Powered by Blogger.

Dyeing for More Color!

Everybody knows about my love affair with color, and with that comes a fascination with hand dyeing. I've noticed more and more DIY's popping up that make dyeing easy and exciting. On Pintrest the dyed doily is common sight:

Learn how to do this here

and on Etsy, it's a sea of hand dyed fabric, fiber and ribbons...

Dyed Silk for Nuno Felting from Kangaroodyer

Dyed Ribbon from Goldenonetoo

From the 5dollar French Market

If I google "How To's Hand dyeing" there are directions on how to dye absolutely everything from coconut to your shoes. People use food coloring, onion skins and even  Kool-Aid ( might make you think twice about drinking that stuff....). Humans have always craved color, and the application of it has been a long journey that every culture has participated in. Evidence of dyed fabric goes all the way back to the Neolithic Period, and documented Chinese dyeing techniques span back 5,000 years. Each culture devised it's own methods, utilizing natural materials around them. Many of  these methods evolved into incredibly complicated and carefully guarded secrets. Certain colors were sanctioned as fit for one caste or another, most notabley "Royal Purple". There was an actual law on the books of England that denied all but the high born as fit to wear this hue. A great irony of it all was that often times dyers were consider untouchables, and shunned from society. Although they held the keys to Royal Purple and the ever-sought after True Red, the transformative nature of their gifts was sometimes looked at as witchery, which was not helped by the proprietary and secretive nature of their business.

In Japan, they fared better.  "Shibori" dyeing is considered  fine art there. Basically a refined form of tie-dye, this type of dyeing is considered a "resist", meaning parts of the fabric actually resist the dyeing process.


By painstakingly pleating, binding and sewing large swathes of fabric, complicated, precise patterns of resist are achieved.

Great info on shibori here

And of course, there is the current fascination with all things old and tarnished, which can only lead us to Tea dyeing.

Tea Dyed samples from Tiinateaspoon

This is just a little bit of what's out there, please be sure to click the links to learn more about all of these cool techniques. At some point, I hope to dye my own threads, fabric or fiber and really get down to it! For now, I will just revel in all the color!


I'm back just in time to... stand still

The little one in the photo above was our focus for the past week.  We had such a wonderful time!  Playing, strolling, singing and laughing. Notice not much sleeping mentioned...

Today I sat down to get back to work with full energy only to find out that my printer isn't working, the DVD stuck in my iMac is still there, (need to schlep the machine to the Apple store tomorrow), and email is sporadic.  What's the point of all the energy I was ready to spend?  Arghhh!!

Anyway, it's good to be back and good to be in touch with you all.  I missed this.  Really.

So, hoping to have some good tech news in the next day or so. 

Hope all is well!


History with a friend...

Ruth Schmuff and I go back.  Back to days when we both wondered, should we dare?  Should we dare go out into the needlepoint world in full force?  We talked, it was at a TNNA, at least 15 years ago, and boosted each others confidence.  It was as if we were both standing at the very edge of a diving board, one of those Olympic tall, tall ones, (in this scenario Ruth and I are wearing very tiny bikinis and we look fantastic!), and we are encouraging each other to jump...  and we did.

I spent a fun, fun time teaching at her shop, Bedecked and Beadazzled this weekend.  Since I'm supposed to be taking a hiatus, I will send you over to her blog to read all about it.  Here it is!


Hiatus, vacation, respite, BREAK!

Next week I am going to take a break. No blogging, no phone, no shipping, no emails , no NUTHIN.  Why you ask? Because I'm so tired, because I feel I need some fuel and because I am going to spend the week being a great grandma to Nomi, and a great mom to Nina. My girls need some attention! So for the next week, think of me doing a lot of playing, and a lot of loving!

Tomorrow off to Baltimore to teach and then back home for much needed rest.

I'll miss you!



In Depth...

The Adorn Atelier Kanya Cuff Online Classroom

We have had a lot of questions about the new online classrooms we have opened at Adorn Atelier. So here is a little more about how it works, and what to expect in the weeks to come!

