Spending a week learning the art of encaustic with Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch in Wanganui (Fibre Arts New Zealand) was a fantastic experience of experimenting a totally new art medium using hot wax in combination with oils, pan pastels, charcoals, inks – basically anything you can imagine to make marks, plus the addition of fabrics, shellac, plaster and tar.
Back home, I couldn’t hardly wait to get a few basic tools and materials to set my little encaustic space in a corner of my studio, which guess what – took over a big part of my studio in no time…
I found I am more drawn to materials like concrete, plaster, tar and rust that can create beautiful textures, and even applied to flat supports like ply wood or paper the final look feels three dimensional through lots of layers of chosen materials.
These are some pieces I did in the workshop
Not that this enough, I signed in the 100 day project, an independently run event of repeating a creative task over (guess) 100 days. Because encaustic is such a wide field I limited myself to a square of paper (as canvas) 13cm x13cm using rust, concrete, tar, plaster and some oil sticks. A perfect way of daily material exploration!
These are some of my first works, see more here!
I am happy to run a few more weaving classes. New addition: making puti puti (flowers) from harakeke. Small groups for best learning outcome!flyer winter 2017
After finishing my arts degree end of last year I spent the first months of 2017 getting my arts career started. This means making work for art galleries in the North Island, designing workshops, running my first couple of workshops, getting the paper stuff sorted, beginning a new Body or Work, networking with artist fellow artists, galleries and customers.
No wonder I needed a break! I was missing the ‘play time’ as a student, when you just explore, experiment not worrying about the outcome or failures (and generally something great comes out of it anyway).
So I gathered some plant materials such as eucalyptus, bark, loquat and osage orange, sorting out some silk scarves – some already naturally dyed, some not really successful. I over dyed with natural dyes, used some random shibori techniques, and basically just had some fun! Here a few images of my explorations. It was definitely worth it, inspired by the results.
peach leaves soaking in a copper vessel
silk dyed with osage orange, different mordants – changing hues
osage orange silk partially dyed with loquat leaves – gives beautiful oranges
partially over dyed silk
merino dyed with barberry bark, over dyed with eucalyptus
silk/wool fabric previously dyed with cochineal, over dyed with eukalyptus bark – detail
a mix of shibori techniques with indigo, marigold and eucalyptus leaves – detail
silk dyed with marigold over dyed with eucalyptus leaves – detail
silk dyed with cochineal and eucalyptus – preparing for third dye pot
same piece just removed from the dye pot
loquat dyed silk over dyed with eucalyptus – left to dry creating the crinkle effect
When it comes to natural dyes, it is sometimes hard to get a bright and strong red colour. The main sources for a range of reds are madder root and cochineal. I had this jar of cochineal sitting in my studio for about two years with the intention to use it one day. That day has eventually come.
Cochineal is a beetle which lives on cacti in Middle and South America. Only the female body (!) gives the dye when it is dried out and pulverized. The substance is called carmine and can also be found in food and cosmetic industry. In the past centuries cochineal was a main dye source for red dyes, today its often used by artists and artisans in their work, who are helping to keep this traditional knowledge alive.
dried cochineal beetles
in pulverized form
For my dyeing session I prepared a couple of silk and wool fabrics, using the itajime shibori technique (clamps).
the dye pot
Here are some images of the finished pieces, the colours raspberry like on the wool, a bit more pink on silk.
I wonder why I haven’t used this amazing dye source before, I am pretty sure this source will be one of my favorites in the future.
Living in Otaki, a small town on the lower North Island of New Zealand, I feel very lucky being able to go down the beach whenever I like, sometimes for exercise, sometimes to forage and sometimes just to inhale the salty air helping to clear my mind. I often take my camera to capture the amazing scenery and beautiful organic forms, often serving as inspiration for my work.
Kapiti Islands majestic silhouetteshells showing off ephemerality and perfectionSpinifex all over the place (a empty beachalmost…lovely organic forms Just those New Zealand boats still looking very strange for me.
These are two new workshops I am happy to offer in my studio, lots of learning, lots of fun!
I was always a bit nervous with indigo and had a few failures, trying to make a working vat. Discouraging every time. Not this time. I just gave it another go, using Michel Garcia’s organic vat, using indigo, lime and fructose crystals. And succeeded! I didn’t want to believe it but it really worked and its magic! How the fabric turns from white to green, teal and eventually to blue. The more often the fabric is dipped into the vat, the darker the blue shades that can be achieved.
I also love the idea that the vat can be used over a period of time, but it needs to be a bit looked after, get fed, stirred and if necessary revived!
I used a couple of shibori techniques (folding, clamping and binding) to achieve simple yet very beautiful patterns.
Dyeing in progress, the teal colour will magically turn into dark blue.
This one is made with black walnuts bound into the silk and resisted with rubber bands.
Bound with gum nuts, it event took a bit of the colour!
Over dyeing a silk scarf, rust dyed before.
This scarf is eco dyed with eucalyptus leaves, then twice dipped into the vat.
And my new pair of cotton indigo socks. Who said socks are boring x mas presents…?