Fairy Godmother Makes An Offer

Do you ever get those blinding moments of clarity that only come in the shower? Yesterday I had a mini ah-ha moment while rinsing more indigo-dyed fabric. I wasn’t looking for it. Truly, I was just wanting the water to run clear.

On Reflection by Donna Kallner

Water and its power to reflect has been much on my mind lately. Here’s what was in my head while I was working on a piece called On Reflection for a show called A Woman’s Perspective On The Elements:

Once upon a time, a girl might gaze into a pool of water to glimpse some bright possibility. Nowadays, girls are surrounded by mirrors that seem to reflect only flaws. No evil enchantment could lock them more completely into a shining lie. A fairy godmother might be able to reveal hidden beauty with the wave of a wand. Lacking that implement, I use another ancient tool of transformation: With my needle, I try to mend the world by stitching layers of fabric and praying that some girl will see magic trickling along a crease, puddled in a corner.

So yesterday while I was rinsing it hit me: I need a new wardrobe. Does this make me sound shallow? No, don’t answer that.

Last weekend I had a student coming for a studio weekend. On Friday afternoon, I went to put on my going-to-town jeans, which, besides my going-to-teach jeans are were the only ones I had without patches or stains. I’m hard on clothes, and hate to put much time or money into something that will soon be stained with dye or paint. But my wardrobe is used up. It’s time to be my own fairy godmother and transform myself into someone who doesn’t have to scramble at the last minute to find something decent to wear. I have a needle and I know how to use it. Heaven knows I have plenty of fabric on hand. This is feeling like the kind of “godfather” offer you can’t refuse.

So it’s time to put making a new wardrobe at the top of the list for a while. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

My Monday Morning Rinse & Revelation came about because I refreshed the indigo vat over the weekend. Judy has taken classes with me for more than 10 years. She was the only student for the weekend (having graciously changed dates to accommodate a private group), so we could do whatever we wanted. As I listed options, her eyes lit up on indigo and we had a plan.

On Friday night we painted fabric and made fiber phyllo to use on Saturday. On Saturday, she worked through the Constructed Vessels class.

On Sunday, we played with the indigo vat.

We also pulled out the Colorhue dyes and put color on silk in a very different way from what we did on Friday.

While the Colorhue dyes were out, I did some sampling on silk velvet.

On the left you see velvets with Colorhue dip-dyeing. Since the colors were already pretty dark (shown unaltered on the right), the results aren’t dramatic. But I like the possibilities.

Yesterday seemed like a good day for task that weren’t tasking. So I finally got a huge skein of cotton yarn I inherited rewound and ready for dyeing.

The last of a bunch of quilt blocks I inherited last summer got altered with indigo as well. Not that all of that stuff has been transformed, it’s time to work on transforming my wardrobe. Much of it, I suspect, will be blue.

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Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin