…is kind of like watching paint dry. Having finished off some orders in this heat I am able to get back to the vat today. Dyeing a bit of this and that as needed. As for the vat- it’s a happy vat at the moment. My little experiment of sewing a big cotton scrim bag to put down into it (keeping any organic materials out of my more open weave cloth as I dye) has been successful. I placed a few round stones in the bottom to keep it anchored below (somewhat). I also found I could move it over to my smaller light vat as well when needed. It is not forming much hana (flower) but has a nice coppery sheen on top and is a deep green and dyeing well.
As a reminder- one needs to continue to stir the vat each day, especially when not using it. This action reintegrates the organic materials and any undissolved indigo in the vat. There are various theories on whether or not you want to get some oxygen into the vat while stirring (especially if the vat is in disuse). My particular theory is that since the bacteria consume oxygen they need at least a little bit ongoing to keep up the good work. That hana you see on your vat is a sign of good fermentation and the result of oxygen bubbling to the top and meeting with the air.
I am anxious to get on with it while I am in the mood but the thread I am dying to use is still wet. I am working on a show piece for Houston (as in “show”, I mean a piece for the wall of my booth) and it seemed to me that I needed to set it aside and work on a smaller, simpler piece to solve some puzzles and answer some questions I was running into on the larger one. I also depend on wondering here to catch a few thoughts.
Let’s just get clear on one thing. I am not a quilter. This may not even be a quilt. It is something.
So that being stated, I have lots to wonder about as I go down the path with this one. I will say that if you define a quilt as:
“layers of cloth held together with threads drawn through with a needle”
-then this is (a version of) a quilt. But maybe it is something else. Maybe it is a dyers cloth (run through with a needle)? Ahh…to define something. To categorize. To make it black or white. How can it be one thing and still be another? Two things at the same time? Or none at all. Maybe it is its own thing. That might ring true sometimes. Maybe for today. For now, it is a beginning. It is blue. Many blues. And it has moons. Many moons.
Some things take a long time to figure out. I wondered about this quite some time ago while participating in one of Jude’s classes. Then I set it aside. Recently while working on something new, I realized exactly what this was for. And now I’m wondering again. Getting into the Spirit of things.
The collecting of the cloth, the growing of the dye stuffs, the wondering about it all. Going at it a little bit at a time as I can, seasonally and intentionally.
Finally, I have enough to make a small offering.
kakishibu and indigo
pomegranate and indigo
These four collections of color herein contain a certain sense of place. This place is here in my yard. The pomegranate, the persimmon (kakishibu), and the madder (a new and exciting venture). The added indigo is from my nearly 5 year old natural fermentation vat. (I did not grow indigo this year due to drought conditions but look forward to once again if we get some decent rain.)
freshly dug madder root- two years to get here!
Pomegranate peels for the dyepot
pomegranate fruit ripe and ready!
green persimmons fermenting before being strained and aged for kakishibu
Each packet contains fabrics (mostly silks) collected in Japan. Even the cottons are mostly from kimono linings. All are perfectly imperfect and have their own sense of time and place about them. Each packet contains a moon- a reminder that we are united and some silk thread with which to stitch these thoughts together.
I instruct you to look, really look at these fabrics as you open the packet. The hand of the weaver is visible in many. The needle marks from unstitching and the loose threads tell tales. I tore many of the lengths selvedge to selvedge- in an effort to get you to notice the edges.
Only 4 each of the 4 collections. For now, in the shop.