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I Came Up With a Project

Indigo dyed fabric samples

Earlier this year, I came up with a project idea that I really wanted to do. My idea was:

Grow indigo. Make it into indigo dye. Teach dye classes. Teach sewing classes as we sew that fabric into quilts. Make a BLANKET FORT! and have a party in it. Clean and then donate the quilts to a homeless shelter.

I looked around for some resources and found some awesome grant ideas.  I applied for two grants.  One was through The Burning Man Global Arts Program.  Important detail: It’s not directly connected to the festival.  Here is their mission statement:

This program funds highly interactive, community-driven works of art that prioritize community involvement in their development, execution and display. We fund art that is accessible to the public, civic in scope and prompts the viewer to act. We like art that can be experienced in more ways than visually – art that is touched, heard or experienced as well as viewed. We prioritize funding art that involves the audience in its conception, creation and presentation. This program’s impact is driven by a willingness to take risks and be the first to give a grant to a project or to work with artists and projects that other funders might avoid, as well as a focus on community-driven processes that have effects far beyond the artwork itself.

Perfect! If I got that grant, I could offer the classes for FREE! I made it to the second round of applicants, which really got my back side into gear. I also applied to the Dane Arts Grant program looking for additional funding.  I connected with several local groups and stores and a maker space and was really making some exciting connections and plans.  I had locations for dye classes and sewing classes, a discount on fabric, helpers, a place for the party, plant growing support from a farmer, a community garden space, a band for the party, a consultant to help with her amazing indigo knowledge plus I connected with a ton of enthusiastic and interested, interesting people. I went to the Dane County Grant board meeting (you’re allowed to listen in when they review your grant) and they seemed very positive and enthusiastic. 

The indigo seeds needed to be in seed starter in mid-March and the grant announcements would be in April, but hey, that’s cool. I bought seeds and this really fabulous farmer name Dela, who owns Scotch Hill Farm – I met her because of all the Grant planning though this amazing group of women farmers called the Soil Sisters – was game to start the seeds for me for a small, really just token fee. She’s awesome. 

I LOVE teaching, I LOVE dyeing, I LOVE sewing, I LOVE connecting with people, I LOVE being able to offer FREE classes, I LOVE blanket forts! It was all coming together: Year of Jennifer!

You know what happened next. Covid has affected many other people worse than it hit me.

The Burning Man Global Arts Organization decided that they would cancel the whole grant program this year. Community projects are a big no go during a pandemic. The Dane Arts Grant required another funding source, but I had lost my biggest possible source so I lost that grant as well. Maybe I could have counted some of the in-kind donations of time, space and generous discount on fabric but since there would be no classes, those really couldn’t be used. If there was a way, I couldn’t think of one.

The indigo, on the bright side, was already sprouting. 

Dela and I planted out a small (to me big, but in a whole big picture on a farm way, small) field of indigo and my kids and I planted out a 10X20 plot in a community garden near my house in Madison.

I’m trying to think of ways to do my whole project without the Blanket Fort Party and with no in person classes but it’s kind of intimidating to think of a way to split up the indigo and ship it out and then teach a socially distant class???  I don’t know. 

But I’m learning a ton! I’ve had a first harvest of the plot near my house and I made indigo pigment from a frickin’ plant! I’ll keep you all posted on whatever happens next. I’ve made some posts on Instagram of the latest dye making processes but I plan to move all of the learning I’ve done over here. You may see some repeated info for just a little bit.

And I promise that I won’t make more posts with no pictures.  They’re the worst!

 

 

Dip Into Indigo – Katazome Resist

Starch Resist.  It’s stencil time!  You’ll play with rice resist, to make beautiful patterns dyed with indigo on quilting cotton.

Dress to get messy, including your shoes.
No fabric dyeing experience is required. 

Come and check out the Electric Needle’s dye studio.  It is in the basement so you will need to be able to go
up and down one flight of stairs. If you have restrictions please call the store to schedule a private class.

Supply List will be sent out 1 week before the class.

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Debbie Maddy is coming to Madison!

Debby Maddy teaching a class in Madison WI

 

Debbie Maddy is coming to town to teach an Indigo and Shibori Intensive!

I’ve been following Debbie Maddy for a while and whenever she posts class photos, I DROOL!  I want to learn those gorgeous and detailed shibori skills!  

So I got this kooky idea: What if I asked real nice and found her an awesome place to teach.  Would she be willing to travel this far north? 

Answer: YES!  She is totally game and The Electric Needle was thrilled to offer their gorgeous dye studio space.  All the parts just came together!

The details are on the Electric Needle’s website.  If you’re interested, please sign up ASAP because this class is going to fill. I’m already signed up!  

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Shibori and Indigo Dyed Class Samples

arashi shibori samples

Today was a cool fall day but I still got out and made some Shibori and Indigo dyed samples for my upcoming indigo dye classes at The Electric Needle.

Fall is coming again. Dang it. I thought summer would go on and on. For some reason (hope related) I always think summer will never end, not this year.  But I was wrong again.

arashi shibori samples
Tight on the left and loose on the right. Really it’s the opposite of how things should be: righty tighty, left loosey.  Oops

I’ve either sold or quilted many of my arashi samples so I knocked out a few more. I just love arashi shibori.  All of these were made by sewing the fabric into a tube that was then put around a PVC pipe and then NOT wrapped with string (ummm…if you’ve never done it before, trust me, that makes more sense when you see the process).  I love how organic and watery they look.  The wider guys are half yards.  One was a tight tube and one was loose, which makes such a dramatic difference!

