Sunday, June 13, 2010

Alchemy

I realize I may have been hasty. My despairing feelings of the last few weeks have retreated, and I am experiencing a kind of euphoria. I don't know if it's the power of working on a new piece, leaving a very stressful situation, all the wonderful supportive messages from you or just the way normal people feel most of the time. I sure hope I haven't become manic, I never have been before so it's hard to know. I am seeing my doctor tomorrow so don't worry, it will all be sorted out.

Meanwhile, I have exciting information - no pictures yet, as the camera is with my brother and sister-in-law as they attend the graduation ceremony of their son and my nephew, Andrew. Given the importance of the day, I figured I couldn't beg to keep the camera just so I could take pictures of the wonderful colour I got from foxglove blossoms!

1 quart of purple foxglove blossoms, covered in water + 5ml alum and a large cotton and linen doily,
steeped for 1 day in the sun, then simmered for 20 minutes on the stove and allowed to cool in the dyebath overnight = the most gorgeous gray green.

The dye liquor was a beautiful magenta, and as I lifted the cloth from the pot it changed in front of my eyes, just like indigo.

You will have to imagine it for now, but I wanted to tell you because the foxgloves are out in droves right now and you might want to try it for yourself. I am on Bowen Island in the Gulf Islands (Pacific Northwest) so it would be interesting to see if different regions have similar results.

The piece of cloth will be used in my green goddess quilt, which I am putting together with a new process: the Desert Island Quilt (actually I think I might call it Castaway Cloth). Having arrived in this place without the bountiful stash, I have been working just with what I can gather and glean from my immediate surroundings. The last four dusty spools of thread from the drugstore, those tragic Tailorform needles from the general store, some drapery remnants and scraps from the recycling centre, and foxglove blossoms from the roadside.

It is a challenge as well as a metaphor for life: working with what you've got.

There will be pictures of this too.

xox

4 comments:

  1. glad that you are feeling better. I'm sure that working on a new piece is helping you immensely. All my best!

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  2. Welcome back. So glad to hear things are looking up again, that you are stitching again and playing with dyes. Shall have to try the Digitalis when summer comes again. I looked to see where Bowan Island is, and it looks like a very beautiful place...
    All the best.

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  3. Dear Heather, so glad to have you back. I have been reading your last few posts which made me sad. Sorry if I didn't leave any comments on them because I only knew you for a short time, but I have sent you inner energy the best way I know how. You have influenced me in more ways than one. You influenced me to deconstruct a vintage kimono (I will soon) and your influenced me to try my hand on natural dye again. I used to dyed wool that way, but not cotton. I'm so glad you are staying - Hugs Nat

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  4. Dearest Heather....passion does that to the artist. We are affected by whatever is blowing around us. If you weren't so passionate, your art would be flat. So taken as a whole, I am glad that you live with emotion. The road is rocky sometimes, but boy oh boy, the intensity comes out in amazing ways in your work!

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