Sunday, 12 October 2014

Obligatory Dye Trip Post

Maiwa is celebrating the tenth year of their annual fall textile symposium. And I've wanted to go all ten years, but either couldn't afford it or was otherwise busy or lived in the crapartment. This year I determined that I would go, especially since all my dye stuff came out of storage purgatory when we got out of the crapartment. Fortunately Michel Garcia was coming to teach a few classes, one of which I enrolled in (should have done the indigo one too but thought it might be too expensive and hard to get into both of them) after a stressful few moments when registration opened (it's infamously hard to get into some of the really popular classes--it's the same kind of mental anguish basically invented by ticketmaster when your fave band is coming to town. You know the kind that involves saying things like NO I WANT THE GOOD TICKETS. yeah it's loadin...NOOO. WHY ARE YOUR SERVERS DOWN WHY YOU NOT PLAN FOR THIS. You and I both know you've been there).

Anyway I also managed to force a few theo peeps to come to visit, which was cool and we decided to meet the weekend before the class.

Spirit of the Haida Gwai, Bill Reid's famous statue which I directed Liz to by telling her to find the giant boat.

Theo peeps! Well, Rachel and mem. Elizabeth married in to theo peepdom. This was in the vancouver public library, which is shaped like a spiral and has a bunch of shops and government things around it. It is also in sight of the former performing arts building which now houses a mennonite brethren megachurch, about which we surmised what level of heresy was taught there several times throughout the week. Yeah we ended up in the library a few times.

Sunday we went to Granville Island, mostly so we could go to the market and I could buy ART SUPPLIES. While it rained on Monday, the weather was pretty nice for the rest of the trip, which was nice.
the bridge that makes it a not-island and yachts of Richies.

mem being all pensive about the quality of the fish.

 Anyway once that was done, we went for supper to a place Carly told me is where people take their mistresses and people they want to impress and I found out that sea bass is DELICIOUS (thanks to Elizabeth). After that I finally got to take my classes.

Chemistry stuff, which went over a lot of people's heads. Though I felt like it was pretty basic and I hated chemistry so much (would have hated it less if we could have done cool things NOT FOOF MEM so don't even say it). 

Someone actually told me "you must have a background in chemistry or science because you know a lot of this". The internal laughter that followed. I guess being a nurse helps even if I'm basically the worst at it ever cause we had to learn SOME chemistry for both physiology and pharmacology.

all the samples together in mah book

Our samples
We got to do some interesting experiments, though most of the classes focused on cotton which I never use because the alum-tannin-alum premordanting methods are like all hard work and stuff for really sucky colour anyway. But most of these samples gave okay colours, though not quite like the wool. And now you know why Joseph's coat was many colours. Wool takes dye so much better than anything else. Well except indigo.

Michel Garcia all "lookit getting red with madder so essy" Or something like that. He told us why mine failed and precipitated about two seconds after this. :(  Definitely no real concerns about the "rules" for madder, he's pulling it out of a boiling pot there. He wasn't a big fan of doing things the "official way" and mentioned the antichrists' alum mines, which I totally remembered as soon as he mentioned it. Church history has a practical application people!

Anway we also learned mordant print making and got some really nice golds with titanium as a mordant. I  have all the other mineral mordants (shhh) so I'm trying to find some of that, especially given that it produces golds with a lower health threat than chrome. The only place I found it charged 300 dollars for it. major sad. Here are some of the other cool samples and things:

A piece painted with four mordants and put in cochineal and a second that was screen printed with different mordants and also dyed in cochineal. 

These were poundings done to see if a plant has any tannin in it and will be worth harvesting. And safflower PINK. The yellow was tres laid. Was so excited to see the pink.

Of course we also made samples to take home. A lot of people were worried about how they would look but I was more concerned with the process because they are just samples anyway. Plus I'm really a craftsperson so the process and technique are why I do these things in the first place. So I used a few screens that already had designs on them and went all random with them.

