Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's my birthday!

This is the view I'd love to spend every day looking at - the view straight up from my daybed on the screen porch - looking up at the yellow leaf maple in the clear blue skies!  But even a fairy princess or old crabby step mother as myself has to scrub out the cat box every once and again. Today is my birthday and while I normally postpone this celebration to the doldrum days of February, I am planning a lovely day with cats, dyes and friends.
Madder, walnut and osage dyed merino felt
I attended a lecture by Catherine Ellis on Tuesday and could barely sit still in my seat.  Just to hear those enchanted words...indigo...madder...dyes of antiquity... makes my heart race.  And another thing she mentioned - how she started working with natural dyes about 10 years ago when she retired from teaching and found it wonderful to know that one can still become so excited about learning even at a "later" age.  My feelings exactly! 
Felt in the osage orange dyepot
This week I have been sampling the yellows from Osage Orange and reds from Lac, Madder and Brasilwood.  After several weeks with the "Festering Walnut" it was a shock to the eyes to see the color bloom on the felts in the dyepots.  I am not a very good "sampler" as one should be when starting new dye ventures.  I see the rich browns of the walnut and put in whole Mokume tied scarves!  But I feel so many changes coming upon me that I am now 'sampling' - doing smaller dyepots and trying out the colorways on smaller felts.  But all those tiny felts are going in with resist tools a-bristling! 

One of my new challenges with the natural dyes was to see if I could use my knowledge with resist dyeing to create those seductive patterns on the surface.  I am finding that each one of the natural dyes I try out - be it an extract or made by me from the root/hulls/dyestuff itself, each dye has a personality.  Each one has such different ways it colors the wool.  Walnut manages to sneak under even the tightest of knots.  My former resist tool favorite - hair pins from Sally Beauty Shops - cause interesting iron stains on madder and brazilwood if the alkali is higher in the dyepot but no reactions with the gentle Lac.  I swear these dyes are alive.  Well, really they are, coming to me as gifts from Helen's Walnut trees, or squished and extract by human hands in France.  I don't think I could be happier with these new friends.
resist dyed with lac, madder and osage
On my birthday I will be beading and stitching my second group of yellow/red resist pieces that came out of the dyepot yesterday  This is a fabulous present of both time and dyeing.  Oh, I do have to have these done for the Voorhees Family Art Show coming up next Saturday and Sunday, but with them I shall spend all my days.
Walnut Pages:One.  "Peeling Walnuts under October Sun".  Walnut dyed, hand felted merino felt,  cherry tree sticks, beaded, stitched (and sideways)

but first a little time with my best pal, leon

12 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday ..have a great dye day ...x

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  2. Congratulations, have a nice day!

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  3. Happy Birthday, Chad. Thanks for giving your readers the gift of this inspiring blog post on your special day.

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  4. I love the way you write and, having had the thrill to meet you, I find your writing to be a true "you" and I love that! I hope your day was great and the fun was the funnest! Blessings!

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  5. Good morning Chad,

    Well, you know that I love all of your beautiful creations, but I think that your new "Peeling Walnuts under October Sun" has to be one of my very favorites. It's gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing all of your experimentation, and of course, enthusiasm with us. I, too, think that learning at a later age is such a gift. Never would have dreamed that feltmaking could bring such joy. Wish I'd discovered it eons ago, but perhaps I wouldn't have appreciated it nearly so much.

    Hope your birthday was the best ever! Somehow, I think that every day is your best ever;-)

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  6. Très bon anniversaire en retard. J'aime beaucoup ton dernier ouvrage et j'aimerais bien caresser le chat. Bisous et bon week-end

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  7. Straordinaria! Non verrai mai in Italia?
    Giulia

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  8. Congratulations, have a nice day!
    Agostina Zwiliing

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  9. Happy Birthday to you, Chad Alice! Your works are fantastic!

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  10. Ma che meraviglia! Non verrà mai in Italia?
    Giulia

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  11. Happy belated birthday, my friend!!
    ...and 'be still my heart'...Peeling Walnuts under October Sun?...Wowie!!

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