Shows

Where to find Nancy Newman Textiles this summer

Hi there.  This is just a quick blog post to let you know where to get my purses this summer.  

Outdoor shows: none.

I have found in the past that dragging a huge tent and all my stock into the middle of a park to sit in the extreme heat, or pouring rain, for the privilege of selling my purses, was more than I was prepared to do anymore.  In one show I sat in rain and bone chilling cold, wearing everything I brought with me in an effort to keep warm. The winds were so high, several people lost their tent.  They just blew away.

Last summer I participated in a show on a really hot summer day.  All the tents were lined up in a row in the full sun and there was no breeze.  It was stifling.  So hot that a woman passed out from the heat in my tent.  We had to call the EMT and they came with a stretcher, brought her back to life and took her to the hospital.  

It was the most action my booth got all weekend.

Sometimes this is a weird way to make a living. So I have decided to no longer do outdoor shows.

I will however be taking part in this year's Newcastle Arts Festival in Newcastle, Ontario.

A Gift of Art is having their 11th annual Newcastle’s Arts Festival on July 7th & 8th in the Newcastle Memorial Arena. The Show is free to the public and runs from 10:00am – 4:00 pm both days.  There will be music on both days, live art demonstrations, a special activity area for kids, paint and create, as well as great prizes. This year there will be a variety of door prizes such as a Keurig machine with 4 boxes of coffee, a gift card to The Keg, tickets for the Steam Whistle Brewery tour and more!

And it's indoors.

If you are not in the Newcastle area. my Etsy shop is open for business 24 hours a day.  I have just finished a new batch of Kathy the Kantha's, and Suzanne the Party Purses, and will have them up shortly.  Keep checking in.

If you'd like to come and see them in person, bring a friend, and give me some notice so I can clean up the chaos that I work in. You can also visit the Lucy Maude Montgomery house and historical Church that are just down the road from our house in beautiful downtown Leaskdale, just a few minutes north of Uxbridge.

Have a wonderful summer.

Nancy

Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/NancyNewmanTextiles?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

Email: nancy@nancynewmantextiles.com

Newcastle Arts Festival: http://agiftof-art.com/events/

Shibori Dyeing

Playing with Indigo Shibori

I do not profess to be an expert at anything, so this is definitely not a tutorial.  I just want to share the fun I have in making things, especially when I make them with dye.  Dye has a voice of its own and it's a pointless venture to try to control it.  The best you can manage is so share that voice and marvel in its message.  

This is especially true with indigo.  It is a natural dye made from plants and doesn't behave like chemical dyes do.  It seeps into the fabric in a myriad of ways, often not the way you wanted.  I find it's best just to wait until the process is done and revel in the surprises that await you.

To get started, you will of course, need the dye and (unfortunately) a few chemicals to start the process.  In Canada you can purchase pre-reduced indigo and everything you need at G&S Dye in Toronto, Ontario, or Maiwa on Granville Island in BC. 

Their websites also have loads of instruction so you can follow that as well.  This is just my journey.

I used the handy kit from G&S this time, that has pre-measured amounts of what you need.  The first thing to do is wash the fabric to get rid of any sizing.  You can only use natural fibres here, as synthetics won't pick up the dye.  You can use the soap that they sell at G&S, which is called TNA., and it works well.

The kit comes with:

80 gm of pre-reduced indigo

100 gms of thiorea dioxide or thiox

100 gms of sodium carbonate

 First add the indigo to warm water and dissolve in into a soupy paste.  Add that to a large vat of warm water.  I have one that is originally for canning and the dark blue seems to keep the vat warm. 

 One vat is for soaking the fabrics, and the big blue canning vat is for the indigo.  Always wear your gloves.  Blue fingers are a sign of a dyer, but not terribly healthy.

One vat is for soaking the fabrics, and the big blue canning vat is for the indigo.  Always wear your gloves.  Blue fingers are a sign of a dyer, but not terribly healthy.

Next, paste the thiox in some warm water.  This might be challenging so add a little more warm water until you can't see the thiox any longer.  Pour gently into the vat along the sides.  Do not disturb the water if you can.  Adding oxygen to the mix will deplete the indigo and you don't want to do that.

