Week #3 Oakland Artist Residency

There were lots of activities happening at the studio this week.  Its amazing to see how Susan juggles all the projects and and manages all the activities.  One of the big projects this week was to dye stamp the words on the big panels of fabric (made of thread, of course). Here are Maria, Betty and Susan preparing to dye the panels.


 Below, Betty and Susan working on the stamping project. Fabric letters have been used as place holders for the location of the dye stamp. 


Susan has created her own stamps on a piece of plexi. A navy dye has been thickened with a thickening agent and painted onto the stamp.


A mallette is used to press the stamp onto the fabric.

 After all the stamping, the fabric is left to dry. Once dry, the panels are placed in an industrial steaming machine to open and set the dye. Then the fabric is washed and laid out for a final dry. 


 One of the fabrics I was involved with making was the fabric made of thread. After many spools of thread have been dyed red, they are clumpy and needed fluffing. Here are some exciting videos of the thread fluffing process. 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhYOSzduWFM?list=UUsJo6Qe5bWF8G6Z9dgNZJhQ] [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hurPEUOI0ks?list=UUsJo6Qe5bWF8G6Z9dgNZJhQ]

This is the set up for thread fluffing.


Once heaps of thread have been fluffed, they are laid out on a piece of Slovy, a dissolvable interfacing.   


Another sheet of Solvy is placed on top, sandwiching the layer of thread.


 This sheet is brought over the industrial emboidery machine, where a swirly pattern is sewn and secures all the thread in between the Solvy layers.  After a few yards have been made, the whole piece is washed, dissolving the Solvy. This fabric is essentially made of thread, which Susan will then cut up and sew into a one-of-a-kind dress for her exhibition.




This week, I was able to do some dyeing. Here, I am shabori dying a rayon infinity scarf. 



After the shabori process, the scarf is washed and dryed and then I wrapped it around the pvc pipe once again. With some the spare dye from the stamping project, I painted the navy dye over the whole wrapping.



 After drying overnight, a rinse and a wash and dry in the machines, the scarf on the left is the final result! The scarf on the right is the scarf I made using Susan's Merrow machine.


 The Merrow machine is a funny looking little machine that works wonders on fine fabric. It creates a fine edging. So pretty!




The machine below is the industrial overlock. It works like a serger, but this one is suited for woven fabric, not knits (stretchy).



The free motion emboidery machine was pretty cool too. It has no pressor foot or feed dogs and can sew in any direction. Fabric gets moved around by  the operator.



My sample was a bit of a jumble, but I could see this machine being a lot of fun to use.



This is the stiching that Susan did with the free motion machine. 


 I was able to use the programmed stiching on the industrial emboidery machine to make some swirly red stiching and the word 'breathe' on my hoody. So fun! 




I can't believe how quickly three weeks has passed. It was an amazing experience to work in Susan's studio, see how she fabricates and produces her art, meeting her lovely interns, seeing the sights and art museums of Oakland and San Fransciso....I am grateful to the Ontario Arts Council who helped to fund this venture, and of course so very thankful to Susan for being such an amazing person, artist, mentor. Can't wait to see what will happen next!