Spilled Milk and this Week’s Progress

Yesterday I forgot to screw the bottom of the blender on tightly so the soy milk spilled all over the table and floor (I walk away while it’s blending to save my ears). This gave me the perfect opportunity to try John Marshall’s “quickie method,” which involves grinding dry soy beans in a coffee grinder and then swishing and massaging the resulting flour around inside a damp cloth inside a bowl of water. I like the slow method better, which is actually faster (provided you remember to soak the soybeans overnight in the fridge).

Ready to dye
Ready to dye

The old lab cart works well because I can wheel it around my work as needed. The dry pigments are mixed in the soy milk, which is still a bit frothy from freshness. Pigments settle out, so with each application you need to stir them up a bit.

Today's dye work stretched out
Today's dye work stretched out

My basement studio has many obstacles I’ve managed to work around! Two vertical 6×6 posts stand in the center of the space about 10 feet apart. The boiler, chimney and water heater are between them. I’ve rigged two stretching areas, one from each post attaching to the concrete wall opposite via aluminum door handles. I added a carabiner (i.e. D-ring) to one of the handles, which allows me to move around more easily with a minimum of ducking and crouching. I can stretch approx. 2 1/2 yards of fabric on each side of the room.

Owl detail
Owl detail

Above is a close-up of my new owl design after curing and wash-out.

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Potter, Landscape, Ham

I want to share some objects (and a person) I’m inspired by. Potter Christy Wert and I have been friends for over 30 years, and she has been a professional potter for almost that long. She came out of the “Mingei-sota” ceramics tradition, as it is often called, and studied with Warren MacKenzie at the University of Minnesota as well as others in that tradition. Her work is a joy to behold and use. In fact, I am enjoying my morning coffee in one of her cups as I write this. You can see more on her Facebook page, and purchase her pots from Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis. Christy lives and works in Glendive Montana.

New Pots by Christy Wert, 2009
New Pots by Christy Wert, 2009

She works with a porcelain clay. Her work is wheel thrown and hand-built. The designs are created with a sgraffito technique after the first glaze is applied.

Mikoshika vista
Mikoshika vista

Mikoshika State Park is a 5 minute drive from Glendive, Montana. The name is Lakota for “land of bad spirits.”

Christy and dogs
Christy and dogs

Christy hamming it up with her beloved dogs, Rocco (lab) and Louis (poodle mix).

Katazome Snippets for Free, Pasque Flower

I would like to offer a few free Katazome snippets from my previous experiments. Toss it in your fabric scrap stash, add a small bit to your exquisite quilt, embellish it, sprinkle water droplets on it to see how the soy sizing acts as a kind of scotch-guarding, put a patch on your denim motorcycle jacket, etc. Please email me with your mailing address and I’ll send a sample to the first 5 people who respond. It will go out in the mail on Monday April 20 after I return from a brief vacation down river!

 

katsamps
katazome snippets

We were surprised to come across this beautiful pasque flower on our evening walk at Lake Como. The City of St. Paul and the regional water district folks have been improving the shoreline since we moved in almost 12 years ago . There is a show of blooming and ripening plants, mostly perennials native to the “edge of the prairie,” from mid-April through mid-October.

pasqueflower