I’ve had jars of dye and thread or fabric sitting about outside and on bookshelves for years here–they have been created using India Flint’s Stuff, Steep and Store method. And I’ve been interested to see that I can let them be for years! A stitching friend was keen to start a stitch journal and so I thought I might contribute and made her a parcel… beginning by opening a pile of jars. Some put by in 2014!
For once I took the effort to make sure I could line up labels with contents… and hopefully my friend’s stitch journal will bring her joy. She’s a wonderful sewer and thinker and feminist and all-round, an upwelling of glorious energy and action.
Needless to say all this dyeing excitement led to more jars…. I love this method. I don’t come across jars big enough to use it on huge quantities, but I am blessed with small batch amounts of some dyes, such as flowers, that work really well with this method and I can process seven at a time, saving energy and drama. And it’s pretty!
The bag making has been continuing. This is a simple, unlined bag made from recycled heavyweight garment fabrics–parts of an old pair of hemp shorts and some recycled men’s cotton twill trousers. Last year I went to a huge Red Cross sale where entire secondhand garments were $1 or $2. I acquired all kinds of stained and/or worn pale coloured garments which I have been transforming.
This, on the other hand, is a lined bag made of silk. When I first bought and read India Flint’s Eco-Colour, I was immediately inspired and keen to try out her ideas and techniques, but finding silk and wool fabrics was quite a challenge. I had been dyeing sheep fleece and woolen yarns. I started out eco-printing with some fine gauzy silk and that was exciting enough to keep me going, though I was less than clear about how I could use it. Then I found a length of Thai silk clearly purchased in Thailand and brought home to Australia which had somehow found its way to an op shop I like to comb through. Many experiments followed, and they have been sitting rolled up in the sewing room for years now.
The darker colour on some sections is red wine. The splotchy random pattern–clearly not a leaf–on one piece really had me puzzled until I ironed it. The smell was a giveaway. Ah! Onion skins! That is what you can see on the top right of this bag.
And the other side (with red wine on the strap)…
I have constructed the linings from samples and less successful printing efforts on cottons…
It’s very satisfying finally to put these samples to use.