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Monday, June 04, 2012

Failure and Success

Over the past couple of months I've been relentlessy collecting colorful flower heads - garden (not too many), local florist (a few) and of all places, Safeway, (very kindly letting me sift through their discards) -- and freezing them to make ice flower prints (thank you Patricia!).  I had some leftover fabric already mordanted with alum from a fabulous Elin Noble marbelizing class just waiting for a project like this.  Since I work full time, things must get done in stages, so last weekend I created all sorts of bundles with the flowers in layers, put them in warm water and left them for a few days.  When I unwrapped them they were gorgeous but I didn't have time to do anything other than shake out the decomposing dead flowers and rinse before putting the fabrics in a large bowl to wait for this weekend - couldn't leave them out to dry since it rained quite heavily.  When I went to check this weekend I was in for a huge disappointment.  Note to self:  do NOT leave wet flower prints all bunched up or the color will dissolve and meld away.  All the lovely prints were gone and I was left with not what I had strived for but nevertheless attractive meld of greenish soft gold but not close to the beauties that they once had been.

Not wanting to ruin my silks - a medley of organza, habotai, etc., I thought this would be a good time to try an experiment that I've had in mind since seeing the silk tie prints on Easter eggs.  I layered the smaller pieces of damp silks with cut up silk ties in between the layers and tied them all up in a tight bundle before simmering in water with a splash of vinegar (used my dye pot, not a cooking pot).  What a lovely surprises when unwrapped!  I also thought I'd bundle a piece of vibrant torquoise blue sari silk with the larger piece of soft gold organza and the results are a quite lovely mottled blue/soft gold.  Now that I've seen the results, some of the prints are quite surprising with the reds staying quite vibrant, and I learned that the deeper colors turnout best.  Here are some pictures so you can see for yourself.