Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ever Expanding

 Drying mushrooms for exciting dye experiments.
 Over at the pot, after steeping for five days, 
two bundles were unfurled...
Silk, ferns, iron, linen.
I can hardly wait to show you what is coming of 
all of these experiments. 
I can tell you that my horizons are expanding. 
My imagination is soaring.
My hands are working the needle, 
all of which make my heart very happy.

More to come from the Studio, 
but right now, I'd like to introduce you to a few artists 
and a hot topic (to me.) 
The serendipitous meeting of fiber artist
 Christine Mauersberger 
on a woodland path at Squam two months ago 
has led to, among other things, my awareness of 
Cat Bennett
I found Cat Bennett by way of Christine's blog.

While these are not my own words, 
 as an artist I can definitely get behind the message,
especially during a time when art programs are 
being cut from our public schools. 
  Following is an excerpt from Cat Bennett's website. 
Please click this link to read her complete post 
and to see the video on Huffington Post Live:

The show was inspired by an article on The Huffington Post about Andrew Bott, principal of the Orchard Gardens Elementary School, in inner city Boston, which was rife with disorder and low test scores when he took over in 2010. Among his interventions was replacing 80% of the teachers, firing the security staff and hiring art teachers instead. The results were a dramatic reduction in mayhem and much higher test scores.
So what exactly does art do? First, even with minimal skills, people are able to express themselves, an empowering experience. We all have a deep desire to simply be seen and heard.  (Please click the link above to read Cat Bennett's full post.)
What are your thoughts about art and education in America?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pies and Prints

Introducing July's "Personal Pie Challenge" pie:
(irresistible) Blueberry Hand Pies!
I'd definitely make these again because 
they fit in your hand and the fillings are unlimited. 
Fun, versatile and very satisfying to make...and eat! 
Click the link for this classic taste of summer: 

The eco-printing bug has bitten! 
Here are a few results from my first adventure.
(Silk habotai and alum mordant.)
Fern from the woods. 
I think the rosie areas are echinacea petals
which were sprinkled on after the previous photo was taken.
 I had to try the rose leaf. 
And yes, it's every bit as satisfying to peel back  
those spent leaves as I thought it would be.
It's easy to imagine sewing just a small scrap
to a favorite soft T-shirt or skirt, hand stitching around
those sweet leaf shapes.
 Next, I took a few uneventful pieces of silk from earlier experiments
and sprinkled lily petals all over the surface. 
I wadded up the silk and mashed the bundle with my hands.
With all that squishing I felt like a kid again! 
The thin dark strip of silk is the result of rose leaves
embedded in concertina folds, then steamed.
Once steamed, I bound the bundle between two pieces 
of iron and dropped it in a jar of hibiscus tea. 
I let that sit in the sun for a few days. 
I'm happy with the results from all of these experiments, 
and continue to turn my wheels on ways to 
incorporate them into my own garments and quilts.

After a breakfast of fresh blueberries and peaches, 
I'll head out the back door to gather plants
and make some bundles. I'll share the results next week!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Under Summer Skies

After a relaxing family getaway at Keuka Lake, 
I returned home and fired up another dye pot:
The silk habotai & silk-cotton thread shown here 
are much more acidic in color than any example 
I've seen in books, and I'm very pleased.
For me, half the fun of dying is not knowing what will happen.
The last photo shows hibiscus (deep pink) 
immersion-dyed silk gauze and silk-cotton thread. 
I especially like the mottled pinks in the thread!

So much is happening around the Studio 
that I've got to spread it out over a handful of posts. 
 I'm having a blast working on my pie baking (yes!), 
 some hand sewing for my wardrobe,
drawings from the garden 
and bundling eco-prints. 

I'd love to hear what's keeping you busy this summer.  :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Full Tilt

 Last weekend, the studio was at full tilt! 
I had tons of fun - pounding, wrapping, solar & immersion dyeing.
Above: pounding peonies and violets in silk habotai, 
Lac immersion dye for more silk habotai & silk-cotton thread 
 ...resisting on itself for stellar stitching. :)
I'll share more results as solar and wrapped dye experiments
finish cooking over the next few weeks.
In the down time between dye methods, 
I whipped up a batch of pea shoot pesto.
 Dwarf Pea Shoots in the garden: 
pinch small, tender shoots for salads, sandwiches & pesto!
Pea shoot pesto and chicken salad.

I made up the pesto based on what I had on hand:

A few bunches of pea shoots, fill the food processor
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 generous handfuls of sunflower seeds (or walnuts)
A generous pinch of salt
I didn't, but you could add parmesan cheese

Whirrrrr it all together in your food processor
and slowly drizzle in
4-6 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Keep whirring until it looks like pesto!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge, 
or longer in the freezer.

Delicious and packed with nutrients, 
this pesto is a winner at our house!
If you try it, let me know what you think.

Before I sign off for the week, I have to be 
honest about the pie recipe I made and shared 
with you last week. We dug into it Sunday night, 
and sadly it turned out to be a flop. 
From what I could tell, the wet fruit filling 
prevented the topping from staying dry and crumbly, 
turning it instead into hot goop. 
Too bad, because I really had my hopes up for that one.

Well, there's always July's pie... 

Leave your vote in Comments!