Saturday, December 17, 2011

The One Well.

The One Well
Minimize your carbon footprint with organic, upcycled, vintage and salvaged products at this eco-conscious Brooklyn boutique. Owner and curator Kerry Jones has centered her home and housewares shop around a philosophy that promotes sustainability and locally produced wares, as well as positive mood-boosting energy for her customers. Mother Nature–approved items include vintage silk sari throws ($195–$295), reclaimed fabric throw pillows ($55–$95) and handwoven Thai baskets ($30–$175). The jewelry on the premises is thoughtfully chosen for its healing properties, such as Conscious Jewelry by Danna Weiss five-stone chakra necklaces ($375), sterling-silver-plated lapis lazuli necklaces ($190), and hematite and obsidian lariats ($75). The One Well also hopes to boost Greenpoint’s fine-arts scene by hosting receptions the second Friday of every month, featuring works ranging from videos to performance art. Mention TONY for 15 percent off purchases of $50 or more through Dec 31. 165 Greenpoint Ave between Eckford and Leonard Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (347-889-6792, Tue–Thu noon–7pm; Fri, Sat noon–8pm; Sun noon–6pm.

You can find my quilted vintage saris, silk screen hand and kitchen towels, patchwork quilts and more at The One Well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shibori on the rocks.

It is said that sea water makes a great pre mordant for dyeing fabric, so I decided to take my project to the beach in Westport,CT. I was able to purchase the end of a bolt of Helmut Lang's organic cotton lawn to use for some big indigo scarves. This was the first. I used stones from the beach, much like the Japanese used river stones, to wrap the fabric in and then bound the bundles with silk string wrapped and wrapped around. Then I soaked the piece in the water from the Long Island Sound. When we got back home I soaked it in the end of the indigo batch, which is why it is such a light blue. I think the results are lovely.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Putting new designs to work.

These pillows are made from organic fabric that was imprinted with ferns that were first hot bundled over a steaming pot and then fern fronds were hammered into the fabric in an ancient Japanese technique, Hapa-zome. The final process was a silk screen of a deer. The back, trim and zipper on the pillows are all vintage or repurposed.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rags and Rox.

My friend Roxanne from The Quilters Alley and I got together for a day of Indigo dyeing. She also surprised me with a batch of black walnut dye that she had brewed up. A random piece from golden rod found it's way in and also we fooled around with some Poke weed dye I made. The pokeweed color was an amazing magenta, but not colorfast when washed. It would work for painting, but I imagine it would fade eventually.These are the results.We had so much fun, we plan to get together on Fridays when we can to experiment with dyeing and printing our own fabrics.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dyeing with Turmeric.

What color you get when dyeing with this sweet smelling, richly colored spice! Used to dye monk's robes, this spice dye doesn't even require a pre mordant, although I found the color richest on the fabric that had been treated before hand.
4 ounces of ground turmeric in about a gallon of water, bring to a low rolling boil and then simmer for about a half hour. Submerge your fabric in the hot soup, or take it off the burner and do your dyeing outside. Allow your pieces to dry and then rinse well in cold water.
There were a few pieces I wasn't too pleased with and decided I would re-dye them. I thought, why not give the pieces a dip in an ash water mordant (literally fireplace ash in water), and - voila! The yellow turned to red! I experimented dipping fern in the ash water and made some prints. Alchemy at it's finest.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dyeing for a change.

Maybe it's the falling leaves that are calling for me to join them and lay down the past, let go and begin a new season.
In my quest to use all things organic or repurposed I have started to learn about the natural dyeing processes used for hundreds of years before we started polluting our grounds with toxic chemicals. Not all plant matter is safe either, or ethically harvested and manufactured, so some research had to be done. I am just scratching the surface, but learn more everyday.
My first foray into this realm was making eco bundles, as illustrated in India Flint's book, Eco Colour. These were hot bundles, pre mordanted and then wrapped tightly and steamed in a stainless steel veggie steamer for 45 minutes. Then I dried the fabric, and pounded fern into the fabric with a rubber mallet. After everything was dry, I silk screened over the plant images.

Vagabond's House by Don Blandings

This was my Dad's favorite poem. It has inspired me to take a new path in all that I make. Drawing on foreign cultures and their techniques, while incorporating all vintage or organic fabrics, and earth friendly inks and dyes whenever possible. Until I am able to travel the world like he did, I will create things that can make me feel closer to far away places.

