Corn - A New Series

I am working on a new series of pieces around the subject of corn.  There are seven pieces, so far, in the series and they consist of my natural and compost dyed (eco-dyed/printed) fabrics and machine stitching.  Each piece is approximately 7x7 inches and is machine stitched onto a timtex core.

As many of you, my followers, know I struggle with wanting the prairie of 200 years ago versus the prairie that we have today.  My mother told me once that I was born about 250 years too late, that's how much I love the rugged primitive prairie.  Where I expect to see a bison rounding over a hill instead I'm greeted with a tractor or a combine.  Where I think there should be teepees and other primitive housing I'm greeted with silos and barns instead. 

There is, however, one piece that binds both the past and today together and that bit is Corn!  In doing a survey of the artwork I've produced over the past 15 or so years there is one theme that seems to be repeated and that is the theme of corn.

So with the idea of corn in mind I am setting out to create a series dedicated to that which intrigues and haunts me, corn.

Sizing Paper with Soy Milk

Sizing Paper with Soy Milk
In Anticipation of Dyeing Paper with Natural Dyes.

Yes contrary to popular argument you CAN dye paper with natural dyes, the immersion method however doesn't work nearly as well as simply painting your papers with natural dyes. 

You will need to prep your sheets of paper with soy milk, as shown in the previous post, and allow to dry.  Soy milk acts as a sizing, or binder, for the dye and/or pigment molecules.  A single layer of soy milk is suffecient for painting your papers/fabrics.  You need to paint your papers/fabrics with your natural dyes and/or earth pigments within a realitively short period of time.  John Marshall suggests less than 2 weeks. If you live in a very dry and/or hot region I would suggest even sooner, and making test samples is very important with this process, make sure you take good notes. If you wait longer than two weeks all is not lost you can resize your paper/fabric with soy milk again, once it's dry you can proceed to paint your paper/fabric with the dyes and pigments of your choice.

NOTE: I use commercially prepared soy milk, natural undyed and unflavored and have had no bad experiences using commecially prepared soy milk. 

You can also make soy milk fresh by soaking your beans overnight in water, genearlly 4 cups water to 1 cups soybeans (yes ordinary field soy beans).  The beans will absorb most if not all of the water, if need be add an additionaly cup of water to the beans the next day. 

Take your soaked beans and grind in a blender or food processor.  You want to keep the liquid that comes off the ground beans, strain your ground beans preferably through a coffee filter or a panthose leg so that you don't have bits of bean floating around in the resulting liquid.  You now have soy milk. You can make more soy milk by adding more water to your ground beans and soaking them overnight again.  Repeat the straining processe the next day.

This soy milk should keep for about two weeks in the refridgerator.