Monday, November 19, 2012

A Good Day to Dye

Oh, to be a poor photographer when natural dyes can give such delicate and subtle color!

This vessel was wet felted and then dyed in an exhaust bath of black walnut. It was then over-dyed in an indigo exhaust. The walnut shifts the indigo into an earthier blue-slightly less turquoise. Some silk fiber was added to the dyebaths at the same time, and this eventually was spun into the 2-ply silk yarn that edges the piece. Of course, I couldn't resist adding a bit of wool roving into the baths when I was finished. Can't wait to felt or spin this!

I have spent the past few days felting and today was ready to get into a bit of color! I worked with black walnut, an exhaust mix of madder root and cochineal, and my beloved lichen.
The above photo shows felt that was dyed in black walnut. I am now soaking the rim in the lichen, which doesn't get heated as it is a fermentation dye. It will most likely need to soak overnight to get the depth of color that I am looking for (I love the little droplet in the pic).

"Pollen Baskets" is a piece that is comprised of six little vessels that make the "whole". Each piece was felted around a stone or a buckeye and has it own organic form. I had been planning to dye them  in goldenrod, as that seems to be a staple for the honeybees when I am out foraging for it (I am a respectful forager). However, even the strongest goldenrod dyebath leaned a bit too far to a lemony shade- not quite the color that I envisioned. So, into the dyebath I added a touch of osage orange and there was that beautiful, sunny golden yellow!

The openings were rimmed in encaustic wax (beeswax and damar resin) and just "touched" with gold leaf. While I had only planned on making six little pieces, I am starting to have this vision of a table top covered with these little pollen baskets. Stay tuned!

This week we said good-bye to our old granny kitty- Belle. Belle adopted us 15 years ago. Our vet suspects she was 18 or 19 years old. She lead a love-filled life and brought great joy to family, friends and innumerable children through the years. We will miss you, dearest Belle! ThankYou!   

The new barn door is going up, even as we speak (or I type). We'll see how long it takes Clover to demolish this one. Oh, my little rammy! But breeding season will be over in a few weeks and, hopefully, life will be less dramatic. Then I can start thinking about spring lambkins.
 Actually, I am already thinking about lambs as I have started crocheting little newborn sweaters for them. Hypothermia is a real danger for newborn lambs and so I usually put them in sweatshirt sleeve "jackets" for the first few days. This year, however, I have decided to make them little sweaters out of their parent's wool. Why? Because I can.
  And come April, the lambkins will be needing  them!