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Tag Archives: Pigment

A little meditative walk on Sunday does my eyes some good.

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(If possible play this song while watching the video – I originally uploaded it with the song attached, but was in copyright infringement)

Saturday morning was yet another unseasonably warm day here in Brooklyn. A complete opposite of last week. I woke early so that I had the chance to ride a few laps around Prospect Park before class.  Riding for me is always a way to zone out of the every day stressors in life, and to hone in on my desires and wants for the day, and my life.  Riding in Prospect Park can also be a bit of a dodge ball game –  depending on how many people are out at any given point during the day. Saturday morning as I looked at how each person walked, ran, or rode as if each had a string connected to them and what would that weave of crossings make.  I thought about all the crossings we make in life.  How is it that some stay with us close, and others float by and others we never cross with?  I think it would make an interesting art project, the tangled fabric of our lives…

It was ironic, that my piece was woven just as my thoughts were earlier in the day. I had not anticipated that I would have such extreme floats across on my weft as I did, but they were beautiful and now tell a full story.

From far away, you can almost see my hopeful hexagon. I like how it came out as if it’s raining. If I get the chance to do this again I think I might have some better idea on how to make it work, for sure it will be another unique piece.

Each of the above pieces represents about fifteen hours labor of love. The actions taken to get to this final stage were at times tedious, most of the time fun, but every step I took gave me a greater appreciation for every garment I own.

Thanks so much Cynthia at Weaving Hand for proving the space and Rachel Miller for her unwavering patience and guidance through this beautiful process!

When I moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 1999, it was pretty much the last place the city would plow- particularly Franklin Street, just one block from the river.  Those of us, the recent immigrants from Poland and the Dominican Republic, and I would make our way to the grocery store and the G-train (in the hopes it was running) in the snow storm.  The snow would be half melted before the city would come and plow for us, by that time, the snow was transformed into brown slush and would then be pushed  re-covering the cars and make a new mountain at the cross walk we had to re-navigate.

But yesterday, my first snowfall in Lefferts Garden, I felt like I had finally arrived.  I woke at 4 am to the sound of snow plows cleaning up the pithy snow storm mother nature gave us. What!!!??? On my day off I have to awake at 4 am!!?- and yet, What?! I live somewhere the city cares to plow? I think the later is the more interesting question. The ironies of living farther out in Brooklyn than I ever could have imagined, yet on a busy street. I did fall asleep again, and woke later to photograph, and instragram this:

Yup, the view out of my window, Brooklyn, New York.  How did I get so lucky?

There was no biking to weaving class today, so I pulled on my new boots and applied lots of layers of big clothes and I headed out on foot for Weaving Hand.

On the way I pondered snowflakes.  Hexagons of nature…the above picture I found years ago on Wikipedia.

I stopped and looked at the snowflakes. I thought it ironic and beautiful that the hexagon pattern from the sidewalk peeked out from below the piles of snow; millions of tiny, individual and unique snowflakes in the shape of hexagons- that covered the sidewalk at the north end of Prospect Park, as I was on my way to uncover my ‘Hopeful Hexagon’ from last week.

Needless to say, I was a little late to class, everyone already enjoying tea and hardboiled eggs made by Cynthia.

It seemed everyone knew what to do, except me.  I started simply by taking off my yellow tape binding and immediately started to look like an indigenous indigo dyer with blue fingertips and filty nails.  I have to admit the process of unwrapping was a little anti-climatic.  My ties were not that strong and a lot of dye wiggled its way underneath.  I had to let this go, and, honestly is it so bad to have a bunch of died yarn in indigo?  Absolutely not.

Mia was sans vintage glasses this week, but equally funky and such a fun element to our class.  Here she is after her tape has come off and is about to start setting up the loom.

Mia clearly knew what she was doing and set up this beautiful warp.  I can’t wait to see what she weaves with next week.

I, on the other hand, started with this lump of yarns…in search of my hopeful hexagon that I tried so hard to bind off last week.

Rachel was there for me.  I’m so thankful for the small class where I’ve had a lot of individual attention to make sense of all of this.

I was after a few tries able to make sense of this.  The talk in the room was that this part in the process isn’t fun for anyone.  Even Susan talked about how she keeps thinking of ways to present this work to her grandson as a fun and exciting way to help Grandma.

