Posts Tagged With: CHT Art Camp

Dying to Dye

I have been dying to take an indigo dye class from Connie for quite some time but every time she had one, I had something else get in the way. What was a girl to do? Especially after she moves a few hours west.

This past weekend was CHT Art Camp. it becomes a busy weekend with arriving at the 4H center in Brownwood, Texas Friday afternoon and not stopping till you get home Monday afternoon. And guess what was one of the workshops? Connie and indigo dyeing. Two days of dyeing. Was I ever excited. Signed up. Even got a scholarship from CHT for the workshop so now have several “pass it on” projects in the works.

We began with a talk on indigo dye and getting the dye bath going. Ohhhhh, that lovely blue mess in a bucket. And yes, we even got to smell it. I would have thought that without the one old ingredient being used any more, it wouldn’t smell so much. But I guess even the cleaner chemical version still has that smell that lets you know why dyers lived on the outskirts of towns in history.


My first ever indigo dyed yarn

We first dunked in our butcher’s twine to get our feet wet. I think I only did one dip with this as I was still feeling my way along in the whole process. (maybe a bit too excited as well to think clearly) So with indigo you don’t let it just soak and soak to get deeper color. You have to dunk your fiber and wait about 5 minutes, then take it out and let it oxidize for at least 15 minutes or more and then keep on dunking till it is darker than you want as when it dries it will be lighter in color than the wet look.


My first pole wrapped piece


My next attempt was at pole wrapping. For this we had two different sizes of PVC pipe that you wrapped you cloth around. Then you took twine and wrapped it around and around and around and around and … with after every few times scruntching it up to the top till it was all wrapped and scrunched up tight. Then you dunked it in the bath. Again I think this was only dunked once though maybe twice. Actually maybe more but I can’t remember. When I unwrapped it I wasn’t too happy with it as it didn’t look like some of the others (who had more experience dyeing than myself). No distinct lines but fading in and out. But then another classmate, who has been to Japan and played with indigo there, came by and said she liked it. It had a very Japanese zen quality about it. Amazing how a word can change your feelings about a piece. Maybe it wasn’t so ugly after all.



My first block and fold dye

So then I took a long strip and tried another idea. Once again somewhat copying what I’d seen another classmate do. I folded this piece in fourths down the length and then in the middle folded it so that their were six sections that had triangles clamped over it. Then the two ends I flag folded. The folds were such that the two outside edges were outside in the bath. Hence darker color there. I did like this piece though it should have been in the bath a few more times. But then tomorrow will come and it will fall down in the list of favorites.




My first tape resist

After that I lead the way in another suggestion. Using painter’s tape for a resist on a cloth. I chose my canvas piece and put tape on both sides working hard at lining it up. It only got one bath as some of the tape started coming off. But all in all an interesting idea. Not a favorite but interesting. Alas, the others who followed suit had stunning pieces. But you have to have the one that leads the way so the others can improve on it.

This was not the end of the journey. In fact this was barely the beginning. Connie gave us packs of different cloths to dye. Nothing fancy as she wanted us to experiement and have fun. If we had, say a scarf, then we would be worried about ruining the scarf and may not go as far as we would if we didn’t think of the piece as a special item. Needless to say we did experiment, and I ended the first day starting my first sewn piece. But that is for another time. Also we had good surprises the second day. A three for one on our workshop. That will come hopefully tomorrow.


The three pieces and twine hanging to dry with two more pieces in the bucket below dripping between baths. One is a clamped piece and the right side is a pole wrap piece


Categories: dyeing, Fiber Arts | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

CHT Art Camp 2014

It was Art Camp again and so it was get ready and head out early Friday morning for Brownwood, Texas. We meet at the Texas 4H center there which is perfect for our gathering. Now there is no direct route there from the Houston area and sometime I am actually going to sit down with a map and really plot out what looks the best way across, but alas that wasn’t this time and so muddled across with three GPSs to help guide us. Rather interesting how each one gives a different direction even when it looks like you chose the same one. I know there is a lesson in there if I would only ruminate on it.

