More homegrown indigo

I’ve now got a good crop of flowers on my Japanese indigo, but before they all started developing I did another harvest of the leaves – almost 200g in all.

fresh indigo leaves

Unlike last time, I didn’t do any aqualeaf indigo, as I wanted to see if I could get a stronger colour with the reduced indigo, so I needed every leaf I could get! 🙂

This time I overdyed a linen top that I had previously ecoprinted with peony leaves. It felt a little too minimal, so I thought that a pale indigo background might lift it a bit.

ecoprint linen top white

I dipped the top three times, leaving it to oxidise in between. The result was slightly darker than last time, but still quite pale and delicate.

indigo dyed ecoprint linen top

I’m drying the flowers to get seed for next year’s crop, but I’m also going to see if any of the plants survive the winter in my London garden. They are still growing – but it has been a very mild autumn so far. I’ll have to see what happens when the frosts arrive!

Thread 2016 at Farnham Maltings

thread flyer

I’m very excited to be one of the exhibitors at Thread…A Festival of Textiles at Farnham Maltings on Saturday 24 September. I’ll be selling my latest indigo shibori and ecoprinted scarves, along with a selection of upcycled hand dyed indigo and ecoprinted garments. And the infamous bargain bucket of samples and seconds may also be putting in an appearance as I get ready to clear the decks before Christmas!

With around 45 exhibitors alongside a programme of talks, workshops and demonstrations, it promises to be a great day out for textile lovers.

A day ticket costs £5 in advance or £7.50 on the door, but you could win a pair of tickets here! (Closing date is this Friday.)

By lucky coincidence, the Textile Society is organising a talk at Farnham the day before. It’s by Diana Harrison, whose memorable piece at the Cloth and Memory {2} exhibition at Saltaire a couple of years ago was made up of handkerchiefs laid on the floor to resemble paving stones.

In the video below she talks about making her famous Box quilt.

Interview with artist featured in Quilts 1700-2010: Textile artist Diana Harrison from Victoria and Albert Museum on Vimeo.

So it’s going to be a busy textile weekend!

Sneak preview of ecoprinting project

I’m currently working on a very special ecoprinting project, the details of which I can’t reveal yet.

But it’s meant I’ve been spending time experimenting and sampling, and I can’t resist showing you some of the results. I’m particularly pleased with some of the prints given by garden weeds, most of which I never knew the name of. I now have to stop ESP from weeding the garden! 😉

The photos below include rose and cotinus leaves as unifying elements, each combined with a different plant.

rose cotinus and rosebay willow
Rose and cotinus leaves with garden weed
Dock flowers
Rose and cotinus leaves with dock flowers
Sycamore seeds
Sycamore seeds
Cranesbill leaves
Cranesbill leaves

The sampling has led to some other new discoveries, like this vibrant green print from Robinia pseudoacacia.

robinia pseudoacacia

The colour didn’t really fit in with the project, but I’ve used the leaves with sycamore seeds and dock flowers on a scarf now in my Etsy shop.

ecoprint-robbinia-sycamore-2 ecoprint-robbinia-sycamore-3

And here are some other samples that I won’t be using in this project but may use in future.

Pelargonium flowers
Pelargonium flowers
Fig leaf
Fig leaf
ecoprint heuchera
Heuchera leaf

Starting with Photoshop

A few months ago I mused about whether I should learn how to use Photoshop so that I could get some of my designs digitally printed rather than making everything by hand. This would enable me to make larger pieces at more acceptable prices.

This week I finally got round to doing a two-day class on Photoshop for beginners at Morley College. It was a very popular class, with most of the participants wanting to learn Photoshop to improve their photos or restore old prints. And it turned out that I already knew the tutor, Estelle Vincent, as we had been located next to each other at Lambeth Open at the Portico Gallery a few years ago. Small world! 🙂

We covered a lot in two days, but what was most useful for me was learning about layers, filters and flipping/rotating to produce repeat patterns. Here are some of the patterns I created.

The first was a section of an ecoprint of eucalyptus on silk.

Original ecoprint of eucalyptus on silk

After changing the colour with a filter and flipping and rotating:

Repeat pattern created with filter

A similar process starting with a section of sycamore ecoprint:

photoshop-sycamore-before photoshop-sycamore-blue-repeat

Then I experimented with some indigo shibori. I didn’t bother changing the colours with filters this time.

photoshop-swirls-beforephotoshop-shibori-swirls

photoshop-kuno-before photoshop-new-kuno

It’s fascinating to see how different the patterns look when repeated on a larger scale, which is something I could never achieve by hand. And using different filters to create different colourways adds even more potential.

Lots for me to think about here!

Busy weekend ahead

Please cross your fingers for good weather this coming weekend, as I’ve got two outdoor events coming up!

On Saturday I’m taking part in the Abbeville Fete, a great mix of street stalls, fancy dress parade, live music, dog show and other entertainment that also raises funds for charity. It will be your first chance to see my new range of upcycled indigo shibori tops, along with ecoprinted tops and my latest batch of scarves – some examples below.

I’ll be sharing a stall with Kes Young of Heart in Art Workshops, who makes wonderful mosaics, so it should be a great combination of colour and texture!

The Abbeville Fete is on Saturday 25 June, 12-6pm.

Then on Sunday I and my fellow felter Carol will be donning our Women of the Cloth hats and running free drop-in felting sessions at the Brixton Windmill Festival. The theme of the festival this year, the 200th anniversary of the windmill, is “trades and professions”, and as well as us felters there will be a furniture maker, blacksmith, bricklayer and of course millers and bakers.

flowers-phone-case

Brixton Windmill Festival is on Sunday 26 June. It starts with a parade from Windrush Square at 1pm, marching up Brixton Hill to Brixton Windmill for the festival in Windmill Gardens, 2-4pm.