Dying to Dye

Nonseries Work

First of all an apology for not “blogging” with you in some time. Actually I took the summer off to enjoy family activities and take a few trips around the Pacific Northwest with my husband and friends. I won’t go into details because I promised you I would concentrate on my art work in these posts.

Whenever life intrudes and art takes “second fiddle,” I find myself eventually getting frustrated because I am not spending time in my studio. I also find it difficult to get back into the “work routine.” Where do I start? Where was I when I left off working on a project? What should I do to get my creativity flowing again? Sound familiar?

I decided to dye. First, please note the spelling. I did not do anything drastic. I cut some 1-yard pieces from my PFD bolts, bought some new dye powders and got to work. I was nudged to do so by two friends who shared their recipes for grays and browns. I’m not very good at working with neutrals – except black which I usually buy commercially – but I was challenged by my mentor, Nancy Crow, to use neutrals in my work. And she wouldn’t agree with me that yellow is a neutral.

Though many dyers I know work with 8-step gradations of a color, I decided Dyeing graysto experiment with 7 grey formulas and only do 4 steps of each. If you’re quick at math, you realize I now have 28 yards of grey – which should keep me going for awhile.

Dyeing brownsAt the same time I dyed 12 yards of brown -4 gradations of 4 shades.

Of course, one of my favorites is a small piece of fabric Crackled brownwhich I dyed with the leftover brown concentrates with marvelous crackling – and which I probably can never duplicate again. But that’s one of the joys of dyeing – you never know exactly what will happen.

Catching up from the summer, I had one quilt – “Its Not Easy Being Green” – in the special exhibits CQA (Contemporary QuiltArt Association) did in the APWQ (Association of Pacific West Quilters) in Tacoma in August and two quilts – “Sorok dva” and “Square in a Square” – in the special CQA exhibit at Northwest QuiltExpo in Portland in September. I also had two quilts – “Let the Sun Shine In” and “Record Rainfall” – in The American Art Company’s Eleventh Northwest Contemporary Quilt Invitational in August and September in Tacoma and three in the Rio Patchwork Design exhibition in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil, in June and July. All of these were quilts which I’ve shown before.

Also catching you up, my “Sticks” series continues. I am currently working on a new piece and will update you in a future post. Thanks for reading this one, and let me know your thoughts. If you’re also a fabric dyer and would like to share recipes and/or techniques, I’d love you to respond. In the meantime, keep dyeing, keep designing, keep sewing and keep exhibiting.

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