xmas and other presents

i’ve put work on the dolphins aside for a few last minute presents i need to get finished.  i hate spending money on presents, even tho i did this year.  but there are still loads of things you want to give people that you can’t find anywhere.  and i’m fortunate enough to live in the southern equivalent of santa’s workshop.  what you’re not seeing here is the cork board and the basket that i’ll be doing, maybe i’ll take photos.

you may have seen the first three pictures before.  or not.  i disremember if i posted them.  they’re the pastel drawing, above, with reference photos, the first wax applied with a palette knife, before burning in, below,

and how it looks after melting, or burning in, below.

and today, just now, in fact, i put on more white in the sky, more pale green on the background trees, more greeny green on the trees and in the field, more yellow in the field, and a bunch of orange and blue in the foreground.

what’s left for this is some burnt sienna circles that will read well as sunflower heads.  i was surprised at how atmospheric it became with the second coat of wax.  you can tell it’s a hot day in summer in the southern appalachians.

next it’s scarves.  because i have four very special people to say thanks to, a little further out, which is the turtle scarves you’ll see later, but also a few very special people to make xmas presents for, and a sample dragon to show jim’s dealer in case they want to do something in silk for the upcoming dragon con thingie.

what you’re seeing here is a bunch of water based gutta on its last legs (see the belly, spine crest and feet in dark?  that’s dried water-based gutta.  the scales inside the dragon that are variously yellow, red, and lue, they’re outlined in sugar syrup, karo, and when they dry they make a partial resist which will melt right away with water, and make all sorts of crazy blends.  i’m in the middle of putting the colors all into place, and the water  part comes later.

here i’ve put all the colors into place inside the dragon.  look how clumsy it all looks, especially the black outlines.  you’ll see little dots of black inside the scales.  i tried to put them directly on top of the dried syrup instead of on the cloth.  i didn’t want them to bleed until hit with water.

the background, which was a completely accidental tobacco gold (lots of yellow, a touch of red, a drop of blue, oops too much blue more red red red and loads more yellow straight out of the bottle and then watered down as much as i dared.  while it was still wet i sprinkled kosher rock salt on it to draw the dye

and here’s after being brushed with clear water.  first i did the scales, keeping inside the lines with the clear water, using brush after brush of clear water, enough to leave that black splotch of still-wet, pooled drip on the right hand side.

you can see the effect the salt had on the background, you can see the effect the water had on the blue crest.  the syrup breaks apart, the dye flows right out of the holes, and the most amazing things happen.

this is the next scarf, ready for dashing with water.  the blue has a touch of black in it, because you can’t make darks without black, unlike most any other type of color work, like oil and watercolor painting.  that’s because everything’s transparent, and instead of getting darker, the colors just get richer.

this is the scarf hit with water and after it dried.  it’ll look different again after it’s set and washed out.

this is the beginning of the third dragon.  this is all water-based gutta for the outlines, and sugar syrup for the scales, belly, and crest.

and this is what it looks like very close up.  you’re seeing a lens-artifact moire pattern on the scarf, that’s not what it looks like to my eye.  the sugar syrup turns the scarf clear, as does getting it wet.  if you dip the whole scarf into sugar syrup (diluted), for some interesting work, the whole thing dries like cellophane, and crackles and crinkles when you move it.  i love working with sugar syrup.

this is the first application of dye, first yellow, then magenta, then cyan, because silk dyes use the printer’s ink system of three colors plus black.  and with these you mix all colors.

i consider this third dragon scarf ruined before i get it off the board.  see, i left it on the glass pattern-guard until it dried, and then sone.  and when i took it off, i had to rip it up because it was glued down to the glass with sugar syrup as well as water-based gutta (some sort of algae), and didn’t come up without jerking it.

which, as you can see from this closeup, ripped the hell out of the fabric.  what you can’t see because of the moire effect is that each place where it ripped (see those dark spots in the bottom line of gutta, separating the white from the gold?) left not only the dark spots (holes), but ran perpendicular to the hole, as it would if you used any old sewing machine needle to stitch this silk.  runs.  so i can’t use it as a scarf, because it’ll continue to fall apart.

but i can use it in a quilted scarf, with, say a nice cotton on the back, and something warm in the middle, and quilted the hell all over the holes.

and who shall i give this present to, eh?  too bad my intended recipient doesn’t read my blog, because she would know she’s getting something special, all because of a mistake.

