Tuesday, October 13, 2015

TIGHR Back To Nature friendship mat

At the last possible minute, I decided to attend this year's Triennial Conference of The International Guild of Hand-hooking Rugmakers (TIGHR) in Victoria, British Columbia (Canada). I last went in 1997 when it was held at Oak Island near Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, when the guild was much smaller. I was so excited to be in Victoria - the other attendees are all so incredibly gifted and generous with their mentorship and friendship. It was so humbling and inspiring.

I am Storifying the live tweets and instagram photos from the conference here. (They're still trickling in, the weekend after the conference.)

One of the new-to-me traditions of the guild is the exchange of small (5"x7") 'friendship mats' with other attendees. This year, the theme was "Back To Nature", and we could interpret it however we liked. My first thought was that I should use only the fabrics and yarns I've dyed in my ongoing natural-dyeing experiments.

A recent small-scale dyeing experiment with Dorr woolen fabric and (L-R) caragana, goldenrod tops, tansy tops, trembling aspen leaves, logwood chips (and a smidge of iron), and cochineal.
After dyeing, from the top: goldenrod, cochineal, horsetail, logwood (iron modifier), undyed.
My design needed to be a small, simple sampler - and needed to still look great if the materials I've dyed turn out not to be light-fast and fade to beiges and greys. I decided not to draw anything on my backing, and just make it up as I go. After piling up my materials and squinting hard at them, I decided what I had was a sunset or sunrise scene, and I went from there. (Of course, I also needed to remember that some of the experimental ones might not be fast, so I needed to keep in mind that they may fade to grey or beige over time, too. Some might see that as a flaw, but I prefer to think of it as time adding another dimension to the textile art.)

Work in progress, hooking without a drawn pattern. Unless otherwise noted, all the wool fabric is Dorr natural, was dyed without a mordant, and was cut at #6; and the wool yarn is Custom Woolen Mills (Alberta)'s Mule Spinner 2-ply, pre-stripped and alum-mordanted, hooked two loops to a hole.
Finished hooking and needs binding! From top-to-bottom: indigo, logwood (cold processed, iron modifier), red cabbage (ecoprint on 20m/m silk habotai scarf, alum mordant, hand-cut), cochineal, eucalyptus (alum mordant, ecoprinted then immersion-dyed), goldenrod, saskatoon (exhaust bath, alum mordant), saskatoon (full strength, alum mordant), black hollyhock (basic pH), black hollyhock (neutral pH). The saskatoon dye is the most likely to fade on this piece.
Sunrise Sampler #1 ('Back To Nature' TIGHR2015 friendship mat). After binding (by whip-stitching with the saskatoon-dyed yarn) and pressing.
When I was finished, I instantly decided I needed to hook another one, to keep.

Work in progress, Sunrise Sampler #2 - the colour is a bit too blue in this shot, thanks to my phone's poor camera. I imagined this as the same sunrise, framed a bit differently, taken a couple of minutes later so the sun is higher on the horizon.
Sunrise Sampler #2: from top to bottom: indigo, logwood (cold processed, iron modifier), cochineal, beet (tannin mordant), onionskin (alum mordant, ikat resist). eucalyptus (alum mordant, ecoprinted then immersion dyed), goldenrod, saskatoon (exhaust bath, alum mordant), saskatoon (full strength, alum mordant), horsetail, black hollyhock (basic pH), black hollyhock (neutral pH). I think I'll frame this one, so I can note all the materials on the mat. Saskatoon, onion, and beet are all likely not to be colourfast.
I think this is the beginning of a series - I'd love to hook more of these little landscapes using only my naturally-dyed materials.

My friendship mat among others. (Clearly I need to work on getting my natural-dyed materials darker so I can do one with a greater range of values - seeing my mat next to one with an orca in it really points out how pastel it still is.)