When I have a house . . . as I sometime may . . .
I'll suit my fancy in every way.
I'll fill it with things that have caught my eye
In drifting from Iceland to Molokai.
It won't be correct or in period style,
But . . . oh, I've thought for a long, long while
Of all the corners and all the nooks,
Of all the bookshelves and all the books,
The great big table, the deep soft chairs,
And the Chinese rug at the foot of the stairs
(It's an old, old rug from far Chow Wan
That a Chinese princess once walked on).

My house will stand on the side of a hill
By a slow, broad river, deep and still,
With a tall lone pine on guard nearby
Where the birds can sing and the storm winds cry.
A flagstone walk, with lazy curves,
Will lead to the door where a Pan's head serves
As a knocker there, like a vibrant drum,
To let me know that a friend has come,
And the door will squeak as I swing it wide
To welcome you to the cheer inside.

For I’ll have good friends who can sit and chat
Or simply sit, when it comes to that,
By the fireplace where the fir logs blaze
And the smoke rolls up in a weaving haze.
I’ll want a woodbox, scarred and rough
For leaves and bark and odorous stuff,
Like resinous knots and cones and gums,
To toss on the flames when winter comes.
And I hope a cricket will stay around,
For I love it’s creaky lonesome sound.

There’ll be driftwood powder to burn on logs
And a shaggy rug for a couple of dogs,
Boreas, winner of prize and cup,
And Mickey, a lovable gutter-pup.
Thoroughbreds, both of them, right from the start,
One by breeding, the other by heart.
There are times when only a dog will do
For a friend . . . when you’re beaten, sick and blue
And the world’s all wrong, for he won’t care
If you break and cry, or grouch and swear,
For he’ll let you know as he licks your hands
That he’s downright sorry . . . and understands.

I’ll have on a bench a box inlaid
With dragon-plaques of milk white jade
To hold my own particular brand
Of cigarettes brought from the Pharaohs land,
With a cloisonne bowl on a lizards skin
To flick my cigarette ashes in.
And a squat blue jar for a certain blend
Of pipe tobacco, I’ll have to send
To a quaint old chap I chanced to meet
In his fusty shop on a London street.

A long low shelf of teak will hold
My best-loved books in leather and gold,
While magazines lie on a bowlegged stand,
In a polyglot mixture close at hand.
I’ll have on a table a rich brocade
That I think the pixies must have made,
For the dull gold thread on blues and grays
Weaves a pattern of Puck . . . the Magic Maze.
On the mantlepiece I’ll have a place
For a little mud god with a painted face
That was given to me . . . oh, long ago,
By a Philippine maid in Olangapo.

Then just in range of a lazy reach . . .
A bulging bowl of Indian beech
Will brim with things that are good to munch,
Hickory nuts to crack and crunch;
Big fat raisins and sun-dried dates,
And curious fruits from the Malay Straits;
Maple sugar and cookies brown
With good hard cider to wash them down;
Wine-sap apples, pick of the crop,
And ears of corn to shell and pop
With plenty of butter and lots of salt . . .
If you don’t get filled it’s not my fault.

And there where the shadows fall I’ve planned
To have a magnificent concert-grand
With polished wood and ivory keys,
For wild discordant rhapsodies,
For wailing minor Hindu songs,
For Chinese chants and clanging gongs,
For flippant jazz, and for lullabies,
And moody things that I’ll improvise
To play the long gray dusk away
And bid goodbye to another day.

Pictures . . . I think I’ll have but three:
One, in oil, of a windswept sea
With the flying scud and the waves whipped white . . .
(I know the chap who can paint it right)
In lapis blue and deep jade green . . .
A great big smashing fine marine
That’ll make you feel the spray in your face.
I’ll hang it over my fireplace.

The second picture . . . a freakish thing . . .
Is gaudy and bright as a macaw’s wing,
An impressionist smear called “Sin”,
A nude on a striped zebra skin
By a Danish girl I knew in France.
My respectable friends will look askance
At the purple eyes and the scarlet hair,
At the pallid face and the evil stare
Of the sinister, beautiful vampire face.
I shouldn’t have it about the place,
But I like . . . while I loathe . . . the beastly thing,
And that’s the way that one feels about sin.

