It’s been like, my thing, to conjur cute, memorable nature-inspired names for my Etsy listings. But I am better at tie-dying than the naming of things. Most of my colorful listings are named after fruits (or fruited desserts), or herbs, or seasons and weather phenomemna.
Yeah, okay. I spend a lot of time coming up with not so clever results. Like a chump. Because it turns out, some old European dudes did all the hard work for me a couple hundred years ago.
Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours is a 19th Century work that lists colors with poetic names and where you can find said hue in nature. Take Brownish Orange, which can be found in The Eyes of the Largest Flesh Fly. Or Blueish Green, like the Egg of Thrush.
(Check out the post linked below for pics and color swatches and old-timey penmanship.)
Every where you turn, little cacti are showing up on reception tables, home stores, in commercials and marketing photography…(guilty!). You don’t have to live in the desert to be barraged with the little buggers. Last weekend, I left a theatre fundraiser with a couple of good sized succulents. Used as table centerpieces, I couldn’t believe my luck that a pinkish one lasted through clean-up. I got to take it home, along with another green little orphan.
I just love the way color comes through succulents. The teals and pinks and greens are so unique and specific to desert flora. I don’t have any dye powders that match the subtle hues, but I was still inspired by them as I indulged in my weekly dye session.
I tied a cotton baby tee shirt and a cotton jersey baby onesie with the classic sunburst style and experimented with procion dyes. The pinkish mottled effect was acheived with ice-dying while the rest of the colors were dipped or squirted on. I didn’t acheive quite the same colors as the potted inspiration, but I’m still very pleased with the results. (Both are now listed over at my etsy store: BlitheStarBaby, btw).
In my last post, I hinted at my obessession with bees.
I also threatened crafts inspired by a frolic in the California poppies.
Well, here’s proof I’m a woman of my word:
This baby tee was ombre dyed to a rich marigold with fiber reactive dye, then washed & dried gently. It also needed an ironing to be a good canvas for ink stamping. I stamp baby clothes with ink instead of painting on them. Flaky or puffy fabric paints on baby stuff just makes me anxious.
Isn’t that little bee the cutest? It’s my favorite block stamp – today, anyway. Tomorrow, I might be all about the hummingbird action. For now though, I’m really into little bees. This little bee.
But come bee-stamping time, I find that my black ink pad was totally dried out. Whoopsies. I had dyed a bunch of fabric and stuff yellow to go bee-stamping wild, only to be foiled by an old pad. Serves me right, I guess. I kind of took old blackie for granted.
Of course, that didn’t stop me from finishing this project. I had the crafting bug, pun intended, and I had to see it through. While perusing my ink stash, I was drawn to this awesome elderberry ink pad – really dark reddish purple. I gave that a go, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s for sure better than black. It doesn’t really look very purple against the yellow, it’s just more…vivacious than straight black would have been. And that vibe really echoes the intense wildflowers at the preserve the other day.
I live in Southern California and we happen to be experiencing a “super bloom” this spring. We finally had nice and rainy winter which has caused an explosion of green… and orange… and more…
I left my comfortable Hollywood hovel for a two hour drive into the wilds of Antelope Valley to witness the floral boom. Mother Nature did not disappoint.
This was my first visit to see the poppies in my 20 years of California residence, I’m ashamed to say. And aside from seeing the poppies, I was hoping to get some insect actions shots. You know, like a dragonfly (the namesake of this blog) or a butterfly daintily landing on a poppy for a little photogenic rest.
Nope, no dragonflies, darters or damselflies today. The poppies were left to hog the glory for themselves. Which is how poppies like it anyway.
Instead, I heard some buzzing in these purple things. I followed betwixt and between, from blossom to bud but this little bee was not in the mood for posing. Can you see her in the photo above? She’s the blob in the center.
Even in close-up, she’s hard to see. It’s like she didn’t want Instagram fame.
And the only butterfly I saw was gray. I didn’t even know butterflies came in gray.
Fine, maybe it’s a moth. Not to be judge-y, but I was hoping for more dazzle from the insect classes.
But then again, anyone would look drab next to this:
If you would like to see the best shots of my poppy hunting, check out the CopperShots gallery. Now I’m off to plan some crafting projects using these great color combos. Thanks for the inspiration, Nature!
I attended the beautiful Women’s March in Los Angeles on Saturday, one of the highest attended sister marches supporting the Women’s March on Washington. The city center of Los Angeles was overwhelmed with peaceful marchers – organizers had expected about 80,000 attendees but 750,000 of us showed up! So many of us spent hours in packed subway cars to get to downtown, by the time I arrived there were too many people for a formal march! We just spilled out and circled the blocks around the government buildings for a few hours.
