That’s a variation on one of my alkaline extraction natural dyes on the left, and a pH modifier test on the right. I’m tempted to leave them hanging on the towel rod in the bathroom because they look so pretty in there.
For the one on the left, I simmered the wool yarn in a rhubarb leaf immersion bath. That helped use up some of the frozen dye materials that were relegated to the porch in my recent freezer purge.
Where snow cover and freezing temps are the norm for four or five months, you have to plan ahead to use local natural dye materials in the winter. I dry some things, press leaves for ecoprinting, and store bags of fresh willow leaves, rhubarb leaves and other materials in the freezer.
Nothing deflates the euphoria of finishing a piece quite like having to get it ready to ship to an exhibition. But it does feel good to get that job done. Here’s how I prepared “Shoal” for shipping and storage.
It’s amazing how much changing the point of view changes your perspective on something.
As an instructor at the 2015 National Basketry Organization biennial conference, I was invited to have work included in the exhibition. The plan in my head was for a hanging installation. But when a bundle of willow hoops in my studio came untied one day, the scattered pile reminded me of a shoal of fish.
One of my goals for January was to make my web site work better for people reading them on mobile devices, and it’s finally done.
Some other things got updated, as well. When the Sievers site opens for 2015 class registrations on February 1 I’ll update the direct links to my Local Color To Wear class (July 27-31) and Natural Dye Retreat (October 13-17). Registration is now open for the Midwest Weavers Conference and the National Basketry Organization biennial conference. More workshop information, including links to eCourse registrations, is here.
There are probably other things I missed that should be updated. If you spot something, please let me know!
Natural dye experiments have been on the back burner lately, but I am making a little progress with alkaline extractions. My current extractions are white pine bark, sumac leaves and Siberian iris leaves and of course willow bark.
Since you may be working on taxes too, you won’t find it surprising that I’ve had a couple of sleepless nights lately. Not that there’s anything in particular to worry about, but sleep won’t come. And then you lie there, thinking. And sometimes, you think of something useful.
The exhibition piece I was working on in my last post was finished, but it was 20 below zero. About all we could do in those temperatures was drive around looking for suitable sites where it could be photographed.
Deep snow, extreme cold and wind meant my original idea of hanging the elements from a bridge near my home was going to be more difficult than doable. Ditto Hanging Elements Plans B and C.
So I played with the elements, and kept coming back to the idea that they looked like a shoal of fish. So we reassessed options and went with Plan D. But since that involved possibly standing in freezing water, it seemed prudent to wait until it got a bit warmer. Today, it was positively balmy with temperatures above 20 degrees. So Bill and I went to shoot the piece this afternoon after he got home.
With air temperatures 30 degrees warmer than when we scouted, there was more open water and much more current. The water is only about a foot deep, but Bill’s felt-soled wading boots offered more secure footing than my tall rubber boot. So I went up on the bridge and my wonderful, generous, supportive husband stood in the water positioning the piece while I took photos standing on a ladder on the bridge.
It was a little late when we got started so we didn’t have quite enough daylight to get all the shots I wanted — especially since my battery got cold and I had to warm it up a couple of times. So we’ll probably shoot again in a couple of days. By the time we return, the ice will have changed and our plans may have to evolve a bit to suit the conditions we find then. We’ll go with the flow and see what happens then.