It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wabi Sabi Silk Wrap

Wabi Sabi ~ that perfect beauty that arises from natural imperfection - impermanent, authentic, incomplete.   That tiny tilt in a piece of pottery that catches your breath, the smudge of a stray  stroke in a work of art, the frayed edges of a ripped piece of silk that brush your skin...  Everything about this concept appeals to me!  So when a wabi-sabi workshop appeared in my reality, I had to know more....

Even though the meetings and workshops are an hours drive (each way) I signed up for membership in PENWAG (Peninsula Wearable Arts Guild) this year because of the amazing sounding roster of speakers.   I was really looking forward to hearing Brecia Kralovic-Logan speaking on "Wabi Sabi Wearable Art", and was so impressed with her presence and approach to teaching creativity that I signed up on the spot for her all-day workshop, even though it meant another 2-hour drive the next day.

As it turned out, there is no place I would have rather been than where I was in that workshop!  We spent the morning dying pieces of silk habotai and organza, using Colorhue dyes.  The advantage of the Colorhue dyes is that they are an instant dye on silk, which is great if you don't want to wait out the processing time necessary in some other dyes.  The sunny, windy day dried our strips in mere moments (until the sprinklers came on), and after pressing, we ripped our fabric in to strips, ready for weaving.

Here are a few samples of the dyeing and weaving done by workshop participants:

The weaving was done by laying down a sheet of water soluble backing.   We used hospital laundry bags (!), designed to dissolve in a hot water wash after being filled with contaminated bedding, etc.   Brilliant, eh?

Then you lay out your fabric by weaving, or layering cut pieces, or making some sort of arrangement with fabric bits - the possibilities are endless!   You top your piece with another layer of the water soluble plastic and pin everything in place.

Brecia admiring one of the student pieces:
  
I dyed my fabrics in a couple of different colorways, and wanted to use the earth tones in a scarf.  I added some fabrics that I brought from stash in order to have enough to make a nice long scarf.  
The darker pieces of fabric in my piece are silks from stash; the lighter pieces I dyed during the workshop.
My piece, woven and pinned and ready to sew:

I sewed down the center of each strip of fabric, both directions:

Once everything is sewn together, you give it a hot water bath (the hotter it is, the faster the process goes), making sure that the water soluble stuff is completely dissolved.   Dry it, press it, and you're done! 

I ended up with this:

Oops.  Not quite done.  I LOVE my colors!  But...  The dark copper-colored strips are a dupioni, which I felt took the process beyond wabi sabi and into sloppy, because of the loose weave and tendency to shred (note:  I said SHRED, not fray....).   After considering my options, I decided to even the edge along the long sides, and sew on a border fabric.   This not only gave stability to the dupioni, but added enough width to take it from a wide scarf to a wrap.  I sewed a French seam, which I then topstitched down, and did a machine rolled hem along the edge.

This is how my good clothes get ruined.  
It's not easy for a gardener to avoid picking up a tool and getting dirty
just by stepping outside for a moment....

The silk is, not surprisingly, a bit futzy and fidgety.
I may need to utilize pins to hold it in place.






Close up:

Here are the other two pieces I dyed in the workshop,
to be utilized elsewhere:


I'm in LOVE with this whole process!  Can't wait to play with the dyeing possibilities some more, and the weaving, and the piecing.....endless opportunities for fun here!  And I can't recommend Brecia highly enough - for her infectious enthusiasm, her delightful attitude towards the wabi-sabi approach to creativity, and her 'just right' method of teaching in an encouraging manner.   She's based in Santa Barbara - check her out if you can!  

How about you?  Have you had fun and success at fabric dying?  What methods, dyes, etc. do you love and recommend?


20 comments:

  1. It looks FABULOUS on you and off! What fun you must have had. I so want to move to the West coast and join PENWAG - they have such interesting members and do such fun things! You done good girlfriend.

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    1. Thanks Re! I'm glad I finally joined; they really do have a lot to offer :)

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  2. Oh wow! So very cool. What a work of art. Thanks for documenting the process for us. It looks like a ton of fun to do! ~Teri

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    1. Thanks Teri - I can really see using some of the more refined techniques in your clothing :)

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  3. Oh My Gosh how fun!! What a wonderful way to spend a day. Your scarf is beautiful. This would be really fun to try.

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  4. What a wonderfully creative and beautiful scarf!

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  5. I love your color choices as well. What fun. When I do something like this, I feel as though I'm 8 years old once again and allowing myself to just play and have fun.
    Some friends came by to pick me up for dinner. while I was waiting, I saw a few weeds that needed to be pulled. when they drove up, they said, "your the only person we know that weeds i high heels!!" Oh well, when the urge hits...it just hits!!

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    1. I did feel like a kid in a candy store! And if I wore heels, I'd be pulling weeds right alongside you ;D

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  6. this is so excellent! I love those colors, as well as the blues in the piece waiting for you.

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    1. Thanks Mary :). Wish you lived closer so that we could play together.

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  7. Oh my, your wrap makes my heart beat faster, it is glorious. I just love this idea.

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    1. Make one in colors that calm that racing heart! ;-D

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  8. Beautiful Jilly! At some point I'll send you a photograph of a scarf of mine that I bought in Switzerland 11 years ago. I get compliments on it every time I wear it, which is frequently during cold weather. It's made using this exact method but is freestitched (like you see on quilts) using a metallic thread after the weaving is done. I paid a fortune for it which I justified by saying I would make several and I've made none - yet......
    Congratulations and thank you for giving me the incentive to give it a try 11 years later.
    PS......... unfortunately hubby does not have a brother ;)

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    1. Oh I do hope I've inspired you - would love to see a pic of the Swiss scarf!

      & darn on the lack of a sibling ;-)

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  9. So cool! Macro-weaving! Yes, dyeing stuff becomes addictive for sure. You'll know you're hooked when you start dyeing your underwear because you ran out of other things to throw in the dyebath. Heh. These days I grow dye plants in my garden to play with which is lots of fun.

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    1. Macro-weaving - perfect description! lol on the underwear :D. And learning more about eco-dying really draws me in - definitely want to go there!

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  10. So fabulous, Jillian! I just love what you've done with this. Thanks for sharing the pictures of the class and of your process. I can't wait to see this in person!

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