

May 26, 2010

Dyed fabric, rinsed and ready for more washing.

This past weekend we finally had our first 80 degree day so I decided to take advantage of the warm weather and dye some fabric.  Mostly I just needed a non-verbal day to relax and be by myself, with no pressure of deadlines or deliverables and I was just really wanting to play with color.  I have some ideas about new textile paintings I want to start, but I needed some play time and this was my answer.

I used the low water immersion dyeing process, loosely following the process Ann Johnston describes in her book, Color by Accident. My friend Lisa Call taught me her version of this process last summer so now I’m trying out what I learned from Lisa on my own and will eventually pass on what I’ve learned to other artists as well.  I love our artists’ community of learning and teaching each other new things.

Concentrated dye solution ready to go.

I like this process because, even though you can start with a general idea of colors that you want to achieve,  you never know quite what colors you’ll end up with (unless you are a control freak and painstakingly measure and write down all your dye recipes, which I have no interest in doing).  This makes it fun and interesting.  It also virtually guarantees that you’ll never get the same exact fabric color twice.  This appeals to me much the same way as making original art does and reminds me of something I was taught in a beginning painting class years ago – that it is preferable each time you put your brush back to the palette, to attempt to load it with a different combination of paint.  That way, you always have more interesting variation of color on your canvas, even if you’re painting a large area of a (seemingly) single color.

1 yd pieces of dyed fabric in their tubs.

By layering up to 3 or 4 pieces of fabric in each tub, you end up getting a range of values of a single color, as each successive layer is lighter in value because there are less and less dye molecules left in the dye bath to be absorbed with each layer of fabric added.  Mixing the dyes to get an interesting starting color and then watching what happens as the dyes change in color as each successive layer of fabric is added, is is a fun way to learn about color theory and dye properties.  In the photo below, you can see how the layers of fabric in each tub get lighter successively.

Low water immersion-dyed fabrics curing in their tubs.

Although I had fun, I kind of forgot just how much work it is to dye 60+ yards of fabric!  I’m still really glad I did it, but it turned into an all weekend and into Monday am project before I was “finished” (technically I’m not really finished, as I haven’t yet ironed all of this fabric just yet).

60 yds of dyed fabric ready to be ironed.


Art Quilt Show at Infinity Gallery

May 15, 2010

Triathlon Swim Start (c) Ayn Hanna (28"x43") Textile Painting (cotton fabric, fabric paint, cotton batting, cotton and rayon thread)

My “Triathlon Swim Start” textile painting has been juried into an online Art Quilt Show that opens today at Infinity Gallery.  The show will be exhibited online through August 15th.

This piece is based on a photo of the start of my swim wave of the Boulder 5430 Sprint Triathlon.  I used a fused applique process for construction, applied fabric paints, and quilted it on my long arm quilting machine.  For those not familiar with the sport, triathlons include swimming, cycling, and running (in that order).  The start of the race is typically broken into a handful of “waves” or groups of swimmers, based on age group/gender and the groups start “en masse” at 5 minute intervals onto the swim course.  It’s the most exhilarating part of a triathlon (well, besides crossing the finish line) because this usually takes place just as the sun is rising (triathlon races start earrrrly), you’re standing in very cold water with a bunch of other somewhat nervous people that are all hyped up on pre-race nutrients, knowing that when the horn sounds you’ll be thrashing your way through a race start that invariably will include getting kicked, punched, knocked around and swam over by some faster, stronger swimmers.   Sounds like fun, no?

While I’ve always loved sports, I’ve only been doing triathlons for the past few years.  I train in northern CO with a fun bunch of teammates at the Windsor Triathlon Club.  It takes a pretty substantial commitment of both time and energy to prepare for triathlon races and finding the time for training to race in 3 different sports can be a challenge sometimes.  The bike is definitely my strong suit – I’m a pretty good cyclist and love to ride.  The swim and the run are more challenging for me.  While I do like to swim, I’m pretty slow and in my opinion, the best thing about the swim is that I get to get on my bike and ride once the swim is done.

My first triathlon of the 2010 season is coming up in just a couple weeks – the Pelican Fest Triathlon in Windsor, CO.  It’s a fun early season local sprint distance triathlon (Swim ½ mile, Bike 10 miles, Run 3.1 miles).  I am hoping for some sun and warmer weather to arrive before race day on May 29!


May 6, 2010

I find it’s really important to have clear goals and plans to keep me on track with the many important interests that I’m pursuing.  Juggling my day job, family relationships, self care, and art career are challenging enough even with an organized plan.  It would be total chaos without one.

Recently, I participated in one of Christina Merkley’s “Shift-It” group training sessions which really helped me gain clarity on where I’m headed and develop an organized plan to get there, across multiple facets of my life.  (I highly recommend the Shift-It program for anyone who really wants to make a change to their current situation and would like some help in clearly defining goals, plans, and ways to break through their own resistance.)  Through the Shift-It course, I first developed my Goals, then developed a Big Picture Plan which had 3 top level action areas in support of reaching those goals, and then for each of these Big actions, I created a Take Action Plan which includes the smaller tasks required to achieve the Big actions.

Below is a picture of my Take Action Plan.  It’s comprised of multiple sticky notes, each with a specific task.  It’s also a pretty dynamic plan, because I am constantly completing tasks and removing them from the wall and just as quickly, coming up with new tasks to add to take their place.  It’s all linked together, so I know that by working on completing the small tasks, I’m always making progress and headed in the direction of my ultimate goals.  It’s my anchor and compass, to get me where I want to be.

My "dynamic" Take Action Plan

Developing an Art Career

One of the action areas of my plan, in support of developing my art career, is to establish an exhibition record.  One of the tasks associated with that is to identify a list of potential juried shows to consider entering, noting their entry guidelines, and putting the entry due dates on the calendar.  Getting this information captured and then noted on the calendar really helps me to structure my plans and adds a nice incentive (i.e. “deadline looming”) to help me get pieces done.  Here’s a photo of my list of potential shows to enter for 2010.

I won’t be entering all of these shows (my goal is 2-3 this year), but having this list helps me map out and manage how I’ll focus and spend my studio time throughout the year.

What big goals do you have for your art career this year and what tools and processes do you use to keep yourself on track?

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