For a few weeks up to the end of the Maiwa workshop, and Dad getting the go-ahead to drive, I felt like I was rolling toward a cliff edge, in that I knew there’s be new terrain over that horizon but I couldn’t see it yet. It wasn’t that there isn’t lots for me to do. It was just that a part of me expected that whatever I decided to do would be scuttled by another big drama.
What I ended up doing was lots and lots of sorting stuff out. A large part of that was post-workshop tidying up and using up dye pastes. After going through the leftover dye pastes to see what colours were left and tossing anything moldy (surprisingly little) I planned some projects to use it with.
I also tried using a new dye source – white mulberry – on a piece of leftover fabric from the workshop. It was supposed to be green with paler leaves created with stencilled discharge paste, but I forgot that the cloth hadn’t been mordanted and only got a faint difference in greens. So I tried mordanting, and dying again and redoing the discharge paste. No change. So I overdyed with the last bit of logwood I had and the result was the opposite to what I expected: the discharge areas took up the purple more than the background. It was a lesson in why the workshop creators chose the dyes they did – reliable results.
For the last a square of workshop cloth I did a print of a layered leaves with mordant-dye paste.
I’d already been through my fabric stash, and only found a scrap of heavy twill cotton to play with. I tried out a dip pen stamp on it.
There was a bag of bits and pieces in my old dyeing supplies that included a cotton scarf from when I made sun-printed scarves as presents a decade or so ago. Of the dye pastes I had, the colours with the most paste left over included myrobalan/iron and two shades of madder. The myrobalan steams up to a nice olive green and the madder becomes pale pinks, so made them into mordant-dye pastes and painted roses.
The bag also contained a white t-shirt. I wanted to try doing two fabric dyeing methods on one object, so I dyed it with iron, used discharge paste to remove circles around the neckline, chalked and dried it. Then I painted the circles with lac and madder mordant-dye pastes.
There’s plenty of dye paste left and I still have ideas I’d like to try, but I’ve run out of fabric and I really want to start painting still lifes. While I was doing all the above I was also sorting through all my art, printing, dyeing and paper-making materials and stowing them away in the laundry cabinet. We removed a chest of drawers (you can see the unpainted area in the pic below) and installed shelving to make a little art nook.
The printing surface has a new, clean cover (blue) and has been stowed behind the table, and I’m starting to set up for painting.
I also made ink out of madder from my garden, caught up on gardening, made tomato chutney and relish. caught up with some friends. sorted through a huge pile of accumulated fabric and clothes belonging to a friend and myself to send to recycling. did my quarterly tax, and finally went to plein air and portrait workshops.
And suddenly I realised I was on the other side of that cliff edge, and everything was fine.