After almost two years of trying, Iʼve gotten an opportunity to move to Maine! I am beyond excited, and also in some disbelief. I look forward to fresh air, space, and quiet. I am already dreaming of color schemes inspired by the symphony of neutrals that is Maineʼs rocky shoreline, the deep blues of its famous berry crop, and the interplay of rich greens in its forests!
It will be a big change, and a welcome one. I plan to do a lot of exploring, get outside and walk as much as possible, and MARBLE!
Lately Iʼve become obsessed with veins, the jagged, compressed lines that give marbling its resemblance to the stone for which it is named. This month I experimented with over marbling repeatedly - three, four, even five times - and focusing solely on creating veins, rather than any other aspect of the marbling pattern. Instead of white fabric I used colors, and really enjoyed the effects achieved. It was fascinating! I learned a great deal, and look forward to making many more prints with this focus.
My decision to stop using silk (Why I Quit Silk) sent me on a search for alternative fabrics to marble on. It was a fascinating journey!
I learned a lot, and discovered a wide variety of new and interesting plant based fabrics. Sadly, many of these are only available to major players in the fashion industry. Hopefully, theyʼll eventually become available to consumers, as well.
Although many of the fabrics I tested turned out to be unsuitable for marbling, I did find some excellent options. I am currently using high quality Pima cotton, a dense and durable high thread count fabric, with a crisp surface that takes color well. I have been using it for my sachets and log slice wall hangers.
There are also other lovely plant based fabrics available that are soft, strong, and breathable, which I am exploring for my wearables.
These include the cellulosics (Rayon, Modal, and Lyocell), fabrics made from the stringy cellulose fiber of trees (like beech, pine, and eucalyptus), as well as bamboo.
Rayon was the earliest of these, dating to the second half of the 19th century, although not in widespread use in fashion until the mid-20th century. It is soft, drapes nicely, and is more absorbent than cotton, but it can shrink or stretch when wet.
Modal, made mostly from beech tree pulp, was developed in the 1950s, and surpasses rayon in wet strength, softness, and durability. It does not shrink or stretch when wet, and retains its softness because it does not absorb minerals from wash water.
Lyocell, made mostly from eucalyptus tree pulp, came along in the late 20th century. Its many advantages include being even softer and more absorbent than the two previous generations of cellulose fibers. It is durable, odor resistant, hypo-allergenic, and takes color well.
And its production can be extremely environmentally friendly. Eucalyptus trees grow quickly and do not require fertilizer, so they are easily renewable and do not pollute ground water. The leading manufacturer of Lyocell, under the brand name Tencel™, is Austrian company Lenzing. Their closed-loop process recaptures and reuses more than 99% of the water and chemicals needed for production, and their solvents are non-toxic and biodegradable.
In addition to the tree based options and bamboo, there are cellulose based fabrics made from the waste left over from processing soy beans, sugar cane, corn, hemp, oranges, and bananas. There are also options made from rose petals and lotus leaves.
These fabrics are relatively new, and detailed information is a bit difficult to come by, but it seems that these plant materials are usually combined with other fibers, so itʼs unclear what percentage of the fabric actually consists of, for example, rose petals. I plan to explore these further.
In addition, fabrics are being made out of the proteins from waste milk products. One of these, “Qmilch,” is 100% natural, soft, absorbent, breathable, non-allergenic, and antibacterial. It is also made without chemicals, and requires far less water to produce than cotton.
I look forward to continuing to explore available options for plant based textiles!
For several years Iʼve had to put marbling aside due to other demands on my time. Iʼve missed it, and have looked forward to returning to it.
Now Iʼm dipping my toe back into the marbling tray, fumbling and bumbling and trying to recall things I used to know so well. Itʼs been comical, and also rather frustrating, to be reminded that any skill requires practice, and five years away from it means I have some catching up to do.
To start with, I created a bunch of balsam fir sachets for the holiday season, and experimented with decoupaging some marbled cotton onto wood slices. It felt great to get back into it!
Over the summer, while doing a show in Greenwich Village, I was approached by the extremely talented fashion stylist Santa Bevacqua. She asked to borrow some of my scarves for a photo shoot for L'Officiel magazine. Needless to say, I was extremely excited.
She has an amazingly ethereal and otherworldly sensibility. Her work is both lush and minimalist, bold and streamlined. She excels at adding texture and drama to images with rich and unexpected fashion juxtapositions.
So some of my scarves went to Italy for an eerily beautiful maze photo shoot that ran in L'Officiel. The photographer was Amber Gray, whose images conjure up a dreamlike world.
In the end, the photo with my scarf in it (model on the right) did not make it into the feature. But it was great fun to see my work in the lavish and decadent glam rock context of this shoot. And it was a real pleasure to meet Santa and her colleagues - a lovely experience, all around!
I am enjoying some quiet time after a lively, and thoroughly enjoyable, holiday show season. Big thanks to everybody who stopped by my table!
My last show was the Yorkville Holiday Exhibit & Sale, and it was inspiring to meet, speak with, and admire the work of the very talented participants. The vibe of the show is intimate, relaxed, 100% hand made, and high quality - really lovely.
While my body is tired, my spirit is invigorated, and I am already at work planning new products for 2016. Wishing you and yours all the very best of the holiday season, and a Happy New Year!
This week I posted the first holiday gift boxes in my store. Each box includes a hand marbled 100% silk satin scarf (11" x58"), a color quote from a renowned artist, a full color insert showing 12 ways to wear a scarf, a blank gift enclosure card with envelope, and fabric care instructions. I'm pleased with the way the simple Kraft paper packaging highlights the colors in each scarf.
These ready-to-go gift boxes simplify your holiday shopping - they are all set to pop into a gift bag and put in the mail or under the tree! Have a particular color in mind? Get in touch - I may be able to accommodate you.
Included in each gift pack:
So fun to be included as a "Featured Artist" on Dharma Trading Co.'s website! I always enjoy reading about what other crafters are doing, and it's nice to be able to share what I'm doing as well.
Dharma is the source of many of my marbling materials. They are a fiber arts supply store extraordinaire, with a tremendous inventory and some of the best prices around. I highly recommend them to anyone doing textile arts of any sort.
The summer has flown, as always, and autumn has begun. That means that show season is gearing up, and I'm switching into massive marbling mode.
My mind is full of colors and patterns that I will try to transfer to silk and bring to shows in the next few months. The weather is beautiful, the skies are blue, and the leaves are gradually turning brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow. This seasonal blaze of color always makes me want to marble everything in ochre, crimson, mango, buttermilk and mocha.
This is a scarf I made last year, inspired by the foliage.
I do love a good upcycle, and I build my own displays from repurposed materials. I've been using a rack I made with panels from two different baby cribs and a pair of men's pants racks. This is how it looked:
But, as with most display fixtures, it wasn't until I'd used it for a while that its shortcomings became apparent, including the fact that it was a bit heavy to manage easily, extremely cumbersome to set up, crowded and busy looking, and not sufficiently durable for the craft show circuit. Worst of all, it did not make it easy for customers to look at my scarves.
So I set to work remaking it. Now my table display is just two crib panels, to which I've added Shaker pegs. I think the scarves show better, and it's easier for customers to reach them. And it's much easier to set up, too - always a bonus! I really like the way it looks:
And I also turned the end panels of the crib, which have a nice curved design, into a standing floor rack:
I'm really pleased with the new racks. You can visit me and my upcycled displays at a number of shows through the holiday season - be sure to check my show calendar!