Friday, 30 January 2015

dye pots and lightboxes

earlier this week, i built a lightbox using this wonderful tutorial. it was easy peasy lemon squeezy, and i am really really REALLY pleased with the resulting photographs. 

sunflower knit gradient sock. 75% superwash merino wool/25% nylon. shown from eastern brazilwood and madder.

sunflower knit gradient sock. 75% superwash merino wool/25% nylon. shown from logwood and yellow onion skins. 

sunflower knit gradient sock. 75% superwash merino wool/25% nylon. shown from logwood and yellow onion skins. same as above

sunflower knit glitter sock. 70% superwash merino wool/25% nylon/5% stellina. shown from yellow onion skins.
sunflower knit decadence roving. 70% merino wool/30% silk. shown from yellow onion skins.

i built the lightbox in the evening, went out for drinks and brainstorming with kelly again (we have ALL OF THE IDEAS), and then came home a little bit tipsy to take photos after midnight. why, ash, would you stay up so late? because i wanted to take advantage of moo's business card sale, and photos of the yarn needed to be included. i am mildly terrified about the business cards somehow turning out not exactly as i hope, because i worry about things like that, but i know moo as a company and trust them, so i'm just crossing my fingers that i did everything properly on my end of things. we shall see in three or so weeks. moo, for those of you who are curious, do this beautiful thing of offering up to 50 different image uploads for free, which means that as a creative, you can showcase way more of your work and practice via your business cards than you would normally be able to. mine feature everything from the yarn to patterns to undies to bones. i have a very strange practice, now that i think about it...

sunflower knit sock. 100% peruvian highland wool. shown here clockwise from yellow onion skins, madder, and avocados.

speaking of my practice, i have some thoughts about dyeing. it's funny, because on the one hand i think it would be great and convenient as a seller to be able to reproduce colourways in, at the very least, a semi-reliable fashion. and yet, as an artist and creative, my practice doesn't find that particularly inspiring. nor does it feel like it fits well with the whole idea of natural dyeing and a slow handmaking movement. as an exercise and experiment, yes absolutely it could be fascinating. but as an ongoing practice for the purposes mainly of making money (i.e. someone says "i really love that thing that person/you knit with that yarn, can you make it again?"), it's probably the most soul-sucking thing i could do. the aspect i love so much about natural dyeing is the surprise every time a skein dries. it's amazing, and fascinating, and makes me want to play more to see what colours will turn out next. so i'm working very hard with my brain to help it come to terms with the idea of one-of-a-kinds as a practice, and with the idea of small batches because, well, my dye pot can only fit so many skeins. i do dream of someday sourcing a pot that's large enough to get a sweater's worth of skeins in it (partially because it will speed up my pre-mordanting so much!), but beyond that, i like the idea of only ever having a shawl's worth of the same dye bath. it means that people's projects, made with my fibre, will be even more unique to them, and that is far more exciting to me than seeing people all knit the same item over and over again. if you're going to take the time and energy and passion to make something by hand, why on earth would you ever want it to look the same as everyone else's? that's just my thoughts, of course, but since it's also my artistic practice and my fibre to dye, i'm sticking to my own thoughts. at least until they change again!

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