A Surface Design Staycation

What happens when I take some time off from work to stay home and work on art projects? Sadly, I go a bit nuts. As it turns out, mixing and stirring up a good dye bath for fabric involves the same set of skills as mixing up a good pot of soup.

This is some fabric I dyed the other day.

I’m making a big saguaro cactus applique for my next art quilt project.  Yesterday, I put together my 3 chosen, recently dyed fabrics, kind of in the shape I plan the cactus to be, and it took me a while to figure out what was wrong:

That photo above is blurry. The fabric where the saguaro “arms” will be looks really nice, a good dark green; but the saguaro “trunk” in the middle is too purple. I thought I’d followed the same dye recipe for all 3 pieces of fabric. And I had. Except I used turquoise blue for the middle piece and sky blue for the 2 other pieces….and that’s what makes the difference.

So I scrunched up the middle piece and re-dyed it, and dyeing any yardage involves quart yogurt containers out on my patio:

And then the weather started to crap out; really no rain, sadly, just a squall blown in with a cold front, obscuring my view of the mountains:

It suddenly became soup weather. I don’t think there’s been soup weather in Tucson since last March.

So, time for soup in between dyeing; here’s the beginning of a good brocolli/havarti/cheddar soup: onions and garlic and butter….

…the broccoli, looking a bit boiled….

…the cheese, a mix of danish havarti and new zealand cheddar…

…on the right, the “roux”, the onion/butter mixture with flour and cheese….so what you really see on the right is a glob of saturated fat–YUM–and the pureed broccoli is on the left. I just added the brocolli, slowly, along with a quart of chicken broth and the water from cooking the brocolli, and I had a very delightful and not terribly rich–just rich enough–soup.

It turned out great. I have 8 cups left. Some will go in the freezer. I tell you, a bit of vermouth and lemon in brocolli/cheddarish soup is all you need for a fantastic soup outcome.

When the weather cleared a bit, I was able to do a bit of screen printing with my thermofax screen. My technique is improving. I did a run of colors in yellow and fuschia and orange:

Once dry, I tossed it in the washer, dried it and did another run of blue on top: the clouds cleared out mid-afternoon, but it got cold (i.e. 55 degrees, not cold for many of you out there) and I let the blue dye set inside for a few hours, where it was warmer.

Tomorrow I plan on more screen printing; the weather is supposed to be really nice, in the 70s. I’ll post more tomorrow. This fabric isn’t done yet! Needs more mountain layers.

Author: Clareannette

I love working and making art in the Sonoran Desert!

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