Over the years, I have acquired many of those bags you receive at educational conferences or travel group trips. They are usually–but not always–sturdy cotton canvas. I use them as grocery bags and market totes, rather than using plastic or paper which are still offered at no cost in my area.
So I decided to take some of my patchwork scraps and hand-dyed natural cloth and put them together as up-cycled market bags. I am just covering the conference name or exotic travel destination. This was fun, so I will do this again.
What do you do with your old canvas totes? Now you know what you can do, or if not, please send them to me!
I’ve been trying to reconstruct in my head how I go about the process of making a cloth collage. The slow-stitch, hand-dyed kind. It’s always more about the process than the product, but what is the process?
Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a “how-to-collage primer.”
So yes, I begin with scraps or patches of hand-dyed cloth, in this case, Bengala dyes, natural mineral dyes from Japan. If I am making a 9-patch as the basis for the collage, then there’s re-arranging of cloth, pinning, then stitching seams. Sometimes the background cloth is chosen first, and sometimes not.
The stitching could be by hand or by machine, depending on my mood. Once the patch is placed on the backing, I use the Jude Hill glue-stitch. (See SpiritCloth Blog for details). In looking back, at some point I decided to add suns, moons and stars for Jude Hill’s challenge. But I do not have a photo of the in-between process from sewn 9-patch to decorated 9-patch with hand-embroidery. Sometimes you get wrapped up in the process and forget about photos.
Global warming has been on my mind, probably yours, too! As I am an artist who designs “as she goes along,” I had not noticed in particular that these 9-patch squares were heading towards Global Warming. But as I added hand-embroidery over these past months, I have noticed a trend. There are torrential rains, blazing hot suns, greenhouse gases and hurricanes and tornadoes. I will need to add flooding. Next time: “how to collage.”
Although this cloth was completed a few months ago, I totally forgot about posting it here until now. Yes, this was Project Trois, or the Interstellar Hand. You may remember it was among my WIPS.
In the meantime, I found what I call “hidden cloth.” Really misplaced cloth. This was cloth I dyed with Quebracho Red, a natural dye which produces lovely shades of red, raspberry, etc. My cloth was natural linen–white and natural–which accounts for the mixed shades.
One of the pieces was stitched shibori style before dyeing. I am glad I finally located these panels as I contemplate stitching another piece.
My eco-plants are blooming, which is making me very pleased and excited for the coming season of eco-printing and natural dyeing. Some of these plants are newish–just planted last autumn–so they have not been tested yet. Primarily I am talking about the Japanese maple tree and lily of the valley, both of which appeared to be dying last winter. But they are alive!
I know that the Japanese maple leaf will probably print well, as friends gave me samples last “printing” season. I’m unsure what can be done with the lily of the valley, but I really planted it because I have fond memories of collecting these for the May Queen (Catholic grade school).
And then there are last year’s proven eco-printers: wild rose, golden barberry and false indigo (turns yellow instead of blue).
And one last note: I have been working on slow-stitching Project Deux, which started out as our planetary system but which is now evolving in a different way. Stay tuned.