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Monday, January 15, 2018

Clitoria Ternatea or Butterfly Pea Flower

I must confess - I love nothing more than to "putter."  With my love of color, fiber and fabrics it is never a problem and always provides a 'high.'   This could be looked at as a waste of time, but not to me.   Since the New Year, I feel as though I'm hibernating and haven't had the interest to begin huge new projects so in the meantime, I must do what I do; I would go mad without having a color or fiber fix.  I know from experience that this lull is a necessary restoring of energy that I think we all must do from time to time - a lot of it may have to do with all the energy expended prior to the holidays.  There are ideas germinating but I don't really have the urge to go fast forward so I've been reading - a lot - an opportunity to catch up with my books and blogs and one of the most interesting things I came across on Pinterest is the Butterfly Pea Flower (Clitoria Ternatea).  This is a flower that grows in Southeast Asia and the common name which I found fascinating is Asian Pigeon Wings belonging to the Fabascea family.  Of course, I had to have some - you can make drinks and food that change color depending on the ph. and I plan to use it for this for special drinks and desserts!  

I freeze blue flowers to use for eco painting/printing and dyeing so when I found this recently, I was excited to try using it as a dye.  It is such a pretty color, that I wondered about how it would work on paper and fabric so I tried on silk, paper and wool, mordanted and unmordanted and had a great time.

Butterfly Pea Flower is sold as a tea but can also be used to color food and drinks; there are several brands on Amazon, some more expensive than others.  I steeped the flowers in hot water but I did read that it can be more effective heating with the microwave so I tried that and didn't find much difference.

Experiment Conclusions:   
On paper:  Blue (lovely periwinkle color) using straight tea; violet when lemon is added; green when baking soda is added.  I found that painting on after eco printing has interesting effects depending on the mordant used.

On silk:  I had high hopes I could make this work by being patient and mordanting first.  The most success I had was with Uzbec silk (unmordanted) which is very fine; the results were best when dipped, left for a while then steam ironed - I washed it several times and it kept its color;however, a ph neutral soap must be used for this or the color will change.   When I tried habotai, the color didn't last.  It looked beautiful at first but faded quickly.  

On wool:  I tried a scrap of prefelt - it did not hold the color at all

Promise to Myself

I'm making a promise to myself to update my blog once a month if not more.  It is a great way to keep track of what you have been up to when looking back.  Facebook has become that, but posts and pictures tend to get lost in the shuffle and when you experiment as much as I do, it helps your efforts to become clarified - rather like making something that you are not quite sure of and leaving it for a while to come and revisit later.

Our Fiber Group had a show and sale in Bluffton in early November at SoBA - it is a wonderful location for foot traffic - both for locals as well as out of town visitors. But the space is really too small for our needs.  Although we love being there, we want to grow our fiber group; new members inject much needed inspiration, new work and new expertise which will keep us from getting stale so the need for a larger venue is one that our group spends a lot of time thinking and talking about.  The members of our group are so talented with everyone having their own approach to working with fiber.

This was created for an auction to benefit a local elementary school - it has a variety of locks, a felted flower and glittered feathers to add some 'bling.'

Saturday, August 19, 2017

August - More

I've had a lovely grey and white floral silk extra large dress and jacket  edged trimmed with bugle beads found in a thrift shop a while back; I used it as a backing with white wool and white Uzbek silk on top for a nuno wrap.  Although it had scrumptious texture and shimmer - I have to admit it was a little blah - so what do?  Hand paint of course!!! Now I'm thrilled.  Such a difference and you can see the grey/white peeking out at the neckline took on a soft periwinkle tone too.  Next up - a fancy closure!

August not Lazy!

The long hot lazy days of summer have not been so lazy!  My friend, Judy, and I traveled to Florida to take a class with Irit Dulman - if you know anything about eco printing then you will recognize her name; to be able to study with her was a dream of mine.  I have been printing with leaves/plants now for about 8 - 10 years, studying, experimenting, taking copious notes but some secrets still managed to elude me.  Some of them became clear in the controlled study.  I tend to be much less disciplined and more experimental - let's try this with a pinch of that which sometimes works out great but gained me little in the way of being able to reproduce results.  I have so many wonderful prints now (not enough time to posts all of the pictures, but suffice it to say I'm thrilled with the knowledge and inspired to do a lot more). 

