Friday, January 29, 2016

True Colors of Plants

by Lin Hsin-Chen

The technique of extracting dyes from plants and use them to color fibers and create classic textures is one of the original features in Taiwan. Located in the subtropics, there are many endemic species in Taiwan. Due to the unique climate conditions, we also have relatively abundant colors of plants. I had a long-term study on natural dyes. It’s my great honor to collect color samples of endemic plants of Taiwan for library collections.

As a quilter, I have always been fascinated by dyed fabrics with ever-changing natural textures, or beautifully designed patterns. Something unique and irreplaceable always attracts my attention. This is from fiber artists’ point of view. However, during my study, I met a variety of creators from different areas, such as fashion designers and craftsmen. They ask for fabrics that are evenly dyed and without color spots. It’s a demanding task.

I might have more struggling learning experience than others. I love natural dyeing, and therefore I enjoy doing research and paying hard works. Now I treat natural dyeing with more respect, because I know the preciousness of natural ecosystem. We shall cherish and preserve such uniqueness.

Friday, January 22, 2016

What? no polyester!!

Great idea for a challenge, Sue.
I have a great respect for natural colorants- it's a complicated, labor intensive process to do properly.
The current craze of slapping *eco* in front of everything doesn't necessarily mean it is non toxic, or permanent, even- unless you know what you are doing.

I have a spectacular piece of silk jacquard dorozome from Japan.  It's mud dyed on Okinawa- this intensity of color takes between 75-100 repeat immersions.  Not a project suited to a weekend workshop!  Read about it here-

Next is some very raw silk my friend Darlene brought back from China for me.  It's super rough, and I've treated it to Jane Dunnewold's flour paste resist technique for some crackle.

Finally is this wad of rust stained material I made- handwoven cotton from India, and some theater scrim.

should be interesting- stay tuned!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

In my storage

by Misik Kim

When I saw the challenge by Sue, I remembered the fabrics in my storage for a long time.
I thought to use these fabrics for my work.
Almost fifteen years ago  I was so interested in natural dying.
At that time I had the opportunity to learn natural dying,
because a natural dying studio was near my studio and I saw many beautiful colors of natural dyed fabrics in there.
I was fascinated by the colors of them.
I was learning how to dye and dyed many fabrics for my works.
Linen, cotton and silk, many kind of fabrics….
I used some of them for my work, but some of them are left in my storage.
Thanks Sue,

Happy new year…….

Friday, January 8, 2016

Yak/silk roving?

I'm on holiday, escaping the cold and sleet at home in CT for the cool and rain in San Pablo Bay CA.  Like most of you, when I'm away from home I explore museums, shops, restaurants, farmers markets, galleries and on and on.  Yesterday was exhilarating as I explored textile places in Berkley and into Oakland.  Check out There were bunches of home grown indigo and marigolds hanging from the ceiling awaiting the dye vat.  My heart was aflutter...and I'm not a dyer...usually.

Among the items I 'had' to buy was yak/silk roving.  Oh, I could have bought plain silk roving or cotton roving (and I might still) but I landed on this stuff.  And it feels so good too.

It's not really in my preferred color family, but it works so well with my personal challenge during the current V9-3 cycle and, more to the point, Sue Dennis' excellent challenge "Being Natural".  I have to find a way to incorporate this 'exotic' material.