Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bark, bark and........more bark

After a busy time with friends and family over Christmas and Boxing Day, I've finally come out of the kitchen and into the garden. As many know you'd be much more likely to find my better half tidying up the garden but I ventured out. I started sweeping up but then got distracted (of course), and decided to collect some of the bark for future dyeing.

At this time of year the bark just falls off the gums in sheets, making a complete mess of the place but giving you wonderful patches of different colour on the tree trunks. I try to appreciate this when I look out on the debris in the pool!

I collect the bark in old plastic fruit baskets that have holes in them to help the air circulate while it dries, and then they are stored in the garage until I need them. Once you're ready to dye the bark gets soaked overnight in water before boiling the next day.
This reminded me of the piece of silk dupioni I mentioned previously that had been steeping in a mixture of lichens and ammonia for over a year. I brought it out from the back of the cupboard yesterday and got a pleasant surprise.

The fabric had been rolled up and tied along the length repeatedly then scrunched up to fit in the tub in a shibori manner - a once-off creation, I think!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Texture trials

I just received confirmation of my booking to go to summer school next year and I'm so excited, I can't wait. It'll be 4 years since I was last there but I still have the work we did (of course) using stick people as inspiration, albeit still unfinished (of course). We haven't booked our flights yet but the important part is done!

I'm looking at texture from my sketches in more detail but got a bit sidetracked last week by Maggie Grey's online workshops from her new book. Those of you who are following these (and I know there must be a few) will recognise my textured panels
They use papercasts and liquid Sculpey set in a background of gesso. I then sewed the panels together using a ladder stitch through the zig-zag edging to form the 3D 'book' below. I say 'book' because as yet it doesn't have any pages. I plan to make some paper, perhaps with some leaves or plant material embedded. The photo below is closer to its true colouring of metallic olive and gold.
Now to get back to that texture work from the sketches....