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I painted it last week, hung it with kite string from a piece of conduit on Saturday, and totally forgot to take a photo on Sunday.

Today the sky is cloudy, so unfortunately the photos lack enough light. I tried the various settings on my point and shoot camera, but none added enough exposure to lighten the background.


Did you notice the ripstop ‘forsythia’ below the banner? Choral concert flowers!

A quick look at the Thai fabric under the lilies. It was there to coordinate with the children’s story from Thailand….easter09e


Here’s a glimpse of yesterday’s work:
I’ve been painting with diluted Pebeo Setacolor Transparent on 84″ wide (shrunk from 94″) dry white 10 momme Habotai silk. The photos were taken while the painted sections were still mostly wet.

Initially the close-up views of banners can be really discouraging sometimes. Setacolor has an interesting way of drying – the first sections that dry tend to pull the pigment from the still-wet sections, so they end up darker than the rest. I figure a person can choose to either hate a particular characteristic like this or just go along with it and enjoy it! Over the years I’ve learned that sometimes those ‘imperfections’ can be used to an advantage. In this particular piece, I’m just going to say it’s supposed to look like a small child painted it… 😉
The hair dryer is sitting in the top left corner. I tried drying the edges of the center world/circle before painting the yellow/orange/red ‘people’ around the outside.
A quick look at some of the other tools of the trade, including the iced tea container!
Yet to be done:
— press the silk to set the ink.
— sew the casing for the top where we’ll insert the conduit for hanging.
— find the picture hanging wire; I’ll need a very long piece.
— determine what sort of finish, if any is needed for the bottom.

Have you painted directly on silk with Setacolor? Did you use resists? There’s not enough sun in Illinois this time of year, nor enough clean space to do heliographic printing on a piece this large, so I’m just painting indoors on three 8 ft tables set side by side, covered with (hot pink!) plastic tablecloths and hoping the color intensity will be okay. I brought along a few silk scarves to use for testing, but ended up just painting along the very bottom of the banner to test colors and consistency, figuring I could cut it off later if it shows. I’ll post an update, but likely not until early next week.

Another ‘blast from the past’ to keep a record of these projects all in one place. Unfortunately I didn’t take regular photos as I painted and decorated, but I do have a few which I have posted below. This first one was taken at night.


Advent 2005, Christmas and Epiphany Sundays at Willow Springs Mennonite Church, based on the series by the Mennonite Church Advent Writing team from Saskatchewan as published in the Leader and the Mennonite Bulletin Series, Faith & Life Resources, cover designs by Grant Unrau.

Each week had a theme phrase and a flower:

God’s Unstoppable Purpose…
…Surprises! – Crocus – God meets us when we least expect it.
…Is Faithful! – Cactus – God is faithful when we cry out.
…Restores! – Clematis – God restores and transforms our world.
…Invites! – Orchid – God invites us into the story.
…Is Unimaginable! – Poinsettia – God comes to live with us.
…Breaks Forth Anew! – Sunflower – God in history, God’s future.

Each week I added one new purple flower (based on the bulletin covers) to the blank natural canvas banner. For each Sunday of Advent: crocus, cactus, clematis, then orchid.

Purple Flowers Advent 2005 Bulletin Covers

Purple Flowers Advent 2005 Bulletin Covers

Then for Christmas Sunday, a red poinsettia.

For Epiphany Sunday, a yellow sunflower.

Bulletin Covers Advent 2005

Bulletin Covers Advent 2005

I used Dharma’s pigment dye painted directly on natural canvas. I thickened some of the liquid pigment; also used an opaque white under any yellow and white parts of the flowers. About halfway through December someone asked if I could adapt the purple flowers in this banner as the basis for their wedding banner, so I painted the poinsettia and sunflower on a separate piece of canvas.

Advent wreath. We started with a plain wreath and candles. Some purple tinsel was added each week of Advent. Christmas Sunday I added the red stars; Epiphany Sunday I added gold stars.


Here’s a view of the whole thing, including the sunflower added for Epiphany Sunday. You can see the purple velour, red knit ribbed fleece, and the yellow silk charmeuse scarf on the podium and the gold stars that had been added to the Advent Wreath.

I’ve volunteered to fill in to do a few stage decorations for the high school spring choral concert next Monday. We could just buy some flowers and stick them in vases along the front of the stage.

Or we could use the bags of ripstop scraps that we found in the closet and make some spring flowers.