Arashi shibori samples small

These skinny dudes are actually called “skinny quarters”. They are 9 inches wide. Each one was sewn into a bias tube and put on a tube. Only one was a tight tube and I’m embarrassed to admit that I can’t remember which is which. They are hanging on the line right now. I’m pretty durn sure that it’s the one with more white.

Itajime Star

I also needed some Itajime samples. I met some amazing dye artists last weekend at a Circle of Life Studio event in Eagle River.  They were all so inspiring. I followed the lead of Yukako Kadono of Slow Stitch Studio. I moved my blocks around and got these great color changes. I love this picture especially because you can see the green from the color change that indigo goes through on the left side of the star.

Katano Shibori

I did play a little but with some Katano Shibori.  It’s done with a sewing machine and can really look dramatic.  I haven’t done this one very much but I really enjoy it and plan to do more.

Itajime wrapping cloth

And finally this big one is a blank from Dharma Trading Company that I wanted to test out.  I think this size cloth (about 42 X42) would make awesome wrapping cloths for presents.

I dyed till I ran out of light last night.  If you scroll through all the pictures, you can kinda see the progression of the sun going down.

As much as I’m bummed that summer is ending (NOOOOoooooooOOOO!!!), I’m glad to get back into the Electric Needle Studio to teach. We’ve scheduled classes on the first Saturday of every month from October to May (not including January) and it feels like I’m going home again.  You can check my events page or just head over to the Electric Needle’s class page to learn more and sign up.

I’ll post more about last weekend in another post.  I’m still kinda processing how awesome it was.

 

Dye your own Quilt!

This is a three part class.
In the first class you will Indigo dye your own fabric  for use in the quilt.

We will dye eight fat quarters with a few different patterns to later make a beautiful quilt top.

Sat, Oct 6, 2018 at 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Sat, Oct 20, 2018 at 10:30 am to 1:00 pm
Sat, Oct 27, 2018 at 10:30 am to 1:00 pm

Mary Gabich will teach the quilting portion of the classes.

In the second and third classes we will work on cutting out and assembling the quilt top.

We will be  using the Four Patch Charm pattern by Kathy Schwarz. Pattern will be included in price of class.

This is an enthusiastic beginner class.

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Great Class at Mill House Quilts

I taught another just fabulous class at Mill House Quilts last weekend!

Arashi Indigo Dyed Fat Quarter

The students were very interested in trying out new techniques.  Lots had experience with dyeing but not with indigo, which was super cool.

Stitched embroidery fabric

Chopsticks were very popular in this class.  It’s funny how different patterns will trend in different classes.  But the Mandala is always a popular pattern.

Mandala patterned Fat Quarter

You can still see lots of green in this one.  The indigo is still oxidizing.

It was a chopstick heavy day. They are so lovely!

As I always end up doing there, I tied the lines between two cars. 

Fortunately, this student’s car not only had a roof rack, but was also the right color.

Here’s the other end of the line

And that sky! 

It was hot and buggy but everyone left happy. I love teaching classes and try to get to Mill House at least once a year.  It’s not easy to travel with indigo but the back of the shop is pretty ideal for indigo: breezy and just shady enough in the afternoon.  

 

Indigo Dyeing at Millhouse Quilts

Join me for a hands on exploration in the basics of dyeing with a natural indigo vat.

I will touch on the history and science of indigo and explore several shibori resist techniques.

Sign up here!

We always have fun in my classes!

You will leave with four cotton fat quarters that you have patterned in the rich blue for which indigo is famous.

Please wear old clothes and shoes and bring one pair of rubber gloves and a plastic bag for carrying your work home.

All other materials will be provided. Feel free to bring along a tee shirt to dye – it must be made of natural fibers.

The class will meet outside.  Rain Date is September 9th.

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So Excited!

I just got these in the mail: a dozen GIANT handwoven cotton scarves from Maiwa.  Guess what I’m going to do with them 🙂

Khadi Cotton Fine Handwoven Shawls

Club Indigo

If you have ever taken a dye class with me you are welcome to join Club Indigo.

I will open up my indigo vats on the first Sunday of every month in the dye studio at the Electric Needle from 11 am to 3 pm.

This is NOT a class. I will be dyeing but will be happy as always to give you my advice. If you want to work in shibori or batik, you are welcome to, but I can’t help a ton as my hands will be blue. Books, resources and tools will be available.

Bring your own fabric – limited to about 5 yards of fabric a club day. All fabric MUST be made of natural fibers. The Electric Needle is closed on Sunday so there will NOT be availability to purchase fabric on club days.

Pre-registration is required. After you have registered you will receive an email explaining how to join us.

The registration fee includes a minimum of 2 hours of dye time and 1/2 hour for clean up.

Be advised the dye studio is in the basement, you will need to be able to navigate a flight of steps to get to the studio. If this is impossible for you please call so we can arrange a private lesson.

Deep Into Indigo Retreat

Deep Into Indigo Retreat

A creative weekend getaway including: All food, beverages and lodging plus piles of fabric and paper to play with, unlimited access to prepared indigo dye vats, and gifts and prizes all for one low price!

Join a us at a creative indigo dye retreat in Westby, Wisconsin.  Located about two hours from Madison Wisconsin, you’ll be able to shed the grind of your daily life, and immerse yourself in the study and play of dyeing with indigo.