Installation of Kimono Silks

June 3rd, 2011

Here a few shots of the elegant new Kimono Silks up at 214 King Street (The Real Estate Studio) through June 21st. Thank you to all who came out to the opening. We had a great crowd of folks actively observing and talking about the art. You can attend the show Monday-Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 12-5.

Waxing and dyeing the full moon with Dana’s Howling

February 1st, 2011

Dana Downs’ The Howling Moon is a favorite at the Fraser studio–always an album that beacons a repeat.  Mary Edna completes the final waxing and dyeing of her moonscape reflected on water while listening to Dana’s unreleased southern folk opera.  We can’t help but sing along as Dana’s sweet somber tone fills us with the kind of joy only found on a stormy day.

A final waxing to make the flowers float

January 27th, 2011

To achieve the feeling of floating on water, Mary Edna needs to capture the ripples created in the movement of water.  Horizontal lines across the work will save streaks of the lighter gray and a darker background will be added during the final dye bath.

Mary Edna carefully holds her natural fiber brush at a precise angle to achieve a desired width and quality of line.  Many of her brushes are so old that she has had to cut the bristles to create a point on them again.

Working steadily with the brush, Mary Edna moves quickly with the hot wax, but slowly enough to control the medium.  She often braces her body, putting all of her focus on a single movement of the brush.

The hot wax must be placed close to the batik in progress, but far enough away to avoid splatters and drips.

Seen from the bottom, the waxed colors are luminous, appearing closer to how they will look on the finished work when the wax is removed.

Mary Edna finishes dyeing this work with a final bath of dark, moonlit water.  The center of the pink flowers are differentiated with a lemon yellow.

The fine detail of this work and its variation of color within a selected palette will be clear once the wax is removed.

Waxing floral details

January 24th, 2011

After Mary Edna’s floral batik has dried, she is ready to apply the third layer of wax.  The dried silk shows color as it will appear in the finished piece.  By waxing them in, those hues will be saved.  Darker tones that will be added during the final dyebath will dramatically change the art when complete, giving it depth and detail not yet visible.

Waxing a single, small batik can take all day to finish or even longer, depending on the intricacies of the design.

Not only are the pinks waxed over, but fine details of the chrysanthemums and leaves will be saved too.

A single drop of wax causes a dramatic change in the appearance of the work, although it does not change the color that will appear once the wax is removed.  Because the wax makes color appear darker, Mary Edna holds the memory of the dried colors in her mind as she works.

After waxing in all the pink flowers, Mary Edna flips the batik and works from the backside to make sure all the wax has fully penetrated the fabric.

A little wax is added to a flower from the backside of the art so that no dye can access the fuchsia design.

Mary Edna creates a moonlit edge out of the negative space formed by a flower stem.  Gray tones will be added to mute the yellow-green background in the next step of the process.

Batiks in progress

January 20th, 2011

Mary Edna is in a period of prolific art production.  Currently she is working on three batiks in her studio for the upcoming Kimono Silks exhibition at 214 King Street in Charleston from May 12 to June 21, 2011, coinciding with Spoleto.

Collected on Mary Edna’s last trip to Australia, this vintage damask silk has a flower motif woven into the fabric. Chrysanthemums, leaves, and stems float over the design.

This is Mary Edna’s first work capturing the realism of flowers on kimono silk.  The full moon enters the work as if reflected in a pool of water.  Chinese sumi brushes ordered from Dharma Trading Company are made from bamboo and natural fibers designed to hold up against the hot wax.  These brushes, along with the fine lines created by the tjanting tool, allow for a variety of markings.

Mary Edna’s studio doubles as a gallery space when it’s not filled up with giant batiks on silk.

Fuchsia flowers on a pale green background will dry much less vibrant for a subtlety of color and antique quality that Mary Edna anticipates.  She pins her work to wooden saw horses so that the silk can be turned easily, keeping the wax from cracking, and making dye and wax application exact.

Using a few shades of green, Mary Edna creates gradients of color to gives leaves depth and turn. Blending the pinks with greys, the background will eventually appear much more like moonlight with only a little green saved for stems and leaves.

Thick wax creates a yellowing effect in the bold flower designs. When removed, the white details will really sing. Until the work is complete, Mary Edna can only imagine the elegance of the finished art.

KIMONO SILKS

October 28th, 2009

De Grebner in Melbourne

October 26th, 2009

My friend De made my transition from the States to Australia a comfortable landing. One of the best gifts in life are friendships that never get lost and remain solid through the years. We had fun looking for the kimono silks.

Sydney

October 13th, 2009

After an engaging week of  teaching batik for TAFTA my travel from Melbourne to Sydney was a restful sunset flight.

Sylvia Riley, who I tutored in the 2007 class in Orange, Australia, kindly shuttled me to her home at Homebush in Olympic Park.  Her 4th story apartment faces a mangrove forest.

Sylvia is an accomplished silk painter and owns the business www.silksational.com.au. I bought incredible vintage kimono silks, books, and supplies for batik which will be shipped home.

Our first day we traveled to the Blue Mountains to collect plants for eco dyeing. We toured the Three Sisters at Katoomba

with daughter Bianca and friend Petra

and Black Heath bush.

At the home of Allison and Derek Murphy in Dargan.

Sylvia began collecting eucalyptus bark and leaves, bracken fern, lichen, and flowering eggs and bacon plant for us to use for natural dyes.

Silks were first scoured to accept the dye. My job was to mangle leaves separated into 3 pots of simmering water to extract dyes from eucalyptus, braken ferns, and tea tree.

Sylvia carefully folded plants in to create patterns with the Japanese shibori technique of clamping and binding

The day was spent mordanting silks in alum and stirring the pots loaded with silk.

A few samples of the natural dyed silks that will be shown December – January in Charleston,

KIMONO SILKS.

More to come,

Mary Edna


Melbourne

September 29th, 2009

Dear Friends,

My dear friend De, her mother Mrs. Grebner, and daughter Autumn and I went in the rain to the Kazari www.kazari.com.au warehouse called Ziguzagu in Melbourne. I rummaged through 5 boxes of vintage white kimono silks each 13.5″ wide. My purchases were two bolts and 3 yards of damask silks.

De’s home is a walled garden of fruit trees, flowers and seedlings she is growing to replant in Australia, often for places burned by devastating fire. (The images above capture just some of her beautiful plantings.)

WILSONS PROMONTORY BATIK

There is a 14 hours time change from Charleston, so it felt good to let jet lag subside before teaching for the TAFTA Forum, The Australian Forum for Textile Arts, Ltd. www.tafta.com.au

The Geelong Forum is on a campus about an hour and a half from Melbourne on the water where Antarctic winds blow in cold air across Tasmania. The cafeteria looks like Harry Potter could fly in any minute. This is the kind of school that Prince Charles attended. Beautiful grounds are the path to my class of 11  housed in a huge woodworking classroom with lots of tables and high ceilings.


Sunday night was the opening of my exhibition with three other textile artists at the Sinclaire Gallery followed by our 15 minute presentations in the auditorium. There are 350 textile lovers here, the forum is like a magnet for women who love surface design.

I have many good friends from my workshops in 2007 and already arranged a trip to teach in England and also travel to Darwin and fly the northern Australian coast. So exciting to be here. There are folks here who sell to the trade, and I can buy rare vintage Kimonos… One was purchased for my grands and one for MEF! Also, hiding was a bolt of exquisite white damask kimono silk, which I will dye when I get home.

More to come,

Mary Edna