- The graduating students of Professional Crafts at Haywood Community College are fortunate to participate in a gallery show which is intended to introduce our work to the public. This year’s opening reception is May 27th and the work remains on display for public viewing, till the end of September at the Folk Art Center, home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The center is located at milepost 382, on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I have enjoyed seeing the shows of the last two graduating classes and been impressed by their accomplishments. With that in mind, I have spent many hours contemplating the “thing(s)” I want to create for the upcoming grad show. Over the Christmas break, we were tasked to come up with a detailed grad show project plan to include, drawings, materials list, processes required and timeline. Mine ended up being about 12 pages!
I’ll back up a bit and explain how I came up with the project idea. I’d been pretty confident for months that i was going to make a coat and it was inspired by the Japanese fisherman’s coats I found on Pinterest, and of course the Sashiko embroidery/quilting. Thinking back now, I did not have a clue of the level of detail and time that would be involved, I just knew that the project sounded challenging enough and I would learn lots along the way. Well as is often said, the devil is in the details!
Nearing the end of the Fall semester, I had wound some extra 40/2 linen warp on my loom (more than I needed for the class assignment), in anticipation of having opportunity to do some sampling for the coat fabric. I love working with linen and it seems to like me okay too! I created a couple of sample weaving drafts on the computer with weave maker software. Using a 10/2 natural cotton for the weft, I wove about a yard of cloth. Ultimately, I was happy with the consistency of the weave, and the pattern. Decision made, I had settled on the fabric content and the pattern for the yardage.
I knew that I wanted the coat to be a deep indigo color, but I was concerned about getting consistent color across the large amount of yardage I would need using natural indigo. I set up a Ferrous (iron) indigo vat and did a sample dye with the test yardage. The fabric sample dyed okay, but dyeing the eight plus yards of cloth I planned to weave, in a five gallon bucket would be unwieldy and a non-starter for me and my mental health. As was the thought of making a much larger vat in a 35 gallon trash can to accommodate the yardage, heck no! Long story, made short, I decided for my sanity that I would use a much more reliable, fiber-reactive dye in an indigo color. Decision made, I had determined the dye color and chemical method.
So at this point I had done enough experimenting to build my initial project plan, I just needed to sketch out some ideas for the coat. Merry Christmas!
To no ones surprise, the process continued beyond my initial sketches that I turned in with the initial project plan at the beginning of January! I’ve included some photos of the inspiration and the sketch that finally felt right to me. In my next post, I’ll share some details of the initial quilting and sashiko sampling. Thanks for reading and please feel free to write comments or questions.