Saturday, February 19, 2011

Making Connections

What do you do when you know what you want but don’t have it yet? It may be an object (to own a fabulous piece of art), an experience (a travel dream), a concept (to be an artist), or just knowing there is something out there that is different from what you have now and that is what you want. When is it that you know what you want, and how do you get from not having it (Point A) to having it (Point B)?
Some people are able to do this instinctively, knowingly. Talk about knowingly, they’ve known this desire since childhood and have consistently worked to achieve it. Or, they’ve had an epiphany as an adult that tied into childhood experiences and skyrocketed toward that newly defined goal.
Others determine their hearts desire and can discern the path to its attainment without need for external assistance.
The remainder of us has floated through life somewhat vaguely, hopefully blissfully. Objects, people, relationships, ideas…come in and go out of our realm. All is fine until – what? A shift in the hemisphere? A full moon? A birthday or a new year? Something sets off a deep, internal yearning. It germinates for a period of time then begins to grow and blossom.
Connections with others of similar goals and dreams can nurture, inspire, and stretch us to reach out for that wish; shared experiences are encouraging and helpful. Let’s do that this year as members of SDA Minnesota. Let’s put a hand out to one another, let’s share and make connections. Let’s step forth together on a path that leads to achievement of a desired dream. Volunteer with me to host a gathering of Minnesota members or to help with Confluence, the SDA conference here in June. Opportunities are plentiful! Contact me at

Monday, February 7, 2011

Call for entry deadlines extended: SDA, TCM

I've been busy, busy working on pieces to enter into the SDA Confluence and Textile Center exhibitions and have finally come up for air. I always seem to need to let my pieces rest before any final touches, so am glad for a delayed entry date. I trust you are all working on entries, too. It would be great to see a large number of entries from Minnesota members! I am looking forward to many of wonderful gallery visits.

The three  SDA exhibitions have full guidelines and entry information through Juried Art Services, Guidelines are also available at or through

Currents, SDA Students’ Show
Event dates: April 21–August 12, 2011
Entry deadline: February 18, 2011

Merge and Flow, SDA Members’ Show
Event dates: June 9–30, 2011
Entry deadline: March 1, 2011

Bodies of Water, SDA Fashion Show
Event date: June 11, 2011
Entry deadline: March 1, 2011

The Textile Center has also extended its deadline for a special Community Gallery exhibition. Entries should represent a "watershed moment" - and can be historical, personal, political, environmental, or otherwise. For full guidelines and entry information go to

Watershed, Textile Center Member's Show
Event dates: June 6 - July 16, 2011
Entry deadline: March 1, 2011

Natural Dye Interest Group

Are you interested in learning about natural dyes and dyeing? Kit Eastman would like to start a natural dye interest/study group hosted at the Textile Center. This would be a community of weavers, spinners, dyers, surface designers, and quilters sharing resources and learning from each other about various ways to dye fibers, fabrics and surfaces using natural dyes, natural pigments, etc. To start, the group would meet 6 times a year. 

Potential topics: direct dyeing from plants, natural dye extracts, natural pigment dyes, indigo, mordants, thickeners, immersion, direct application etc.  Formats: discussion, show and tell, experiential wisdom, informal presentation, etc. Continue the community online between meetings with a group blog. 

There will be a small membership fee (i.e. $15-$20) to cover expenses (meeting room, group membership to Textile Center). If you are interested in this concept please contact Kit via email at We'd like to schedule the first meeting for sometime in February.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Snow Dyeing

We had so much snow in December that I was inspired to try snow dyeing. The recipe I used is the one where you bring in snow to pile on the top of the fabric. While I was pleased with the results, I was mildly disappointed that I only removed two buckets of snow off the deck for these two dyeing sessions.

The cotton yardage presoaked in a soda ash solution while the dyes were mixed, mingled and distributed among various squirt bottles. (Digression 1: My husband says I must really like these particular blues and greens because that’s the color range I most often dye. New Year’s resolution: expand my color palette – I think I was just given permission for an online shopping spree for additional dyes and books on dyeing!)

I found several partial sheets of Plexiglas and an empty storage bin to use, squeezed out as much of the soda solution as I could, scrunched up the fabric pieces and placed them onto the slanted Plexiglas. Actually, I scrunched up the one-yard piece and twisted the half yard piece. The angle of the Plexiglas was a bit less than 60 degrees as it lay in the bin, but it bowed ever so slightly under the weight of the wet fabric.

The lovely, fresh, white snow was piled approximately five inches deep on top of the fabric. The dyes were squirted in random fashion all over the snow. (Digression 2: Move remaining undyed, soaking fabric well beyond exuberant squirt-range. Of course, this is logical, but apparently I don’t think logically when caught up in the moment’s excitement. This is why I decline invitations to be a first aid responder.)

It was lovely to behold, all the snow and dye sitting there in the bucket on the laundry wet-studio floor. I couldn’t stay away and kept checking the melting progress. (Digression 3: I also check on sleeping babies, because while they are ever so cute asleep, I also have a need to verify they are still breathing.) In this case, the constant checking was providential because the fabric was beginning to slowly slide into the puddling dyed-snow melt. Yikes! I quickly propped up the other Plexiglas sheet to stop the slide.

I really like the results of snow dyeing. The twisted piece has an almost marble-y look and I enjoy the mottled colors of the other piece. It is true that there is not as much dye to rinse out once the snow has melted and the process is complete. It’s this part that would encourage me to do more snow dyeing. But after my second round using lighter colors I felt it was a bit labor-intensive; a lot of work when the same results can be achieved with less labor and no snow.

Other snow-dyers may be able to answer questions I have about the process: How do you know if you’ve gotten dye over all the fabric since it can’t be seen under the snow? Is there a recommended amount of dye per yardage (i.e., one cup total of dye solution per ¼ yard)? Are there thicker sheets of Plexiglas out there that don’t bow or should one use a smaller angle/incline?

Snowy winter regards to you,