I started a little quilt some time ago and got completely stuck on it because the colours just weren’t looking right, somehow everything looked dingy. Then I remembered how a dye bath had totally rejuvenated Pump’s Court (below) years ago.
I must have tried to make this quilt wearing sunglasses or something because when I got it together the colours were completely hideous! However after I threw the whole thing into a blue dye bath, not only did it pull the piece together colourwise, creating strange new and interesting colours, but because the blue dye didn’t take where I’d used a gold pigment …it make those sections glow by contrast.
So I thought I’d try for a similar effect with my little industrial piece. Without the pigment this time…just to see…I figured I could always come back in with some gold if it looked a bit drab.
This little quilt was a follow up to Flora and Ferra (on the right) working with the same idea only on a smaller scale…..in Flora and Ferra the background was light and the foreground dark. I thought I’d reverse the values and redraw the image altering some of the proportions. I liked the composition, it was the dinge that didn’t thrill me….so then I overdyed…this time I used more than one colour. It’s always good to shift the variables a tad!
I had been going to call it Plant Life…(that was the double entendre name I had left over from Flora and Ferra, but decided I preferred FF!! )but the image came out so castle like…plus I was listening to the Bartok opera Bluebeard’s Castle at the time…..and you know how these industrial buildings have some of the mystery about them of old locked castles!! I also remembered where my fascination with this kind of building originated…one of my earliest jobs was a technical librarian in a giant chocolate factory (10,000 employees – most of whom would leave on bicycles when the 5pm hooter went – a grand sight as they swooped down Haxby Rd!!). To get to the technical library aerie you had to make your way up and up miles of winding metal staircases, through echoing halls and oddly shaped chambers……not that I ever had to prove my love for anything but chocolate of course!
And, if you have been, thanks for reading! I’ll be “off the air” till next Monday as I’m going to Art Camp! 4 days of playing with dye and friends! And Dai is ever such a lovely chap! Elizabeth
*Fettle as a verb, means to repair or to smooth; as an adjective, it means well-knit, all right and tight. In the West Riding mills it meant to get rid of all the problem sticky out bits on the fabric. A very useful word!