and this is what the ruined scarf, soon to be scarf, looks like after being drenched.  not bad.  the crest still needs water, tho, and i’m afraid i don’t have a picture.  but maybe you’ll get a look in the end, a few days from now when they’ve all been steamed.

and this is the first of the turtle scarves.  the turtles and shells are in water-based gutta, and the tracks and waves are in sugar syrup, and it’s all delicate browns and pinks and greens, and deep blues and greens and purples.  a lovely scarf, if somewhat awkward in its color shift.

so, more tomorrow.  i thought i’d update it.  jim’s been in bed and i need to go read our chapter.


susie’s xmas present

since she doesn’t read my blogs, she won’t notice before xmas, so i’m safe in putting it up now.

when we were at the beach this summer, my sister got me to make her a sea turtles crawling out to sea t-shirt. so when jim designed me a sea turtle scarf this fall, i figured i just might as well make an extra one because susie was going to want it. so.

it’s a design that uses a lot of wavy waves, and a lot of sandy sand, with seashells and sea turtles on the shore and marching out to sea. not the seashells, marching. so i was going to get to use my favoriet technique – karo syrup resist – and i was going to have to figure out how to do sand.

fotunately, i had on hand a jar of presist, which is some sort of paste resist (tastes like boiled detergent, but they never tell you what’s in these things) that i had never tried. so.

i got out a sea sponge, and put down a layer of resist, sponging it on haphazardly all over the sand area. at the same time, i put in my water resist lines, very gloopy sugar syrup that i then let dry. when the syrup was down, i started putting in various blues for the water, and left a strip of white to represent the shoreline foam.

 after dousing the sand with water

over the presist, i put in a golden yellow with a brush, trying to avoid the resist where possible. i didn’t yet understand the properties of this resist, and found that it was very reactive with water, which means that it wouldn’t hold at all if i brushed dye over it. but after the stuff was dry i couldn’t tell where the resist was, so oh well.

i sponged resist onto it on top of the first resist and the first dye, and when it was dry i put a deeper brown color over the first bits. when that was dry, i sponged on the resist again, and put purple bits on. it looked very cool, but more like a pebble beach than a sandy one, and sea turtles, i’m sorry, don’t like to make their nests in rock. so.

 running dye

then i turned my attention to the turtles and the shells. they’d been outlined in regular water-based resist (rice paste???), and i painted the turtles green, and the shells red, with various water color type treatments.

 ain’t it beautiful, suze?

and then i put water all over the water, violating the resist lines. this had the effect of dissolving the sugar syrup, and the dye moved in tendrils and swirls into new areas, making a wonderful loose mess of color. that’s why i love this technique.

 look how the dye bleeds across the sugar resist

over the sand, i washed clear water, hoping to move the resist in a similar way. it didn’t do anything like the sugar syrup did when i put water on it, but instead washed everything into soft blended color. it kind of washed the color out, actually, but since i was aiming for a sand look, that was alright. for the four scarves i did for sale, my sand goes thru several different versions, depending on how bold i was being with both resist and color, and by the time i got to my sister’s scarf, i was about at my limit for going outside the lines.

once i had the scarf steamed and saw how it all came out, i wondered what i should do with it next. my sister isn’t the type to actually wear my scarves. she hangs them instead. so i figured why not make a backing for it and give her a wall hanging. so.

 mostly finished

i was over in marietta a while later, showing a friend this great quiting fabric store, and ran across a batik of sea turtles. it was in lime green, which i detest, but i figured i could overdye it and make it more green-blue. but i overdid the overdyeing, and it came out bluish black. so i tosseed it in the wash and cycled it thru three or five hot water washes, and it faded out enough to where you could actually see the sea turtles. so that was okay.

 batik backing, note the green turtles. the original fabric was yucky lime green. the outlines are quilting of objects in the scarf.

i had to cut and piece the batik, and i had just enough flannel to cut out the batting, so i sandwiched the thing together and started sewing. i was undecided whether to quilt the waves, and in the end i just quilted the turtles and the shells and left it at that.

now i have to figure out when i can mail it so that she’ll get it for xmas. if i sent it to her now, or in early november, she’ll just open it, and the xmas present part will be ruined. if i send it to her husband, he’ll put it aside and leave it at work. timing is everything.

 finished wall hanging with turtles and shells quilted

and to my other sister, who does read my blogs — lise, i’ve still got to fix something about the way your wall hanging hangs, and then it’ll be on the slow boat to you. and i must tell you, allison doesn’t think it’s very good at all, but susie loves it.