Thursday, April 27, 2017

Flower Pounding

I continue to be amazed at the multitude of techniques for fabric surface design.  I just made a quick trial of flower pounding, inspired by one of the books I just purchased in Fredericktown: Flower Pounding by Ann Frischkorn and Amy Sandrin (C&T Publishing, 2000).  Flower pounding is just as is sounds, hammering fresh flowers into prepared fabric.  The fabric (cotton muslin) is prepared just as you would for dyeing with plant dyes - alum and soda ash.

A quick tour of my property for blooms yielded violets, lilac, bluets, spring beauty, pink dogwood, redbud and weigela.  Here is a sampler of those flowers:

The lilac was most disappointing.  I love the clusters of the tiny pale purple flowers this time of year, and the air now is heavy with their scent.  The pounding process on the lilacs only resulted in a murky pinkish-brown.  The bluets and spring beauties, tiny delicate wildflowers, dissolved into a pulpy mess.  The redbuds had nice color, the weigela was another murky mess.  The pink dogwood - oh, my!  It actually came out darker than the fresh flower, and the parallel veins imprinted onto the fabric -lovey!  The violets went splotchy, but notice the color of the flowers.  Are you thinking what I'm thinking?  What would happen with violets in a dye bath?  I have one little piece of prepared silk that didn't make it into the last plant dye session.  It might take a lot of violet flowers to do it, but I am going to try dyeing with them.

One important matter when you are collecting plants or flowers from the wild: be sure you are not picking anything that is rare or endangered, and no matter what, only take what you need.  For every one that you pick, leave at least ten of the same plant undisturbed.

Oh yes, here's more of the lovely pink dogwoods:

Happy spring!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Traveling through Ohio

The Fredericktown Quilters' Market Day was successful for me, if not in cash, definitely in books.  I added six new books to my personal library, along with some magazines and two other books that I already have, but will eventually be door prizes at a future class.  Thank you to those of you who made purchases from me!  I hope that you will find some new skills in this blog, at least you will be entertained by my ramblings.

It looks like I will be a regular presence at the Zanesville First Friday gallery walks through the summer.  Every first Friday of the month in Zanesville, the downtown art galleries open late and have special events from 5 PM to 8 PM.  I will be in the Masonic Temple at 38 North Fourth Street.  I will have mostly finished art work - fabric boxes and small art quilt wall hangings - but I usually bring a small selection of hand dyed fabric too.  Stop by and visit!

Here are two views of my table last month, tucked inside a vacant office:

Images copyright RPS. Please do not copy or repost.

The Masonic Temple was built in 1903, and retains most of its original interior.  This was the view out of my little office-for-a-night:
You'll never see new woodwork like that!

Despite not yet attempting the pirhi eggs I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am working on some flower pounding on fabric, from one of the books I just purchased.  Check back on Thursday to see if it works!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

See, hear and taste

A week of my life gone, vanished in the process of doing my taxes!  Here's a quick report on my trip a few weeks ago to the annual Original Sewing & Quilting Expo in Cleveland.  This is the one held at the I-X Center, the former WWII bomber factory (later produced tanks during the Korean War).  Lots of history in those walls.

I saw the SAQA "Two by Twenty" exhibit - delightfully inspiring, as expected.  I noticed a few quilts whose edges were not bound in the traditional manner, looked to be just stitched very close to the edges to hold the three layers.  I will be exploring this "non-binding" in the next few months.

As I was anticipating having to pay a bunch on my taxes, I could not purchase much, but I found a few mixed bags from a couple different vendors:

Kimono silk scraps, and a bunch of fancy ribbons and trims.  I cannot resist embellishments!  I see more crazy quilt-type collages in  my future.  Stunningly, where I bought the most was not from a sewing vendor.  I purchased a small fortune of blended teas from SubRosa Tea.  I'm not much of a tea drinker, but their blends are quite creative and delicious.  I am enjoying Pina Colada, Spiced Mexican Chocolate, Cafe Latte, Strawberry Ginger, Chocolate Mint, and Coconut Truffle.  I appreciate creative and quality food as much as I love beautiful dyed fabric and art quilts.  To finish off this ramble on appealing to the senses, I have been listening this week to Verdi - Il Trovatore, Smetana - Ma Vlast, and Mendelssohn - Hebrides Overture and Symphonies #3 and #4.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Slovenian Easter Eggs

I recently discovered an intriguing Slovenian tradition that will be of interest to dyers and surface design people.  The tradition is pirhi, a method of using plants to not only dye, but decorate, Easter eggs.  Small flowers and leaves are wrapped around raw, whole eggs, then boiled in a pot of onion skins, cooking the eggs and coloring the shells in one step.  The leaves or flowers act as a resist, leaving a lighter imprint on the eggshell.
Not the sort of egg to use for pirhi!

If only I hadn't used all of my onion skins for a small silk dye bath over the winter!  I want to try this.  I'm sure I could use any edible dye plant for pirhi, perhaps red cabbage or beets for starters.  I learned about the pirhi tradition from Our Voice, the newspaper of the American Mutual Life Association, Cleveland, OH (3/14/17).  There is a short video of the pirhi process here.  Enjoy!

Later this month, I will make my own pirhi, be sure to check back for the results.  Meanwhile, I have more ramblings about children's book illustrators. and one of these days I am going to quilt that purple collage!  Next week, I will also write a bit about my visit to the Original Creative Festival.  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Mark Your Calendars

Rags Paper Stitches will be vending at the Quilters' Market Day, Saturday April 22 in Fredericktown, OH.  I will have a little of everything; it is advertised as a "flea market for quilters."  I'm planning on bringing hand-dyed fabric, Creativity Kits, funky yarn packs, vintage sewing collectibles and textiles, commercial batiks, thread, patterns and more!

Looking ahead to October, I will again be a vendor at the Mutton Hill Quilt Show in Akron, OH, October 13 and 14.  I hope to have a few additions to my usual crop of dyed fabrics and vintage finds by then - perhaps thread, patterns and books.

If you are in Ohio, please come and see me at these shows!