The "Not Afraid of Color" Project

Today, Claudia and I dyed roving for a project that you will learn more about as this blog series progresses. Or, rather, Claudia dyed and I took pictures and marveled at how easy she makes it look. Our goal was "inperfect", which is a really fun goal to have and allowed us to play and experiment with color.

The biggest lesson I learned? Don't be afraid. "If worst comes to worst," Claudia said, "You can dye it black." 

First, we soaked roving in citric acid. Then, we boiled pots of water with more citric acid. Usually you also add salt as well, which slows the process down, but because we wanted inperfect we skipped that part. Next, we added dye to the pots. 










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Color Gradation with Blended Wefts

Color Gradation with Blended Wefts

Images and Text by Natalie Novak

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The Tapestry Weaving of the Coptics

Looking at fragments of tapestries online is frustrating at best. Any one who loves fibers knows that there is nothing like seeing fiberart (whatever that entails) in person. Being able to touch it is even better. And being able to see the back, invaluable. Because I cannot see the many Coptic textile fragments in person (and there are many that have survived even from the very beginnings of the Coptic culture, way back in the first century A.D.) it took me qute some time to unravel the first mystery: why did it seem like so many of the tapestry fragments were attached to a linen even weave background? I would like to say I solved this mystery on my own, but in fact I found the answer in a textile text book. I have discovered that some times the most comrehensive explanations for the orgin and structure of textiles comes from text books. They talk about all the geeky details from whether the yarns are S or Z spun, how many plies, what kind of weave, etc. Answers that are not commonly found in history books.

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The Tapestry Weavings of the Incas

To presume I can impart the Inca history of tapestry weaving in a blog post is of course absurd. I won't pretend I can even chip away at the surface, but I will try to extract the salient points to give you a sense of what tapestry meant to this huge and ancient culture.

Collection of Bryn Mawr College: Tapestry Tunic Fragment with step zig zag pattern, ca 1476 - ca. 1534
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Silk Bracelets Galore (plus a new kit and a great deal)

By Mirrix CEO Claudia Chase

I cannot stop making these.



Two were made on an eight inch loom and one was made on a Mini Mirrix. Because of the way I wove it, it didn't much matter whether or not I used a shedding device. When you are weaving across two or three warps, which was of ten the case, it doesn't make much sense to reach up and change the shed. I did have the shedding device on the eight inch loom for occasions when I wove from selvedge to selvedge.

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Inspiration in Paradise

I never thought I would end up in Hawaii, but I did. I decided since I was already going to Seattle for Elena's graduation from Graduate School and Hawaii is only a fairly long hop and a skip away and after all that hard work she really did deserve a fitting present . . . all to say, we rather spontaneously ended up in Hawaii. Added to our great fortune to be able to go there was the fact that we have lovely friends who live there and we were able to bask in their hospitality for our short four day visit.And Paradise provided tons of color inspiration. The light there is amazing as is the sky, the ocean, the flowers, the beaches.


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More of that Hand-painted Silk

I call it weaving-lite. It's what I do when I want to weave but don't really want to think. My go-to material is hand-painted silk because of its no-fail qualities. If you want to just play with fiber on your Mirrix, use great materials and you probably will create something that is pleasing if not out-right amazing. And it will get you through the moments when your creativity light is not shining at its brightest. After all, creating art is really 95% doing it and 5% true creativity. Often we are repeating something we've already done with slight alterations. These baby steps keep us moving toward the rare but wonderful huge insights. And if you are like me, you can't help but make things constantly.

Let me begin with the beginning which wasn't weaving, but was actually turning an already woven silk strip into a wearable item. I was inspired by the below findings that I had just received in the mail. I thought they would be perfect for making a silk bracelet, and I was right.

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Hand-Painted Silk Day Coming

I am away from my studio/office for a while. A much needed break to both have a bit of a vacation as well as to get the kind of work done Elena and I have a hard time accomplishing on FaceTime (ie., making a whole new slew of ebooks and, of course, doing our tapestry/bead cuff weave-along). We also have the great fortune of having good friends who live in Hawaii (Elena is in Seattle) so it was only a hop, skip and a jump to get to them. My first time; Elena's second. Heavenly friends and paradise. Who could ask for more.

But the point of this post is to talk about hand-painted silk. I am analyzing the colors of Hawaii, of course, because they are amazing. And when I do return to NH (I am now in Seattle) I will paint many, many kilos of silk.

That picture of my hand painted silk yarn you see above . . . well, it was taken in the sand at a beach in Hawaii. Oh my gosh, the colors are exactly replicated in that photo. I always thought that taking photos in direct sunlight would wash out the image. But in this case it just made it so real. Want to see some more?

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3 Oscar Trends for Weaving Inspiration!

My favorite part of any awards show is the red carpet. I love to see the dresses, the jewelry and the hairstyles.

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Color Theory for Beadwork

By Mirrix President Claudia A. Chase

What is your favorite color? I don’t have one. When I was a child the answer would have been a combination of pink and red. I was told early on though that pink and red do NOT go together. Since pink is born of red, I always found that notion rather silly. I still do. What I should have been told was: fire engine red does not go well with pale pink but there are other reds that do! So I painted my room green and blue. Green trim, blue walls. The green was soft like leaves before they fall in autumn. The blue was like a deep sky just after a rain. I could live with it.

I live with favorite color combinations which have a tendency to grow and mutate over time. But the themes do not change. They are my personal themes. I believe everyone who works in color has within them certain color themes. It takes a lot of looking back into our heads to find out just what they are. I do have favorite bead colors (which is a combination of finishes and colors, since beads do not any longer exist in the realm of just opaque color) that I rely on as the base of most of my work. You can tell which bead colors I love the most by the fact that they live in 100 gram packs. The accent beads live in bead tubes. By buying large quantities of the beads I love most I allow myself to freely use them. Since I have a tendency to not want to use up what I love most, this trick is imperative for me to freely create.

The worse decision to make when trying to pick what color bead to use in a piece is the one based on: gee I’ve got a lot of these beads I really should use. I don’t think I’ve ever successfully produced a piece on that decision and I can tell you about a whole lot of pieces I’ve cut up and returned to the bead box after having done so.

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