This piece is wool jersey cowl print using cochineal and printed with eucalyptus leaves from my own garden - so thrilled that they print orange!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017


 I also love to create Joomchi, although it requires a lot of patience to acquire this skill.  Joomchi is Korean papermaking using mulberry paper.  I took a mini workshop some years ago with Saaraliisa Ylitalo who did a presentation for our Potomac Fiber Guild and I became hooked.  I have received some interest from others wanting to learn and will teach a workshop in Charleston on September 23 - very excited!   The top piece is very delicate and I do love to experiment - I have created bowls also and continue to experiment.

These are book covers - and I water colored some inside book plates before adding the signature pages.  Patience pays off and very much like felting with wool, your hands have to learn as much as your head does!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Loving Creating Wall Art

I haven't played with my Embellisher for a while now - of course felting is my first love; I get excited working with color and texture.  I always have to learn new things so I took a break and became obsessed with polymer clay and found I love making faces and fairies.  On top of that I have been trying many things - printing and painting on fabric, and stitching.  

I had so much fun creating "A Birds' Eye View' (see post below) that I've decided to create more mixed media wall art using some of the recent painting and stitching on fabric I've become enamored with.

This is a rose piece traced on fabric, painted with Inktense and free-motion stitched.  I am going to felt some surrounds using lots of silk and some velvet to create another wall piece of art.  I'd better get it done as I'm taking an encaustic art workshop and plan to spend next week experimenting!  I hope to incorporate some of my other work with wax!!!

I decided to try my hand at wall work and I entered a piece in a Bluffton, SC, show - the gallery, SOBA is such a busy place for tourists and locals as well and is located in the heart of Bluffton, close to restaurants and other shops so it is a good place to be so I decided it was time to join and be a part of that art community.  

The theme was 'on the street where we live' and I thought long and hard about how I could approach the theme and how I could make felting work.  On the street where we live in Habersham so many ideas came to mind, but a lot of artists already create art of trees, marsh, birds, dock,, etc.  I had a piece of white heavily textured nuno felt that I'd had for a while and wondered if I could somehow use that; I left it out for a while and studied it from time to time before I realized that one of the textured pieces running all the way down could very well be a river if it were blue so that started the juices flowing and I decided to use the felt much the way teach making my vests by cutting and moving sections, and creating other elements to use where they were needed. First I had to paint it so I did using acid dyes; I knew I wanted soft colors that would blend well together.  Then I used my Babylock Embellisher in some areas and added some free motion stitching along the river to give it more texture. I moved all of the scattered roses into one area to make a grouping and created a small shibori pleated piece (using the technique for one corner (could be sun rays but they are at the bottom - should have planned that better but that is where I needed it to be).  After all of that I mounted it on a blue silk hand dyed fabric covered canvas and named it 'Bird's Eye View of the Habersham Marsh'.  I was very honored when Jenni and I went to the reception that it won an Honorable Mention!  Not bad out of a hundred works!  Thanks to Jennifer for taking this picture as I forgot to take a head on picture of the piece, but next time I am there, I will because I want to remember the detail of the river and the marsh.  

Monday, January 09, 2017


Once I began playing with the clay, it began to speak to me - I became quite enamored with the work of Barbara McGuire's work - especially her faces.  I just fell in love with them and found an old book written by Barbara with a tutorial in the back for her face canes.  They are not easy to create and take quite a bit of clay, practice and effort.  Much like an artist learns by copying the masters at first before going on to make their own mark, I began studying Barbara's work.  Fairies have always spoken to me, in fact, they are here in my studio clamoring to be 'next' in line.  I'm sharing these because hopefully, one day, I will look back and see just how much I have improved!

Here are my first attempts and although they are far from perfect, I can't stop - there are others just waiting in the wings for their turn :-)  Honestly, I go to put it all away to felt and I come up with  one more idea and there goes another 7 or 8 hours.  Very good to keep ones mind occupied.

. . . . . and here are the first attempts - not a pretty sight!