So, head on over to my store at icraft.ca/mouse-and-bear to catch my Black Friday sale.  Sale prices won't last long so if you're thinking of buying anything, now's a great time!

In other news, I have been working on a few more items for the store.  They aren't posted yet but hopefully we will see them there soon.  The first is a set of placemats that I made.  I originally intended to make them almost the same as another decorative cloth I had made, the one with the blue background and leaves.  This one.
However, since I'm not skilled enough with the dyes yet to create something that looks exactly the same as something else I've made, when I had finished the dyeing and the block printing the work didn't have enough depth.  Depth is something that I really want to have in my work, so I had to find another way around it.

I thought of doing machine embroidery, but it didn't really appeal to me with what I was doing.  I had, however, picked up some nifty stuff called Jacquard Discharge paste.  I had bought it a little while ago but I hadn't used it yet because my book said that I needed a respirator, which I didn't have.  I scoured the product website to see if they called for a respirator, but they didn't mention it anywhere.  So I thought I'd try it with an open window.  Anyway, the fumes weren't bad at all, much better than many household cleaners, so I was fine.

I had tried discharge before with bleach.  It was kind of cool but I wasn't crazy about it because it was smelly, messy, and hard to control.  With Jacquard Discharge Paste, it's thicker and you can paint it on.  I decided to try to print with it.  The prints were kind of messy, because the stuff kind of has the texture of raw egg whites rather than something thick like textile paint.  However, I liked the sort of ghostly images it made, and I feel it gave the work the depth it needed.
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These are a set of four placemats.
I also worked on a wall hanging that became a bit political.  I tie-dyed the piece in green, and then pole-wrapped it with red, and then made a flour paste and spread it over top.  Then I took a skewer and wrote Proverbs 31:10-16 in it.  Proverbs 31:10-31 is about "The Wife of Good Character" or "The Wife of Valor" which is used by both feminists and complementarians to describe the ideal woman's role.  I have always been shocked at the very different ways that it can be interpreted.  When I read it, I see that this ideal wife is hardworking, financially independent (through her own work, not inheritance), smart, and joyful.  Complementarians tend to read it as a demonstration of how a woman should be submissive to her husband and take care of the home.  I sometimes feel like I walk in a weird world as a religious feminist, with religious patriarchy on one side and feminists who believe that religion is necessarily demeaning to women on the other.  I personally find a lot of strength from passages like this, and I want women to know that they have the option of being both religious and egalitarian.  So this is a work of self-expression for me.  As such, it will not be turned into placemats (which would be really labor intensive anyway) and am going to keep it as a wall hanging instead.
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There's the whole piece. You can't make out all the writing, which is fine by me because it makes it look like an ancient document, as well as avoiding the kind of pushy evangelism that I hate.
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A close-up. You can see the slight crackle effect left by the flour paste resist.
 


Comments

11/26/2011 06:57

Erin,

I'm the person who posted some photos of fabrics dyed with cochineal and other natural dyes. Your work is lovely, shows a lot of sensitivity! I tend to move back and forth between natural dyes and man-made dyes, because they both have their merits, to me. Do try some work with them -- alum mordants work great -- and you can layer them, resist-paint them, shibori-wrap them, everything that you do with chemical dyes.

Best to you!

Denise

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