Tuesday, October 21, 2014

From nature's inspiration to wearable art

We had an unusually wet August here in the desert of New Mexico. As I was driving out in the country, I was delighted to see our typical browns and beige's had magically transformed into green foliage and yellow flowers.
Inspiration for my next piece
Follow my process below
New Mexico's nature has become a factor for everything that I do. With unpredictable spring dust storms and extremely hot summers. I have a small window in Mother Nature's schedule to try to get all my outdoor dyeing projects finished, usually from late August through November.
woven fabric just off the loom
pulling the threads to create the design
Earlier this summer I had woven two pieces of  beige rayon chenille fabric. I wove in supplemental threads intended to be pulled and gathered to create a pattern effect after dyeing, otherwise called woven shibori. Because of my love for color, this colorless weaving is somewhat boring. But I can tolerate it knowing the end justifies the means.

When the reprieve from the heat of summer arrived, I embraced the part of this craft that I had been waiting for and started mixing dyes. First I spread my fabric on tables outside while enjoying the sounds and smells of nature. That's when I feel at one with this process.
strings are pulled and it's ready to dye
Initially it's all so unpredictable and scary. There is the possibility of the perfect outcome. But that gets mixed up with my old fear of failure. All the time and money invested and old childish beliefs that failure is a bad thing even though  I really know "there IS no failure," only learning opportunities that come from allowing the unknown to happen. If I can get out of my own way, what emerges is something even better than what I could ever imagine.

and then I add more color
I start with a light wash of color
The process is lengthy and physically difficult without a professional dye studio. After the dyes have set, the fabric is soaked in tubs of water which are dumped and refilled. Then there's the rinsing. Rinsing, rinsing and more rinsing while on my knees and twisted over the edge of a bathtub.
fabric is ready to sew

For the next piece of fabric, I wanted to use shades of red. Red for energy, passion, spirit and love. Red makes me happy and reminds me of the pinks, oranges purples and reds in the flowers that I love the most.

laying out my color palette

dyes have been painted on and ready to process
long jacket trimmed in purple

When it's all said and done, I am amazed and satisfied!

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