The last few days have been focused on painting and stitching. Whether I am happy about it or not (because it is an immense amount of hand stitching) the answer to this piece was to start stitching in the foliage in the ditch in front of the grain elevators.
This is the piece a few weeks ago. As much as I like minimal with most things, this was simply “not done”.
So I decided to start stitching in what would be the ditch in the piece. The brown is actually cotton embroidery thread naturally hand dyed in cutch and dipped in iron for the dark color. The greens are wool hand dyed in marigold again with an iron dip.
This is really time consuming work. Thankfully my husband has found a TV series for us to stream (House of Cards) so that we have something to watch during the hours and hours of stitching.
In the above detail the light brown is cutch on cotton and the yellow is marigold on cotton.
Here is the piece as of today. The foreground is filling in nicely. I think it has finally turned the corner.
Feel free to check out my finished pieces on:
It feels like I have really been lagging behind in blogging as of late, not so much because I have nothing to blog about, but more because I seem to have so much going on and life is quite busy. I seem to have a different fibre project in progress in every room of the house at the moment, plus illustrations and illustration reference pictures dotted all over the place; there is a lot going on.
We also just returned from another quick trip out to the “left” coast. My original plan was to get a lot of stitching done while we were out there, but I seemed to spend all the time that wasn’t on the beaches working in the garden and planting trees. I did get a solid 3 and a half hours of stitching completed on a ferry that was running very late (thanks to the driver of the blue mini-van that wouldn’t go and move their van for over a half hour so that they could actually unload the boat at Mayne Island…..long weekends…..sigh!). I was probably the only one on the whole boat who actually benefitted from the delay. The piece I was working on was “Rundle” so I thought I would do a “work in progress” post.
“Rundle” – before the latest work
Here is the piece after my last “work in progress” post.
Here is “Rundle” currently. The color looks a bit different as the first image was a quick shot taken outside while the second shot I took in the studio.
I have started working on the lower left hand corner. It still needs a lot of work, but I do like the color of the silk in the green leaves. Now I need to build up more plant life in this area.
I also added in more detail into the pale green leaves and started to stitch some detail into the lake. I will continue to add more mini foliage around the edge of the lake.
Swirls have been stitched into the sky area in fine silk thread. At the moment the effect is very subtle, however I think I may keep stitching in this area to make the effect stronger.
This piece continues to be a challenge. As the silk is so reflective, the look of the piece changes depending on the lighting conditions it is viewed under, this makes keeping good contrast quite a trial. There is definitely a lot more stitching needed to complete “Rundle”.
More bracelets all naturally hand dyed and hand tied by “moi!”. Tying was very successful this weekend, I played with adding some very fine naturally dyed silk thread and different beads. The colors in this set are different variations of madder, cutch and turmeric. I have new threads mordanting as I write plus some new dye colors to come in the very near future. Building inventory has never been so much fun.
(Online store coming soon, but if you just have to have a bracelet, please use the contact info below!)
(handcrafted & naturally dyed wearables and art)
This piece was originally going to be more about the naturally dyed silk and less about stitching and beading. Once I started on the sun I knew the whole focus of the piece just had to change. Even though this piece will probably take me 100 times longer than my original plan ( or at least feel like it is taking 100 times longer! ), beading is exactly what the piece is calling for.
( Need something to read? I also blog at www.debrahunter.wordpress.com and at www.islandhomeblog.wordpress.com . My work with Hunter Photographics can also be viewed at www.thehuntergroup.ca or on my Facebook page . )
For the last little while I’ve been dyeing and tying. Probably the first image that danced through your head as you read “dyeing and tying” were images of Grateful Dead t-shirts on aging hippies, but this is a little different. I will admit it is still a bit of a crunchy, earth-loving endeavor but with a rather nice product at the end.
I have been toying with the idea of either starting an on-line store or possibly doing a few markets. I love natural dyeing but felt I wanted to offer a range of naturally dyed items rather than just scarves or a few art pieces. The idea of naturally dyed bracelets seemed like a fun item to try.
I have been natural dyeing heavy cotton thread. Some of the dyes are from natural dye suppliers, such as the madder and cutch dyes that I am using. Other dye materials I have been growing (marigold) or finding in ditches (goldenrod). I like the concept of natural dyes compared to that of using chemicals to dye with; to me, natural makes sense.
I have been using the dyed threads to tie bracelets. Essentially the bracelets consist of hundreds of little knots. The pattern and color combinations are endless, making it so easy to create a one-of-a-kind handcrafted bracelet every time.
I have also been incorporating glass beads into the bracelets for a little sparkle, as well as utilizing repurposed buttons and wooden beads. I feel using repurposed buttons and beads along with the naturally dyed threads really supports the “green” concept of the bracelets. I love the idea of wearing something that is NOT mass-produced, that is one-of-a-kind, and is made by real hands.
I plan to spend the next few weeks tying, trying new color combinations and patterns, and adding new embellishments. I also need to come up with a child-friendly version as my three-year old keeps asking “Mommy you make me one?”.
I will update my website www.thehuntergroup.ca and my Facebook pages ( Hunter Photographics & Studio H ) with my progress of setting up an on-line store and any markets I may participate in. I am looking forward to creating an affordable, naturally dyed product….an easy way for anyone to wear something “green”.
Goldenrod Dye Test – from left: silk fabric, silk embroidery thread (previously dyed in “something”) cotton, cotton cord, wool yarn
It has been a little while since I have posted anything related to fibre art or dyeing.
I have a couple of projects currently on the go that are perhaps more time-consuming than I first planned (which pretty much means I let the beading get out of control!).
