Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Surface Matters!

Last weekend I went to an awesome conference in Seattle: Surface Matters.  It was the first (of hopefully many, many) conference put together by the Washington chapter of the Surface Design Association

I was a little slow to jump on the surface design wagon because for a long time I assumed by much content I had seen that it was all quilters and weavers.  And then I realized that I should just join in all the fun because a) I will add more diversity by bringing in my own work and b) it's not all just quilters and weavers any more. Now I am fully immersed and am even starting my own SDA chapter for the south sound!

Back to the conference.  It was amazing.  The first day was panel discussions and inspiring lectures.  My favorites were the felting panel (of course), surface designer/creator extraordinaire Jane Dunnewald, and Bellevue Arts Museum director Stefano Catalani.

I recently purchased Jane's book Art Cloth and am really excited about all the techniques she shares.  She discussed using a flour paste as a resist at the conference and I went home and looked it up in her book and there it was.  I am in the middle of testing it out right now and will have finished photos in a day or two.  It is simple, but step heavy with everything having to dry 24 hours between steps.

Stefano Catalani is a charming and enthusiastic (and Italian!) man that loves fiber and craft and now I want to become a member of BAM purely based on his energy and vision for the museum.

The second day of the conference was an art opening for an exhibition of fiber works by SDA members and an open studio tour.  One of the stops was at Earthues, a natural dye company in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard.  I thought we were just going to be seeing a demo but she actually gave all of us that showed up a silk scarf and let us dye it with natural Indigo!  I don't know much about dyeing and natural dyes even less and this was fascinating.  She has to get the PH balance just right in the bath and the dye looks green.   Your fabric only turns blue once it is exposed to oxidization.  So you pull it out of the vat and start unfolding it and playing with it and it turns blue right before your eyes!  I took it home and then laid it out for another 24 hours before rinsing it.  I don't think I am going to felt on it or do anything else to it, I just want to wear it!

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