Cynthia St. Charles Store

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday's Gradations

These three colors of gradations were dyed using the same soda ash water. The dye exhausts but the soda ash remains the same so it continues to work to fix the dye. I dyed four other colors yesterday. Today, I started with the "Maroon Brown" on the left. The next color was "Chocolate Brown" in the middle. I did the "Deep Orange" next. I thought there might be some shading to the orange due to leftover dye from the brown, but that was not the case. The orange is very vivid, even though the water I used for dyeing it was a dirty mud color.

Next I will do a series of red gradations.

Below is a picture my sister sent to me earlier this month. She was out riding her horse on her ranch and she came across this baby antelope. I've never seen one this young, so was happy to have this picture.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Gradation Dyeing - the First Batch

I managed to get the first batch of gradations through the washer and ironed today, and here they are. I am now on my eighth color using the same soda ash solution and so far they are all looking good. These are not the bright colors that usually come out of my dye studio. In my art quilts, I find that I am most comfortable using more muted shades - so these will not be for sale, but will be for my own work.

By tomorrow, I will be washing out a second batch. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

No Waste Fabric Dyeing

As I've mentioned before, I am very busy with an apartment renovation as well as supporting and taking up the slack for DH who has had surgery on his elbow. This means I have little time for my favorite summer entertainments such as dyeing fabric.

I've also mentioned the fact that we don't have water at our place. We have to haul it in our 375 gallon tank from the water station. With a full house, it takes about one trip per day to cover our household needs. Dyeing and landscape watering can significantly increase our water consumption.

Since I am currently the primary water hauler, I am extremely motivated to keep the water use down. Even so, with temperatures in the 90's - I cannot stop thinking about dyeing!

I'm trying out this method for a seven step gradation using the same soda ash water for each color.

This is my first color run - called Butterscotch. I half filled seven tall containers with a soda ash / salt solution. I mixed my dye using 1 heaping teaspoon of dye and 1 cup of water.

I poured off half a cup and added it to the first container. I added half a cup of water to the remaining dye and poured half a cup of that mixture into the second container. Then, I added half a cup of water to the remaining dye and poured half a cup of that mixture into the third container. . . . I continued with this process till I had a very pale dye for the final container.

I placed half a yard of PFD cotton broadcloth into each container and covered the big plastic box with the lid, leaving it out in the sun till my next opportunity.

After about 18 hours, I pulled out the fabric, squeezing the excess soda ash water back into the containers and submerged the fabric in a five gallon bucket of cold water.

Next, I mixed up another color and followed the same procedure - using the same soda ash left behind from the first batch. The soda ash mixture is still good, and most - if not all of the dye has exhausted, so will not impact the next batch (if a little dye remains, I don't mind - maybe I will get more interesting effects and unusual colors).

I am on my fourth color with the same containers and the same soda ash. Right now, I have all the fabrics soaking in a giant bucket of water. As soon as I have enough for a full load - I will do a wash out and then I will show you what I got.

I usually dye multi colored and shibori. But my stash is getting depleted and I am finding I need more semi-solids and a broader range of light to darks. This process should get my stash built back up in no time at all!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Slow Progress

I worked on the apartment renovation the entire day yesterday. I pulled out the bathroom sink, set the bathroom door frame, removed the range fan in the kitchen, and then shopped for replacements. I am almost finished trimming and will probably start painting trim today.

This quilt has been on the machine for weeks. Slow quilting progress due to the many other things happening in my world. I was up before 5 this morning. Couldn't sleep, so I did a bit of free motion quilting after my cup of tea.

I've resolved to finish the quilting on this piece before the end of June!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Road to Recovery

Joe is recovering from surgery to reattach the bicep tendon in his elbow area. He's off the pain meds and is comfortable. The muscle relaxer is making him sort of sleepy and thats good because he needs to take it easy and keep that arm elevated.

I am staying busy with his chores.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ladies Club comes to Visit

Here is Brooke Atherton with a number of items created from Fabric Giveaway fabric.

