Saturday, January 23, 2010

time spent

two pieces of resist dyed indigo on the drying rack. The fabric in the front had been wrapped with thread that then took me two hours to remove.This piece took a couple of days to tie with raffia and string at the SDA conference in 2007. Last night I spent an hour untying it, but it's still nowhere near done. It took two or three hours to lay the threads into this circle on linen. To tie all the ends took 2 more. Now it has been dipped twice in indigo and waits for me to unpick. The time spent stitching or wrapping in order to resist dye is lengthy yet the result does not look like it. Running stitches, blanket stitches, stem stitches, marks made with needle and thread that LEAVE THE THREAD ON THE ARTWORK do seem to make labour and time spent visible.

Stitch resist is like housework. It takes time to do but seems invisible. Even those of us who are aware of how much time domestic work takes don't consider it, we just think that it looks great.

What other metaphors exist in this slow stitching that looks fast?

Today, I spent time with Connie who had 29 years worth of hair cut.

Thanks to Ann and Michaela for sending me photos of the opening of Convergence in Owen Sound.


  1. i have only done a bit of this and i have to say, getting those ties and stitches out was really so unexpected in terms of work. but yes. worth it. what kind of indigo are you using? i have a bit of the synthetic to try in the spring. too cold here now.

  2. I am using pre-reduced indigo, Jude. I follow a recipe that combines it with thiorea dioxide and lye.

    I keep it in my home studio, and it seems to work OK. There is a corner where I can poke away at it. To me, it's like baking bread. It takes a long time to do because so much time is spent waiting for it to oxidize, just like with bread we wait for the various risings.

  3. i hope to make some space for dyeing this summer, but i will just work outside, i am intrigued by the slowness of the indigo process. thanks for your details....
    plus i am growing woad this year....

  4. these pieces are so very beautiful just as photos, I cannot imagine how brilliant they are in person. the work is amazing!
    Thank you so much or your kind remarks and did you want to be entered in the draw? thank you and it is always lovely coming here. caterina

  5. Anonymous12:34 pm

    I had no idea it took so long. Well worth the time and effort though.

  6. It must take dedication and patience and love to dye something so beautiful.

  7. A wonderful effect created with the wrapped thread. Many hours spend wrapping and unwrapping, but so worth it.
    The latest piece you have removed the thread/rafia from looked like a sunflower centre.
    A slow process the indigo dye also, I had no idea. Work for the patient, but oh so beautiful.

  8. I am enjoying the indigo work and I think that I will study it over the next few months. The greatest advantage of indigo dyeing , in my opinion, is that it is a vat dye and can just stay in the corner, waiting for you to dip your fabric.
    Procion dyes become exhausted once they have the soda ash added to them - not so, indigo. It is easily revived.

    I also likes that it 'crocks' - falls off onto my hands and apron as I remove the threads. I am thinking about why I like this.


Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx