Monday, May 22, 2017

glowing against the grey

"only connect!
that was the whole of her sermon.
only connect the prose and the passion,
and both will be exalted...
live in fragments no longer."
-e.m. forster, howard's end

it is strange, how ideas fold in on themselves and re-present themselves. a stray fragment whispered longings for something to make her shine. i gifted her with a star. seeing her joy, i sought to give this gift again. before i knew it, there was a tiny galaxy of stars, just there, glowing against the grey.

soon other celestial bodies whispered into existence.  moons. suns. planets.  these could be any or all, for what is in a name?  tiny echoes of the sunbursts and moonglows that have been manifesting in my studio. celestial fragments.

they look familiar. yet different. new.  ah! but of course! inspiration bathes us in its own celestial glow. jude hill's nine series of indigo moons and stars. pale resist-dyed "threadcrumbs" luminous in their deep indigo sky. jude has ever been a beacon in the star-filled sky of my creativity! so to keep that element, these celestial fragments are grouped in nines as well. to pay homage to the one who seeks "a cross-pollination" which "seeds a larger and exotic garden of delights."

so very different, yet related. these smoldering rust-printed celestial fragments would play quite nicely with jude's mysterious indigo jewels in that garden...


Thursday, May 18, 2017

creating rust

"i'm not the black sheep,
i'm the rust-dyed one!"

a lot of rust-dyeing and rust-printing has been going on around the studio these days.  i've been creating new techniques and exploring old ones further.  you'd think it would be a simple task, and perhaps it is. at it's core. but there are so many alternative options and nuances to be discovered here. things that go far beyond simply wrapping a rusty object in wet cloth.

for instance, in the photo above, i have what i have come to call a "dye plate" in use.  for me, a dye plate is any flat rusty object that can be used to print or dye rust onto fabric or paper.  this is different from dimensional rusty objects in that you are more able to control the pattern it creates.  my dye plates range from identifiable images (like the grizzly bear above) cut from raw steel with a plasma cutter, to flat panels of raw steel used for overall dyeing and in contact shibori dyeing (which i also refer to as "nouveau shibori" or "guerrilla shibori"), to cast iron objects with flat or low-relief designs.

the process is more involved than simply wrapping the rusty object in wet cloth and leaving it alone for a bit.  you have to monitor it. coax it. feed it.  the cloth must be kept wet. for even prints, sometimes parts of the cloth must be allowed to dry while other parts are kept wet longer.  the "dye blooms", which are what i refer to the bleeding or running bursts of migrating rust marks, need to be manipulated to create pleasing backgrounds.  this is done by saturating some areas heavier than other with vinegar water, by covering the cloth in plastic to encourage condensation, and other techniques.  a single print takes anywhere from 48 to 72 hours to mature.  more complex prints, with overprinted and axillary images can take a week, or even a month, to create.

i will be going more in depth into some of these, and other developing techniques, here in the blog as time progresses.  it has been a fascinating journey and i am eager to share it with you.

until next time...


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

a sense of home

"there is nothing
half so pleasant as
coming home again."
-margaret elizabeth sangster

in the midst of a flurry of rust dyeing for new projects and my new etsy store, i find myself drawn to my collection of wip's and ufo's. not in melancholic yearning, but as drawn to old friends whom i've not seen in a long time.

there is a comfort in knowing they are there. waiting. ready to pick up where we left off. harboring the glowing embers of fond memories. memories that rise with open arms and envelope you in a warm sense of home.

it's heartening to know these friends are there. will be there. whenever needed. even when they are temporarily misremembered...