The Dye Lab

Clockwise, model in toile, exposing screen with ultraviolet light, silk screen, logwood test pot, madder dyed on silk drying, logwood screened with discharge tests, cutting quilted coat, madder pot, logwood dye pot

Clockwise, model in toile, exposing screen with ultraviolet light, silk screen, logwood test pot, madder dyed on silk drying, logwood screened with discharge tests, cutting quilted coat, madder pot, logwood dye pot

I’ve been using natural dyes since last fall. I haven’t mentioned it much – because when you work with something all the time, I just think that it permeates the air I breath, so of course you must know about it….but alas, I had a moment of clarity recently and thought, why not do a post about this most lovely of things? Last fall Yannick, Clement & I began foraging in Pollok Park (where else?) for all things dyeable. I had two good books on the subject – The Colour Cauldron and The Scottish Natural Dye Handbook. I collected loads of Elderberry, Rosehips, Marigolds, Oak galls and bark, Heather, Tansey, Yarrow and many unidentified flowers. I cooked them up and made samples in cotton, linen, silk and wool. I started a log book to record notes and colour samples. Over the spring I began silk screening with the natural dyes and with a lot of trial and error, I figured out how to make  a good print that was wash fast. When we were in Turkey I met up with a couple who run a natural dye shop and purchased 6 different types of dye plants (Madder, Pomegranate, Sumac, Oak galls, Weld and some Sakiz (no translation) as well as a Turkish version of black oak) I’ve been spending a lot of time figuring out how to use my print work with the dyes in combinations that look good as well as technically work …ie, it doesn’t wash out.  The colors produced have been amazing and I’m really excited. For the collection, I’ll be using mainly silk and wool. I have the 5 looks in toiles finished and over the next 2 and 1/2 months I’ll be producing the textile dyes & prints, and sewing up the clothes. It is really fun to see the different areas of the work come together and it’s surprisingly very colourful. There’s really nothing better than having an apron on, pots on the stove, colours emerging from a vat and the smells of the earth all around you. It’s pure magic I say.

H

GSA Graduation Show

Erin Donnelly

Erin Donnelly

Abbigale Neate-Wilson

Abbigale Neate-Wilson

Erin Donnelly
Erin Donnelly

 

Unidentified artist - I will get their name!

Unidentified artist – I will get their name!

 

Glamore! The shoes are killer.Not sure if they are the Prada original or a high street version. Opening night is every reason to take off the paint stained jeans and do it right!

Glamore! The shoes are killer.Not sure if they are the Prada original or a high street version. Opening night is every reason to take off the paint stained jeans and do it right!

I snuck into the GSA grad show today and took a few shots. It opens on Friday for 2 weeks. Some really nice work. H

Happiness is

The Pollok Park fort

The Pollok Park fort that Y & C built, was recently torched with beer box next to it. You can burn down our fort, but you can’t burn our hearts!

Inside view of the fort

Finding a Storm Trooper in the transport museum

Finding a Storm Trooper in the transport museum

Falling for Duke, even though he nips your hand

Falling for Duke, even though he nips your hand

Being an Arctic Fox in the South Side Parade, Glasgow

Being an Arctic Fox in the South Side Parade, Glasgow

Yannick and Clement built this fort/cave place to have tea and snacks that’s sheltered from the rain. It’s camouflage and hidden behind a hedge. We’ve been spotting deer in the park as well. Duke the horse lives in the park and pulls a carriage. He has the nicest eyes and lets you pat his head. I think Clement went to heaven when he spied the Star Wars fighter. That’s basically all he talks about all the time these days. Which storm troopers are the jet fighters, and do I remember this character from the movie?
xoh

Some things found

Edinburgh antique fair finds.

Edinburgh antique fair finds.

Yannick, his mother, auntie and uncle from France.

Yannick, his mother, auntie and uncle from France.

Paisley prints from the archives.

Paisley prints from the archives.

Fox skull found in Pollok Park.

Fox skull found in Pollok Park.

Yannick’s mother, auntie and uncle visited Edinburgh for 3 days last weekend. We meet up with them and spent 2 days seeing parts of the town I hadn’t seen since 1990. Portabello beach, the top of Arthur’s seat, and many new things too. We stumbled upon an antique fair and I bought these two old photos from the late 1800s. The clothing is amazing. I also picked up an old fob pendant. We had a pub lunch after our hike up the mountain and I had Haggis, neeps and tatties. It was delicious – just don’t tell me what’s in it. In the National Museum of Scotland, I discovered a whole History of Scotland section that I had never seen. They had all these looms from when Scotland was a huge textile producing country. I love these paisley designs.
Clement and Yannick have been spending time deep in the forests of Pollok Park. They built a fort (will have to take photos) and while they were having an adventure they found this skull. The back teeth are still attached.
Last week it was a whopping 26C for one day. Of course I was in school all day, but the bike ride home was great. I think that was summer because it’s back to 10C and raining like usual. And don’t even think of telling me all about Vancouver weather because I don’t want to know….grrrr
I went to another antique fair today, and I could spend a long time in these kinds of places. There are so many interesting treasures to find. It’s very alluring – but since I don’t have any income I have to stop myself. I did pick up a French postcard, without a stamp but written to a boy in Brandon, Manitoba. Mum thinks I should investigate this further. It’s dated 1919, and was written by an uncle Syd. Funny that.
Over and out for now,
h

The shape of things to come

Dress 1

Dress 1

Playing with volume

Dress 2

The GSA third year fashion show – print

Yannick turned 39!

