Monday, 3 December 2012

December already!

Well I have made a start on Christmas today. The Christmas cake is almost cooked and the Christmas puddings are steaming away so all I now need to do is the Christmas shopping and buy a tree! It's easy really isn't it? So why do so many people start preparing in September? Don't get me wrong - I enjoy the festive season but I don't want it to go on for months.
Since last I blogged I have made a return trip to Italy, this time for a retreat and I spent a whole week dyeing, printing and stitching. Wonderful! It was such a luxury and I enjoyed every minute of it.
One of the ideas I had wanted to experiment with was the sweeping gestural marks that we had made on Dorothy Caldwell's Human Marks workshop back in September.
I started by brushing dye on to dry soda soaked fabric - acid yellow, golden yellow, scarlet and magenta followed by royal blue.
When the dye was dry and batched I brushed soy wax over the surface using similar sweeping strokes.
This was followed by rubbing thickened royal blue dye over the entire surface making sure that it penetrated any crackles in the wax.
This is the resulting fabric which is now pinned on my design wall waiting for the next step, which at the moment is an unknown!
Each day, when it wasn't raining, we would go for an after lunch walk through the olive groves that surround the Masseria. Apart from taking photographs of the amazing olive trees that are hundreds of years old I also collected pieces of rusted metal with the intention of doing some experimental dyeing with them.
I soaked some white cotton fabric in vinegar (it happened to be red wine vinegar as that was all we had available!) and placed the found rusty cans, tools, wires etc on top of it, tucking the fabric over and around it. The whole lot then went into a plastic bag, weighted down and placed beneath a radiator for 36 hours and the results were fabulous.

Again, I have no plans at present for these fabrics but I know at some point they will be just what I need for a special project.
I returned home to vast quantities of rain and floods. Fortunately we weren't affected by the floods but the River Severn in Worcester was making full use of the flood plain!
This is the racecourse which was completely underwater. You can just see the fence in the foreground which is about a metre high.
At least the swans were happy!
Speak to you soon and happy Christmas preparations.


  1. A really dynamic piece and the rusted one is fabulous too

    1. Thanks Maggi. It was great fun wielding the brush!

  2. This fabric techniques sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing!