Welcome to My World

Thought I’d put up a few pictures and a little explanation about what I do down in my little basement art room for hours and hours on end.  Well, I start with prewashed white silk cut into whatever size/shape I need and then put a narrow hem in on the machine.

It took more than a few afternoons and some serious hair pulling to master that innocent looking little hem foot!  Not to mention the fact that I discovered that neither polyester thread or cotton takes my acid dye.  gah.  Silk thread only from here on out.  Okay, so after the hemming is done the pieces all need to be washed so there are no residual oils or grime that could inhibit the dye.

After washing, the fabric is ready for color!  Now comes the fun part.  With trusty color wheel close by and browsing through the Color Wizard I’m all set for the big moment – once the fabric accepts the first drop of dye there’s no turning back.  It’s a little intimidating, but it’s also very liberating – I can’t be too locked in to a vision.  The color and the silk are going to do their thing and I just mostly have to let it happen.  I can dye all one color (as seen here) or I will loosely scrunch the damp silk and pour the colors on, letting them mingle and blend as they will.  I can drape and pinch and twist the fabric, all giving me different effects.  Salt, alcohol, and water can be played with.  There’s also a technique using the microwave that works great for small pieces of fabric, ribbon, or silk yarn/floss.  Once the dying is completed the silk has to dry completely, then steamed to set the colors.

Meet Mr. Steamy (aka The Tin Man).  My hero, Mr. Handyman, built me this little beauty which, like pretty much everything involved in this venture, has been  a learning process.  Turns out too much condensation + unset dye = blotches and runs.  Good thing for the most part the defects can be cut away or camouflaged with marbling and strategic placement of foil has pretty much solved that little problem.

So, here we are with beautiful jewel colored silk ready for marbling and embellishing.

Future posts will detail some of these efforts.  Stay tuned!