Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Experimenting with Hemp and Itajime

I'm kind of a perfectionist. I don't feel comfortable selling any fabrics until I've tested and re-tested techniques. I just don't think folks should be using their hard earned money to buy my mistakes or my "almost worked" projects.  Being an artist of any medium requires skillful techniques and methods, acquired through many hours of learning and experimenting. Working in fiber is no different.

Itajime is the only method I haven't really experimented with yet using the new hemp cottons I acquired recently.

I've been clamping and dyeing small pieces to see how well the color penetrates the fibers. It's always best to work with small samples first when you're working with a new fabric, then move up to larger, more complex pieces. 

These pieces are roughly 14" by 9". They are perfect for squeezing in during lulls between larger jobs and for using left over dyes. I've been clamping circles, squares and petal shapes.

I've found that 16 layers of fabric is pretty much the limit for this fabric. More than that and you start losing definition in pattern.

This hemp cotton has a translucent quality I am really growing fond of. It feels and looks organic and comfy. Not as smooth and polished as the cotton I normally use, but I like that. I can imagine it being used to wrap a loaf of freshly baked bread or as a bag for some just picked greens from the garden.

These samples will be gifts tucked in with other purchases of sustainable fabrics.

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