Samples at the end of the dayOver the weekend, I drove down to Asheville, North Carolina to take a workshop at the Cloth Fiber Workshop in the River Arts District taught by Catharine Ellis.

"In this workshop you'll learn about the dyes that can be used to make fast colors on protein fibers using only tannins and organic acid instead of a mineral mordant (alum). In one simple step you'll obtain a full range of color!"

I always enjoy my visits to Asheville and the surrounding area.  People in Asheville are so friendly, the food is great, and the art and studio craft communities are deeply talented and genuine.

I took a 2-day organic indigo vat workshop with Catharine Ellis last spring when she made the trip up to NE Ohio for a guild offered workshop.  That workshop was fantastic too.  You can see info from that workshop here.

The workshop this past Saturday was focused on a unique way to dye protein fibers (i.e. silk & wool) without the step of mordanting the fiber first.  By the end of the day, we walked away with the information to try the processes on our own and a whole color palette of samples!  Perhaps within the next year or two, I can manage to take one of Catharine's 1 or 2 week workshops so that I can get deeper hands-on experience.

More photos from the day can be found here.

Cochineal Dye Bath Lichen dyebath Rhubarb Dye bath

 

Last May, I took a class from Kathie Roig on painting warps with fabric paints.  It was a great class and on my drive home on the last day still on an 'end-of-workshop-high' I had a brainstorm for a multi-layer woven project that would incorporate imagery-based painting for each of the layers that would tell a piece of the Cleveland Area human-ecology story.  Like so many ideas that hit me in situations like this - it of course felt brilliant... and then daunting. 

It has been approximately 10 months since the class and I have continued to mull over the idea, building on it and refining it mentally for a while.  In early January, I felt like I was at a point with the idea that I could move onto ordering warp yarn and fabric paints.  The supplies arrived in late January, I took each of paints out and created a sample of the colors on a piece of white cotton fabric... and pulled out large sheets of paper to 'mock up' the way I thought I wanted the final layers to look, to play with proportion of the heights, etc.  And then, more uncertainty and doubt crept it.  The piece just wasn't feeling right yet.  And there are so many steps to the process, that I just didn't want to move forward with it until I really felt comfortable and confident in the idea.

Digital Jacquard Loom at KSUThis afternoon I drove down to Kent State University to see the textile studio.  Since hearing that KSU has a textile program in the art department, I have really wanted to see the space and fantasize about returning to school to earn an MFA.  The KSU studio is amazing.  I have been to a few studios that have a lot of looms, but I was really taken back by the sheer number of looms in this studio!  I didn't count, but I am guessing that there were probably 3-4 dozen.  I really thought I had taken a photo where you could see the large area with all of the floor looms... but alas, I did not.

I just came across this new web series by PBS Digital: The Art Assignment.  It looks interesting.

"While most art-related video on the web focuses on art of the past and the idea of creative genius, THE ART ASSIGNMENT will celebrate risk-taking in the creative process and the act of making. The series will highlight emerging and established artists working across the United States, with each artist creating an assignment that will serve as an open call for responses. Viewers create their own responses through photos or video to be posted to YouTube, PBS.org, and other social media platforms with the aim of sparking conversation and comments about the original assignment video as well as the responses."

You can access the YouTube channel here.

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