One of the primary reasons that people don't take classes, in real time or online, is scheduling. Everything can get in the way of a weekend workshop or seminar--- so, we thought, why not give them a year to work on a project?

We took four of our best classes and moved them to the new classrooms last week. The picture above gives you an idea of what it looks like. There are videos, charts, lessons and downloads.  And once you sign up (with or without the kit) you will have access for 365 days. If you sign up on May 30, 2012, you will be able to work on your project in the classroom until May 30, 2013. And you get to be part of the ongoing conversations between myself and the class.

New classes will be popping up during the next few months--so give one a try and see if it doesn't fit you like a glove!

Also in class news----if you happen to be driving distance to Maryland, I am giving a spontaneous color class at Ruth Schmuff's Bedecked and Bedazzled Needlepoint store on Saturday! We were talking and talking about using color, and thought--why not??!! This pin design above is the jumping off point for this class, and we will spend the day playing around with color and threads in Ruth's ammmmmaaaaaaazing store! The idea is that by the end of the day you will comfortable with picking your own color schemes, and be able to analyze color better.

If you are dying to join us, learn a bit about color, or maybe do a bit of shopping, just get in touch with Ruth.

And don't forget the 40% off sale is ending soon, and the choices are dwindling!  Head over and scoop up these savings as fast as you can! EVerything is updated as of this morning, so if you tried to get in on it and everything was sold out--there is new stuff on there!!


Dearest Readers... RUN to Adorn!

Deluxe Sewing Kit

I really try to make the blog about my life and work, but occasionally there is a sale worthy of mentioning! Today through Thursday all of the Beader's Toolboxes, Adorn Palettes and lots of other goodies are on sale for 40% off! We need to clear some space for our ANG Seminar preparations, and we know no better way than this to get the job done!

Still a few of these lovlies left!

Teal Bead Toolbox

Only two Taffy Boxes Left!

Also included in the sale Delightful Thread Boxes, Grab Bags and a few remaining instruction books.  So get over there and replenish your stashes!


My Little Girl is all Grown Up!

Knitted ropes by Nina Willis

This weekend Nina and I went  to see the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show! Entitled Craft Spoken Here, it was brimming with work in every medium, from yarn to pottery and glass to wood.  Not only did they have an incredible show full of artwork, but at the end they had onsite craft making activities. Nina took a liking to the finger knitting area, and turned out the lovely knitted ropes in the picture above!!! Nina had such a great time, I have to remember to make more time to do these things with her. She didn't want to leave!
There was a lot of really interesting stuff, most notably the piece pictured below by Rebecca Medel. This series of wire mesh hangings were a mystery until we looked at it up close--the artist had actually painted the mesh in the center white, creating the illusion of the glowing white ball from every angle.

The show is up until August 12th, so if you find yourself near Philadelphia, it is well worth the trip. The best part of it all is that Nina came home with her first commission---A finger knitted rope scarf for a classmate! I am so proud!


My Upgrade

If you follow my blog and websites, you may have noticed that my photos have been get increasingly professional looking, if I may say so myself.  I recently took the plunge and bought a set of professional florescent lights and a tent kit from B&H to photograph with. Looking for the right light to photograph in has long frustrated me, and this seemed like just the thing to streamline my photography process.

The zip up tent breaks up the light and creates a soft glow on all my work. Here it is pictured unzipped. Normally, the front panel is zipped up and only the lens of the camera is pushed through to take the picture. This insures that the light is bouncing around from all sides, and the piece is lit evenly.

My new Midday Garden was shot "In the Tent"
Add to that last falls purchase of my Canon EO5 Rebel Camera, and the quality of the pictures has just gone through the roof! You can see the ethereal quality that the work takes on under this diffused light. Really makes me happy! And I am sure it makes for a much better experience--did anyone notice a difference?


Four New Adorn Classrooms!!!

Over the past few years, I have offered many different online classes. Building Adorn Atelier this year has really brought home to me the continuing need for solid, accessible online learning. Without a doubt, online classes are the most economical and easiest way a student can invest in their skills. To be able to work on what you love in your own time, in your own home, yet have the support of other stitchers and a teacher--this learning situation cannot be matched.

