Colour Project Update

Last week I received this comment on my blog…

I was browsing through google images for screen print textures and I fell in
love with yours! I was wondering if you’ll grant me permission and allow me
to incorporate one your photos above in a personal project of mine…

Firstly, I really appreciate that she asked for my permission to use the image. When I found out a little more about her project I was delighted to see what she was doing and happy for her to go ahead.

Sabrina Lam is from British Columbia, Canada and is a second year Communication Design student at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Here is Sabina’s completed album cover design.

daydreamers album coverdaydreamers back cover + spine label

My original image below is one of the samples I made in The Colour Project  I stamped a rubber mat directly onto hand dyed fabric.

Purple 30Another of my colour samples was used with permission on this book cover. It still amazes me how people randomly find the images through google…

I love how The Colour Project continues to live on. The project was a year long investigation into “textile techniques” where I made a small sample of work everyday in 2012. Each month I chose a different colour for the samples. The result for me, was that it got all the techniques I was wanting to try “out of my system”. I no longer have the need nor desire to purchase or try everything textile wise that is out there and it’s a great reference source.

I am delighted it has also inspired others to do their own version of a project like this… A friend of mine is currently exploring circles…The make something everyday idea is not mine, it’s stolen and adapted from many other sources such as a photograph a day, a quilt block a week etc…Simply a way to get working…small chunks at a time. Austin Kleon describes it here Say something small every day. My suggestion would be to chose something specific, reducing the decisions you need to make each day to get started. I committed to a colour each month, I also followed techniques and themes such as hand embroidery stitches, natural dyeing, recycling, soy wax, paper folding…

I hope you give it a go, and if you do, I’d love to hear from you!

The Best Laid Plans…

I took a planned week away from Wearable Art to work in my garden, planting a small area where the kids cubby house has recently been removed and weeding, weta soiling, mulching…much needed for our Perth summer.

In the garden I found the Sun Dyeing jars prepared a month earlier. Three jars of purple carrots. I placed silk scraps from previous projects in each, some were stitched with poly cotton thread, some screen printed. The colours are lovely soft purples and the jar with soda ash added is a beautiful silver grey. This jar popped open and the carrots were rather mushy (maybe a little too long in the sun) Sun dye 1Sun dye 6

Sun dye 3Sun dye 4Sun dye 7Sun dye 5Another jar of berries from a neighbours tree stunk out the house when I opened it. I washed the silk several times and still had to leave it outside for days AND rewash before the smell is bearable. Any suggestions for removing bad smells from silk would be appreciated. The jar had been out for near on a year, the colour was honey like. I won’t bother with that again.Sun dye 2Coincidentally, Selvage Magazine has an article in the latest issue No.67 “Fragranced Fibres” about the history of perfumed fibres. Fragrance used in the final stages to disguise the foul smelling dye processes, during laundering and in storage chests to reduce insect damage.

I do love this lazy dyeing. I have refilled the jars, added a few more purple carrots, beetroot and avocado pips. There is almost instant colour in the carrots and beetroot jars and nothing in the avocado jar on the right. Clearly doing something wrong here. 🙁Sun dye 12Sun dye 11Sun dye 9These jars with soda ash are on a chair so the puppy (short legged Dachshund) can’t get to them!

With the plan to start working on my wearable art piece again last week, my son Callum had two days of vomiting and then my husband who had just thankfully arrived safely  home from Brussels and Italy, developed acute pain, a trip to the emergency dept of the local hospital, they suspect he passed a kidney stone. All plans astray, refocus on the most important thing – my family.

Look what arrived in the post

book

This book arrived in my post box late last week

In May last year, I was asked by a graphic designer at a publishing house in USA who was working on a cover for a forthcoming book on the Phoenicians if he could use one of my images as part of the book cover. The image he wanted to use was one of the purple samples from my Colour Project. The Phoenicians were know for among other things, their trade in the famous purple dye from the Murex shell.

Purple dye is very rare in nature and was therefore only available to the wealthy and privileged. Tyrian Purple from the Murex shellfish was found in the Lebanon area of Tyre and extracted from the glands of the Murex shellfish. In 1685 William Cole described the sun sensitive colour process of the shellfish that gave purple dye/pigment. …if dye is placed in sun it changed colour – white (milk), light green, deep green, dull sea green, watched(blue), purplish re, deep purple red… It leaves a fishy garilcy smell – even centuries later it can determine where the fabric is from by the smell when it is rubbed. 

I think this quote is from the excellent book Colour – Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Findlay. Unfortunately I didn’t record the source in my purple colour notes.

Purple 9

My work used for book cover

My sample was made by printing discharge paste through a thermofax screen on commercially dyed Dupion silk.

PECPHOENI The graphic designer has changed the colour slightly to bring it a bit closer to Tyrian purple. The shell on the cover is of course a Murex Shell.

I am constantly surprised and delighted how Google allows us to find each other across the world.

