Sunday, June 19, 2011

First Attempt with Natural Dye

Pomegranates are used extensively in India and the Middle East to obtain rich yellows, oranges and browns when dying textiles.  Here some rinds are soaking overnight.  I then strained and boiled the water in an aluminum pot for 45 minutes--I didn't have any alum mordant lying around and apparently the metal of the pot (copper or tin are used to create other colors) can do the trick. This was supposed to make yellow dye.

The results were interesting. On the left is wool, which is the easiest natural fiber to dye--this was white when I started. Cotton takes natural dye with difficulty and the lace in the middle, which is cotton, only got a slight distressed look.  There are two other types of lace that appear a little darker but the dying wasn't very successful on them either. On the far right is silk, which as an animal fiber takes natural dyes well. It went from almost white to champagne.

All in all, if I do this again, I'll have to invest in more paraphenalia for better results!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Meet Henry Murger

Ever wonder who started the concept of a profession where it is seen as normal, even obligatory, to suffer/ be deprived of basic necessities/ and even to starve--all to fit society’s view of who you are? 

 Poverty stricken Vincent Van Gogh's simple digs

 Henri Murger, drawing from his experience as a struggling writer living in an attic in 1840’s Paris came up with what was to become one of the most pervasive themes of all time—the starving artist. Later made into the iconic opera La Bohème, it has been the basis of Rent and Moulin Rouge as well as various versions of La Vie de Bohème, the original work by Murger.

So the next time you mention that you’re an artist and someone says “oh, a starving artist”, practically thinking they’re complimenting you—don’t hate them, just blame Murger!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pillow Love and Adding to the Fabric Collection

Lately I've been embroidering and making fiber collages on some pillows I've made using "new" condition vintage handkerchiefs. They're fun and airy and have a really summery feel-- there are more in the works and they'll go in the new Etsy shop which I will be opening sometime over the next month or so. Details soon to come! There's a 20% off sale in my shop now, 'til June 7.

Black corduroy, fringed linen, crewel upholstery fabric, brushed cotton, polished cotton, 
vintage eyelet pettticoat
 Beat up Battenburg lace tablecloth--the stuff of dreams!

Must take advantage of yard sales before it gets too hot around here to even venture outdoors after 10 am. My daughter picked out some great Motown and jazz records at one, and I scored all the sewing goodness including fabrics and trims above at another for $1!! Makes up for the overpriced local estate sale/auction companies who will remain nameless here.

Hope your thrifting adventures have been wonderful this weekend. Check out Her Library Adventures for more inspiration!