Thursday, February 20, 2014

How to Coil Basketry

This 'How to' is intended as a reminder for those who have already had a class with me. It covers a lot of material, and moves fast.

Materials: Jute, raffia, yarn needle

To Start a Coiled Basket, using the traditional figure 8 stitch.

hold raffia end and jute core together
and wrap the raffia around both the raffia end and jute core
wrap enough to make a turn
fold wrapped core end
hold core end and core together and wrap with raffia till end is covered
wrap core long enough to make a turn
turn wrapped core around center
make first stitch through center, wrap 4 times then get ready for next stitch
To make figure 8 stitch bring raffia between the wrapped cores
plunge needle through center 
after plunging needle through center, bring raffia back between the wrapped cores, before beginning 4 times wrap again
after you have done one coil around the center, you will begin to stitch into the next wrapped level instead of center

 To start/add a new piece of  raffia

hold finished end, with new raffia end to core 
then wrap finished raffia end and new raffia end with the core
Do the 4 times wrap, and get ready to make your stitch

How to make a lazy stitch.

For this stitch, your basically wrapping two cores together. Plunge needle in between the last two fully wrapped coils
After pulling needle up, wrap around new coil
Here you can see there are six lazy stitches, as I move around base

How to make a mariposa stitch

start with a lazy stitch
then wrap raffia around the stitch and plunge needle between the last two wrapped coils, right past the lazy stitch
come back around and get ready to wrap 4 times again
here you can see three mariposa stitches

How to add more core

trim on a diagonal the core from the basket, and the new core to be added 
lay the core from the basket, and the new core together
wrap both the core from the basket, and the new core together, be careful, the new core can easily slip out.
After wrapping about 4 times, carefully make a stitch, you'll continue this way
Remember the new addition can initially easily slip out; so continue to be careful as you wrap 4 times and then make a stitch, till you've made about 3-4 stitches past the addition

 How to go up with your basket

However you hold the core as you make a stitch determines the shape of a basket. To make a bowl shape basket, hold the core at a 45 degree angle as you stitch.

How to End Your Basket

trim end as at diagonal
Begin wrapping the core end with the coil below it.
Wrap until the core end is covered. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Working with Metallic Fiber Acrylic Wash

Like my artist friend, Schvetty Betty, I occasionally like things to be sparkly, shiny. Because I work with mostly natural, earthy materials, I don't make too many sparkly, shiny things. I often feel changing a natural material too much can "cheapen" it's appearance. I have, however, found the need to add some sort of mystic, other-worldly look when creating a certain atmosphere, and a little metallic, fiber acrylic, mixed with water (wash: 20% paint to 80% water) works in an interesting way. For example my pieces from the "Haunt Installation".

Many of the individual pieces, and some of the strips woven into the wall, had a light wash applied. Covert Huh? I'm taking this concept further this time and being obvious with a much thicker wash for some of my upcoming spring work.

I've started with white cotton core, and white cotton cord.

Then I've mixed a fiber acrylic wash, something like 60% acrylic with 40% water. The wash is better than straight acrylic, because it seeps into the fiber to create a permanent dye. If you were to paint a straight acrylic, it would sit on top of the cotton, and make a stiff painted surface. I think this would defeat the purpose of weaving with a natural material. I want the color to soak in and maintain the integrity of the woven surface.

I use Jacquard Lumiere, because they work! I've been using Jacquard products for 18 years and the company knows what they are doing when it comes to fiber art supplies. There is no fading or rubbing off. Just a perfect long-term set color.