 Appparently there is iron or something in the water as they were supposed to wash out cleaner from the backgrounds. This one is my fave though: Weld. The gold is titanium, neon yellow alum and black is Iron.

We also made printed "charts" with the different mordants so you can see the range of colours one dye can produce, and mordant discharge. And safflower! Did I mention how cool it was? Okay.

We tried most of the dyes in the supply cupboard and some people brought plants that we dyed on too.  Overall I learned somethings that I'll definitely be able to use, especially if I can find some cheap titanium.

I also took Vancouver public transit to and from classes, which mama noted was the true highlight of the trip for me because I wouldn't stop talking about it for two days. It was so great though, with quiet electric vehicles, a train station that was still a skytrain station and not a casino, and each vehicle even had a pleasant computerized voice to tell you where you were going. I took this picture of an extra long hinged bus turning a corner for mama cause I knew it would make her rageful:

But man that was great public transit. Good job city of Vancouver.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


It's my blog's 10th birthday. I made it because someone suggested blogger as an alternative to livejournal, which I still feel fulfilled the true purpose of blogging, which is to showcase narcissism. I used livejournal to do art by the inch, trade cds and keep up with nervousness people.  It's kind of  like how I use facebook almost exclusively to keep up with theologica people. Now art by the inch, nervousness and even mix cds are things of the past sadly. But the blogger blog has lived on. I picked the name because "Hey dooders" is a lame person trying to be cool term and I chose it to be ironic since blogs were the "cool thing" amongst the nerds of the internet. Thus far, it's really been pretty apt though I do think I posted some good theological posts.

Over the years I have kept the blog as I've done everything in my life. By doing whatever I want (or in this case writing about it). So sometimes I posted sad things or rants or pictures of things I'd made or PeTrA or art theory or theology or The Jerk. Or for awhile there, random things to bother mem (that was when I was basically at the apex of my prolificacy).

This looks great. And other than wonky eye, nothing like me. 

Speaking of my narcissism,  I recently posted a great picture of myself on facebook which, as usual, looked nothing like me. James suggested that it was such a nice picture I should make it my fb avatar to which I replied "I have never used a real picture of myself as an avatar in the history of the internets." That's because if I alter them or draw them I can trick people into thinking I'm better looking than I am which totally feeds my narcissistic vanity. And as above, this is what the internet is basically about, more so now than it ever was 10 years ago when you like had conversations about things (remember that? I totally do because I'm all old and crap).

Anyway, in honour of the narcissism I decided to post my last decade in avatars along with the actual pictures so you can see why I never use actual pictures (or as many as I have; one is missing the unretouched photo so obviously I saved over it). Artistic licence is basically the way you make boring crappy things more interesting and palatable. And you know I'm all kreyative.

The first one was actually a drawing that I did with crayola markers then added some filters to but this was the photo I used for the picture. Phil Johnson gave me a chance to do my best Navin Johnson impression because of this picture (yes I do remember all stupid insignificant things but don't ask me if I remembered to add the mag sulph to the mar cause I'll prolly just stare at you like a deer in the headlights). I've found that in any artistic rendering of myself, all I have to do is make sure to include the lines under my eyes and it definitely looks like me. The photo was a little old at the time, taken in 2003.  It's also pretty small because for some reason everything I saved to old discs is really small on this computer, despite the fact that I scanned them in at like 300 ppi. Pheh.

The famous quilt, which I took originally for a blue and red deco. I altered the photo then printed it, painted it and finally made a quilted version. And it represents the only time I ever had a quilt at Houston, cause I'm never going to get anything that matters there.  Took this one in 05, then made the deco and the quilt in the same year.

Took this picture specifically to replace the other. This is when mem discovered my wonky eye which made me cooler than him forever. My skin looks different colours is because at that time in my life, it really was. Taken in 07.

The mucha me is still my google profile and is the only picture I ever painted totally digitally. I hated doing it. I had to try to stylize the actual photo of course so that it resembled Mucha's style and ended up making the wonky eye a little wonky in shape too. 