I have one quite small piece finished that needs to be mounted……..however……. with having had two major house issues in the last few months (sewer backup and electrical fire) I have no idea where the saw is at the moment to cut the wood backing. First the basement was completely ripped apart and now the ceilings upstairs; we keep shifting items from one part of the house to another part to allow the restoration company to do the work that needs to be done. Our kids say it is like moving house in our own house. Perhaps one day the saw will miraculously appear and I can finish the piece………………or my husband will use it as an excuse to buy another saw (let’s just say we have a history of that happening with drills).
I have been playing around a bit with the dye pot recently. Trying dyes on different threads and cords. A little bit of eco-printing (a post will be coming very soon). Yesterday I decided to try goldenrod.
I came across a good amount of the plant along a road a few nights ago and thought I would give it a try. Ditches are a fun and cheap place for dye plants, even if my children are scared of the spiders I bring home on the plants (they are especially afraid of the yellow spiders….who knows?!). I decided to go just with the flower heads, boil them up for a bit, pop in the items to be dyed for an hour, and call it good. The color emerged from the flowers very quickly. The items that seemed to take the dye the best were the wool yarn, the silk embroidery thread and the cotton fabric. I was especially thrilled with the result on the cotton, clearly scouring the fabric and then mordanting in alum made for a beautiful take up of the dye. The wool yarn also took on the color wonderfully. The silk embroidery thread is probably not showing the “true” color of goldenrod as it has been dyed previously in “something” resulting in an uninspiring shade of beige, so I figured “throw it into the pot and see what happens”. Well what happened is the color of thread I really need for a piece I am working on which is great (I just won’t ever be able to duplicate it again).
Just for fun I also threw these two rejects into the dye. They were originally eco-print failures of rose petals. The petal imprint came out very weak so I tried an iron dip which really didn’t improve things at all. As things couldn’t get any uglier I decided to pop them into the goldenrod dye. They are still ugly (no doubt!) but the fabric on the left that is silk has had the iron areas turn a purple color. I am thinking this may be worth exploring. The fabric on the right is cotton, and is still just ugly.
With the success of my goldenrod experiment my plans for the weekend are some country drives looking for goldenrod growing in the ditches. I may even try drying some flowers to use once winter hits.
(Just a reminder that portrait photography, art and paintings are being posted at http://debrahunter.wordpress.com )
“Yarrow at Hamilton Beach, Pender Island”
I have finally finished the canvas that has been on my easel for months. It is a painting inspired by the yarrow that grows wildly along the banks of Hamilton Beach on Pender Island. The painting measures 24 inches by 36 inches, and is acrylic on canvas.
Hamilton Beach will lead you along to the marina and pub at Port Browning. The marina is a great place to check out all the boats while the pub has fabulous fish and chips. Trust me, there is nothing better than eating fish and chips on a beach after an afternoon of kayaking.
The inspiration behind the painting.
The above photograph is what inspired the painting. Of course the painting is far from a photographic representation with my love of pattern and bold color. I am looking forward to finally hanging the painting on the dining room wall in our place on Pender; it will add a lot of color to a very beige wall.
I am also sharing finished art and photography pieces on my other blog Debra Hunter – Photography & Art
Island Home is where I share my images and experiences of Pender Island, British Columbia.
Now that I have your attention! LOL!
This is just a quick post for those who follow www.htheblog.wordpress.com and www.debrahunter.wordpress.com . In the next few days a few posts that have already appeared on “H……the blog” will be appearing on “Debra Hunter – photography and art”. I thought I would just give everyone the “heads up” rather than leave you thinking “Hey didn’t I see that before?”.
This just seemed to be a sensible way to set up the framework for the new blog and give it a bit of a kick-start.
Within a week or two it should be all new content!
Thanks for reading!
dimensions: main section of stitched and beaded silk – 18.5″ x 10″
overall dimensions including mounting – 29″ x 14.5″
medium: fibre art
materials: silk fabric, cotton fabric, wool yarn, cotton thread, bamboo thread, silk thread, glass beads, wire, jute, arbutus driftwood
“Prairie Dawn” is the ultimate “close to home” piece of art. The topic of the piece is a typical Alberta landscape complete with a straight horizon and patchwork fields. The natural fabrics and threads that form the piece have been dyed by hand in micro-batches of home-made dyes; and when I say micro, I mean micro….some of the batches are 2-3 feet of string….that’s it. The dyes have been made with tansy, strawberry, cranberry, blueberry, turmeric, marigold, arbutus bark, blackberry, cutch and madder. The marigold used as a dye stuff was harvested from my garden, the arbutus bark was collected from beneath our tree in our place in British Columbia, and the tansy was collected from ditches that run alongside fields just like those depicted in the piece. “Prairie Dawn” is mounted on a piece of arbutus driftwood suspended by wire reminding me of the barbed wire fences that criss-cross our local landscape. “Prairie Dawn” embraces the hand-made and home-grown attitude of early rural Alberta.
Beading detail in the rising sun.
Beading and stitching detail in the fields.
Well I finally tackled the item that has been on my “to do” list forever…..I updated my website. The website is www.thehuntergroup.ca . I had been avoiding it forever. I knew I wanted to add Studio H to the site, previously the site was only for Hunter Photographics, but I knew it was going to be a big job.
It took me about an hour to figure out how to think like the website program and work out how the website was mapped out. Unfortunately once I figured it out I realized the whole site needed reworking.
Nine hours and a reasonable amount of head shaking later the site was done. I still have a few bits to add in the near future. I also have the album sections to tackle; this will be a significantly time-consuming task of editing out old images and adding in new ones.
Editing the albums is always interesting, I am always left saying “Wow, I’ve sure shot a lot of people.”.
To check out the updated website, please visit www.thehuntergroup.ca .