 

 

Sari Silk Rosettes

Colour Project – Purple, Part 5

A short rest from printing…using sari silk ribbons I have made rosettes with a small gathering stitch. Above they are stitched to a scrunch dyed piece of wool. Below the ribbon was folded in half lengthwise and then gathered along the raw edge. Two rosettes were then stitched together and to the next set.  I am trying to create a version of the Suffolk Puff scarf.

Below the purple silk was stitched onto organza and cut away. Not really thrilled with the result…has potential, but needs more work…

Gelatine Printing

Colour Project – Purple, Part 4

I’ve only had one attempt at Gelatine Plate Printing – about a year ago. It’s one of those techniques you need to try before you can understand how it works, and then you can think about how you can use it.  I’ve been looking at the gelatin plate in the fridge for about a year now thinking I must have another go. Well on closer inspection the plate was a slimy mouldy mess…straight to the bin including the tray.

I now have a new Gelatine Plate…

Rayna Gillman’s book Create Your Own Hand-Printed Cloth which shows a variety of ways you can use a Gelatine plate to make a print from one texture inspired these samples.

The print below is made by laying fabric over an onion bag netting on the gelatin plate. Below this is the print on dyed silk from the plate after the onion bag is removed.

Below – Bubble wrap texture first print on cotton, below this the ghost or second print on dyed silk.

Below – another ghost print with the excess paint on the bubble wrap stamped onto the fabric.

Below – Potato Masher used as a texture, first print and below this the ghost print.

Using cotton lace doilies, a print over the doilies on the plate, the first print and ghost print.

The texture on the last two are from a rubber mat, stamped directly onto fabric as the texture on the gelatine plate was made and the first print.

Discharge and Soy Wax

Colour Project – Purple, Part 3

Above – Discharge paste on commercially dyed Dupion silk

Below – Samples of discharge paste through a Thermofax screen on Scrunch jar dyed Habutai silks and cottons. These have all worked much better than the greens previously. Turquoise doesn’t discharge, so I image there was some of it in that dye pot.  This is where taking good notes at the time would be an advantage!

Above – Silk

Above – Silk, dyed a long time ago, from the result I think there may be some turquoise in the mix.

Above – Cotton sheeting

Above – silk.     Below – Cotton

The next samples are using soy wax a a resist for discharge. The discharge paste was brushed over the fabric.

Above & below- applying the wax with wooden blocks. Cotton sheeting above, below commercially dye silk Dupion.

Above – applying wax with wood block stamp.

Below – using a cork. both on hand dyed Habutai silk

Cut away and mark making

Colour Project – Purple, Part 2

Hand dyed silk fabrics bonded together with random cut out shapes. These are more impressive than they appear in the photos, held up to the light or with contrasting backgrounds.  Below – following a bubblewrap print for the cut out design.

Fugitive Media – Chalks drawn directly on silk with a print paste extender scraped over to seal. I’ve experimented with various chalk colours, weights and shades of fabric to discover what works best.

Below – Testing the whole box of chalks…

Above and below – Habutai hand dyed silk, below the colours have mostly disappeared during the scraping of the extender. Although scraping extender directly on the fabric is quick to do and clean up, I’ve since learned from Kerr Grabowski that printing the extender through a screen gives a more even and much lighter coverage, which of course gives the fabric a lighter hand.  You need to clean a screen though!

Below – Hand dyed cotton.

September – Purple

Colour Project – Purple, Part 1

I think it pisses god off if you walk past the colour purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.” Alice Walker – The Colour Purple

Violet, Egg Plant, Thistle, Orchid, Mauve, Passion Fruit, Plum, Periwinkle, Iris, Lilac, Lavender, Wisteria, Grape, Mulberry, Purple People Eater, Amethyst, Jacaranda, Purple Rain, Hydrangea, Heliotrope…

Purple is uplifting and calming, it offers a sense of spirituality and encourages creativity. It is a balance between hot and cold (red/blue) with red to enliven and blue to calm.

Purple is the colour of royalty, reserved for the highest ranking emperors and kings and the highest vestments of the priesthood. It is also associated with mystics, wizards, clairvoyants…

Purple dye is very rare in nature and was therefore only available to the wealthy and privileged. Tyrian Purple from the Murex shellfish was found in the Lebanon area of Tyre and extracted from the glands of the Murex shellfish. In 1685 William Cole described the sun sensitive colour process of the shellfish that gave purple dye/pigment. …if dye is placed in sun it changed colour – white (milk), light green, deep green, dull sea green, watched(blue), purplish re, deep purple red... It leaves a fishy garilcy smell – even centuries later it can determine where the fabric is from by the smell when it is rubbed.

In 1856 William Henry Perkin  made the first man made purple dye from Coal Tar (an organic substance from fossilized trees) he was trying to find a synthetic alternative to quinine. This lead to medical and commercial spin offs in Cholera, Tuberculosis, Chemotherapy, immunology etc

“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me, And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves, And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.”  Jenny Joseph