Friday, March 23, 2007

The Best Birthday Present Ever/Fiber Workshop

(No, it's not my birthday, that's in June.)

On March 23, 1920, my mother entered this world. Thirty years later, on the same day, she and my dad were married. For her birthday gift that year, my Mom got my Dad as her lifetime partner and best friend.

Had they lived past 2006, Mom would have turned 87 today, Dad would be 89 (February 23) and they would have celebrated 57 gloriously wed years.

Happy Birthday, Mom, and Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I miss you both.


In other news, to prevent this from being a maudlin dead parents post... I spent the day in a Fiber workshop at school. Marilyn Prucka, a very talented fiber artist, quilter and printmaker from Michigan came to the college to give a one-day workshop on Corn Dextrin and Potato Dextrin resist techniques. (If I had a website link, I'd post it, but there isn't one yet.) We learned to use discharge methods—thickened bleach or sodium alginate paint medium mixed with thiorea dioxide (Thiox)—with the resists on black fabric to get some interesting results.

We used Country Classic Beechwood in black and regular cotton in white for our samples. In addition, we were able to experiment with commercially-printed or hand-dyed fabrics (such as samples we did in Surface Design class using Procion MX dyes) using these techniques.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. The bleach pulls a luscious orange-red from the Beechwood; the Thiorea (which I kept hearing as Diarrhea, LOL) was more subtle and resulted in a shiny dark grey area that has an almost metallic effect. However, that could be something I did to it, I'm not sure. I'll have to ask my fibers prof if that's correct (the way I have it). Different fabrics will bleach to different colors.

The potato dextrin cracks and pulls in as it dries, a bit like batik but the lines are different. The corn dextrin is smoother and is good for drawing fine lines. They can be used together or separately, with masking tape, with stamps, can be drawn into, can be used to silkscreen-resist... and a piece can start one way and end another. Example: put down potato and corn dextrin, let dry, apply bleach, watch it pull color, rinse out, apply more resist, more bleach, rinse, neutralize the bleach... apply more resist, immersion-dye or paint with dye... steam... rinse... apply more resist... etc. It's endless and the more you do to it, the more interesting the textures and colors become. Bleaching pulls colors that it's very difficult to get when trying to apply it with paint.

The downside of this method is the time factor. The dextrins and Thiox both should ideally be left to sit overnight before moving to the next step of application; the bleach, however, is very quick. The thickened paste only stays active for about 15 minutes so you have to work fast, and then you have to dunk it in water as soon as it's two shades down from the color you want so it stops bleaching (almost—it actually stays mildly active until it's neutralized but bleach can be left unneutralized for a couple of years after only rinsing before it begins to break down the fibers).

I'm still in progress with the samples, so I'll try to remember to take digi's when I'm done and post them for the curious.


OK, I've reported my daily activities and sufficiently honored my beloved parents on their special day. I'm starving, so it's nachos and a Netflix for me. Have a great Friday.

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At 2:00 AM, March 24, 2007, Anonymous tiennie said...

Nachos, netflix - sounds great!

Glad you're remembering your mom on her day. Like you could forget.

At 11:25 AM, March 30, 2007, Anonymous Gayle said...

I didn't think it was maudlin. Very thougtful, I thought.

I'm sorry you've lost your parents. You're right. Appreciate the time we have.


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