Monday, August 3, 2009

In they go!

My elder has a joke this week that goes: “Do you know what I do when I’m feeling blue?” The answer is: “I stop holding my breath!” My plan for turning blue was to connect with Mary Pendergrass in Nashville last week. Mary was running a workshop on indigo dyeing from Thursday through Saturday that I really wanted to attend. So of course on Friday evening I was thinking there was something I should be doing but I couldn’t think what. Arrghhh! Indigo dyeing! So I called up Mary to ask what was happening on Saturday. It turned out to be a ‘mini workshop’ for anyone who wanted to come. She told me I could bring all the skeins I wanted and to show up at 9:30. I didn’t need to be told twice and I was there with bright eyes and bells on. I also had lots of white fleece, wool skeins and a blank pad of paper. Was it ever worth it! I was the only person who turned up, and Mary was an incredibly good teacher and very helpful. I got to ask all the questions I wanted (which means a lot). Mary was very generous with her time, advice and materials, and we talked about colors, techniques and sources. Armed with new materials and ideas I’m already plotting uses for my new indigo materials in holiday ornaments and other projects.

The first thing I learned was that indigo dyeing is a little stinky. On came the long gloves, in went the yarn and I learned that rapid immersion is crucial to the process. It’s important to exclude air from the process, so you don’t want to froth around in the pot as the yarn goes in. In the dye pot the color is an exquisite deep teal color—I’d like to be able to capture that color! Once in the pot you work the yarns to get the dye throughout the skein, under any ties and deep into the fabric. When the yarn comes out of the pot the color transforms into the deep indigo hue characteristic of the process. The whole thing is really cool to watch, and now I’m excited to try this at home. Thanks Mary! The process was punctuated by periodic calls from Mary’s husband. He was watching the weather on radar, and he’d call us with warnings about heavy rain on the way and sent us inside on a couple of occasions in anticipation of impending doom. I guess Mary has an HoA (husband of artist) kind of like mine!

The rest of the week was hectic as I prepared for a new show at the By Hand gallery. I’ll be on hand for the reception from 5-7 this Friday so be sure to stop in when you’re on the Gallery Walk. Later in the week I put together a weaving and a stack of cards to mail to a gallery in Madison, Wisconsin. The owner saw my work during the Madison Art Fair and asked if she could hang some pieces in her gallery. Hmmmm, let me see. OK, YES! That was very flattering, and my web check of the place shows that my work will have a good home. That’s good to know. Last, my personal achievement of the week was when I got green beans on Wednesday from the CSA and had to slip them past my green-bean-hating-HoA. Well, I did it! I have a special dish I make where the beans are chopped up fine, lightly cooked and carefully disguised in a flavorful sauce that is put over rice. And…he liked it!

Until next week,

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