Inspiration: to replicate the gold tooling on
the spine of the book with a feminine art form. Reminiscent of the smocked
dresses many of us wore as children, and for some, the memory of the women who made
Dyes: Indigo, Madder and Goldenrod Mordant: 3 step alum and tannin (it may take 3 days but 'oh my', the colours are so
clear.) Fabric: Recycled bed sheet and linen threads Paper: 130 gsm recycled cartridge paper
Madder and Goldenrod dyed cotton and linens
... overdyed with Indigo to hush the fierce yellow
Years ago, with two small children and a need to make some money, I
adopted the approach of only using materials that I already owned. One
thing I had in abundance was a stash of previously loved woollies that
had been lost to washing machine disasters. I no longer make these
flower corsages, but I did hold on to the felted wool and scraps of my hand dyed linen threads - some of which have been used for the books.
I find January and February particularly difficult months due to the lack of light and warmth, although it impacts my productivity it does allow me the time to pause, think and explore. I've just had coffee with my friend and fellow book artist Annwyn Dean, she kindly brought along samples of 18thC madder dyed fabrics (from her vast collection of historical textiles), and was happy for me to tap her extensive knowledge re: historical textiles and their production. So much to think about and research ...
It's October and I had the opportunity to make another piece of "Matchbox art", to raise funds for the Yorkshire childrens' cancer charity Candle Lighters .... I couldn't resist! Exhibitors at this Novembers Crafted by Hand, 5th and 6th November, have been asked to make pieces of art that will fit in a matchbox. Visitors to the event will be able to vote for their favourite/s and buy them too, proceeds will go to the wonderful Candlelighters and the winner receives a prize from craft-and-design-magazine. ... so, using: scraps of Madder dyed fabric, images and text copied from my Imperial Dictionary (published in 1882) , I made a 'Rose Madder' Smocked Matchbox book ...
2.6 cm x 1.2 cm spine: rounded, backed and lined ....
I received an open invitation to contribute to the Ethel Mairet Dye Project - 'Dyeing Now' . A research project aiming to create and catalogue every natural dye recipe from Ethel Mairet's 1916 "Vegetable Dyes" publication. I've always wanted to have a go at Madder red. So I chose Ethel's recipe 'Red for Cotton and linen', pg 105, and just as quickly abandoned it when I noticed 2oz Arsenic(!) in the ingredients list. I used the safer '3 step Alum and Tanin' mordanting method and cobbled together the Madder dye based on my own experience. Now then, I do chuckle when people use the words "Natural" and "Eco" when describing dyeing with plants. Any dyeing with plants needs to be undertaken with care and an understanding of which ingredients can be toxic. ( I steer clear of the toxic/ lethal ones!).
Madder Reds and Pinks
Madder linens and leather. Madder was traditionally used to dye cricket balls