Thursday, March 17, 2016

Dye pot attempts

(confession)... I have a serious love affair with raw materials.. cloth especially. It consumes my living space, my brain, my internet-surfing hours...  Each piece that ends up in my possession (a frequent event) has its own personality, its own 'best use' that someday will reveal itself... but mostly it sits. Waiting In Reserve... much like a secret bank account.

I live in a rental condo in Tucson, Arizona, for the time being... beautiful but a poor match for messy hobbies... Last fall I discovered an old pecan orchard in a local park... gathered a bag of dried pecan husks to make into dye... got a cheap hot plate and old pots... stewed and stirred and strained..

Here is my outdoor 'studio':
Outdoor studio

View from my outdoor studio
This week I heated the last of the pecan dye (which sat in a plastic bucket outside all winter..a bit gelatinous for some reason but not stinky)... experimented with Itajime Shibori discs on cotton sheets and harem cloth. The dye looks very dark, not brown as it was months ago, but a deep mahogany.. creating a light gray-mauve...
Itajime Shibori on cotton sheet
close-up of shibori circle
harem cloth shibori

I didn't have clamps so I folded the cloth into squares with 2 of these acrylic discs sandwiched inside.. secured the sandwich between 2 ceramic tiles with rubber bands and string... then into the pot for an hour.
2-inch shibori discs from Rossie Crafts
Now there's the pomegranate husks to finish off:
Pomegranate husks from last winter

Off to work now... only 6 more weeks... then a move... to a place that is Mine...


  1. i am
    I get to be the first comment on your first Working post.
    Really, this feels just so Great, be begin from the Beginning
    here, with just You go, to whereEver it is
    you Go to.
    and Pecans...i have access to pecans. so. a pecan pot in my
    future. which reminded me to gather up some Mexican Elderberry leaves soon. I know a good tree that needs trimming.
    So...OK, Joy. Thank you for this and for what is to come.
    Can feel it in my bones.
    I'll probably come back later, i'm so happy about this....

    1. (jumping up and down with excitement!)
      HI grace!!! thank you!
      i don't visit your blog daily so it's a treat when i do...
      and yes... this *does* feel like you visited me here at home!

  2. Hi Joy and welcome to the blog world of cloth and dye. This is Marti, a friend of grace, who also lives in New Mexico. I noticed your blog from the comment that you left on her blog on March 13th and I've wanted to come for a visit.

    Your post today is right up my alley because I too have my dye "studio" outdoors; we are renting the house that we live in. Like you, I have a few old pots, an old plastic 3 drawer gizmo on wheels containing jars, rusty bits, string, clamps, washers, etc. Doesn't take much at all to create a workable dye studio. I primarily solar dye but once in a while, I do put a few pots on my gas stove indoors.

    I don't blog but do comment on several cloth blogs and I'm looking forward to reading your blog. I've known grace since 2005. We met when we both took part in an online writing forum and we met physically in 2007 when my husband and I traveled to New Mexico to meet her. We were living in Texas at the time.

    I came late to cloth and dyeing but now it is a part of the rhythm of my life. I tend to have a love hate relationship with needle and thread and the landscape collages that I create with my dyed cloths are very simple since I taught myself only a few basic stitches and have no desire to expand beyond them. For me it has been all about the connection to the land from my foraging and the alchemy that comes when my foraged materials are bundled in cloth, or placed in my crusty old pots to create magic. In other words, it is more about the journey to color and markings and less about the collage creation. Lately, though, seeing the end result of bits and pieces of cloth that come together to tell a story of place and landscape, has made me realize that the stitching is becoming an equal partner to the dye magic. So the process has become even more fully whole and complete for me.

    1. Oh hi Marti! So glad to make your acquaintance! thank you for stopping by!
      *yes* to foraging and alchemy! Do you share pictures anywhere? Would love to see the cloth you've dyed and the collages too..

    2. At one time, India Flint used to have a blog called Found, Stitched and Dyed and I had some of my cloth work on that blog but she has removed it. Now and then I do share photos via email.

    3. Marti , thank you , so i read more about your way of living i feel some kint of connection

  3. Great results! Love those plexi circles, especially as a teacher of young children! Your view is beautiful. I too rent and have done some dying on my back patio, but I seem to have decided that I don't have the patience for it beyond the initial "Wow that turned out cool!" discoveries! WIll like to see where this takes you :)

  4. I'm so glad Grace pointed the way to your new blog. She has been a guiding light in my own journey through cloth and thread, so it was no surprise to find much to love here.

    Your blog has been added to my list of Kindred Spirits over at ... I hope you'll come to visit, as I too love to dye with things that grow on the land.

    Wishing you much happiness in your new endeavor,

    1. Hello Liz! Your blog is one I'm already familiar with altho I haven't dropped by lately! Thank you for the encouragement!

  5. I also heard about you through Grace, welcome to blog land, it has given me friendship, help and comfort. I can't find a way to follow you though.

    1. Hello Debbie! Glad to make your acquaintance! It will take me a few days to peruse everyone's blogs, but I just added your blog to my Feedly Reader list. Feedly is how I follow everything. If you want to use Blogger to follow me (your blog is in Blogger too), I think you need to copy my web address, then click on the tiny Blogger link at the bottom of this page. That will take you to your own Blogger Dashboard. Scroll down till you see 'Reading List' and click on the 'Add' button beneath it. Paste my address in there ('URL') and click 'Follow'. I don't actually know what that does... lol... I'm testing it with you right now!