Corn 2016

Corn No. 49 from 2012

Just when I thought I didn't have anything more to say about Corn, I was asked to participate in a three woman show come January 2017.  I was asked if I would be interested in creating some new Corn pieces for the show.

I said yes, all the while thinking I'm done with Corn, why am I saying yes?

Well it turns out I'm not done with Corn. The subconscious wants what it wants, and it was clearly wanting Corn.

Yesterday I managed to purchase the stretched canvas upon which my new pieces shall be mounted, and for a really good price.

Upon that purchase all sorts of imagery of finished pieces popped into my head. This time I'm going for a more earthy approach, using actual soil, clays, ochers, and earth pigments in combination with indigo, rust, and natural dyes (yes I'll be dyeing with corn husks, leaves, cobs, etc, with just a touch of digitally printed fabrics that lends to the modern digital tech age today's farms are becoming!

Stay tuned!!!

WIP - Sunshine and Roses 061713

It should be finished tomorrow sometime, this piece has been a break through piece for me.  Break through in that while beading and stitching I resolved some issues I had with another piece I constructed way back around 2001, Big Blue Stem.

Big Blue Stem - Earth Pigments, Natural Dyes, Cotton, Cheesecloth, Stitch. 

This piece has been languishing in my studio for about twelve years.  From time to time I trot it out, hang it on my wall and alas nothing, nada, zilch, zip!  And then late Saturday night, whilest I was stitching on Sunshine and Roses it occurred to me to experiment with overlaying digitally printed silk organza fabrics onto the right hand panel.  More coming soon...

Raw Sienna and Raw Umber

I streamed tonight, such as it was... I say that because the audio kept dropping.  I will be streaming tomorrow evening from another site and hopefully that will work out.  Until then I posted in the Natural Surface Forum on the fruit fermentation reduction vat and about the earth pigments above.

Curing Pigment Painted Fabrics

Four different earth pigments were used in combination with soy milk to color this piece of cotton cloth.

I'm often asked "how long do I really need to allow for my soy painted fabrics cure before I can wash them"?  The anwser is depending on your climate/humidity a minimum of three to six weeks.

Tape was use to create resist patterns on the fabric. 

The real anwser is how long can you stand to wait?  The longer you wait the greater the permance of the dyes and pigments on the fabric.  Yes the hand of the fabric will change the longer you wait, the piece in the top photo has been curing now for about 10 years, and it's stiff enough after all of this time to almost stand by itself unaided!  I just found it this afternoon while sorting through a pile of fabrics that I had misplaced. 

WIP - Big Blue Stem

Here it is hanging vertically, I started this piece many moons ago, as in like sometime around 1999 many moons ago! 

This piece has always bothered me, there's a thread over on the Quilt Art list about cutting up a piece.  Well I've been tempted to cut the dark side of this quilt off for some 12 years now!  Now that I have Adobe CS 6 I've started experimenting with this piece
Here it is without the marks, I'm thinking some additional stitching and or embellishment is needed to make this piece really sing.

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.