Daffodils, bladder cherries, tea, and indigo

Last evening I received a bundle of daffodils. They look so pretty with the indigo yarn and cloth scraps I’ve been amassing.

We have a group indigo vat going on at school right now. So interesting. If you don’t know about this amazing plant, check it out. Think blue jeans. Basically, when you pull your cloth out, it’s light green. Then as it oxidizes it magically turns blue.

Very rich. A little too royal blue for my liking so I decided to over-dye it with tea. Yup, regular old tea is a pretty sweet colourant.

It turned out pretty well. The silk strips came out with a beautiful goldy tinge, and so with the wool, but the cotton didn’t take the tea as readily. Perhaps another dip tomorrow.

So silvery : )

All of this indigo business is headed toward a line of three scarves. I’ve decided to make woven neck cuffs (or cowls, or scarflettes, whatever you like to call them) that contain a whole collection of different yarns, strings and cloth strips. They are going to let me use a loom for a few weeks although I am not a fibre arts student (I am in textile design, little different). Anyway, very excited. I love weaving so. You would too if you tried it.

Other than indigo-ing I’ve been picking out nursery rhymes for my mixed media textured pieces. I think I’ve decided on Peter Pumpkin Eater, Hickory Dickory Dock, Ladybug Ladybug, and Sing a Song of Six Pence. But don’t hold me to that.

And I made these pretty t-shirts for digital class. They are called “Bladder Cherry”, which is a most amusing term for Chinese Lanterns. The original design (seen on the black shirt) was for a set of “art blinds”. It was drawn in Illustrator. These are just iron-on transfers, but I think after seeing the results I will make up a couple of screen prints with similar motifs. Little more permanent that way.

When nature overtakes architecture

Today was an extended and entirely pleasant day in the surface design studio. Many people around, some sort of open house to publicize the school and they were all very inquisitive. I was working away on some screen printing, texture samples, and a cityscape while the lady at the table across made encaustic board games. I spent the whole day intoxicated by the smell of beeswax. Could there be a more sticky drug? Teehee.

Here are the beginnings of my salt crystal cityscape. I left it at the school to grow (far too fragile for frolicking) and am chomping at the bit to go check on it. I suspect it will be half way to full-grown by the time I wake up. Probably make some coffee related excuse to go downtown and see it first thing.

Step One: Fabricate a cardboard city. Massacre it (and your hands) with food colouring, everyone`s favourite multi-medium.

Step Two: Flood your city with a foul-smelling blue concoction (recipe courtesy Mik3 at Instructables).

Step Three: Wait for the magic! I made this tester in advance so the suspense wouldn’t kill me. It makes me think of what skyscrapers might look like if all the people left and nature reclaimed its territory.

Also, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my dinosaur prints. Hooray for discharge paste! Here are the first couple bags. Need a little embellishment yet. Maybe some zigzag stitching and a button or two.

Time for sleep, more projects tomorrow :)

– Allison Green