Second Chances Invitational Show

I made this concertina book for the invitational exhibit,“Second Chances,” which will be at Ripple River Gallery in Deer River, MN from April 12th-May 14th. I had fun interpreting the theme “second chances” in a literal way, creating a story in pictures about how we got our dog, Ollie, a Basset mix rescue dog. His black and white spots seem to call attention to his playful nature, and inspired the (mostly) black, white, and gray palette. 

The original art was done with gouache and colored pencil on toned gray mixed media paper (Strathmore Series 500). The final art consists of two 6” x 18” pieces. I scanned these, and reduced the art by 20% so that I could print it with my Canon TS6120 Inkjet printer. After running a few test on various papers, I chose to print it on on Awagami Bamboo Select printmaking paper, which has a velvety smooth surface and folds easily to make the book structure. 

Finally, I constructed the concertina books (so far I have made three including one with the original art), following the process I learned in the Block to Book workshop I took with Karen Kunc at Grand Marais Art Colony in the fall of 2021. (See previous post.)

I look forward to seeing how the other artists respond to this theme!

Walnut dyeing results; stitched feather

The Black Walnut dyebath gave some wonderful color. The wool came out very rich; the silk is a soft tawny brown. Interesting facts re: this dye (from Michelle Wiplinger’s Natural Dye Instruction Book):

  • The dye is high in tannic acid, and is a substantive dye, so it does not need a mordant. Mordants can be used as color changers.
  • The rich browns develop with oxygen (indigo also required oxidation). So she recommends simmering the hulls for a couple of hours with an overnight cool-down before adding the fiber. I simmered the hulls about an hour with an overnight cool-down.



In between extracting the color and dyeing the cloth I stitched a magic feather for Jude’s inspiring Magic Feather Project. Background: a scrap of muslin – my natural pigment palette. I use scraps of muslin to offload the brush and test colors. When the scraps become lively with marks, scribbles and color I throw them in the scrap pile. I chose black and yellow for the feather because bumble bees and Goldfinches are now feeding on my fall flowers and seed heads! I also tried a kantha stitch with a rippled effect that I have often admired on the Spiritcloth blog.


Lunar calendar print part 3: still playing

I decided to add one more layer, a burnt sienna, over the rabbit portion of the calendar image. To do this, I placed my rabbit stencil under the glass and cut away the gelatin plate. I inked the remaining part, and lined up the print with a couple of strategically placed pieces of masking tape. No need for super-accurate registration — this is a very soft-edged process.


I still wonder if the paint will wash off the paper along with the rice paste resist. After curing it for several days, a bit of blue rubbed off on my damp finger, so I decided to mist it with soy milk, let it dry, then mist it again.  I will wait three days and wash it out on Wednesday Feb. 9.