Tag Archives: shibori

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

 

 

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.

ABC of Community Arts Project

             ArtStarts ABC Arts Project with Home School students

Last week I completed an arts project I have been facilitating over a period of a few months with a small group of home school students in my community.  We held an exhibit at The Hidden Garden Gallery, our local gallery here in New Denver. The show of work included examples of workshops we did as well as our final group project. The ABCs of Community Arts Project provided an opportunity for a small group of Distributed Learning students from kindergarten through Grade 5 to explore their community and environment through art and the alphabet. This project was funded by ArtStarts in Schools and Arrow Lakes Distributed Learning School.

Through facilitating a range of visual art experiences and local field trips I was able to guide  children to represent key aspects of this place we share as home. DL students are home learners so parent participation was a vital component of this project. This ABC art project consisted of a series of full days, each day made up of art exercises, field trips and an art workshop which focused on a variety of arts media.

We began each day exploring with brush and ink key art elements such as texture charts of natural found objects, line used to express different kinds of weather and experimenting with freestyle lettering. Each student received an art journal which they used for recording visual observations as well as words and letters associated with places we visited on field trips.

 Afternoon art workshops:

Gelatin plate prints of found natural objects collected on our field trip along Carpenter Creek to the Slocan Lake.

Block printing small motifs onto fabric which was then sewn into sachets – designs were inspired by African ‘Adinkra’ stamps and by metalwork seen on our field trip to Sandon.

Paintings of heritage buildings around New Denver

Three dimensional constructions of letters of the alphabet after a visit to the mining museum in Silverton.

Shibori dyed textiles – shibori is a Japanese technique in which fabric is stitched or bound before dyeing so that when the bindings are released a pattern emerges. The field trip on this day was to the Nikkei Centre to learn about the internment of the Japanese people to this area.

Our main project was a culmination of all of their experiences and new skills learned. Working as a group, the children and some of their parents contributed letters of the alphabet in the form of block print designs. Each letter of the alphabet was used to represent elements of our community and natural environment. If you look carefully at each piece you will recognize many small but important details that add perspective when seen as a whole.

We showed all of our blockprints which were cut from Safety Kut blockprinting material.

The Hidden Garden Gallery provided a beautiful intimate space for our show which we held over the busy May day week-end – May 19th to 21st,2012.

I am most grateful to the parents and teachers  who gave me the opportunity to work with these amazing young students, to Arts Starts and Arrow Lakes Distributed Learning School for the funding, to Lucerne School for providing us with classroom space, to The Hidden Garden Gallery for their beautiful gallery space and most of all to the awesome group of children I have had the pleasure of working with.