Eco printing on dappled silk

Image

Oh, that glow!

So much for good intentions… Well at least you know the good intention was there to start with!

A quick post to show off a pre-loved silk shirt eco-dyed with eucalyptus, cochineal, geranium, alkanet flakes, rose leaves and what is probably a red-leafed Acer japonicum, although I have never seen such a big tree (easily 4 metres tall) here in the Netherlands.

All of it simmered in a dye bath made from Dutch-grown eucalyptus generously contributed by Mary from the Koala eucalyptus nursery in De Pol laced with iron liqueur, which turned a deep grey – almost black. Sadly, I never thought of dyeing some silk thread in that dye pot before it had to be discarded (because it developed an unpleasant odour that caused my family to complain loudly)…

The shirt had a dappled weave pattern, which makes for some lovely highlights in the dyed fabric. I may add some stitching and change the sleeves, which are too long. I’ll first need to figure out how, though.

Image

Out of the pot

Image

First indication of something lovely

Image

Opening up

Image

I ❤ eucalyptus and it loves me right back!

Image

Rorschach snake face

Image

Tie resist marks showing up beautifully

Image

Earthy pleasures

Image

Oh, the beauty of it,,,

 

Boijmans van Beuningen Museum: Hand Made exhibition and competition

Image

Have you missed me? I know I have not posted much lately. I wonder if many people neglect their blogs when they have many things clamouring for their attention, or is it just me?

Things in my life suddenly seem to move in a different direction, or rather an additional direction. And since my days were already overflowing with work, children, housekeeping and knitting, this additional activity is nibbling away at the time I spend on other things. This once, however, it is a good thing that I am not getting enough sleep. Or rather, there is a really good and positive reason.

Image

When I took up knitting I soon started experimenting with knitted hair ornaments and ornamental knitting. I like small projects with quick results. Admittedly, I get easily bored with long projects, one of the reasons why I hesitate to start on a big cardigan or shawl. On top of that, knitting bracelets and hair bands is an excellent way to explore and practise new techniques. Then came crochet and I was off.

I used to think that crochet was rather… well… old-fashioned and stuffy but have definitely changed my mind. Yes, some of it is really old-fashioned and stuffy, although I have also come to realise how much work there is in even the most grandmotherly blanket or table runner.

There are many talented artists and crochet lovers out there who create the most wonderful things, from the nearly microscopic crochet stitches in an embroidery thread crochet necklace to huge actual playgrounds in Japan. People crochet with metal wire, plastic bags and hair – pretty much anything that can be used as yarn. I have taken up crochet jewellery.

Image

This is my Sun and Snake necklace made from bourette silk, cotton and a futuristic metallic yarn. It is based on the Chinese year of the Snake and the yellow sun, with yellow representing good luck in China and the sun my astrological sign Leo.

Image This Turquoise Protection necklace is based on the protective power of turquoise stone and my fascination with the legendary though contested crystal skulls.

Coincidentally (or is it one of those instances of synchronicity?) the prestigious and wonderful Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam organised Hand Made, an exhibition on traditional crafts, this spring. Craft workshops are held at the museum in collaboration with Etsy each weekend.

I attended a symposium on the future of the crafts there and although there was little time left, enjoyed an hour or so at the beautiful exhibition that features work from around the world, representing the crafts through the ages. Definitely a must-see if you are in Rotterdam!

The Etsy Boijmans van Beuningen partnership also resulted in a competition called Onverwacht Ambacht or ‘Unexpected Crafts’, which called for entries applying old crafts in new and unexpected ways. I originally conceived of a quite ambitious entry that I unfortunately did not have time to complete (or, to my chagrin, even get started on). While that work will get done somewhere this year, I somewhat impulsively decided to submit some of my necklaces the night before the competition closed.

In addition to the prize awarded by Etsy and the museum, a public prize will be awarded to the entry that receives the greatest number of votes from the public visiting the museum. Voting is also open on Facebook so do have a look at the other entries and vote by liking your favourite work here: Facebook voting page. I wouldn’t mind if you happened to like mine, of course! Please feel free to share the page because I think it shows a number of amazing modern crafts from very talented people.

There are many amazing entries so while I clearly don’t expect to win, I am rather proud that I actually entered the competition. In the past, I would have dithered and doubted until the end. Then I would have been angry with myself for not doing something I longed for again, simply because I was insecure or afraid. The fact that I don’t care what anyone says or thinks but just do what I believe in, what is right for me, shows me how much I have changed. And it is good to be reminded of that fact, which tends to get lost and forgotten all too quickly in the rush of daily life.

Joyful

There are many things that make me joyful these days. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours shooting photographs for my blog and I realised how many beautiful things there are in my home – if only I stop to see them. The yarn in yesterday’s picture is held by my five year old daughter, who told me to hurry up because she was cold, poor thing! Ah well, somebody has to suffer for one’s art, don’t they? My little girls and teenage son give me reason to be joyful every day.

Image   Image

These little paper angels make me joyful, too. They come as flat A5-size postcards and are assembled with a simple twist and slide movement. This year the seven of them spent the holidays singing Christmas carols on my hardwood cabinet. You can also suspend them on a piece of wire, by the window for instance, or to create a mobile. They were created by the Dutch paper artist Jurianne Matter, see her site here.

And to return to yarn: those in the know will have recognised the fabulous Rowan Kidsilk Haze in yesterday’s photograph. It is a 70% super kid mohair and 30% silk blend that knits up like a cloudy dream. I never liked those mohair and angora pullovers that itch and leave you with fluff everywhere (especially in your mouth, it seems) but I have come to understand why Kidsilk Haze is spoken of as the caviar among yarns. It is not as ‘sticky’ as you might expect and its halo means you can knit on big needles for quick projects with high impact. The blue shades in the photograph I recently bought for Kamicha’s Light Flyweight sweater, which is knitted on Eur 8 mm needles. This is going to be my next project!

I bought several more balls simply because I could not resist the lovely colours. I am certain I will find something cozy to knit with them.

Image

I will remember something for which to be grateful and joyful every day this year. Did you know my mother’s name is Joy? My grandmother must have been looking for an example to live by when she chose that name.