Project – a celtic sarong for dallas

dallas is a friend of mine. he’s into irish things, and he’s a member of the society for creative anachronism, and sets up camp in something called pennsic every year for what they call a war and is fought with i don’t know authentic sticks and broadswords. i’ve been promising him this sarong, which he wants to use as a banner for a side business at pennsic, and it’s been years i’ve been promising him this. well, it’s his birthday in a week or two, and i want to have this ready for him. he’ll look so cute wrapped in it.

 pencil sketch on graph paper, traced central figure.

i took the central figure right out of bain’s celtic art book, and made fanciful tree roots and limbs and trunks with snakes according to variations in spacing. i didn’t want a formal celtic border pattern, tho. anything but. it was hard enough to work with color on the central figure.

 enlarged by gridding, black acrylic brushed on.

once i had scaled it up to ful size, something like 21×45 on a sarong that measures 70×45. nice, heavy fabric, too, glad to see it. dharma trading. got out some black acrylic and a brush and drew the pattern in once i was sure of it. it’s a very striking pattern.

 stretched right after putting on resist.

laying the silk down on the dried paper, i outlined all the black lines with clear water-based gutta. it’s just like drawing a coloring book. drawing lines you’lre going to have to color inside of later.

 dyes in egg carton, gutta’d silk ready to paint.

i would like to wash out my dye tray (eggland’s best eggs come in a double set of 12. the eggs are good too) now and then, but i’m always in such a hurry to get to the next project that i never have time to clean it, and just pour more yellow, red, blue and black into one or the other cups. the silk on the stretcher above looks like 2 different colors, but it’s an artifact of the lighting.

 sorry fuzzy, after first dyeing, maybe done.

a hastily taken photo of the finished center figure. the colors turned out completely different from what i had imagined, because i started with green.

i wasn’t thinking, and i colored in the stem in the middle. and then it turned out that by outlining the black lines with gutta, what i was doing was drawing outlines to be filled in later. if i had drawn a single line with the gutta, i would have come out with an entirely different design and a strikingly different color scheme. but now i’ve got green lines outlining everything.

 working on the border drawing, in makeshift studio.

after coloring in the lines on the central figure, i started to draw in the roots and branches, which are going to be much looser. i’m going to do them with sugar syrup, and leave a lot of white space for it to bleed out on, and i’ll use deep, rich browns and greens, and put a lot of leaves on top. or something.

you see in the picture above my latest project, hanging on the wall in back, my current project on the drawing board, and a pile of unironed nebula and other scarves on the bed in front.

 view of tree roots.

getting the over-under problem right is the main thing to making it look okay. there’re usually some rethinking that has to happen, and sometimes a cheat, like 2 unders in a row. it’s best to work in pencil first.

i went down to the studio and got 80′ stretchers, and 48″ stretchers, and i believe i will be able to stretch the entire sarong with them. if so, it’ll stay taught and the results will be good. i was anticipating, and still am with asha’s veil, that i’ll have to use suspension on 2 sides only, and let the middle sag, which will be trouble for letting the dyes flow. so it will be nice to have it properly stretched.

i’m going to have to draw it all at once, probably on the paper on the floor. i’m going to be using sugar syrup, and am going to have to transfer it to the stretchers with some care, lest part of the silk fold over on itself and leave a sticky gooey mess that will really mess up my pattern. i’ll get jim to help me.

that’s tomorrow.


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