Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Away Too Long

Despite declaring just last week that I'm putting aside
all studio projects in order to meet an important 
mid-August deadline, this shirt -
this much loved, well-worn, (stained) white shirt - 
kept begging for a new lease on life.
Unable to ignore it any longer, 
out came a dye pot and a bag of yellow onion skins.
 I pre-mordanted the white shirt in tannin, 
and followed that with an alum soak.
The next day, the onion skins were simmered for an hour 
and then steeped for an hour.
Aiming for a mottled effect, I laid bands of onion skins 
directly onto the shirt hoping they would deposit 
concentrated doses of color where ever they made contact
with the shirt.
 Then, I carefully rolled it all up.
 Loosely tied with organic jersey strings, this is the bundle 
as it first entered the dye pot.
Mid-way through the 24 hour soak, I removed the strings  
and opened out the shirt allowing for full contact 
with the dye bath
Cross your fingers that the skins on the interior of the shirt 
had enough time to deposit concentrated color
 Rinsed and hung to dry, the shirt looks great.
A soft, mottled effect is visible, 
the overall color is rich, 
and I couldn't be happier!

This is the first natural dyeing I've done 
since last summer, and clearly I've been away too long.
After the mid-August deadline is met, I have a feeling that
the dye pots will once again be put to use.
Perhaps Indigo?
Now that's an exciting thought. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hello, Planetarium

 I am smitten by Planetarium

Over the weekend at the Finger Lakes Lavender Festival  
my friend Marjorie and I met Esther Yaloz, 
textile designer and owner of Planetarium.

Esther is as lovely as her work, and I just couldn't 
leave the festival without an item to covet from her booth. 
If you're in the area, she also sets up shop at 
the Ithaca Farmer's Market about every other Sunday, 
although it's best to follow her on Facebook for 
updates on where she's selling. 
Esther also sells online, here.

Many of you are so kind to ask about my adorable 
and spunky 3 year old neice, Fabrizia,
a.k.a. Breezy.

Jeff and I were fortunate to spend four days with her 
over the Fourth of July holiday. Every day brought 
fishing, reading, swimming and roasting marshmallows!
With a little help from her Uncle Jeff, she caught at least 
a half dozen fish in Keuka Lake. She even pulled out the worms 
from the worm bucket. Impressive!

For the past few weeks I have set aside all work in the studio
so that I can focus on a mid-August deadline for 
Quilts=Art=Quilts 2014.
The work is thrilling to me, albeit slow and steady.
It will be a few more weeks before the studio gets back to 
normal, if there even is a normal? 

In the mean time,
I'd love to hear what you're working on this summer!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Everything Old Is New Again

Recently soaking up every ounce of the Folklore issue of
Selvedge MagazineI was pleasantly surprised to find 
a few articles devoted to the recent come back of 
wood block printing, on both wallpaper and textiles. 

Wood block prints occupy a warm place in my heart.
Since cutting my first linoleum block in grade school,
I've occasionally returned to the process over the years, 
as it's a natural outlet for my design sensibilities
I've only recently come to know that about myself, 
and now that I do, block printing is 
alive and well in my studio. 

Because I don't have work of my own yet to show,
I thought I'd treat you to a sampling of today's incredibly  
talented wood block printers, starting with the 
renown UK artist Hugh Dunford Wood:

I'm a huge fan of his work, and you can read more about 
Mr. Wood's own fascinating story, amazing accomplishments and 
see more of his studio's lively designs on his website.

Let's also cheer on the home team of the Philadelphia-based 
company Galbraith and Paul
producing beautiful block printed wallpapers and textiles.

While Galbraith and Paul have recently switched to
some digitized design work, overall, it's heartening to
 see such a time-honored hand craft coming back for 
another round of due popularity world-wide.

Here are a few other block printers' websites 
noted in issue 59 of Selvedge Magazine:

Finally, because no discussion about wood block prints 
would be complete without mention of the master himself, 
William Morris:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Difference Between Work and Toil

Summer has officially arrived!  
The studio is busy with work: surface designs, 
sewing patterns and art quilts and more.
Shoulder to the grindstone, 
 I'm loving the work that is revealing itself. 