My First painting

My First painting

My second piece of paper

My second piece of paper

But we arrived and soon the place was buzzing with 30+ ladies all excited about fiber. I was taking the paper basket weaving workshop and our group actually started work on Friday after supper. (Did I mention we eat really well while there and gain a few pounds each year?) We had big sheets of watercolor paper that we were to paint both sides. Now I didn’t understand it all at first and it really is a project that after you do the first ones you get it and want to start all over but that is for another time. It was paint paper night and so I did.

Backsides with glitter.

Backsides with glitter.

After painting one side, it was turn the pages over when dry and paint the other side. Now I hadn’t added a lot of color and what silver I had added was thin so they dried pretty fast and I was back to painting and trying to improve on the look. So in the end my fronts and backs weren’t as different as they should have been but they did come out different as the backs were darker (which is what I had wanted for the fronts) though still not as dark as my head envisioned it and I did add glitter to the backs though most of it was lost over time as well. Again I should have had thicker wet areas for it to adhere to.

The bottom woven together.

The bottom woven together.

At this point, it was off to bed to await what was to happen on the morrow. Saturday morning it was time to strip the paper into thin strips with a pasta cutter.  It was at that time that one realized that whatever you envisioned with your paper would change when viewed in those thin strips. After that, it was pick a pattern for your basket. This is where I missed the boat somewhat as the patterns were color and weave and I didn’t really have two distinct sides to either paper for color and weave but with the blue and red one I did have long strips that I could still work with so off we went.

Finished basket

Finished basket

Hard at work.

Hard at work.

Spending a day weaving, by the end, I had a basket whether you could see it as a color and weave pattern or not. The red corners from a bit of distance show the pinwheel the best. The blue and lavender are not very distinct.

Then it was an evening of learning about Rebecca’s fiber trip to Japan and weaving on my Zoom Loom. To bed. Early morning. Breakfast and back at it to learn how to make a bias basket. Now for weavers of cloth where you only work in two dimensions, the bias basket took a bit to wrap your head about and make work. But once I caught on to what I was suppose to do whether one thought they were going to just tear everything up it was rather fun to weave.

The bottom woven for bias basket

The bottom woven for bias basket

Pulling the corners up and weaving in the sides.

Pulling the corners up and weaving in the sides.

I did lay out my strips so that the two sides of my paper were in different directions and then I also made sure that the different ends were lined up together as well. So the horizontal strips in the picture are one side with the light end to the left and darker end to the right. The vertical strips also kept the two ends separate. So we wove and tightened and wove and tightened and wove and tightened. And then learned to weave in the ends from the corners into the next corner strands. Having kept my sides and ends together made it so that I ended up with diamonds of each color at the bottom as the sides came up. And I know none of this makes sense but maybe it will help me remember how it went.

Finished bias basket

Finished bias basket

Then on one goes till you get up as high as is feasible to make a top and make sure it is all even and then you weave in the ends so that what it looks like around the top reminds one of being a kid again and weaving together chewing gum wrappers. I might add that in this picture you may notice the bandaid. Yes, the day before I was very me and managed to cut my finger with scissors when trimming off the ends. These were even scissors that could be classified as children’s with blunt nose on them. Just incredibly glad I wasn’t using my pointy ones at the time. Who knows what damage I would have done to myself then.

My weird odd contraption

My weird odd contraption

As there was still time when I finished the bias basket and I still had some strips, I started on a smaller basket. Alas as I was running out of strips to come up the sides, I didn’t want to just cut the tall spokes off so decided in a fit of madness to try and weave them in together. It was crazy and Brenda even got in on it to try and see what we could create. It is a crazy odd contraption that has been called many things since its inception. In this picture we still hadn’t come up with a way to weave in all the spokes sticking out. I did get them to connect but just a wrap not a weave.  I am still debating to go ahead and cut the top off as it is totally unpractical and weird but who knows maybe it will sit somewhere forever looking out of place.

