Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pre-estate sale

This week I was given the opportunity to participate in a stash reduction sale.  Actually, I look at it as a pre-estate sale--get rid of it before the family has to deal with it.

Over the years, I've bought a lot of fabric ( haven't we all?).  But my interests have changed, as has the industry.  As this point I'm painting or dyeing most of my own fabric, and the commercial fabric I use is mainly in dark, plain colours, as it's really hard to hand dye a good navy or black.  Both my husband and daughter have been urging me to get rid of some of the stash.  This is really hard!!  I loved every bit of it when it was bought, but I have to admit that most of it will never get used.  I still make charity quilts, but those require more than the fat quarter size pieces that make up a good portion of my stash.

So I've been working my way through three large bins of fat quarters.  Each and every piece is being pressed, measured and marked with its size and a rock bottom price.  It has taken most of the day, and I'm through half of the first bin.

I have to wonder if this isn't an exercise that most of us shouldn't go through periodically.  I'm exhausted, but also feeling as though a huge weight has been taken off my shoulders.  I no longer have to feel guilty about those bins staring me in the face very time I go in the studio, and the fabric will go to someone who really wants it ( who else would buy it?)

Here is a picture of what I'm up against.  The two bins on the left have yet  to be gone through. ( Who knows what may lurk...) The laundry basket contains all of the fabric I have yet to go through from the third bin and...
the third bin contains the fabric I have spent six hours processing today.
I was very surprised to find the number of pieces that were 12" by the WOF, so I packaged them up as being 1/3 yd.  I have no memory of why I would buy that amount.  Now I need to worry about whether or not this stuff will sell.  Not that much of it is batik, and that is the hot property these days!
Otherwise, it has been a quiet week.  I delivered my beaded piece to the gallery on Monday, and then had to prepare for a private student on Wednesday.  These students take so much preparation, that I probably only make pennies an hour, but I find the whole process very, very stimulating.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Binding done!

The piece is now fully finished.  In finishing it, I had a terible time trying to get it square.  I have to wonder if this is one of those things where I see it, but viewers probably won't. David noticed it,but I had been talking about it and he was looking for it.  Regardless, it has to be delivered to the gallery on Monday morning.  it has given me pause to consider my habit of quilting and then beading.  Next time I will probably square off at every single step of the assembly.  I used to do this religiously,but, perhaps, got a little over confident.

Having finished an exhibition piece, which is usually a pretty intense process, yesterday, I had a little fun putting together some small purses, for which I bought a pattern and kit(s).  These will never be a production item, firstly, because the pattern specifically prohibits selling them, and secondly, I could never sell them at any sort of profit. It was a fairly time consuming process, using a variety of supplies, and would never sell for what they would cost to make, without even trying to consider labour. So this was purely a labour of love, and I think I know what I'll be using for smaller Christmas gifts this year.  I also want to kick myself for even thinking about production costs etc, when I've promised myself that I won't even think about any more sales for the next six months.

And the hat sits there, staring at me, and nothing is being done with it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

We did it!!

It has been a bit of a journey, but I think we can post pictures.  I have been working on a small hanging, using a piece of hand dyed fabric that I just love.  The first picture is of the assembled hanging.

Then it had to be quilted. Looking at it, I see beige, red, and spots of blue, but when it came time to match thread, I ended up with a clear celadon green--perfect. But matching means that the only way to see the quilting, which took a week of hard work, is from the back.  I used the swirls, that I like, and the empty spaces left room for a bit of thought about negative space, which ended up being the parallel lines that I've used before.

Then came the beading.  Before I could start, I spent almost a month, and losts of $$$, looking for the right beads, every bead store in Winnipeg, and even as far away as Fargo.

Here are the principal beads positioned. The blue are very nice Lapis Lazuli.  As well, I used antique jade, but while the rest are, for the most part, good quality glass beads, they are only really filler beads. There are even a few acrylic beads, used where I felt I needed either a more interesting shape, or a different value of colour.

Here I've been adding the filler beads, and even found a couple of strange things that look like red beans, but work well with this piece.  You'll notice that I use a Q-Snap set, and position the work area over open space, so that I can work with two hands.

Here is the finished view, and below is a close-up of the finished beading. The colour doesn't show well, and much of what looks like bright red, is really more of a deep cherry red.  But some of it really is bright red, with metallic gold highlights. Deciding when enough was enough, was difficult, but, since I wanted to highlight the beauty I saw in the dyed fabric, in this case, I felt that "less is more".

And what of the hat, you ask?  Well, there has been little progess, but I've been using steam and heat , in an effort to re-mold the brim--un-successfully.  Here it is, beside the armature I spoke of.  The armature is made of buckram.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Holidays and computer mal-functions

Yes we had a holiday. And both of our computers were down for over a week, but are okay now.  For the most part we travelled with family, but I did manage to get 4 days at the lake with no interruptions.  I did quite a bit of dyeing, but with mixed results.  Unfortunately, there is still no new camera, and likely won't be for awhile---so I don't have to show you my disasters.  The basic problem appears to be insufficient dye in the bath, as most of the pieces turned out to be very pale.  Now, in one case I tried a second bath, using the same colour but twice as much powder, with only a minimal change in the depth of colour.  For another group of pieces, it was the second dye bath that was insufficient and over-dyeing with a more concentrated bath did produce a visible difference, but still not the depth I would have liked. 

So this lead me to suspect that I was putting too much fabric in the bath--4-5 fat quarters in a bath with 2-3 tbsp of dye powder.  Since I'm dyeing stitch resist Shibori pieces, it takes me a few days to prepare the fabric for the dye bath, and I want the pieces to be the same finished colour, which is why they go in the same dye bath, but maybe I need to re-think this.  Perhaps dyeing each piece separately, with a carefully measured concentration of dye will be the next step.

In the meantime.  I have two other pieces that are on deadline.  I am committed to re-purposing a hat.  This is in response to a challenge.  There are about 40 of us who have been given hats from the estate of a lady, who collected them over her lifetime.  We are to alter the hats in a way that reflects our lives.  My vision requires an internal armature to support the weight of the hat, once it has been covered with several layers of paint and other embellishment.  This armature was a bit of a problem, and once made, took almost a week to dry.   I took it out in the sun yeterday to finish the drying process and discoverd tiny pin dots of what I assume is the beginning of mould.  So it was left in the bright sun for several hours, and will, hopefully, be okay.  Now I get to do the embellishing and painting--I'm just not sure what order to tackle that.

A closer deadline is also closer to my heart.  I am working on another beaded hanging, using a hand dyed fabric that struck a cord with me.  I used a low water immersion technique with the strange burgundy dye I mentioned once before.  The resulting fabric is mottled sage green with deep red and blue patches.  I spent a lot of time while travelling and since getting home, finding just the right beads for this piece.  It is now together and I have started the FMQ'g, but it has been entered in a  show with a delivery date of August 27th.  Guess I better get off the computer and start stitching!