Back when Brooke first presented details about this project, I offered her the use of my workshop space anytime in June. She took me up on the offer and brought in a group of very creative women from a local philanthropic womens group (not sure of the name of this group - anyone want to help me out?)

They arrived at my place at 10:00 AM Saturday morning. They stayed until about 2:00.

They were working with the cotton jersey knit as well as some woven cotton and with fabric paints.

There was a lot of give and take.

Some really exciting and interesting looking fabrics resulted.

And they had a really great time!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday Evening Musings

It has been a busy week. Joe (husband) had surgery yesterday. About 10 days ago, he snapped his bicep tendon away from the bone. It was surgically reattached with a small screw that will be absorbed by his body. He is now in a splint that immobilizes his arm. He must not move the joint for 2 months. He's not having much pain at this point.

This has meant quite a bit of extra responsibility for me, as he needs me to be his left hand. I have taken on his chores, will be doing most of the renovation on the apartment myself, and am doing many of the manual tasks related to Joe's business.

He injured himself on the first day of my spring retreat, and I've been spread very thin since then.

Today, I realized that my friend Joan's wedding is just two weeks away. I made a scrap quilt for a wedding gift, and it has been quilted on the long arm by Tanith Daugherty, but I've not bound it yet. So this evening after dinner, I spread the quilt on my bedroom floor and crawled around with a tape measure and chalk line squaring it up. Here is how it looked after I finished trimming it:

This other scrap quilt was also quilted by Tanith. It is also now ready for binding.

I really enjoy putting on a binding. It is meditative and validating to finish something off.

After I finished squaring and trimming these two quilts, I stepped onto the master bedroom veranda to watch the sun go down.

I thought I would show you how we get water to our house. Yes, we haul it in a tank on the back of the pick-up truck. This has become my daily chore since Joe hurt his arm. Our cistern holds 2700 gallons. Earlier this week, one of the toilet's innards broke and the water ran all day while everyone was away. The cistern was nearly empty by the time we arrived home and discovered it. I have been making multiple water runs each day, but now the cistern is finally full again.

This is the view from the little table for two on our veranda. A nice cool breeze was blowing. Such a pleasant way to end a busy day!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Great Distractions - Why I am not making art these days

Does this look like a creative opportunity? Hmmmm . . . . well, this is where all my creative energy is going these days.

Last year, we invested in a couple of commercial buildings. As you would expect, with commercial property, anything for sale is likely to be in need of some attention. Earlier this year, Joe and I put a lot of cash and energy into updating an office building. Just as that renovation project was almost complete, we discovered that the tenants would be vacating two apartments in another building we recently purchased.

Above and below are pictures of the bathroom in the apartment we are currently working on.

I find it hard to believe someone was living here, and it is equally hard for me to accept the fact that I am the owner. The people selling the building were living in one apartment and were housing their employees in this (very run down) second apartment.

The building was built in 1925 and we figure it as most recently renovated in the 70's - judging from the materials that were used.

I do have some experience with construction. In the summer of 1979, I worked as a trim carpenter - just for one summer, but I learned I had a natural ability in construction. In 1980, I designed and built a log home with my then (now ex) -husband. We did nearly all the labor ourselves and it took us 5 years to complete the 2700 square foot home.

Since that time, I've designed a couple of other buildings - sometimes doing the labor and sometimes acting as the general contractor. We are going to try to do most of the work on this particular apartment renovation ourselves in order to conserve resources. We are hiring someone to put a new roof on the place, though - a small fortune, but necessary - it started leaking after we bought the place!

Right now, we are spending every spare moment there and it looks like we have several weeks ahead to get the place to the point I would consider it livable.

There really is a lot of creativity involved in this kind of project - lots of problem solving, planning, seat of the pants innovation . . . . .

I am sad that I will not be working with textiles or quilts, etc. for several weeks. I am just so exhausted when we get back from the building. It is all I can do to toss together a meal of some sort - check my email and then I am ready for bed!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Montana Art Quilt Retreat - Final Day

We enjoyed beautiful weather all three days of the retreat. It was perfect weather for lunch alfresco. Today's menu included green pea soup, bread, baby greens with sliced grilled chicken, fresh berries, chocolate cake and iced tea.

