Second Hand Fabrics

May 30, 2012

Oh, Nicola is now, speaking my language: second hand stores.  I openly admit as a true artist that I have rescued items with a bit of dumpster diving, which ended up being excessively valuable. When I first time visit a town I do not head for the tourist attractions but I scan the environment for junk stores.  I found a little fabric store many years ago, along the side of the road not unlike a fruit stand. It was near a quaint town population just under 200. The store was crammed pack with 100% natural fabrics that were end roll or bolt ends.  I found delicate cottons, silks alongside heavy-duty sailcloth. Oh, I had so much fun dying those fabrics and I still have a few left in my stash. Sadly, the store was torn down in lieu for a convenience store.

 

I read an article in the NY Times that  the cotton industry has discovered a way to  intermingled nano Millimeter ( I forget the actual weight but it was microscopic) of  synthetic  to reduce shrinkage, yet the amount is so small it  is still legally label it 100% cotton. This explains why newer items such as tee shirts and linens will not dye properly with procion dyes.  Yes, I have taught classes on beach towel dyeing using a kiddie swimming pool.  Have you ever wondered by some 100% cotton tee-shirt seems to be hot or slightly itchy? This small percentage of non-natural fiber keeps the fiber from “breathing”, or allowing the air to freely flow through the garment.

 

The only true test is doing a burn test, which I found this one of the most useful tools I learned at art school.   For a final test in this class, I was presented a pile of samples and required to identify the contents by burning them.   A small sliver is fibers, held of course with tweezers or tongs, set a flame with a match, various fibers will have a different burn rate, odor, and a distinctive ash or rubbish result. I have worked with textiles for over forty years and yet garments or unmarked fabrics have deceived me especially some with the distinct feel of silk, when tested will burn into a hard uncrushable black ball and smell foreign.  Silk will scent of burned hair and crush into ashes.   Plant fibers have the odor of paper burning while all animal protein: wool, silk, leather have the smell of when you get too close to an open flame and your eyelashes get  singed, the stench of burning hair.    It is a fascinating, to me after I wrote this, I discovered there are several web sites with the various  test results.

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Felted Postcards

February 9, 2012

I adore postcards,  and have collected them for over 40 years, even though the internet can take us to exotic lands, postcards are a signal that some one thinks of you even while they are gone.  Over the years, I  have been in several multimedia post card exhibits and it is great fun.   I would like to see  a twist on the travel postcard event by  creating felting post-cards about HOME.

This challenge is called “Postcards from Home” and features small (4 inch by 6 inch) pictorials of scenes from you home environment: landscapes, perhaps a historical  point of interest.  Some suggestions to get you thinking about a pictorial postcard:  the natural environment, such as mountains, deserts or coastal scenery; native flora and fauna; images of agriculture such as farms, ranches and dairies; man-made scenes, such as towns and cities, bridges, monuments, museums, and theme parks; historical images from home past; and recreational settings.

Deadline:  August 15, 2012
Open to all
Size:  4 inches by 6 inches (traditional postcard size
Writing may be included
Make a label for the back of your postcard containing the following information:

Postcard from Home Challenge 2012
Your Name and Address
Title of Postcard
Location of scene

On a separate piece of paper, please include a short paragraph explaining the scene you felted and any additional information that you wish to share.  This information may be used in promotional materials and articles concerning this challenge.

Bring the finished postcards, or mail* the finished postcard to me.  I will document and photograph each postcard. I would like to take a display of these postcards to various exhibits. We have a Final Friday exhibit here in my hometown of Lawrence, KS. There is First Friday in Kansas City, MO. There is a large possibility of several national venues for a traveling exhibit but locations are undisclosed at this time.

 

Leave a response if you might be interested.  The pieces will be auctioned off for a charity fund raiser TBA later. So this is a mere feeler for a response.  I may extend it to fiberart postcards, since  my circle of acquaintances extend way into the fiber world: weaving, surface design, beading,  hand made papers,  fabric design, dying, indigo, baskets etc. i have yet to decide.  What a great way to get your work SEEN by a groups of people.

New project

February 4, 2012

I have been working on this for 2 months but my day job has so rudely interrupted my process.  It involves, merino wool with silk wrapped in a spiral around the cylinder of wool  that was created with a resist and loose locks left unfelted. Then,  direct application  of acid dye  was applied after  a 4 inch PVC pipe was inserted into the felted cylinder and scrunched  using a Japanese method.   I found it interesting that the silk dyed a different shade of blue even though both the wool and silk were white.

This is a detailed of the piece that is 9 inch circumference with a height of currently 17 inches but with the copper tubing  it will extend it to 24 inches. The copper tubing and  the base is still in design stages but as soon as the piece is completed decent pics of piece will be posted.  I am very excited about this piece but currently I am still mending from a rotator cuff injury, which is adversely affecting my ability to felt.