Sunday, January 8, 2017

Winter Behavior

 California's Central Coast is getting a the rainy season it truly deserves this year.  I'm loving it.  We live by a creek that does overflow at times but this year the rainfall has behaved itself and given us some respite between downpours.  It's only flowed over the dock once.  Maybe tonight though...

Winter is not my favorite season.  I'm not a skier so there's really nothing in it for me except I love seeing the trees sing with happiness when it's wet.  I try to keep myself busy during the winter months while having no true passion for anything in particular.  It's a good time to finish projects, clean out the studio, take stock of my fabrics and patterns and generally get ready for the time of year I go into full swing.

I've been doing a smattering of things.  My friend Lisa and I were out in the garage on New Years Day over-dyeding previously eco-printed pieces.  With eco printing you win some and you lose some.  But you can always do something with the losers.  Now my losers are all a gorgeous shade of Cabernet.

We used a technique we learned from another sewing pal, Janet.  You mix a slurry of dye, about 2 quarts.  Mordant your cloth...in our case it was old cashmere sweaters...in my case it was ones I'd already mordanted when I eco-printed them.  Then, using a kitty litter tray you pour the slurry over the cloth and "scrunch" it around with your (gloved!) hands.  Wring out any excess dye, place the garment in a lightly sealed plastic bag and steam for about 1 hour or until all of the dye has exhausted (that means you can't wring out any more color).

It makes a really lovely mottled effect that looks interesting when it's cut up and used as pieces.  I made one sweater and one very large scarf/shawl out of my pieces.  I'll get them photographed soon when the sun comes out!

Right now I have a vat of Osage sawdust steeping away in the garage to dye some sweaters and cloth. And I'm dreaming of painting on canvas cuz I went to an art gallery Friday that inspired me....more on that later.

One of my UFO's was a piece of ice dyed stretch cotton.  My attempt at ice dyeing looked like a bad night on Haight Street in the 60's...and I know cuz I was there!  It was truly ugly.  So, I overdyed it with a dark green and this is what happened.  It's now wearable.  The muted over-dye knocked back some of the yellow and got rid of a couple of other colors that were even worse. 

This is a self drafted pattern I've used several times.  Here I hardly had enough for a neckband so I used the fabric single layer and had to piece it in two spots.  It has that deconstructed look which works.  

I'm glad to have this piece of cloth out of my stash and in my closet.  Now, let's see if I wear it!  I'm planning a huge art garage sale with three other artist/sewist friends in the spring and a LOT of my garments are going on sale then.

 This piece is Katherine Tilton's B6381.  It's the first time I've made it but I'll make it again for sure.  I love the fit and shape.  I omitted the pocket in the front and added inseam pockets.

I've had this fabric for about 4 years.  Couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with it.  It's a pretty unique fabric.  I got it from Marcy Tilton.  I think it's a Japanese hand printed piece, I could be wrong but you can really see the printing coming through the back here and there and it looks hand done.  It has a very crisp sort of rough dry hand and it's super stretch in both directions.  Not an easy fabric to find the right pattern for.

I have the fabric going in different directions for the top and bottom.  Not sure it works but I haven't worn it yet so time will tell.

I couldn't find buttons that looked good and I'm not interested in buying more buttons right now (!) so I used this toggle.  Again, I'll see if this works when I wear it.  If not, I'll figure something else out.  It's been so cold it's not vest weather right now.



Joe and I went to the Anderson Collection at Stanford University on Friday.  It's a gem of a museum/gallery.  It's free, huge and focuses on modern and contemporary American art.

Their collection is powerful and very well represented.  Right now there is a Nick Cave show going on that I had to see.  I admit, it's our first time there but we'll go back, we both loved it.

I've wanted to see more of Nick Cave's work and this was my chance.  Mr. Cave makes what he calls Soundsuits. There are 8 pieces and two videos running.   The suits are meant to be worn and the videos show him performing dance movement in them.


Mother of Pearl buttons, wooden sieve with wire.

It reminds me of a sardine somehow.


Mr. Cave uses old textile a lot.  Old crocheted pieces, sweaters, pot holders, socks...
Here he also has beautiful old enameled flowers.

Close up.

Another close up.

Abacus and buttons

The video of the dance movements is mesmerizing.

Sock monkeys (whoohooo I love sock monkeys) and various knitwear




Buttons, sequins and beads.

Close up

Human hair.  I know, this photo looks like it's out of focus, but it's not.  It's just the way the suit is made.  Kinda made me queasy...







Pot holders and crocheted pieces to coordinate.  I noticed that Mr. Cave likes circles and round shapes.

These are two very goofy guys.

This piece was made of various plastics, mostly from the 40's and 50's I think.

Close up of the pot holders.

This is the back of the pot holder suit.  I love this hand stitching!


Pipe cleaners??  The center is one of those plastic bead vases from exactly which era I'm not sure.  I started a collection of them many years ago then had to back away from that idea.  Too bad I didn't know Nick!!

I'm sorry to say I did not take down the name of the artist who painted this.  Bad.  But I love it.  This is the feel I'm trying to get with my painted canvas for purses.

Yum.  I love the layering.  Back to the canvas next weekend!


Well, there you are.  My winter of tying up loose ends.  I'm determined to clean up, clean out and begin the spring with only those materials that are calling to me right now.  Art Garage Sale (otherwise known as You Gotta Have It Garage Sale!) here I come!

14 comments:

  1. I love your black and white print vest. You have such a great eye for interesting fabric, Gayle! Karen

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    1. Thank you. It's a relief to have finally found a pattern for this particular fabric!

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  2. Thank you for sharing the photos of Nick Cave's work. He's been producing extraordinary things in a wide range for decades. He must be one of the most talented, prolific guys around.

    So glad for your rain, it is such a blessing after a dry spell.

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    1. Glub, glub, glub....yes, we are getting our share of rain. No floods here thank goodness.

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  3. I'm on the Peninsula, sitting with the window open, loving the rain and wind--as long as we're warm and dry!

    Will there be a list or something when you schedule that art garage sale? I'm such a big fan!

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    1. Oh, I'll have to put it on the blog when we pick a date! Good idea, thanks!

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  4. Thank you for the inspiration. I am blown away by the effort and creativity of Nick Cave's work. Totally going to do some button art. And your garments and fabrics are so wonderful. I wish I could reach through the screen and touch the fabrics. So much originality and boldness. And the toggle! yes!

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    1. Thanks so much! Glad you liked the toggle. Now to see if it functions...

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  5. Gayle, always an inspiration! I'm totally blown away by the art of Nick Cave - I'm going to have to go to Stanford and see this show, it's just incredible - it really speaks to me. I adore the buttons and the use of all those interesting items - I mean, some of those look like bobbers and other fishing items - I've just got to see his work. Thanks for the taste of it.
    With you on trying to clear out some of the stuff in the room(s) and fabrics - gosh, there's just so much and never ever enough time.
    The vest is delightful - that toggle is great!

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    1. Thanks Kay! You won't be sorry you made time to see the show, it's such a small sample of what he does. Thanks for the kind words!

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  6. Thank you for the pictures of Nick Cave's work. I saw an exhibit of his pieces several years ago at the Seattle Art Museum and was fascinated. Unfortunately, they didn't allow photos to be taken. Really enjoyed these pictures.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed them. If you go online there is a video of him talking about a show he had at the Denver Art Museum. There are dozens of pieces, it's just amazing!

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  7. Always love your work. The vest is wonderful especially with the toggle clasp. Nick Cave's work is totally inspirational. Thank you.
    Vancouver Barbara

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    1. Thanks for you kind words and for dropping by!

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