Last night, I washed out the rust dyed fabric. Then, I hung it on the line to greet the participants when they arrived this morning.

The dates of the fall session of the Montana Art Quilt Retreat are October 5, 6, and 7. It will be held at my home in Billings Montana. There are only a few spaces left, as I hope to keep the group size small in order to provide the best possible experience for all participants. You can download a pdf of the registration form here.
I've done a number of other blog entries relating to the retreat. Scroll down to find the others - there are some good pictures detailing a number of the techniques covered.

Elaine's Day at Montana Art Quilt Retreat

Here are some of Elaine's art fabrics from the Montana Art Quilt Retreat. Techniques included here: fabric painting, screen printing, paintstick rubbings, foil with screened adhesive, screen printing with paint, and stamping.

The next three pictures show Elaine in the process of making a print with a gelatin plate.

For the Montana Art Quilt Retreat, gelatin was poured into aluminum casserole covers from the party store (these come in various sizes and shapes). Once the gelatin set up, the edge of the aluminum cover was folded away, and paint was applied to the surface of the gelatin plate.

Elaine placed grasses and mesh ribbon in a design over the paint on her plate.

She carefully pressed white cotton fabric over it.

When she lifted the fabric, it was imprinted with the image of the grass and mesh ribbon.

Here are a group of Elaine's gelatin prints.

Jan's Day at Montana Art Quilt Retreat

Jan, from Great Falls, Montana, displayed some of her art fabric on the design wall. Techniques shown here include sun printing, screen printing with resist and paint, stamping, and foiling.

Here, Jan is working on her rubber stamp. She has traced her design onto the plumbers rubber gasket material using Saral paper (artists wax free tracing paper). She is using a Speedball cutter to carve her image.

When the image is completely carved, Jan will cut the stamp out with scissors. She will use double sided carpet tape (water resistant) to mount the stamp on the small wooden block you can see sitting on the table near her right arm.

Jan made some really incredible prints with the gelatin plate. She took a nature walk to collect the plants she used for these prints.

Wow! What a great looking group of gelatin prints!

Karlyn's Day at the Montana Art Quilt Retreat

These two pictures of the design wall show Karlyn's work with Setacolor painting techniques, screen printing, foiling, stamping, and sun printing (without the sun).

In the next two images, Karlyn is cutting her own rubber stamp using plumbers gasket material.

The rubber sheet can be drawn on, cut with scissors, and carves easily with a Speedball cutter.

The finished rubber stamp is mounted onto a wood block using water resistant double sided carpet tape.

Below, you can see Karlyn in the process of making a gelatin print.

Karlyn painted her gelatin plate with Setacolor paints, and placed native grasses over the paint to give a detailed print of the grass. Karlyn used silk organza for this print.

These beautiful gelatin prints were made by Karlyn on silk organza. The picture does not do them justice, but you get the idea . . . . fabulous!

The next Montana Art Quilt Retreat takes place October 5 - 7 in Billings, Montana. The pdf registration form is here.

Space is limited.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Montana Art Quilt Retreat - The first two days in review

Elaine screen prints using foil adhesive.

Here is Jan washing up after stamping and painting this smashing piece of fabric.

Karlyn painted a number of stunning pieces in warm vibrant shades.

Here is Elaine with a piece she painted with Setacolor textured with salt. She is using iridescent Paintsticks for the rubbings.

Friday afternoon, Karlyn and Elaine spreading their vinegar soaked fabrics with rusty objects for rust dyeing.

By Saturday afternoon, the fabric was dry, so the participants unwrapped it. Karlyn is opening her fabric dyed with concrete ties and Jan is removing spikes from hers.

Jan used a variety of objects for hers - tire chains, grid, spikes, rebar. Stay tuned to see the final results!

Shrimp cocktail was center stage for the Happy Hour snack.