So all in all a fun weekend that I learned a new technique. The best part is that I have an idea for a project that learning how to do the bias basket will help with so it won’t be just a fun weekend that I won’t use anything I learned again. I doubt I continue with paper weaving but then I did have a friend last night say she had a pasta cutter she never uses….

Categories: Weaving | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Triaxial Weaving – I Love You

This past weekend I got to participate in the first CHT (Contemporary Handweavers of Texas) Art Camp. It was a great time with other weavers and fiber people who enjoy playing as much as I do. I signed up for the two day Triaxial Weaving class and walked into a world I had only glimpsed once and am now in love with.

We had a kit handed to us of all the items we would need to make three 11 x 11 pieces of weaving. We each got to choose from sets of three colors of ribbon and made our boards to pin our layers onto. Triaxial weaving is a weaving where you weave three layers of ribbon going in three different directions. Now the hard part for weavers is that the angles you are dealing with are 60 degrees and not the normal 90 degrees weavers are used to weaving.

Layer one with the beginning of the second layer

The picture above shows the beginning of my first piece. The first layer of ribbon is pinned at the proper angle on the board. Then you can begin anywhere within the second layer and make sure that you get the angle at that 60 degree mark.

The second layer almost done

You know you have your second layer correctly done if the “old men are holding hands”. That means that the diamonds that form are attached moving across the work and not stacked on top of each other. And yes, I had times when my men weren’t holding hands and had to take them out and redo them. But if you remember to keep holding hands or as one gal put it “make bikinis” then all is well on your second layer.

Half of the third layer woven

After the second layer is done you then take your third color of ribbon and start on the third layer which will go up and down. This then forms cubes that you can have fun with from all different angles. Focus on one color in the cube and make that the top and keep switching. It can drive your eyes batty.

My first completed piece

I loved this piece when completed despite the fact I really don’t like the color orange. Just very thankful I didn’t end up with yellow in my choice of colors. You can turn this every which way and have a different color as the top of the cube. It is wonderful play time as you twist and turn looking at it.

My second piece withe the second layer started

I then started my second piece which was chosen from 4 color and weave patterns. I picked the stars and used my green and burgundy ribbon for it. I chose this picture of the progress because from an angle it has a 3D look. It was a bit disconcerting that each color only crossed over itself at this point but the valleys and hills were fun to see progress across the piece.

My second piece with half the third layer in place.

Then when the third layer is added we no longer are making cubes this time but wonderful six pointed stars. I forgot to take a picture of it finished while at camp but here it is with half the third layer done. The interesting bit with this piece is that though it doesn’t have a strong 3D look, when you look at it from different angles it looks like there are 4 or more colors involved instead of just 2. How the light and shadow hits the ribbon and the angle it is running and layer it is in all plays on the eyes.

My third piece with the second layer almost done

Since I used twice as much burgundy ribbon than green in my second piece I had to use twice as much orange in my third piece. So I picked a pattern and set to work. Only I had forgotten all about the “old fat men holding hands” and had to take quite a bit of my second row out when it was discovered. So back to work and then the geese started flying south for me. If you look closely the “men” are holding hands here just they are a different color so not as noticeable as in the first piece.

Third layer half done on third piece.

Now my poor geese are falling out of the sky as they get turned into cubes. The third layer was pretty easy here as you just close up the ends of the green to form cubes.

Third piece completed.

So here are my green cubes surrounded in orange cubes. I was able to finish all three pieces in the two days and had so much fun, I bought more ribbon and plan to keep playing with my new found toy.

I had an incredible time at art camp and plan to attend again as I do believe it will be repeated in two years as everyone that went had a great time.

Categories: Weaving | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

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