Drill Press Doodles & Trivet Tricks

Last week I added a couple of new elements to my surface design toolbox. These wooden “stamps” worked pretty well for printing thickened dye on fabric.

The one on the left is from a challenge I gave myself to doodle without using a writing instrument, paper or fabric. Instead, I used Bill’s drill press to “doodle” on a scrap of wood. The large holes were made with Forstner bits, the smaller ones with regular spiral drill bits. After drilling the holes, I softened the edges of the board with a wood rasp.

Here’s some fabric I printed with the Drill Press Doodle stamp.

Drill Press Doodle stamp used with thickened MX dye

I was pretty slapdash about the way I painted thickened dye onto the stamp (using a foam brush). The sodium alginate thickener built up in the large holes on the stamp, but I like the dimension it adds.

The other stamp is one of the rejects from Christmas 2009, when Bill was in charge of making most of our holiday gifts. I think that’s the year the kids all got PVC marshmallow shooters. The adults got wooden trivets with kerfs running one way on one side and the opposite direction on the flip side. I got the one that had some tear-out, supposedly for the kitchen but now it lives in the studio.

Here’s some fabric, previously clamp-resist dyed in the indigo vat, that I printed with the trivet stamp and thickened Procion MX dye.

Trivet stamp used with thickened MX dye

You can see where the tear-out was on the stamp and the thickened dye goobered. Again, as a stamp, I like it better for its imperfection.

For some reason, I forgot to photograph this fabric where I stamped some of the trivet blocks twice, with the lines rotate 90 degrees. I’m sure you get the idea. I tried to make a case for sorting that fabric out and photographing it again and telling you about it in more detail. But even I can see that for what it is: stalling.

So it’s back to work for me. I have a lecture coming up and am working with a new application to create the digital presentation slides. It’s a different kind of challenge, and I’m having fun with it. But compared to making sawdust with the drill press or slapping dye on fabric, it’s… well, I’m stalling.

Do you have a favorite stall to share? Or a technique for overcoming the urge to stall? Please, please, share it in the comments. I love reading your comments, even when I’m not stalling.

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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