Category Archives: Cloth in Process

Pollination – bees, flowers, pollen – my new collection of textile designs

Morgen Bardati - "Pollination"

The first prints from my new series are ‘hot off the press’ as the saying goes, and just in time for the early spring we are having here in the Kootenays. Our bees are already buzzing around outside looking for flowers, pestering me as I get in some early gardening – they buzz in my face inquisitively, as if my activity will miraculously produce some tasty blossoms.

I am a gardener, beekeeper, nature lover and I work with natural dyes. Pollination is such a joyful expression of aliveness in nature and conjures such beautiful imagery for me. I envisioned these images on wearables and at the table on napkins and tablecloths. So far I have produced five new designs and I still have a few more up my sleeve which will be happening over the next few weeks. Here are some of my images, showing the process from drawing to screen prints on small naturally dyed and fiber reactive dyed pieces of cloth.

 

Morgen Bardati - "pollination"I work first with pencil and then in pen and ink. I like to use an old fashioned ‘dip’ pen and black ink – see image of cherry blossom on the left and same drawing in black just below it.

 

Morgen Bardati - Cherry blossom - from "Pollination"” Cherry blossoms” – showing pen and ink drawing and first prints on cloth. The middle piece is plant dyed cotton.

Morgen Bardati - "Pollination" - bees and flowers“Honey bee” and small “Cherry blossom with pollen” – pen and ink drawings and screen printed on shibori stitched and hand dyed cotton fabric.

 

Morgen Bardati - Bees and Flowers form "Pollination"“Cherry blossoms”  printed on hand dyed hemp/cotton and  “Honey bee” printed on hand dyed vintage linen.

 

Morgen Bardati - "Pollination" print series” Bees in Flowers” have been an ongoing theme for me. This print is quite small and I visualize it on a cloth napkin. The tiny cherry blossom at the bottom right on natural dyed cotton I will be using for a small necklace pendant. it looks beautiful with the larger print – the specks of pollen provide a continuity to the design.

 

Morgen Bardati - "Pollination"A collage of “Pollination” prints – waiting to be heat set and then made into wearables. Some of these fabrics I have already surface designed with stitched shibori and layers of discharge print. I work on large pieces as well as tiny pieces of textiles with a variety of surface design techniques and hand dyed colours. I then have them handy to print on when I need them.

 

Morgen Bardati - "Pollination" necklacesThe first finished pieces to come out of this series – “Pollen” necklaces with macro images of lily pollen – layers of hand dyed cloth, hand made hemp silk cords and mother of pearl buttons.

To view items from “Pollination” please visit my Etsy shop here:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MorgenBardati?ref=hdr_shop_menu

or my Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/MorgenBardati?ref=hl

 

 

“Embrace” exhibition at Hidden Garden Gallery, August 2014

On August 11th to August 16th I exhibited a showing of my recent work at the Hidden Garden Gallery in New Denver, BC . My show was titled “Embrace” and included my “Old Age Security Blanket” project, drawings in graphite and ink, as well as a collection of eco-surface designed scarves.

Morgen Bardati - OAS Blanket“Old Age Security Blanket” – a slow work in progress (photo by  Isaac Carter)

From my Artist Statement:

“The word “Embrace” presented itself to me as an appropriate description of the energy I try to engage on my life’s journey and it’s expression in my art. It suggests the concept of a joining or closeness to people or experiences we encounter, and how they can change us or shape our life’s path. It also suggests for me the possibility of change through the meeting of obstacles, especially when the organic moving things of life encounter the solid or rigid structures in our path. An example of this is the economic system we are all born into and how it contributes to our personal stories. I visualize our aliveness as a moving changing energy like tree roots, river systems and blood vessels. The systems or structures we negotiate with appear in my art as a type of grid. The way we choose to embrace our obstacles and continue on our path describes the kind of change that can occur at that juncture.”