Thanks to all of you who have shown me support 
with your notes, hugs and interest in the work I'm doing. 
Your kindness goes a long way, 
especially when the hours grow long and the days grow short!
I truly appreciate your efforts and care.

Now, as I head back to the studio, here are a few treats:
Each year, as Independence Day approaches 
I seek out stories about our country's history; 
the people, their struggles, their victories and so on.

My favorite story teller is U. Utah Phillips.
 Above is a brief recording he made sharing his 
insights about anarchism. 
The second half especially struck a chord in me, 
and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Let me know if anything strikes a chord with you. 
  I'd love to hear.

 If your summer knitting is begging for a new bag,  
you're just in time...
new bags have landed in the shop
and today through Sunday, July 6th
everything in the shop is 15% off!
Just enter the code INDEPENDENCE14 at checkout.
All orders will be filled Monday the 7th.
Happy Independence Day! 
Wishing everyone a star-spangled 4th of July!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Summer KAL!

 If you've followed this blog for a while, you may recall
that I'm a big fan of Lara Smoot's knitted designs.
Above is Lara's Ferry Beach pattern 
that I knitted for my very dear friend
 and college room mate, Karen Johnson.
 And here is Lara's Mirrored Step pattern 
which I knitted for myself.   :)

These and the rest of her patterns are available 
on her Etsy shop.  
I have found each one easy to read, as well as to knit. 
No stress, just fun and relaxing. 

Now, just in time for summer knitting,
Lara is kicking off her newest sock pattern,

 ~ Aquasocks ~
She's hosting summer-long KAL for any of her sock patterns.
Lara has great prizes lined up, and there's already 
 plenty of excited chatter on Ravelry.  
Be sure to join Lara's Summer of Socks fun here!

A big thanks to Tracy for loaning me this 
stack of her beloved childhood books.
Fairy tales illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Sigh. 

I didn't want to be one of those bloggers who fills the space 
talking about her cat, but....
this moment was priceless. 
Stanley is rocking the wooden stake back and forth. 
The chipmunk remains steadfast.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Help a Fellow Artist

 Doodling?! Sign me up! 
Last week on Rebecca Ringquist's blog 
I learned about artist Lisa Solomon's request 
for help on two of her upcoming installations.
 If you'd like to participate, there's still plenty of time!

Go here for Lisa's project details.

Pictured above are my two doilie doodles for Lisa, 
and on the tablet you can see her doilie used for reference -
you know, because doilie doodles are so meticulous and tidy. 
No! In fact, she strongly encourages evidence of your own hand. 
I think I've covered that base pretty well.
 Lisa's second project involves French knots.
On purple linen, I made three lime green French knots.

Spending a few minutes cruising around her blog 
is refreshing and interesting. I enjoyed seeing her 
previous doilie project. Her book is now on my wish list....

Having a hand in Lisa's current projects, 
alongside numerous other like-minded people, is exciting. 
I can't wait for her installations to go up, 
and I'll post dates here as I learn of them.  
Thank you for the opportunity, Lisa!

The Japanese Tree Peony's blossoms
have come and gone. 
We enjoyed about one week of lush blooms the size of 
dinner plates, and then a few days of steady rainfall 
knocked them to the ground.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Macaroons For the Road

 Spring 2014 Squam Art Workshops 
festivities begin today!
I am not among the merry creatives this year; 
however, my dear friend Vickie is, so I made her
some coconut macaroons for her 8+ hour drive.
 Each year, coconut macaroons are a highly anticipated 
treat in the Rockywold Dining Room. Mine turned out 
moist and flavorful, although a bit sweeter than what I 
remember indulging in at Squam,
but that just means I'll have to try again...darn!

For my first attempt at the macaroons I turned to my cousin 
Abigail Johnson Dodge's cookbook, Desserts 4 Today.
This is a handy book to have around because the recipes are 
current, fast and include only 4 ingredients. Swoon!
Silky puddings, mouth watering cookies and creative ice creams, 
toasted nuts, seasonal fruits and intriguing whipped creams - 
there's definitely something for every occasion, 
or none at all...which is my favorite.
Squam Lake, fellow Campers, and all that is 
Squam Art Workshops,
I miss you already!
Wishing everyone there an amazingly creative,
supportive and happy time. 
Enjoy the macaroons, the woods and each other. 
(Especially you with the Talismouse - you know!)