Taking a Break With Some Beads

b_beading_7726 aThe knitting order is done. A painting has just been finished (post to come soon!). Panels have been primed with gesso. It seemed like a good time to mix things up a bit and spend some time on fibre art.

b_beading_7727 aI’ve taken a different approach to this piece compared to everything I did in 2014. First, this one is small; 10 inches by 12.5 inches or so (unmounted). Secondly, it is completely unplanned, it was a case of drawing out the image with stitch. I needed to loosen up the pieces to enjoy working on them and let them evolve and not have rules. I needed to shrink the size of the pieces as on large works the bead work was being lost in the scale. The beads worked wonderfully when viewing a piece in person (lots of “wow” factor), but on a computer screen the detail was completely lost. Unfortunately the reality now is that work needs to look better on a screen than in reality, that is how shows are chosen. So in keeping with “playing the game” I am going small with the fibre art pieces so that the beaded detail shows.

Now I am starting to flesh the image out with glass seed beads. Each bead is about 1mm in depth. Time consuming work. Last night I sat down to work on the piece, BBC documentaries playing in the background (slightly addicted to BBC docs!), and when I finally looked up at the clock it was 4:00 am. What is more, only a small portion of the area is done. Slow, slow work…and morning comes way too quickly when you work until 4:00 am or later.

b_beading_7728 aThe piece is again made of naturally dyed threads and fabrics that I have hand dyed in micro batches. The base piece is cotton dyed in marigold, the blue thread in the image above is indigo. There are also, to date, appearances of logwood, cutch, and a funky lac/madder combo (seems to be a weird personal favorite on cotton….no idea why).

I am using up bits and pieces from my stash of naturally dyed materials; making what I currently have work before I end up with an unmanageable amount of naturally dyed fabrics and threads. Next in the “stash busting” will be using some of the eco-printed fabrics, perhaps incorporating stitching and beading (of course!), and maybe going with creating functional items for a change.

Fibre art by Debra Hunter
www.debra-hunter.com
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Also check out the project I am building at
www.handmade-canada.com .

A project being built for for Canadian artists, artisans, writers, musicians and growers.

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I don’t know what it is….but I like it!

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This is one of those pieces that really wasn’t thought out much in advance. I knew I wanted to try a 3-D piece. I knew I wanted to try dyeing after all the stitching and the beading rather than my normal way of dyeing first and then embellishing.

This is really one of those “let’s see what happens” pieces. I cut a shape out of factory cotton, stitched with roving, beaded the piece and then dyed the piece before the final stitching. For dyeing I wrapped the piece with a few onion skins and very few marigold petals, and then bundled it up tightly with elastic bands. First I steamed the piece, but the color wasn’t quite what I wanted. I then placed the piece in water and a few more onion skins and simmered for a bit, and  let it sit for a few days. The piece was finally washed, dried, stuffed and stitched.

The color shifts are very subtle between the marigold and onion. I think the shifts may be soft as the piece is quite small making it harder to have the marigold and onion make firm contact. This is definately a style of working I will try again. I like how it is a bit unpredictable.

This piece measures 4 inches in height,  2.75 inches wide and 1.25 inches in depth. Materials used are cotton, glass beads, wool roving, onion skins and dried marigold.

Marigold Magic

This is a dying project that I’ve been working on for a while. Well “working” might not be an accurate word as it was a very easy dye process. I collected the marigold flowers from our garden, and broke apart all the petals. Next the petals were boiled, then the dye, flowers and all,were put into a jar with the fabric.  The jar was then put out on my deck and I simply forgot about it. One piece I tied, the other pieces were dyed just as they were. All the fabrics had been scoured and then mordanted in alum; the sheerest piece of fabric was a silk/cotton blend while  the other pieces were 100% cotton. My best guess is the fabric sat in the jar for at least 6 weeks, with most of that time being in the sun. The last week it lived in my kitchen due to the deck being covered with snow. I could tell through the jar that the fabric had dyed a lovely color, what I could not guess was what a horrible smell  boiled marigolds have after sitting in the sun for six weeks; it was a truly horrible smell. I absolutely love the color the marigolds produce and I will be growing a large garden full of them next summer for dyeing, but for now the challenge is to figure out what to turn these dyed fabrics into.

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