Morgen Bardati - Graphite on PaperStudies of roots and rocks help to inform the movement of the red lines on the blanket. (photo  by Isaac Carter)

“Embrace” is a grouping of recent work which includes an“Old Age Security Blanket”, a work in progress about my personal journey of enquiry into ideas of security, economics and growth. I am making this ‘blanket’ using found natural dye colour, pennies collected and saved in cloth and contemplation through stitching, words and drawings. An accounting ledger accompanies this piece to preserve a written record of money saved and organic thoughts collected along the way. It was the meeting of the red stitch lines and the pennies on my blanket which inspired me to explore the interaction between organic growth and solid obstacles in the natural world. The drawings of roots and rocks are a study of this interaction and they help to inform the movement of the red lines on the blanket.”

Morgen Bardati - OAS Blanket2My “Old Age Security Blanket” is a work in progress and I continued to work on it as it hung in the gallery. (photo by Isaac Carter)

Morgen Bardati - OAS Blanket LedgerAn accounting ledger accompanies this piece to preserve a written record of money saved and organic thoughts collected along the way (photo by Isaac Carter)

Morgen Bardati - OAS Blanket 3Old Age Security Blanket in process (photo by Isaac Carter)

My Old Age Security Blanket is a work in progress which began in April 2013 around the time that Canadian pennies were phased out of circulation. I conceived of the idea to create this blanket when I first became aware of the coming ‘extinction’ of the humble penny. Something in this event sparked an interest for me in exploring ideas around the movement of money. The loss of the penny, the first and smallest unit for trade, presented to me a metaphor for the extinction of ‘small and slow’. It speaks to me also of the loss of handmade traditions all over our world. When the penny was deemed ‘worthless’ it awakened an interest for me in the concept of inflation – the idea that money is created from the void between the making and growing to the final point of sale. Our financial security in the form of pension plans, life insurance, savings and investments are built on the idea of never ending expansion.

Morgen Bardati - OAS Blanket 4Old Age Security Blanket in progress – red lines are hand stitched with tiny seed stitches (photo by Isaac Carter)

This blanket is constructed with squares of fabric; two pieces per square, with 16 pennies stitched by hand between the layers. There are 12 squares in each row and I am considering that the final length will be 28 rows (but it could grow longer).

Morgen Bardat - Embrace show with OAS Blanket“Embrace” exhibit at the Hidden Garden Gallery in New Denver – OAS Blanket in process (photo by Isaac Carter)

The “OAS blanket” is designed to cover a bed, though it’s length will be at least twice as long. Hanging it as I did for this exhibit will probably not occur again as this entirely hand stitched blanket grows longer and heavier with pennies. I have seven rows completed so far and the weight is around 10 pounds.

Morgen Bardati - OAS Blanket DetailCotton fabric with pennies, plant and metal dyes, thread (photo by Isaac Carter)

Each square of pennies has it’s very own dye adventure with plants from my garden, the neighbourhood or places I visit. In the winter I resort to using kitchen waste and any scavenged berries or leaves I may find in the snow. I also use found metal objects which add colour to the palette and and sometimes leave an imprint of it’s shape behind. The dye process is generally slow as the fabric is bundled in bottles, bags or containers in my greenhouse or near the fire where it’s warm, and left to the slow dye process for several weeks.

Morgen Bardati - OAS Blanket 5“Old Age Security Blanket” (photo by Isaac Carter)

The squares are then stitched together by hand in the order of their making. Colour placements are therefore random and I trust that by the end of the project what seems chaotic and random now may have found a natural balance all it’s own.
The stitch drawing down the centre of the blanket represents the living moving energy of my life and how it travels and grows through the grid like system of the coins. It is a moving river, red like our blood vessels and it encounters objects on it’s journey like roots growing around rocks.