This btw was the other drawing I made for mucha me but I lost it and stuff so I just did it again. I think I may have loosely based it on the blue and red picture, but of course also from life though I don't do that much because my face is pretty asymmetrical.

I didn't use this one for super long because the altered version didn't really have the line quality I prefer. I think the picture wasn't high enough contrast, but I seem to remember it took a fair bit of work to take the background out so I used it. I think this one was 08.  

This was another one that didn't look the way I wanted exactly, though I liked my expression a lot. This is how I look at my screen when you say ultra stupid things that I can beat you over the head with to win any argument. Not that anyone actually SAYS anything on the internets anymore. This was 09, not long before I started university which aged me about 900 years. I miss you athol house and athol house basement :(

This one was probably one of my favorites ever and I kept it for a number of years. This was during school when getting my hair cut cost too much money (but I still made WAY too much to get a student loan, especially since they expected me to be able to get in a time machine to pay the kind of rent people did in about 1998). This was taken not long after we moved into the crapartment in 2010, which is why I look less miserable than later.

I've decided this is definitely my good side. Well it was before I started getting all jowly.

I think I kept this one for a month or two and only changed from the above picture because it was showing up as an exclamation point in comments (not sure why since it hardly looked like me so definitely WASN'T obscene). I didn't like it because I hadn't put photoshop on the new computer yet so used crappy software. I saved over the original picture but the photo is just another one taken at the same time. I think it was 2012.

This, as you can see, is the current avatar. I took this one before the Junos last year. It's another one of my faves, I'll probably keep it for awhile. 

 One last one: me in dragon form prolly hanging out in crooked lake. I do look better in dragon form, it's true.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Reworking Old Faves

I will always credit John Flynn for being the reason I still use Janomes and got a new sewing machine to replace my terrible first one (That first machine and Shemar have been my real Janome lemons, though meticulous cleaning and aurafil thread has helped with Shemar). I decided to make a double wedding ring quilt using his method, which involved strip piecing and resewing of all seams at a prescribed angle, which was marked out on the machine in tape.

The machine was HORRIBLE and since I had a warranty, It spent more time in the Sears Bargain centre getting fixed than it did at home. Every time I took it in, I would tell them "there is a piece of black electrical tape on the machine. DO NOT REMOVE THE BLACK ELECTRICAL TAPE". This happened frequently enough that the lady finally looked at me and said "haven't you been in here A LOT with this machine with the black electrical tape??" Yes, yes I have. "We'll make sure you get it back in working order this time" she said.

Then a few days later they phoned me to tell me it had been "broken in transit" even though it was never shipped anywhere and as it was under warranty I got to pick a new one, which I think probably still has the black electrical tape on it. That machine was great and I learned then that when Janomes are good they're very very good, but when they're lemons they're HORRID. And I like to think the lady at Sears Bargain Centre sent that other machine to some part of Chaplin Sk.

 I'm slowly plugging away at the new york beauty (half plus one of the sashing strips are done! 15 left...and then the rest of the top) but kind of want to do something else. This is all the amazing progress I've made:
Yeah isn't it underwhelming. I'mhalf done half of the top. Sort of. Still no blocks as each one of those sashing strips includes 40 seams. And I'm doing this the EASY way. Holy crap new york beauty. Still not happy with the lighter blue options, I begin to think the actual shade of blue I wanted doesn't exist.

But as the NYB is one of those patterns I have always wanted to make, It reminded me of the double wedding ring. I learned to quilt to make one of them, and it took about 6 or 7 years before I found the afore mentioned Flynn Method and did it. As I had a very small bed I made the quilt equally small.

Somehow it ended up in Regina and hidden under mama's bed in the crapartment, where I found it and then put it in the cedar chest when we moved. Over the summer the oppressive heat of the upper floor of the apartment required a) the home made air conditioner and b) different blankets so I was using the DWR, as it has ultra thin batting. But it's really too small to fit a regular bed:

 This really looks better than most pictures of it. The main background fabric was a leftover fabric I had used on the midsummer night's dream quilt (actually all of the background fabrics were) and I never liked it as much as the off white, which I had less of. But the colours look pretty good here.