It’s been a busy week with Clement and I returning back to school. We all miss Turkey and wish we could return. Winds were so strong on Wednesday, it stoppped me on my bike while riding down a small hill. I had to get off and try to push it down the street. Crazy dangerous.
We will try and get to a Highlands Games today at a park near our house. I’m in the mood for some kilts and pipes.
H

Anatolia

My two whirling dervishes

My two whirling dervishes
The Haiga Sophia

The Haiga Sophia

The Tire Tuesday market

The Tire Tuesday market

Another tea break

Another tea break

Morning on the waters of the Marmara sea

Morning on the waters of the Marmara sea

This was in the courtyard of Saint John the Baptist church, Selcuk

This was in the courtyard of Saint John the Baptist church, Selcuk

Clement learns how to do a hand stand

Clement learns how to do a hand stand

A monument on the Izmir waterfront. I don't know what it was about but it's amazing.

A monument on the Izmir waterfront. I don’t know what it was about but it’s amazing.

My latte

My latte

Izmir                                                March 25, 2013

We woke up in our musty hotel and tried to shower but after letting the hot water run for 3 minutes, it never got above lukewarm so I quickly dressed. I opened the window for some fresh air and watched the Muslim men wearing a week cap (lace cap) on their heads walk to work. A nearby chimney was beginning to smoke and we realized that it smelled like burning plastic, so we decided to get out of the hotel fast. We walked down the street and saw the tea shops opening and businesses getting started for the day. We stopped for a fresh orange juice. In the nearby market we found a sunny table and sat with two teas and pastries for breakfast. The homeless cats were up and about. Izmir is not a touristy city, and it’s refreshing to see the stalls, old tea drinking men, butchers and black smiths going about their daily life. We walked to the Izmir waterfront walking and running path. Clement decided that it was time to blow off some steam and ran for a few miles. The sun was out and the waters were calm. It was a splendid way to begin our morning. The waterfront is lined with palm trees and apartments all the way along. It reminded me of Bombay or what I imagine Miami to look like. On each side of the water, there are mountains. Commuter boats come and go. We stopped at a café on the water. The benches were literally 3 inches from the water’s edge. I ordered my 1st latte in Turkey and Yannick had a çay (tea). My coffee arrived with a chocolate spoon so Clement dipped it in the milk froth and it promptly disappeared in his mouth. We were most delighted with our treats. Energized we continued walking along the water and reached a kiddie playground and exercise park. We turned into the city and I ducked into a Zara shop to see if I could do some looking around. Nice clothes. Some of it reminded me of the shapes that I’m designing: collarless jackets, barrel sleeves, a sort of ethnic styled loose shape. We continued walking and realized that if we didn’t hurry, we would miss our train to the airport. Raced to the hotel to pick up our bags and then to the train station. Good bye Izmir. We are sad to leave but Istanbul awaits!

We were very luck to be able to meet up with Daragh and Ida who have been in Ireland over the winter.

We were very luck to be able to meet up with Daragh and Ida who have been in Ireland over the winter.

Tea with Leyla 

Leyla and I met up today to talk about my trip to Turkey. Leyla is Bulgarian Turkish and her whole research for the master’s is based on Turkish inspired art. We sat down for tea and talked about Istanbul, fabrics, shopping, vegetable markets, the countryside, Ottoman history, Izmir and how lovely the Turkish people are. It is a fascinating place and I really only got see a small piece of it. She shares my love to Middle Eastern decorative craft work, textiles and the complex pattern work of the tiles, carpets and paintings I saw. There is so much history in Turkey. I wish I had time to read about the Romans, and the Ottomans and Attaturk. Turkey was an incredible empire and it is hard for me to grasp the enormous and rich heritage that it holds. It is the most modern of any Islamic country, and is a very creative place for writers, theatre, music and fashion. I watched women of all ages in their head scarves with a certain fascination. Some were very elegant in long flowing skirts and floral head scarves. Their hair is tied up in a bun and padded with something to elongate the head shape. It gives the illusion of a longer neck. I can only guess, but about 60% of the women did not wear the head scarf. I saw a few women in the full black hijab, and one that wore gloves as well. Eyes peering out, lined in black coal.  One of my favorite moments of the day was being woken by the 5am azan, the call to prayer broadcast live throughout all cities and towns by each individual mosque. Each has its own feeling and style. In a half-dream state and hearing this was like swimming in a beautiful song of calling.
Coming back to Scotland’s arctic wind and snow has not been easy.

Pollokshaws East

Evidence of spring

View from my school looking west at the sunset

River behind our house

River behind our house

Our local Chippie

Our local Chippie

Grantley Street

Grantley Street

Clement's 6th birthday party

Clement’s 6th birthday party

Yannick, Clement, Maureen and Hugh

Yannick, Clement, Maureen and Hugh

 
I know it’s seemingly manic to not do a post for ages then do three, but there you have it. I thought I’d show some pictures of Glasgow and our neighborhood. I swear spring is very close. There are daffodils about to open any day now. I know I complain like any good Glaswegian about the weather, but it hasn’t rained in a long time and it’s actually warming up. I’m back on my bike (thanks Alex for fixing my back brake) and riding is fantastic. Days are getting longer and we’ve been suntanning on Clement’s bed. Yannick had tonsillitis this week and Clement’s recovering from his operation. It’s the Grantley Medical Clinic around here.
We are going to meet up with Daragh and Ida in Constantinople mid-month for 10 days of an Anotolian adventure. All for now,h