Photo. Kit Miller

Monday, 29 August 2011

Iris Pseudacorus.
A screen print which I made using the photograph of an Iris plant grown from seed. Germinating Iris seeds is notoriously difficult and I had tried several different methods, including scarification and freezing. The deadline for my final major project was approaching and I had just about given up on the seeds when my sister found a jar with about eight tiny Iris plants inside. They had been put to one side and forgotten. Not scarified or frozen and thoroughly neglected, they were the only ones to actually germinate.

Friday, 19 August 2011

          I made photograms of the varying stages of peas that I had germinated. I copied this one into an old accounts ledger which I am using as a sketch book.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Skeins of wool dyed using onion skins. The dark brown colours are from red onions and the yellows, oranges and pale browns are from white onion. Red onions sometimes produce a lovely green khaki colour.

I have a love hate relationship with wool. As a vegan I do not like the way that it is produced, but I love the way that it takes the natural dye. I like working with it but it irritates my skin and it itches. Up until now I have been getting all of my wool from charity shops and so on, however I have recently been given five fleeces from my mothers pet (rescued) sheep. It is the first time that they have been sheared and I am told that it is lambs wool.
I must admit that I have been lazy and left the really shitty bits of the fleeces to wash later. My method of washing is fairly haphazard, I use eco friendly liquid detergent, warm or hot water with a couple of washes and a few rinses.  It all takes place outside using dustbins which I fill with a hose pipe. When the wool is dry I stitch it into old pillow cases. Before dyeing it will need another rinse as the detergent might affect the colour.
We have carding combs and two spinning wheels but my knowledge of spinning consists of a one day work shop. It was very interesting and I enjoyed the process so I am looking forward to doing something with all that wool. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

A page from a tea stained exercise book which contains pressed daisies from different locations.

                                                                                            Photo.Kit Miller
     Dye extracts displayed with their corresponding dyed wool samples.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The images which I have chosen to begin this blog are of the installation which formed the final work for my BA (Hons) in Contemporary Textiles at Coleg Sir Gar (Carmarthenshire Colege) in June 2011.

                                                                                                   Photo. Kit Miller

The alchemic process of dyeing yarn with plant materials is something that has fascinated and engaged me for many years, but until now has not been part of my creative practice.
As part of an ongoing investigation into the area immediately surrounding my home, I looked at indigenous plants that produce a black dye.
The focus of this work is the investigation and experimentation that led to the dyeing process. I looked closely at the plants that I used, particularly their germination. Following the progress of the developing seeds and capturing the stages of their growth forms the main body of the work. 

I became increasingly interested in the environment specific to each plant, which encompassed insects and arachnids.  This is not a serious botanical or entomological study, but rather a creative interpretation of my findings.
Unfortunately I did not manage to produce a black dye, but I shall continue in my efforts to do so and expand this body of work as I go.