The picture I love the best of all
Will hang alone on my study wall
Where the sunset’s glow and the moon’s cold gleam
Will fall on the face, and make it seem
That the eyes in the picture are meeting mine,
That the lips are curved in the fine sweet line
Of that wistful, tender, provocative smile
That has stirred my heart for a wondrous while.
It’s a sketch of the girl who loved too well
To tie me down to that bit of Hell
That a drifter knows when he know’s he’s held
By the soft, strong chains that passions weld.
It was best for her and for me, I know,
That she measured my love and bade me go
For we both have our great illusion yet
Unsoiled, unspoiled by vain regret.
I won’t deny that it makes me sad
To know that I’ve missed what I might have had.
It’s a clean sweet memory, quite apart,
And I’ve been faithful . . . in my heart.

All these things I will have about,
Not a one could I do without;
Cedar and sandalwood chips to burn
In the tarnished bowl of a copper urn;
A paperweight of meteorite
That seared and scorched the sky one night,
A moro kris . . . my paper knife . . .
Once slit the throat of a Rajah’s wife.
The beams of my house will be fragrant wood
That once in a teeming jungle stood
As a proud tall tree where the leopards crouched
And the parrots screamed and the black men crouched.

The roof must have a rakish dip
To shadowy eaves where the rain can drip
In a damp persistent tuneful way;
It’s a cheerful sound on a gloomy day.
And I want a shingle loose somewhere
To wail like a banshee in despair
When the wind is high and the storm-gods race
And I am snug by my fireplace.

I hope a couple of birds will nest
Around the house. I’ll do my best
To make them happy, so every year
They’ll raise their brood of fledglings here.

When I have my house I’ll suit myself
And have what I call my “Condiment Shelf”,
Filled with all manner of herbs and spice,
Curry and chutney for meats and rice,
Pots and bottles of extracts rare . . .
Onions and garlic will both be there . . .
And soya and saffron and savoury goo
And stuff that I’ll buy from an old Hindu;
Ginger with syrup in quaint stone jars;
Almonds and figs in tinseled bars;
Astrakhan caviar, highly prized,
And citron and orange peel crystallized;
Anchovy paste and poha jam;
Basil and chili and marjoram;
And flavours that come from Samarkand;
And, hung with a string from a handy hook,
Will be a dog-eared, well-thumbed book
That is pasted full of recipes
From France and Spain and the Caribbees;
Roots and leaves and herbs to use
For curious soups and odd ragouts.

I’ll have a cook that I’ll name “Oh Joy”,
A sleek, fat, yellow-faced China boy
Who can roast a pig or mix a drink,
(You can’t improve on him, I think).
On the gray-stone hearth there’ll be a mat
For a scrappy, swaggering yellow cat
With a war-scarred face from a hundred fights
With neighbours’ cats on moonlight nights.
A wise old Tom who can hold his own
And make my dogs let him alone.

I’ll have a window-seat broad and deep
Where I can sprawl to read or sleep,
With windows placed so I can turn
And watch the sunsets blaze and burn
Beyond high peaks that scar the sky
Like bare white wolf-fangs that defy
The very gods. I’ll have a nook
For a savage idol that I took
From a ruined temple in Peru,
A demon-chaser named Mang-Chu
To guard my house by night and day
And keep all evil things away.

Pewter and bronze and hammered brass;
Old carved wood and gleaming glass;
Candles and polychrome candlesticks,
And peasant lamps with floating wicks;
Dragons in silk on a Mandarin suit
In a chest that is filled with vagabond-loot.
All of the beautiful, useless things
That a vagabond’s aimless drifting brings.

Then, when my house is all complete
I’ll stretch me out on the window seat
With a favourite book and a cigarette,
And a long cool drink that Oh Joy will get;
And I’ll look about at my bachelor-nest
While the sun goes zooming down the west,
And the hot gold light will fall on my face
And make me think of some heathen place
That I’ve failed to see . . . that I’ve missed some way . . .
A place that I’d planned to find some day,
And I’ll feel the lure of it driving me.
Oh damn! I know what the end will be

I’ll go. And my house will fall away
While the mice by night and the moths by day
Will nibble the covers off all my books,
And the spiders weave in the shadowed nooks.
And my dogs . . . I’ll see that they have a home
While I follow the sun, while I drift and roam
To the ends of the earth like a chip on the stream,
Like a straw on the wind, like a vagrant dream;
And the thought will strike with a swift sharp pain
That I probably never will build again
This house that I’ll have in some far day
Well . . . it’s just a dream house, anyway.