 It takes awhile to dissolve it thoroughly, but persist and add a bit more water until the mixture is clear.

It takes awhile to dissolve it thoroughly, but persist and add a bit more water until the mixture is clear.

Boil the kettle and dissolve the sodium carbonate in that.  This is also a tough thing to do, but keep bashing it against the sides, and perhaps add a bit more water until it is thoroughly dissolved.  Slide this gently into the vat as well, put a lid on it and, if possible, place it in the sun where it will be warmed up.  Let it sit until it forms a bloom and you're ready to go.

 It smells kind of weird and has a coppery texture, but this is just the most beautiful sight to see in an indigo vat.

It smells kind of weird and has a coppery texture, but this is just the most beautiful sight to see in an indigo vat.

Remove the bloom with a spoon and save it until you're finished, then return it to the pot.

Shibori is an ancient method of producing a pattern on fabric, and it has been practised in Japan for centuries. You can read a little about it at the World Shibori Network.

I used simple blocks and folding techniques because the repeating of the shapes creates the patterns, and it some how feels more traditional.  I'm all about traditions and old things, as you can tell by the textiles I use in my purses.  

 Because I have used my blocks a lot of times, I protect the fabric with a little bit of waxed paper to keep the fabric clean and the lines clear.

Because I have used my blocks a lot of times, I protect the fabric with a little bit of waxed paper to keep the fabric clean and the lines clear.

There are a lot of fun ways to fold and clamp, as well as tie off, wrap around poles, stitch and even just scrunch, so I played with a few methods, but mostly stuck with simple blocks.  Once you've got them ready, be sure to soak them well, at least 10 minutes in water before you dye them.  I let them sit in the indigo for at least 10 minutes, take them out and let them dry for an hour or so, before dipping them again.  It's the oxidation that makes the indigo work.  Then I repeat for 4 to 10 times.  It usually takes a few days to do the whole process.

 Basic block and clamping.  The long stick has been wrapped and the scarf was folded on the diagonal.

Basic block and clamping.  The long stick has been wrapped and the scarf was folded on the diagonal.

The best way to set the colour is to let it air out, preferably for 2 months.  But, who am I kidding, I don't have the patience for that!  Once it's finally dry, open it up and let it sit out for as long as you possibly can, before rinsing it out.

To rinse out, use the TNA mentioned earlier, or Ivory liquid soap.

Use a three step rinse:

Cold water, then cold with a drop of TNA,

Warm water, then warm with a drop of TNA,

Hot water, then hot with a drop of TNA

Rinse in cool water and air dry for another week.

The most important thing is to have fun.  I'll show you how they turned out in another post. Gotta keep you guessing for a little bit.

Market Bags

Kantha Quilts

One of the biggest joys I experience in making my purses, is working with such beautiful textiles.  Each piece has a history and personality that you just can't get with a roll of industrially made fabric.  Sure, those rolls of perfectly printed motifs are lovely, and I have to say, much easier to work with,  but there isn't the life in them that a hand made textile has.

A new shipment of Kantha quilts recently arrived from India and these babies are steeped in history.  Each quilt is made of at least 4 layers of cotton saris. Each of these saris has had a life of it's own, perhaps taking a young woman through the first years of her marriage, wearing that sari in that special colour of blue that sets off her eyes just the right way.  

Each sari has it's own story to tell, and when they are worn out, they are layered with others, and stitched together by hand.  This alone is a feat of marathon proportions.  Most of the quilts I've managed to find have thousands of hand stitches, holding all these layers together.  It must take months of work.  

Some have patches where the fabric has been worn through, and these patches, tiny and brightly coloured, add another layer of interest.  And much like the boro of Japan, each layer of work, each bit of fabric stitched on to cover wear, tells its own story.  I just wish I knew them all. 

There is a long history of Kantha stitching, and some is amazing elaborate.  Perhaps that's a topic for another blog.  But I just wanted to pass on some of the excitement I feel when these quilts arrive.

Mixing cultures a little, I fold them and sew them into an Origami Market Bag, a traditional Japanese pattern.  These bags sit nicely on your shoulder and carry lots of goodies.  They can be a purse, a grocery bag, an overnight bag and even a beach bag.  Soft, versatile and colourful. these will take you just about anywhere.