I had not such a fun time with this warping the loom business.  MANY times I threaded and re-threaded to make sure it was all straight, and did not have such focus that I had last week.  It was truly a mind-warping experience.  Bad weaving joke, I know.

Five hours later I had this; I have warped a loom!  Above you can see my hopeful hexagon, or not really.  In a way it is a bit the negative of the sidewalk I saw on my way to class, I am looking for one specific hexagon to come out of the dark indigo instead of the many that were present in the white of the snow. Regardless it is in its own way very beautiful, unique, and not like any of the other Ikat dyes in the world.  My own snowflake.  Next week all of this labor will start to take shape into a woven article.

A year ago, during my teacher orientation at Pratt I met Rachel Miller in the basement of Engineering. As we learned to navigate Pratt’s system for uploading class assignments and grades, we connected right away in our desire for sustainability in our own lives, and in how to educate others on the subject.  While I was hired to teach Foundation 3D (ways of seeing is a good way to describe it), Rachel was there to teach sustainability practices in the Fashion Department. We both only taught one day a week at Pratt at that time, but lucky for us, it was the same day, and over the semester formed a friendship that comes from these type of meetings, and stayed in touch via Facebook, where we quickly realized we had many friends in common.

Last week, she posted about an Indigo Dyeing and Ikat Weaving class she was teaching at Weaving Hand.  I didn’t think there was a class to be offered that sounded more up my alley than that! The techniques taught in this class are a perfect topic for this blog and I’ll be sharing the progress over the next three weeks as I weave by hand for the first time, stretchy pot-holders not included, also for the first time dying with Indigo. I’ve noticed, if one goes into classes like these with no expectations (as expectations are resentments waiting to happen) it’s amazing how much you can actually learn.  In one class I’ve already found much more than I could have ever imagined.  I always tried to bring more to the class than just the curriculum when teaching at Pratt (my best teacher’s always did), and so I, as a student tried to as well, which in many cases means, just sitting back, observing, listening, doing.

“Lend me your eyes I can change what you see

But your soul you must keep, totally free”

-Mumford & Sons, Awake my Soul

Dying is a little bit like baking, and Rachel took us through the below process.  Above is the Indigo we used. While Wikipedia states that India is the oldest supplier of Indigo in yesterday’s class we discussed this briefly. I can not say from any point of authority, as this is not my area of expertise, but it seems that indigo was found indigenous in North America too.  Cultures from Asia, Africa and the Americas came to dye indigo more or less all in the same way on their own.  I found this great video on how the indigo plant is transformed into dye traditionally in Africa.

This is what happened to the Indigo when placed in water.  It was a bit alive, similar to Kombucha.

After is was fully dissolved in the cup, it was added to the larger mixture.

We could start to see the color transforming right away, when the stick was in the water it was green, and within a few seconds out of the water, oxidation took place and was already turning blue.

The blue fabric in the photo above is an example of an Ikat fabric, likely from Indonesia.  And Rachel showed us how to count off how many yarns per inch we were to make our fabric.

Then we warped, essentially we organized our thread for the next step.

We tied off each inch of yarn as we went along to help keep it all straight and organized.

Then we had to get the yarn off the warping board, and it was done with these sticks, again to keep it straight and organized.  At this point we started to wonder how people have done this for so long.  This process is amazingly laborious.  I think once one has the full understanding of it; it could become meditative.  Of course there were a lot less distractions back when this technique started, why not spend weeks making fabric for your dress?  I think it’s important to learn about these ancient techniques, and the amount of work that goes in to what we have consumed; ancient or modern.  Today we don’t have time for techniques such as this – or so we say – and then I see studies of how much time teenagers spend in front of TV and on social media, and I have to ask myself, if we are to parish will aliens come down and look at our civilization will they think of us as advanced or not?  I digress…

We taped the yarns down to the table in preparation to make the resist.

Rachel showed us how to attach the Ikat tape to the yarn to make our designs. The tape covering the yarns are intended to resist the dye.

This is what I’m calling my Hopeful Hexagon.  I’ve no idea really how it will turn out- we will know better next week.

