i’ve got a houseguest staying in the studio. my part of the studio. and he’s actually overstaying, and i can’t do any work in my studio.

this is really making me antsy. i was an actual bitch yesterday.

just at a time when i’ve got so many ideas and things i need to be doing.

july might seem like a long way away, but it’s not. i’ve got an exquilt wall hanging picture to do, a collage, which i’ve never done anything quite like this before and i’m winging it. so it’s going to take 3 times as long as i think it will.

i’ve got to test the salt technique and wax on cotton. i saw this fat quarter in a quilting store – the red hen in marietta, and they had this (other) batik that was brouwn salt technique and purple splats of wax. which means they died it purple with salt first, then put wax on it and dyed it brown (i mean yellow).

i’ve suddenly decided that this technique is absolutely the one i must have for the canvas background for my lisa exquilt picture of ireland, down to the very browns and purples that are so much a part of the irish landscape (even if the colors i have from lisa’s clothes aren’t).

so i’m sitting on google maps looking at cashel bay which is the picture i’m doing, and while i’m looking at cashel in terrain view or satellite photo, i swoop down to the back of kerry and look at kildreelig on bolus head, where i was once, and was stricken with the beauty and barrenness, and the certain knowledge that the world is meant to be seen from above, and that only from the top of a good high hill would everything make sense.

anyway i’m fantacizing what exactly i’d do if i got a residency there, as i’ve applied recently. there’s something so magnetic for me about the side of that mountain, the light on the ocean, the landforms beyond and on up into the mountains of kerry. it’s haunted me these 25 years, and just the thought of going back there makess me itch.

just like not being able to get to my studio makes me itch.

i’ve got more nebula silk paintings to experiment with. i’m now looking at larger views of nebulas, like m16 and the orion nebula, big cloudy forms full of stars. i’m still thinking of the central panel of a silk quilt i could never wear on the bed without covering because sudie likes to nest up all the bedclothes, and happily rips the stitches out of silk quilts.

voila the orion nebula. how do you paint that? on what with what and how big?

i’ve got the salt technique on canvas to work out. i’ve been thinking of 3 or 4 ways to do it.

and then i have the wax and 2nd dyeing to consider. do i put on the salt technique first and let it dry, and then dye it again after sprinkling wax on?

i’ve discussed this below, and am still dithering.

dye on cotton needs its ph raised, and that means adding soda ash to set the dye. i read somewhere that putting the soda ash on with the dye means it doesn’t have a chance to move, and that’s what salt is for, moving the dye. so put the soda ash in with the dye? soak the fabric in ash and then add dye? put the dye on and then add the soda ash? these are all 3 ways i’ve used in various low-immersion techniques. which one works with salt? 

i’m thinking maybe put it all on at once, do dye and water, sprinkle salt, let it move, then spray on soda ash. then while it’s still wet, sprinkle on hot wax, and charge in the yellows to turn the cotton brown. then cure it in a plastic bag for a day and then toss it in the washing machine. eh viola.

do i want to stretch it on stretchers? i cut out 5 feet square of unprimed artist canvas (from fredrix, a birthday present from mike and dave – thanks boys) and tossed it in the washing machine. do i want to spread it out on plastic and paint it? i don’t need to color the whole thing (tho how will i resist doing that?) because i’m planning to laminate some fabric strips around the border.

i’ve cut out a 6 inch strip of canvas 5 feet long and will use that as test strips when i can get back to the studio, woe is me. one foot can be soda with dye and salt, one will be dye and salt and let it dry and then spray it with soda, drip hot wax all over it, and add yellow and black dye, and one will be dye and salt and keep it wet with soda ash and colors. i can’t think of other ways to do it.

it’s different from silk because of the soda ash and the no steaming part. fiber reactive dye on cellulose is great. i’m still not happy with how to turn fiber reactive dye into acid dye, however.

and i can’t go downstairs and do anything at all. woe.

i was appalled to find that batik textiles, with the fabulous designer lee ann, didn’t have this particular batik, tho i called red hen to find out. it must have been not the current year’s designs. but oh so fabulous. i am so going to copy the design.

here it is. i scanned it. it’s 5×8.

i think the purple came first, and is what reacted with the salt. then in a second layer, wax was applied and the fabric redyed with oranges and blacks. i think.


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