It’s a Process!

This was a weekend of experimentation.

First, I have a show coming up next Saturday, for all of you locals out there – it’s at the Empty Bottle on Western in Chicago, from noon to 4 pm and it’s called “Handmade Market Chicago.”

So, I have a very small space to work with – 4 feet to be exact. My circular clothing rack is exactly 4 ft in diameter. So anything that doesn’t hang on a hanger, will have to be placed on top of the rack on a big circular tabletop-like thing. My challenge was how to display my knitted belts. I found a cute crafty idea (don’t you just love the internet?!) of taking a wine bottle and putting tall wires in it, curling the ends to make it look like an exploding champagne bottle or a bottle of flowers. I thought I could use the wires to hang my belts. I also thought it would be nice to paint the bottle, which I did – with acrylic enamel paints, and then cured in the oven for a half-hour. Here’s how it turned out.

The “belt display,” to be continued!

Not perfect, but with a few little adjustments, it will do. I need to get heavier, taller wire, such that can withstand the weight of the belts. Maybe put something at the ends of the wires so the display doesn’t look so…wire-y.

My other experiment was painting my already ice-dyed fabric. I used a long sleeved shirt, and ice dyed it in the colors of a sunset. Then I followed Dharma Trading Company’s instructions on how to mix procion dyes into a liquid to paint. The image I painted resembled black blades of tall grass in the wind. It looked kind of cool, but I ran into a problem of the liquid dye not being quite thick enough. Perhaps I needed to give the sodium alginate more time, or maybe I needed to use more of the stuff. In any case…it was a start. I rolled up the shirt in plastic and let it set for 12 hours. When I came back the next morning, all the black lines I painted faded almost into invisibility, almost completely absorbed into the fabric. It was weird. I missed a step somewhere, but the interesting thing was they didn’t disappear completely. The lines sort of spread, and faded, and somehow gave some dimension and depth to the ice dyed color that was already there. So…now it looks a little bit like…fire?!

My first attempt at painting on fabric. Faded a bit.


Not the look I was going for…but that’s okay. I’ll keep trying. I’ve said it before, and I know that anyone who makes art is fully in touch with this phrase: it’s a process!


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