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Archive for August, 2012

At home today feeling a little under the weather… so even though it was a gorgeous late summer day it gave me a chance to spend some time watching a wonderful three-part series that explores the Baroque tradition in art and architecture..http://knowledge.ca/program/baroque

…as well as researching dye plant seeds on the Richter’s website. I mentioned in an earlier post that I wasn’t able to buy any seeds at the beginning of the season  from Richter’s… but now it seems fine! The descriptions of all the herbs and plants are great and oh so interesting. Little tidbits of history and cultural use of each plant kept me busy for hours! My only complaint is that their search feature isn’t really very useful – so if you search using keywords like ‘dye’ or ‘dyeplant’, etc – it doesn’t list all of the seeds that you could potentially buy. I spent hours clicking on pretty much every plant from A to Z to see what I could find for my dye garden and got completely mesmerized by reading all the write ups in general.  For example, I didn’t try using Lily of the Valley this year but apparently it gives a great green…

It’s on my list for next spring!

…and the horse chestnuts I’m pretty sure are the same ones that are abundant in Kits – more collections to stuff into my balcony studio tee hee.

This is intriguing…sky blue? yummy

Just because a plant isn’t listed as ‘tinctoria’ doesn’t mean it won’t give you great colour as I found out this summer! So for all you natural dye enthusiasts out there… here is the list of seeds I found on the Richter’s site today that I’m pretty excited about – of course it includes woad, weld and other plants that are obvious, but there were some I didn’t know about for their potential for dye stuff including a most interesting variety of Yarrow.  Some of them may be zone challenged like the Safflower but I’m willing to give them a try in our wet coast climate. The only problem is I need a bigger garden…

A $100 later…

 

 

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Cornflowers & rust

Along with dye experiments using plants and flowers from my garden – my other obsession is keeping an eye open for interesting rusty things. I have always loved the colour, variation and textures of rust but never before thought about it’s possibilities on fabric until I was in my textile course. I’m still in the neophyte stage of my rust printing but it seems to me that it always works. I think the patina and sense of history is what has always appealed to me about rust…the notion that texture, imperfection and patina acquired over time (naturally) is beautiful. Both in objects, fabric and especially in people! (This blog is a Botox-free zone).

Biscuit on the beach helping me collect rust

It is amazing how many interesting rusty things I’m finding (and not necessarily taking) by setting an intention – lovely rusty crusty things wherever I go! I was lucky enough to be at Robert’s Creek recently and I found some interesting pieces on the beach. Just today down at my local beach walking the dog, I said to myself, “I know there is a piece of rust here for me” and at the very last minute lo and behold there was a perfect rather large pipe peeking out at me by the steps up from the beach – which I managed to lug home. It will be perfect for wrapping yardage. It’s super crusty – salty beach rust is the best. Here in Vancouver some of us natural dyers have started up a group meeting – and it must have been good rust karma because on my way home in the summer evening light I spotted a lovely rusted gate on the “freebie corner” in my neighbourhood…that I managed to heft into my car! My partner was thrilled with my new acquisition – ha ha. It’s living on the deck right now waiting to be used.

Rusty Garden Angel – this was a gift from my Mom many years ago – it is in my garden next to a bench I put in the garden in memory of my Mom. I can’t always explain in words why rust is so appealing and comforting.

The rusty rebar wrapping I’m doing is working out really well – and it’s nice to know that this particular rusty implement is readily available from my local construction crews and sometimes even washed up on the beach. So far I have wrapped bundles using the rebar with sage, fern, allium, peony and rose petals with alum mordanted fabric. You don’t have to mordant for rust, but I’m trying out a bunch of different combo’s. Not to state the obvious, but the iron rust acts as a mordant as well…

Eco wrap using rusty rebar, peony & rose blossoms

Fabric that has been rusted with rebar – rolled up purple sage & red hollyhock – I pretty happy with the clarity of the prints. Magic.

I’m wondering if it’s going too far to cut out the gorgeous rusty bedsprings from the mattress that someone has left out in the alleyway behind my apartment? I think they would make a great print as well as good for shibori binding. I just need to buy some wire cutters! (Update) Since I drafted this blog I got some wire cutters and now I have a lovely collection of rusted springs to use.

Rusty bed springs in situ

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