fabric printing

It’s been difficult to muster up any motivation to work in the studio with all the summer art fairs cancelled. I feel fortunate that I made the decision to close my brick-and-mortar shop just before Coronavirus put a stop to normalcy, but it doesn’t feel like there’s any urgency to make new work. These prints are stalled in the early colour stages with about half of their screenprinted colour layers printed, still a ways from having their linocut key layers added. In the meantime, I printed them in red on some previously printed fabrics. Thinking about a bright, blinding quilt.



goldenrod dye

This is the goldenrod that grows behind our neighbour’s garage, overhanging our driveway. I didn’t ask before I took it but I freed up a whole parking space by cutting it down.


The yellow it yields is as intense as it’s flowers (wool roving with alum mordant):


I’m not confident about its fastness on cotton but it looks good for now:


a surprise in the dye pot

I didn’t even intend to make dye this time, but I can’t help myself. This week was time to trim down the leaves from our irises, and as they were cooking down in soda ash, a step in hand papermaking that separates organic matter from the cellulose fibres that form the paper, I noticed that the water had turned a beautiful strong green colour. A bell went off when I realized that soda ash is also used to set dyes. Once the cellulose pulp was drying on a screen, I strained the remaining liquor and threw in some cotton fabrics, some premordanted with aluminum acetate and some with soy milk, and this glorious spring green was the result.


seeing things

I saw a face in the tree, right about here:


See it?



Peter didn’t see it but he did see a rooster head, which he helpfully drew in red.

But wait, there’s another face, with a void on its cheek which contains the first face, or the rooster face, depending on what you see there:


This is essentially how most of our summer evenings on the porch go, unless there are interesting bugs in the garden or birds to look at with the binoculars. Also we talk constantly about time travel (why it isn’t possible but if it were, how it might work) and consciousness (on the scale of universes, as in, what if the universe is one giant organism). There are worse ways to while away a summer stuck at home.

lockdown knitting


After a few abortive starts and design failures, the shawl I started just as we went into isolation is finally conforming to my vision. It’s going to be way too huge but that’s okay; “swaddled” seems like a good goal right now.

After testing out a few compatible lace stitches that did not excite, I fell back on an allover arrow pattern with a gradient slide through the different yarns.

Here’s one of the earlier attempts, the best of a series of boring iterations. I know gradients are all the rage in knitting at the moment, but these yarns clearly wanted it.


Yarns by The Green Button Jar except for the pale blue at the top, which is by Indigo Dragonfly.

from the dye pot


Cotton and cotton blend handkerchiefs dyed with turmeric, using a soy milk mordant. After I boiled up a handful of dried turmeric root pieces, which didn’t seem to let much of their colour out into the water, I put the softened bits and the water into the Vitamix and made a slurry. Except for staining the Vitamix jar yellow and getting gobs of root bits all over the fabric (hi I don’t strain things enough) the result is a pretty good gold.

on the blocking towel


Left: Soldotna sweater by Caitlin Hunter (Ravelry link: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/soldotna-crop), steeked and cardiganized, in yarns by Indigo Dragonfly (shop link: https://indigodragonfly.ca/).

Right: Boobholder by Stefanie Japel (Ravelry link: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/minisweater—boobholder), elongated into a cropped cardigan, in yarns by The Green Button Jar (shop link: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TheGreenButtonJar?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=922007439)

books I read in 2019

1. Christos Tsiolkas, The Slap
2. Madeleine Thien, Do Not Say We Have Nothing
3. Brooke Davis, Lost & Found
4. Zadie Smith, On Beauty
5. Sarah Dunant, The Birth of Venus
6. Aurelie Sheehan, History Lesson for Girls
7. James Ngugi, Weep not, child
8. Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth
9. Heather O’Neill, lullabies for little criminals
10. Wayson Choy, The Jade Peony
11. Jeannette Walls, The Silver Star
12. Mary Lawson, The Other Side of the Bridge
13. Tom McNeal, Goodnight, Nebraska
14. Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
15. Erica Ferencik, The River at Night
16. Jane Urquhart, A Map of Glass
17. Casey Plett, Little Fish
18. Heather O’Neill, The Lonely Hearts Hotel
19. Wayson Choy, All That Matters
20. Imbolo Mbue, Behold the Dreamers
21. Timothy Findley, Stones
22. Ha Jin, Waiting
23. Lisa Moore, February
24. Joy Kogawa, The Rain Ascends
25. Shilpi Somaya Gowda, The Golden Son
26. Louise Erdrich, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse
27. Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, The Nest
28. Katherena Vermette, The Break
29. Kim Echlin, The Disappeared
30. Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake
30. Miranda Hill, Sleeping Funny
31. Kim Edwards, The Lake of Dreams
32. Jane Urquhart, Away
33. Kim Fahner, These Wings
34. Mary Swan, The Boys in the Trees
35. Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
36. Eowyn Lemay Ivey, The Snow Child
37. Jamie Zeppa, Beyond the Sky and Earth: A Journey Into Bhutan
38. Sue Miller, The World Below
39. Padma Viswanathan, The Ever After of Ashwin Rao
40. Nino Ricci, Testament
41. Mona Awad, Bunny
42. Paul Howarth, Only Killers and Thieves
43. Miriam Toews, Women Talking
44. Yasmina Khadra, The Swallows of Kabul
45. Joy Kogawa, Itsuka
46. David Benioff, City of Thieves
(in progress: George Sansom, A History of Japan to 1334)