Here are some test flowers to see where this is all going…

"Redbud" on the black mesh
Close-up to show how ripstop is attached

Close-up to show how ripstop is attached

Yellow ripstop attached to sticks from crab apple pruning

Yellow ripstop attached to sticks from crab apple pruning

Forsythia blossoms ready to wire to branches

Forsythia blossoms ready to wire to branches

The bright pink cut strips are the original color; I dunked the fabric into a red dye mixed with sapphire blue to get the color I remember from the redbud along the Illinois river bluffs here in the springtime.

Anyhow, back to making yellow flowers… I think I need about 600…

Here’s the followup photo of the Lenten banner I discussed earlier.



I took photos today with several different camera settings, finding that the colors are rendered slightly differently on each. Here’s the picture that inspired our version, from the Leader, Winter 2003, I think.

I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jeremiah 31:33b

Banner top

At the time I hadn’t learned to use resists with the pigment dyes, so I was working on dry canvas, trying various methods to keep the colors from running together when I didn’t want them combined. I painted an opaque white under the yellow and under the heart section.


I really wanted the ray of light/pen to pop out, so I used a fluorescent yellow with just a touch of green in the centers of the rays.


I was also trying to suggest that the pen that is ‘writing on the heart’ is pressing down on the surface; thus the lines radiating from the dark burgundy heart.

The hardest part of painting banners for my own congregation is that it’s hard to stop ‘working’ on it. I still sit in church sometimes and consider how I might have changed some part of the process.

In this particular case, the rod holding the banner is in great need of an overhaul. And the bottom of the banner was finished mostly with ironed-on Wonder-Under; not a finish that was expected to last through multiple hangings and manipulations over more than 5 years. So one of these days I’ll need to work on some repair/rehabilitation for this project.

Several years ago I started a Lenten banner with Dharma Pigment dyes painted on canvas and worked on it weekly through the season. Here’s a photo of one of the earlier weeks:

Lenten banner 1

And then a later week:

Lenten banner 2

When I’m well enough to head over to the church, I’ll take a photo of the finished piece. Surprisingly, it’s still being used fairly regularly. And I’ll work on finding the scripture upon which it is based, and if we are lucky, I’ll find info on the original banner that inspired my version….

Here’s the update…

On October 28th Vicki of Field Trips in Fiber announced a drawing to celebrate her 2 year Blogoversary.

…it’s time to celebrate my blogoversary by giving you the gifts!The prizes (yes, plural) are all coming from my dye studio and you get to pick! The cool thing about this year is that everyone can enter, even non-sewists, because one of the options is (of course) a tie dye shirt!

There will be FIVE winners and each winner can select from a tie-dye shirt, a set of gradient dyed fat quarters, painted fat quarters or dyed yardage (1.5). You will pick the prize, colors and design.

I’ve been reading Vicki’s blog for several months (we met through sharon b’s Take It Further Challenge, In A Minute Ago is now Pin Tangle) and am always amazed that she gets so many textile-related things done (and posted!), in spite of working and managing some health problems. So…I commented and guess what? On November 6th I won! I selected a tie-dye shirt for my new Grandson (I promise to post more about him later…)

Imagine my surprise when I saw this post last week!

These little baby clothes are for Elaine’s prize from the drawing. She has an adorable grandson with beautiful blue eyes and red-blond hair so I stuck with blues for these outfits.

Vicki's photo of the onesies

Vicki's photo of the onesies

Take a look! There are THREE garments! Wow!

She goes on to claim that she’s not too good at dyeing baby clothes… Ha! Right. lol.

Anyhow, thank you, thank you Vicki!

(in the midst of long work days during harvest 2008 here on the farm)

The weather forecast for today was wonderful – warm (82 degrees F), low humidity, mostly sunny, very little wind – a rare combo here. I pulled out my new Setacolor transparent dyes and did some initial testing of colors on white cotton jersey and on natural colored silk noil.

On the white cotton jersey tshirt:
Setacolor on white cotton jersey

Primary Setacolors on the white cotton jersey:
Primary Setacolor on white cotton jersey

Primary Setacolors on the natural colored silk noil:
Primary Setacolor on natural silk noil

On the silk noil:
Setacolor on silk noil

I was surprised how bright the colors are on the side where they are applied. There’s not a lot of color on the back though, so to me this seems more like paint than dye. The colors I applied to these samples were straight from the bottle, in some cases diluted quite a lot.

How gutsy am I? Here’s the Lauren dress I wore Saturday night and could wear to the wedding this Saturday. The colors are generally flattering, but I think the overall effect is boring:

ralph lauren flowered dress

Wonder what would happen if I were to paint some of this red ochre on the edges of the collar???
ochre and cream dress


May 2018
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In honor of my late father-in-law