Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Salt Spring Island Story Scarves

  It's been a super busy few weeks...I should really just stop saying it seems to be perpetual! I am working on my time management and work vs relaxation balances!
  Three articles for Living Crafts complete, application submitted for ArtCraft, lovely visit with my Mother in Law, completion of a new knitting pattern (more on that to come), two new felting tutorials in the works, plus some play with using transfer papers in feltmaking (more on that soon too!)...I can feel satisfied with these accomplishments!
 I have really been enjoying makes my felt story scarves. In my last post, they had been wrapped and were ready for steaming. I half immersed the dye bundle- I set out to steam them, but my years of long, slow immersion plant dyeing make it hard for me to resist adding more water so the dyes can move around! After simmering for 30 minutes, I wrapped the bundle in plastic bags and popped them into our handy fermentation house. Usually used for sourdough bread, and kombucha making, and presently home to sprouting date seeds and plant dyed silks! I stuck it in at the back so no-one would notice!
 When I`ve used India Flint`s Eco Colour techniques in the past, I`ve left the bundles for weeks and sometimes months before opening them. I lasted 3 days on this bundle. I was so curious! I wanted to see how the plants reacted with silk and the felt.
  I quite like the effect. Lots of tannins in there. And some very distinct patterns. It does feel like the scarves have taken on and come into relationship with the terroir of this place. And that is the whole idea!
 These are the scarves with the text added...found or overheard snippets of conversations, observations, collected while out on my dye walk...I used a fabric marker for the text...a little tricky to be delicate.  I want the text to almost disappear, to be in the background, present but unobtrusive. I have to experiment a little more with this. Write first, then felt, and plant dye...Use a different technique for the writing...(these would be questions but my keyboard has switched to French somehow, and I don`t know how to change it back! So a question mark comes out like this-É!). This method is absolutely wash fast. The persimmon and brown wrap was washed several times after adding the text with no change.

 Then colour just called out....loud and clear... it needed to happen! So I rolled the scarf tightly and immersed it in a dye bath, then rerolled from the other direction fand dyed with a different colour.  Low impact acid dyes on the blue and green wrap and plant dyes on the persimmon one.  I love this name for that colour! I was just reminded of it today. It is one of my all time favorite colours...warm pinky orange....persimmon....Can you see the little stitch paths (footprint tracks) working their way over, around and along the scarf (É)
  It was Graham who suggested I dye one more time from the other end to add that last burst of colour. I was hesitating, thinking about what other people like, and he said some sage words about making what you love and people will respond to that, before going out for a walk (I am not the best company when feeling hesitant and uncertain about creative choices!). He was so right...and I did tell him so, when he returned. Now they do feel right. And like work...I would wear these everyday as wraps or scarves.  The tannins and patterns from the first plant dyeng, blend and tone well with the second and last dyeing. The layers and layers of process build up and feel rich and complex...the earthiness is present and tangible...I wish I had some pictures of these wraps or the scarves being worn, but they have all been delivered for jurying into a summer show (at the very last minute- actually with two minutes to spare. Exactly.)  Fingers crossed!
 And the next round of scarves beginning their story journey....
Warm wishes,


  1. Oh, Fiona--What a wonderful process and final colors!! I have "Eco Colour" by I've done absolutely nothing with it yet, other than to drool over the photos! You inspire me to crack it open again and actually try something!!
    I'm so thankful for your kindness and the generosity of your comments. I hope we will have an opportunity to make felt together one day very soon!!

  2. Thanks, Heather! I have books and projects like that too! They lie dormant until the time is right! I have to contain myself in my next dye batch and just try steaming, instead of immersing...this week- can't wait to see what "story" comes out! Thanks for visiting!

  3. thank you for your generosity in posting your pictures. i ma sure that the photos do not do the finished articles justice - absolutely lovely

  4. Geraldine, Thank you so much for your kind comment! I've been loving making this series special full moon edition!
    Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment! Warm wishes, Fiona