A quick trip to the desert, taken a couple of weekends ago.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
A few weekends ago, I was able to take a class, Exploring Mushrooms for Dyes with Alissa Allen at the Los Angeles Arboretum. I'm always looking to add to my skill set as someone who works in textiles, and lately I have been fascinated with the process of working with natural dyes.
I initially came across this workshop on Instagram, and in doing so I was surprised to learn that fungi and lichen could be used as natural dyestuff. I had to find out more, and after taking Alissa's class, I was not disappointed! The spectrum of colors that can be extracted from lichen and fungi is truly amazing.
At the class, we each were able to create and take home a sampling of fungi & lichen dyes on wool, that had not been mordanted, and/or mordanted with alum or iron (first image). We also brought fabric of our own choosing (I brought 2 pieces of silk/wool gauze--as protein based fabrics tend to work better with natural dyes) and submerged them in vats of Dyer's Polypore (Phaeolus schweinitzii) - in one vat we mordanted our fabric in alum, and the other we used iron as a mordant. The alum- mordanted Dyer's Polypore turned out a golden yellow, and the iron-mordanted fabric emerged olive green. Once at home, I overdyed the yellow Polypore silk/wool with a quick dip in indigo using simple shibori techniques (last photo).
I'm uncertain as to how often I will actually be able to dye with mushrooms in Southern California, as our climate is not naturally conducive to the growth of mushrooms commonly used in dyeing, but I feel Alissa's class was very worthwhile- she possesses a wealth of knowledge, and is a patient instructor. I highly recommend taking a workshop with her if you ever have the chance.
Posted by Jennifer at 1:20 PM
Monday, January 13, 2014
When I start working on a textile or garment, or a new collection-- I often initially think of somehow combining "opposites" in the work. Dark/light, positive/negative, cool/warm, etc. Would this more structured blouse/jacket/ skirt look good with a loose, painterly print? Would this pristine piece of cotton look more interesting if I dyed it to look like it was dirty or stained? Is this a lighthearted collection in feel, or something more melancholy? Can I somehow make something fun and introspective? When I am stuck creatively, asking these questions helps get me started working.
Posted by Jennifer at 6:58 PM
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
I did not plan or expect to take these pictures today. As I was dyeing fabric, in my dye studio, which is my back yard, I was thinking about photography, and inspiration, (recent photographs by Kate, and Lauren, and Claire).
I love being able to work outside year 'round, and will take care of the garden while I wait for fabric to dry.
As I was waiting for a textile to dry today, I picked a lime blossom, a banana leaf, and a blood orange that had cracked and had fallen to the ground, and played around, documenting the results.
Posted by Jennifer at 1:30 PM
Monday, January 6, 2014
All photographs by Megan McIsaac, Model: Amelia Rose Barlow. Clothing ERMIE. Jewelry by wenvrsleep, other accessories: model's own.
Photographer Megan McIsaac and I collaborated on a short photo editorial for submission to Synonym Journal, #3, Cliffhanger.
One of the photographs from this series, was chosen for the centerfold! Take a look here, and to purchase the Journal- it's full of wonderful contributors such as Claire Cottrell, & Shin Okuda.
The images above, while not making it into the Journal itself, are some of my alternative favorite captures from the shoot. Enjoy.
Many thanks: Megan, Amelia, Amelia Giller and Leigh Patterson!
Posted by Jennifer at 5:22 PM