As a first time marcher, I was thunderstruck by the creativity displayed in the sign art. I didn’t know that was such a thing! Some were outright gorgeous, some were hilarious, others thought-provoking but all were inspiring. And it sure was heart-warming to see directly how other folks were feeling as I was. In a very real and direct way, I wanted to be involved with my fellow citizens and actively participate in community-building again. (It’s been a few months since I felt plugged in.)
And those Pussyhats!
You are probably at least somewhat aware of the #pussyhatproject by now. But if you aren’t sure of the meaning behind it, simply put: it is a visual way to show support for women’s rights. It was originally conceived in part for supporters of the Women’s March on Washington who could not make it to DC for the march but still wanted to participate in the process. Do check out their website for more info on how to support future events with crafting and/or for patterns if you haven’t yet made your own #pussyhat.
My crafting obsession began with crochet – for years I was a hat crocheting fiend. Ask my family, they received hand-crocheted gifts for every holiday and birthday for a few years. While I have expanded my crafty repertoire to knitting and sewing and fiber dying & stamping, crochet (and hats!) will always be my first love. So you have to know that I was beyond delighted with all the pussyhats on display on that historic day. Here, all of my interests have collided: crafting, photography, and supporting women’s rights. Please enjoy the #pussyhats of Los Angeles!
My first great crafting obsession was crochet. I collected tons of patterns from the internet and started building up pretty good yarn stash. I constantly crocheted cloches – every gift-giving holiday was an excuse for foisting my handmade hats on loved ones.
Somewhere, somehow that crochet habit evolved to knitting. It’s much more of a time investment, more tools, more techniques to master. More polished results. And the yarn hoard exploded.
Oh, there was also jewelry-making phase followed by a candle-making chapter. Which required the purchase of a metric ton of new crafty doo-dads, what-nots, and assorted paraphernalia.
Then I shifted to sewing. Maybe because I could produce more things faster? Maybe because it’s about mastering new skills? Also: fabric hoarding is like, the heroin of crafting related addictions.
At the moment, though, I am all about the ice dye.
There is just something about the mystery of the color-breaking.
It’s like Christmas morning, you know you are going to get something…but you don’t know what it will be until you open it.
Each new crafty project lends suspense: “Can I actually make this work? Will it become a thing?” And that’s exciting, right? Until you hit a certain level of experience, that is. Once you reach a certain mastery of a technique, the suspense fades. You know you can make a thing. More than that, you can even predict how to best tweak a pattern or create your own variation. Then you have to find a new mystery, a new technique. A new obsession.
Or is that just me?
Ice dying keeps me guessing – in the good way. The color bursts by it’s own rules. It blends and blurs depending on the make-up of the dye, the size of the cubes, the amount of cubes, the chemistry of the fiber additives. Even the the ambient room temperature as the ice melts factors in to the mix. So while the technique is easy to set-up for some gorgeous results, you just don’t know what flavor of gorgeous is going to remain until the excess dye is washed out.
It’s a hardcore habit now. I mean, I am writing this post to distract myself from the dye dealer. Yeah, that’s right. Ice dying is so addictive, I’ve been making multiple supply purchases each week for the last month or so.
You want some of that mystery?
I’ll break it down in new post soon. I’ll keep you in a little suspense until then.
Walking around the Lake Hollywood Reservoir this summer, I was stalked by dragonflies.
I was training for a hiking vacation in Scotland while percolating on a concept for my next one woman show and also juggling ideas for tweaking product lines for my Etsy store and this big, showy dragonfly buzzed by. And then another. And another. I started to keep count, but so many of them circled around me that I lost track. It was thrilling. I love dragonflies, and these were such a dramatic carnelian red. (As a natural ginger, I totally identify with that. Is that weird?) They inspired a costume idea for a character I am working on. And they reminded me of my childhood by the lakes, of lazy summer days with my siblings and cousins and how we delighted in their iridescent dances.
Each time I returned to the Reservoir to work out, every dragonfly fly-by seemed purposeful. Like they wanted my attention. They’d buzz in and circle long enough to catch my attention and as soon as I notice them, they buzz off. Kind of like my relationship with my creative projects – one thing inspires another and that sparks something else and my minds races to follow.
I always have a few creative projects active at any given time. Sparked by a universal archetype, or a seasonal event or regional color scheme, or even another work of art; they often feed each other. You’ll see what I mean if you stick around.
This blog will journal the sights and experiences that spark my creative works-in-progress. Dragonfly – as the Scarlet Darter – serves as a totem and namesake.