I have no idea! School lets out and all of a sudden everything goes…. to the beach? There i said it… Summer doesn’t help when you already suffer from acute procrastination and neither does living walking distance from the beach. However, with the odds against me, I have been felting, mostly on wall hangings with relief work done with multiple resists and adorned with needle felting. I forgot how much fun that was… I love the way you can cut away at the layers, a design element prominent in my work back when I was in school. Kind of funny the way your personal style transcends throughout your work over time and across a range of mediums, I was a painting major in college… I love texture and dimension and felting with multiple resits allows all of that good stuff to evolve naturally, such a beautiful medium to work with… I’ll be scheduling a multiple resist workshop at East End Arts for the fall, so stay tuned for that. I’ve also been dying and playing with lighter weight summery fabrics like cotton harem cloth and habotai silk (which is amazing I must say). I know people have been hand dying from natural resources since the beginning of time, but this is fairly new to me and I made a promise to myself at the beginning of the summer, that I would enjoy my children as much as I can, go easier on my hands (felt a little less for a month or so) and try new things… For my shibori soak, I collected several clothes pins, some rubber bands and a large panel of cotton harem cloth… I folded my my pre-washed fabric and clipped it to create a steady pattern throughout along with the rubber bands. Just keep in mind, that the tighter you clip and band your fabric, the less your dye will be able to permeate. Oh yeah, a little tip before I forget, for red onion skins, I made a little pact with the produce manager at my local grocery store. He saves the skins left behind in the onion bin and each week I can grab myself a little care package, pretty sweet! Just think, onion skins are just a phone call away… Then is was time for a hot soak, for about a half hour. For the dye, I covered the bottom of my pot with a 2 inch layer of skins. I covered the skins with water. Brought it to a boil and let it simmer for about an hour. I think if you’re going to try natural dying, red onions skins are a great first choice. The color draws easily from the skins and the range of earthy colors are hard not to love. I used a straining ladle to spoon out the skins, their job is now done… I let my cotton soak for the day. Along with the pinned fabric I showed you earlier, I also threw in another panel that I had rubber banded with styrofoam tubing, the more the merrier… Although direct sunlight is not recommended after dying, I had to take these gorgeous new panels down to the beach for a quick snap shot. So soft, and the colors so subtle and soothing, it’s so hard not to fall in love with natural dyes.
Thanks to my neighbor, I have a nice big stash of hibiscus and snapdragons waiting to get chopped and brewed. I’m saving my habotai silk for this batch, I can’t even imagine how heavenly this dye bath will be… I’ll be teaching a few felting workshops at the East End Arts Council for the next 3 weeks, click on the workshop page for more information, and be sure to follow on Instagram to keep up with my crafting ADD! Happy felting and dying everybody!