Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

It was a great week on Washington Island with my Local Color students! It was a special treat to have Carolyn Foss of Sievers photograph the class working in the studio and posting our progress through the week — Day 1, Day 2, and Days 3 and 4. We concentrated on photographing the island, altering images, eating out, and making fiber art.

We found a special treat this year on our first shoot. The Ridges at Jackson Harbor was carpeted with bladderwort.

I’d never before seen these small, spurred yellow flowers, which turns out to be carnivorous.

I used an image I shot at The Ridges that day for a demo piece.

The image was printed without alteration on inkjet silk. I used pastel dye sticks to abstract the figure, add definition to some of the line elements, and darken the verge. Then I cropped the fabric.

My demo piece used dyed fabric from the pile I took for students to use, but after the first day or so most of my students were painting their own background and accent fabrics. I got a couple rows of stitching done to secure layers so I could demonstrate a rough version of reverse applique, which reveals the inkjet silk and a small inkjet heat transfer cropped to show the bladderwort close up.

My students did a great job of sampling — better than I did. If I’d had time to sample, I’d have added a bit more clear extender to the blue Inkodye I used to print the sumac leaf. The color is darker than I intended, so I may use a lighter color thread for the stitching to shift it.

As usual, I get wrapped up in teaching and forget to take photos of what goes on in the studio. It’s nice to see Carolyn’s posts and pictures. For the rest, you’ll have to use your imagination.

The frozen Siberian iris blossoms I took didn’t do much for the simmered silk bundles. I think in my haste to get the pot going I used more water than needed for the amount of fabric. And I suspect they would print better on something heavier than the 5mm habotai we used. I’m not ready to give up on them yet, but it will be next summer before I have blossoms and can try again. I’ll have to be patient.

We didn’t have to be patient with our plastic bag bundles. After sitting on the deck for four hot, sunny days, we opened them on Thursday afternoon. The copper-wrapped bundles could have gone longer, but what was wrapped with steel wire was just right.

The weather was also perfect for heliographic printing with Setacolor and Dye-na-Flow. Everyone sampled the technique, and several students printed elements for pieces they’ll complete on their own. I can’t wait to see their finished pieces!

I’ll chip away at my own UFOs this week, but also have other dyeing to do. So much plant material is ready to use now or dry for later. Summer is short. UFOs will keep.

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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

2 thoughts on “Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer”

  1. While reading this I was thinking back 2 years ago already when I took your local color class on the island. It brought back wonderful memories. It was my favorite class. It was so fun and relaxing. Judy

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