As we got in to the groove of wrapping our yarns we started to share and laugh. We were a small group of women who may have never crossed paths, except we all decided on one of the coldest mornings 2012 has offered thus far that we might enjoying hanging out in the basement of what used to be a pre-school and started to learn an ancient technique of weaving and dying.  So we did what women do when women come together like this, drink tea, eat cake, and talk about the opposite sex.  If we’d been kitting this would also be known as Stitch and Bitch, but really we were not bitching.  All of us seemed realitivaly happy with our situations in life, not to bitter, and Susan, the elder of us shared how she met her husband in a personal ad- nineteen years ago, a.k.a. from a magazine, in physical paper.  Since she’s retired now and seems to have traveled the world in search of every remote dying and weaving technique she had much to share, and she was great to listen to.

Then there was Mia, who is a harpist who wears black cat-eye vintage rhinestones glasses and lives in Greenpoint. She shared, that she has played with her fair share of musicians, and most have been a bunch of guys sharing way too much information on their thoughts of women. And went on to educate all of us what a Tramp Stamp is. Now, I thought I knew, but clearly there is more than one definition, and it seems to be growing.  She educated us that it’s also there for target practice. I’d not heard of this, so of course, I have to look it up, and there it is, #7. Well my Tebow ears!  Tebow was also mentioned in passing conversation, and I didn’t know who he was either, but I let that go, for the moment. [incase anyone cares, I have one tattoo.  It is not a tramp stamp, and I think it’s as old as most hipsters out there today decorating themselves.  For sure it is older than their ability to have comprehend what one was when I got mine.]

Before drowning the yarns in indigo, we had to fully saturate them in water.

While in the bath of indigo, the yarn is green, and when it hits the air the oxidizing process turns the yarn what we have come to all indigo blue.  A little easier to see here.

The yarn changed in front of our eyes from green to Indigo.

Here our yarns hang to dry for the week.  Next Saturday we will start threading them on a loom, I will update on Sunday.

Weaving Hand is a beautiful studio filled with many fun things too look at…I highly recommend it for anyone curious about weaving or fibers or textiles.

After class I headed to my friend’s couch and gained further knowledge of who Tebow is and Mr. Brady too, and watched the game.  Couldn’t have been a more perfect day.  And I even got around the whole way on my bike!

 

 

Does any one else see these as The Three Graces? Or Georgia O’Keeffe?

I wish that I had purchased the book on this exhibition, as my photos do not do justice of the work on exhibit here.   Luckily for all this is now part of the permanent collection at the Met.  I do not recommend spending the extra on the audio portion of the show.  I felt it was very narrow minded of the work and the people it is coming from and really does an injustice overall.  Best to be educated by available books on this work.  There were many pieces I have studied before and it was a joy to see them in person.  I hope to one day see them in context.

Maria Christina Belluccia has beautifully transformed Prismacolor pencils into colorful wearable sculpture.  Her use of the rainbow and concentrations on color gradients is truly stunning.  I love the up-cycle, and the modification of the pencils stubs, with less material we are able to see more color, and need to take a closer look at what we are really seeing to fully appreciate the little works of art.

[via Ecouterre via Klimt02 via Maria Christina Belluccia ]

Finding this video compelled me to share it.  If not for the exemplary talent and inspiration with the mix of colorful synthetic sign language, but to increase the views of this talented artist.  I see so many of the popular videos and don’t really understand the fascination with sub-par talent.  Here with under 50,000 views, it is just waiting and ready to go viral.

Enjoy the colors to be found today!


James Blake LP’s in CMYK are note perfect.  Color theory at work in transparent records!  The sad truth is that digital music and colors robs us of some sounds and colors that even the most advanced technology can not capture.  For the real thing, in person is always best.

re-posted from Laughing Squid.

Le Corbusier might best be known for his sleek modern interiors of the early 20th century, of which he is forever indebted to Charlotte Perriand. His genius building structure, with the use of Fibbinochi numbers and the golden section needs little explication, here.  However, now he is a bit better known for his exquisite choice of colors, where in the New York Times, Alice Rawsthorn is quoted, “Ever the control freak, he specified exactly how Salubra should group the colors together to indicate which ones could be combined.”

A control freak, yes I’m sure he was.  But the combination of colors is everything, and is best used with educated eyes.  The difference in a change out of one color in a combination can visually make or break something.

I could get all color snobby about the fact that they used the most predictable colors for this awesome photo shoot, but why bother?   This is cool! (wait a minute!  Where is yellow!?)