Morgen Bardati - Pen and Ink DrawingStudies in ink of roots and rocks (photo by Isaac Carter)

Musings on pennies and patternsMorgen Bardati - Art Journal (photo by Isaac Carter)

I would like to thank Isaac Carter for the beautiful photos of my work. ICandyFilms is a young Canadian/Hungarian film making team who make small production films. One of their specialties is films about and for artists: ICandyFilms artist films

Forays into Natural Dyeing

Naturally dyed cloth

Cotton and linen dyed with madder, cutch, osage orange, black walnut and birch – some have shibori stitched designs and in the foreground cotton with eco-printed rhododendron leaves and madder root.

About three weeks ago I decided to give myself one day off a week, free from distractions like technology, the radio and even my regular production work in my studio. Freedom to explore new directions in my art. It led me to natural dyes, something which I had first experienced a number of years ago at one of the workshops I have taken over the years at Maiwa Handprints in Vancouver. I had the great pleasure of taking a natural dye and mudcloth workshop with Michele Wipplinger of EarthHues. At the time I came home with packages of natural dyes and earth pigments but never seemed to have the time to come back to them. I have been using the dyestuffs I purchased as well as some I’ve managed to forage for locally.

I have become utterly addicted to this amazing process of natural chemistry. For the last few weeks I have been reading and learning about the process of dyeing cloth with plant , and sometimes insect, dyes. I have been scouring, mordanting and dyeing fabrics and carefully tagging each piece of cloth with the types and quantities of mordants, dyes and processes. (mordants are needed to bond the dyestuff to the cloth and are also used to influence colour) I’ve been using mostly cotton and linen, but I have some wool fabric sitting in a madder dye bath right now turning the most glorious earthly red! My first piece of silk is being mordanted in alum today.

A pile of natural dyed clothEach piece of cloth, no matter how small, is labeled with a record of mordants, dyes and processes.

Freshly scoured and stackedAn assortment of bits of cloth freshly scoured and bundled, ready to be mordanted.

I have also begun to experiment with eco-prints, a process of steam dyeing with leaves and plant material presented by Australian botanical alchemist India Flint in her book Eco Colour.  Being winter, there is minimal foraging to be done until the blooming of summer, but there is still tree bark around as well as some still green rhododendron leaves. I also found a bag of local black walnuts which, when I removed the husks for dye colour, I noticed the amount of colour still remaining on the nutshells. They were promptly bound in linen and steamed:

walnut shibori

Not quite as much colour as I had hoped for but can be worked over later. They have a kind of mushroomy colour and patterning left by the bindings.

Rhodendron, madder root and black walnutIn the foreground cotton muslin eco-printed with bits of left over madder root and rhododendron leaves. My first attempt at this technique sure charmed me.

wool in madderWool fabric turning a glorious earthly red in the left over madder dyed from last week’s dyebath.

So I’m hooked!

Next for me is to figure out how to screen print with these dyes and earth pigments because I do like working with images. Another goal is to grow a few plants this summer that can be used for extracting dye. I know I have some already – can’t wait to lay my hands on that St John’s Wort and Mullein!

 

 

Vat dyed cloth fresh from the dye pot

Vat dyes are dyes which discharge colour from previously dyed cloth and replace it with a background of new colour. Shibori stitched, bound, twisted or clamped resist techniques can be used to create beautiful vibrant patterns with this dye method. A phenomenon called the ‘halo effect’ adds another dimension of detail around the resisted areas.

I mixed olive, yellow and a bit of black to create this forest green vat dye colour. On the right of this image is a three metre length of  purple dyed cotton cloth I have been working on for months using a stitched shibori pattern called mokume, a traditional Japanese woodgrain pattern(notice the light ‘halo’ around the patterns) I wrote about it here with images of stitched pattern in process.  I used this same straight stitch pattern in a single line to make patterns on selvedged edges which I then use as edging for skirts or cuffs.  Peeking through are bold raspberry coloured shapes which were created with a technique called itajime, and uses clamped blocks to leave patterns on the fabric.

After dyeing and a light rinsing the fabric must be exposed to oxygen in the air for about 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly in soapy water. Clamps, stitching and binding can be removed at this stage but longer pieces will wait until later. I usually snip a few threads on the big shibori pieces to check on the pattern.