So I've been thinking about what to really do with it, because I've rarely ever used it. I considered putting it on the wall, but I think I can actually make it bigger without too much difficulty.

I didn't bind it because it hurt so much to hand quilt it (my joints were flaring at the time), and once I zigzagged the edges I couldn't bind it. It was the only quilt I ever did start to finish on my hoop actually. Man it hurt. I never got back to it because I hate binding and I would have had to sew the back by hand with the curved edges.  But this means it will be relatively easy to rip out the zigzagging and add rows to it.

Painful and agonizing that quilting was. I would work on it for a half an hour max and my joints would stop working. I remember having to pry my left hand open. Yay for getting inflammatory arthritis at 15. I was trying to get the digital camera's f stop to work here.

These are the remaining original fabrics I still have, plus a few I picked out that I think would work as well. I was sure I had some more of them and I probably have to go back through my scraps again. I had to buy solids that matched the peach of the four patch and then other neutrals for the background (that didn't matter as much since there are already several neutrals in it) so I decided to get a 30s print jelly roll as well to make up for the lack of leftovers. 

Jelly Rolls! I love them more than bluesmen do. 

...Okay not those kind. 

There are some good coordinates here so I'm sure it will look fine. It's scrappy anyway and as long as it keeps with the 30s cotton candy kind of colourway I think it's not going to be too bad. 

 If you're wondering, what I will do is make three new rows of seven rings and sew them together as a unit. Then I'll split open the longer side of the quilt and sew the tops together on the curve, but probably add the batting and backing in a straight row to the back and then flip them over so they sandwich. Then I'll quilt them and edge it and probably not bind it. Because I hate binding so much and it will be soo big and I hate doing binding. 

This is what the quilt will look like with three more rows added to the side. I think this will make it a good size.

I still have the original templates but they're not that great so I re-drafted them. I'll still strip piece the majority of them, but I think I'll foundation piece a few arc units just to be able to use the smaller pieces of the original fabrics. Shouldn't take too long to sew a 3x7 set of blocks, and Sam is no longer around to lay on the blocks, as he did when I made the original. After twisting around on them and fluffing them up.

Yeah Sam. Sometimes I miss him then I think about things like that and him biting me.

Thursday, 3 July 2014


The time frame between July 1 and 4 is full of celebrations across the continent, national "birthdays" commemorated with patriotism and happiness. Though there was a time our family also celebrated that is not so much the case anymore. But as others remember formative events of their nations, This time recalls formative events for me too.

I never thought I'd be the kind of person who cared about milestone anniversaries or dates. As most of you know, I'm absent minded enough that I often forget what day it is or how old I really am. I never remember numbers because they are meaningless to me and I find them somewhat arbitrary. People can recognize them or not as they see fit. One man considers some days more sacred and another sees every day alike.

So it turns out I'm normally the latter, but when it comes to specific milestones, I've ended up becoming the former. My birthday never meant anything to me until I reached 30 (and then I hated it--it means only that I'm even older than I thought). I always did like the metric system and multiples of ten because I could understand them, unlike most math. So those milestones seem to make me stop and remember. Whether it's ten, seventy, ninety, or one hundred years, it seems right to remember, especially now. Even in sadness.

All of that said, the assigning of significance to certain dates, though arbitrary, is an (often unacknowledged) way of pointing to the relationship we should have with the giver of all meaning. We look for meaning in even the most mundane things because we know it exists in the deepest part of our beings. We know there is significance to life, even those that are gone. And, as I've mentioned before, the marking of time means we're coming closer every day to the culmination of all things. The point when time and our sojourn end and it turns out the milestones were only monuments to a brief separation after all. They only mark the time it took to get home.

Saturday, 28 June 2014


The modern world, with all its meaninglessness and alienation, was born 100 years ago today. Fitting that death would be the catalyst for the death of an entire generation and with them, western society. 

Etching from Der Krieg series, Otto Dix