Recently, we decided to make this whole online thing even easier. We are now offering Encore versions of my most popular classes! Any participating student will have access to a virtual classroom, where you will have unlimited access to the materials for one year. You can sign on to ask questions, gain insight from other students, watch how to videos and download lesson information.  All at your leisure.

There are two ways to enjoy these classes--as a Class Participant only, or as a Class Participant with a kit. More classes will be added as time goes on, and not just from me! Classes by Teresa Perleberg, Yoola, and Cynthia Emerlye, and new additions to our Adprn Atelier roster will all become available on a rolling basis over the next few months.

To start it all off, I have brought back four of the most popular classes of all-time-- Cirque de Fleur, Squaredance, Kanya and Petit Trianon.

Kanya Cuff

Kanya Cuff is one my most popular and interesting designs. Available in two colorways, this design in particular really benefits by having a teacher along for the ride.  I did this class last year, and the results from my students were above and beyond what I have seen from stitchers working the piece on their own. Everyone loves this design because after the making, the wearing feels so good!

Also available for classes is Cirque De Fleur. I have run this class twice and have found that students really enjoy the unique challenges that this design throws at them! Hand cut Ultrasuede appliques, sequin application, combination stitches and a host of silk threads all add up to an exotic, colorful extravaganza.

Then there is this tiny wonder: Petit Trianon.

Available in two colorways, Chateau or Jardin, this four lesson exploration of perfect craftsmanship will whet your appetite for precision and craftsmanship.

And last but not least--Squaredance! This design is a modern day sampler that will give your skills a stretch! Bite-sized stitches, like a box of tiny brilliant candy, will wow and delight you. Practice your skill with metallics and other specialty threads, and give yourself a chance to work on your appliques!

So if you are looking for a simple effective way to expand your skills, or if you are ready to take on a tougher design, but need some support, click on over to Adorn Atelier, and give yourself a bunch of things to do this summer!


No Lib Door

That's not Latin in the title--it's the abbreviation for where I live. "No Libs" is the local slang for Northern Liberties. Northern Liberties was actually not an original part of Philadelphia, and was only added on in 1803. Where it was located, just north from the city proper, made it ideal for manufacturing of all kinds, including mills, tanneries, breweries, or in the case of my building, cigars! It is also listed as a famous red-light district in the US, and later, as Philadelphia's first suburb. That must have been some transition....

Germans and later Eastern Europeans established themselves in this neighborhood, and contributed to the overall look of the housing and architecture. Which is where I am going with all this---May I present you with the Doors of Northern Liberties!

The door that started my picture taking.....

....has a mere post it note to identify it.

The Ornate...
and Exotic....

Colonial detailing.....

and Gingerbread styling.
The Forgotten...
....the Quaint...

and the Regal.
Some have Good Bones...

and some need a knob or two.
Some tell us a lot about what goes on in there...
maybe more than we want to know!

This one is done up right...

..and this one just looks inviting.

And this one is the Door to the Secret Garden!
It's a diverse place to live, certainly, I see the changes every day between the old and the new, the bought and the sold. Northern Liberties is an ever changing landscape, and I never get tired of seeing what happens next!


Yummy Art

I am always looking for new ways to do things, new ways to look at things. I love to be stumped and then come out on the other side with a clever idea, a clever creation. So when I came across these new pictures by the art and design collective NAM,  something about them pulled me to look closer. These are not digitally altered photos, they are full sets, hanging on strings. Even the flowing chocolate is real and 3D!

Every image is a single photo, unaltered, untouched. It's funny that with all the digital world swirling around us, there is such a deep inner instinct to make things with our hands. This series was created for the Harbour City Chocolate Trail for the Hong Kong Blood Cancer Foundation. To really understand the beauty of these sets, check out this video below.


About This Blog

©Orna Willis
All images, text, and content on this site are the sole property of Orna Willis and may not be used, copied or transmitted without the express consent of Orna Willis. Any other inquiries please email me at orna@ornadesign.com

Blog Archive