Working outside (and inside)

Indigo dyed linen
Indigo dyed linen

July 15th — and I’ve finally set up a way to stretch my work in our little old gazebo. (Both sides of my basement are full of stretched work at the moment, so this is a helpful way to work on more pieces simultaneously.) This evening I’m soy sizing some small pieces (zig-zagged together making a long piece).

Sailboat cleats screwed into the wood secure the harite (stretchers), but that’s my brush hanging there.

the cleat, the brush (jizomebake)
cleat with jizomebake brush

Many moons ago I painted these vintage linen napkins with Earthhues natural dye extracts (logwood and madder) thickened with gum tragacanth. I was aiming for some background visual texture. The results were disappointing, so I tucked them away. Then, earlier this summer using some of my small stencils, I pasted-then-dipped them a few times in indigo. Now I like them. The under layer of dye peeks through in certain places.

water, grass, egret, indigo dyed vintage linen
water, grass, egret, indigo dyed vintage linen
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Katazome giveaway winner; Ropes and sticks: beginning again

First of all, congratulations to Fran of Sun Valley, Idaho, the katazome giveaway winner! Thanks to all of you for putting your name in the hat!

This weekend I cleaned my basement workroom/studio, clearing clutter and hoping to find another square foot of space to use. (According to The Bard of Lake Woebegone, this frenzy of organizing is probably a form of temporary insanity, since it is January in Minnesota.) My goal this time was to find a way to stretch more than 2-1/2 yards of fabric across the space. Normally that’s the maximum I can manage between the concrete wall and the 6″x6″ post in the middle of the space. (there are 2 of these posts on either side of the chimney.) I found a way to extend this reach by almost a yard by using a D-ring on a clothesline.

ropesticks

To prevent the D-ring from slipping I’ve attached a clothespin on each side of it. You don’t really need the D-ring but I like it because it allows me to move around more easily without untying the rope or doing the limbo. Normally the D-ring would be attached to the metal handle on the post.  We also moved the freezer and a few other things to open up the space around this new adaptation.

Part two of this weekend of problem-solving was stretching the shinshi (bamboo fabric stretching sticks) across the back of the fabric, which seems like it would be easy, but frustrates me. It usually takes me 2 or 3 tries to make it work. Ideally, you want the shinshi to be perpendicular to the edges of the stretched fabric, but when that isn’t possible crisscrossing them is the alternative. The goal is to stretch the weave as evenly as possible, avoiding little tent-pole like protrusions and wrinkles. This is hard to do when the sticks are diagonal. Shinshi only come in a few sizes, and if you are working with wide fabrics and/or have custom requirements you adapt. Once learned, it’s an elegant and flexible method and allows you to stand and move around while working on a large piece. I find other fabric stretching equipment awkward.

shinshistretch

Working outside (and inside)

July 15th — and I’ve finally set up a way to stretch my work in our little old gazebo. (Both sides of my basement are full of stretched work at the moment, so this is a helpful way to work on more pieces simultaneously.) This evening I’m soy sizing some small pieces (zig-zagged together making a long piece).

Sailboat cleats screwed into the wood secure the harite (stretchers), but that’s my brush hanging there.

Many moons ago I painted these vintage linen napkins with Earthhues natural dye extracts (logwood and madder) thickened with gum tragacanth. I was aiming for some background visual texture. They were disappointing to me so I tucked them away. Then, earlier this summer using some of my small stencils, I pasted-then-dipped, pasted-then-dipped them a few times in indigo. Now I like them. The under layer of dye peeks through in certain places.

The soy sizing will prevent any crocking. I will probably paint some darker indigo pigment highlights on them.