Tuesday, 25 April 2017

3 step mordant, 3 dye pots and a bit of smocking ...

An invitation to take part in the (Surface) Pattern Exhibition  at Unit Twelve Gallery, 27th April- 26th August 2017 ...  the opportunity to make more Smocked books.

Inspiration:  to replicate the gold tooling on the spine of the book with a feminine art form. Reminiscent of the smocked dresses many of us wore as children, and for some, the memory of the women who made those dresses.   

Dyes: Indigo, Madder and Goldenrod 
Mordant: 3 step alum and tannin (it may take 3 days but 'oh my', the colours are so clear.)
Fabric: Recycled bed sheet and linen threads
Paper: 130 gsm recycled cartridge paper

 Madder and Goldenrod dyed cotton and linens
 ... overdyed with Indigo to hush the fierce yellow

 In situ and Unit Twelve ... 

Topping up in June ....

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Darning revisited .....

New 'darned books' created for Grace Whowell (who owns and runs the gorgeous Beyond Measure), just in time for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival

 Years ago, with two small children and a need to make some money, I adopted the approach of only using materials that I already owned. One thing I had in abundance was a stash of previously loved woollies that had been lost to washing machine disasters. I no longer make these flower corsages, but I did hold on to the felted wool and scraps of my hand dyed linen threads - some of which have been used for the books.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

18thC Madder dyed fabrics ...

I find January and February particularly difficult months due to the lack of light and warmth, although it impacts my productivity it does allow me the time to pause, think and explore.  I've just had coffee with my friend and fellow book artist Annwyn Dean, she kindly brought along samples of 18thC madder dyed fabrics (from her vast collection of historical textiles), and was happy for me to tap her extensive knowledge re: historical textiles and their production. So much to think about and research ...

Here are some of the prints and books she has produced inspired by these fabrics ....


Saturday, 31 December 2016

Welcoming 2017 ...

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!!

2017 - Indigo Smocked Book 

Friday, 28 October 2016

Matchbox Book #3 ...

It's October and I had the opportunity to make another piece of  "Matchbox art",  to raise funds for the Yorkshire childrens' cancer charity  Candle Lighters  .... I couldn't resist!  

Exhibitors at this Novembers Crafted by Hand, 5th and 6th November, have been asked to make pieces of art that will fit in a matchbox. Visitors to the event will be able to vote for their favourite/s and buy them too, proceeds will go to the wonderful Candlelighters and the winner receives a prize from craft-and-design-magazine.

...  so, using: scraps of Madder dyed fabric, images and text copied from my Imperial Dictionary (published in 1882) ,  I made a 'Rose Madder' Smocked Matchbox book ...

2.6 cm x 1.2 cm spine: rounded, backed and lined ....

'Rose Madder' smocked matchbox book 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Madder Red ...

I received an open invitation to contribute to the Ethel Mairet Dye Project  - 'Dyeing Now' . A research project aiming to create and catalogue every natural dye recipe from Ethel Mairet's 1916 "Vegetable Dyes" publication.

I've always wanted to have a go at Madder red. So I chose Ethel's recipe 'Red for Cotton and linen', pg 105, and just as quickly abandoned it when I noticed 2oz Arsenic(!) in the ingredients list. I used the safer '3 step Alum and Tanin' mordanting method and cobbled together the Madder dye based on my own experience. 

Now then, I do chuckle when people use the words "Natural" and "Eco" when describing dyeing with plants. Any dyeing with plants needs to be undertaken with care and an understanding of which ingredients can be toxic. ( I steer clear of the toxic/ lethal ones!). 

Madder Reds and Pinks

Madder linens and leather. Madder was traditionally used to dye cricket balls

Madder and Indigo Smocked books -2016

If you are interested in taking part in the project please do contact:

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

More Indigo (and a few things from my compost bin)

Golden Rod, Avocado, Onion and Walnut over dyed with Indigo ...

 Using up scraps of cloth and book trimmings ...

The smocked books are currently taking part in the From the Earth Exhibition exhibition.
Book scraps will be comng with me to Crafted by Hand, July 3rd