Archive for the ‘Color’ Category

My Fabric Stack(s)

October 11, 2011

My hand-dyed fabric stacks

An Informal Fabric Stack Project

Last week on her blog, artist Lisa Call had a fun idea – have each of us that has stacks of fabric take photos of our stacks and post them on our blogs and then add a comment on her blog, so that we can all go enjoy looking at each other’s colorful stacks.

This idea sprung as a tangent of another similar project – the Paper Stack Challenge – that Seth Apter of The Altered Page posted on his blog.

The idea in either case is that multiple artists will post photos of their own “stacks” on their own blogs, and then add a link in the comments section of either Lisa’s post (if fabric artist) or Seth’s post (if paper artist), so that everyone can check out all the cool “stacks” we’ve all got.

One of my racks of fabric.

Yes, I’m a Fabric Junkie!

But really, what textile artist isn’t?  Ok, some of us are worse than others.  I currently have a (spouse-imposed!) limit of 4 (oops, make that 3) racks of fabric.  Actually, the limit is for my own good and I need these boundaries, otherwise, well, my studio would likely become over run with fabric and I’d be so overwhelmed I’d never get anything done.

Another of my fabric racks.

I’ve acquired quite a stash in the few years I’ve been working in textiles and I do weed through it on occasion and donate some of it to charitable causes.  I’m working mostly with my own hand-dyed fabrics these days, so some of those commercial fabrics I found at thrift stores don’t quite have the same appeal now that they did back when I first acquired them and I know others will put them to good use.

A mini stack - a textile painting waiting to happen.

And sometimes it’s just necessary to let go of the old to make room for the new!

If you have a stack you’d like to share, please do join in the Informal Fabric Stack Project on Lisa’s blog.

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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.


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