29 November 2011

whacking stuff with a hammer

This past weekend was incredibly mild weather here in Michigan. To the tune of fifty degrees. If it had been sunny, wearing a coat would have been a debatable thing. 

I was outside in the backyard doing some fall clean up chores and kept stepping on these pesky things:

I don't really know what they are. They look like cherries (clearly they are not) so that's what I call them. Crab apples? Too small for that? No idea. But I have LOT of them milling about on the ground and I noticed that when they pop, they spit out colored juice.


So I gathered this together and mosied out to the blacktop driveway:

 I've kind of got the whole natural dyeing thing on the brain, just as little experiments and these seemed like they have potential.

So I layered the fabric, one layer on the bottom, dumped the cherries on top and then a second piece of fabric on top:

 Commence the whacking with the hammer:

Funny thing about the cherries - they roll incredibly far and shoot out like little bullets when hit just so. I ended up rolling the fabric like a little burrito to keep the buggers inside and I was able to completely pulverize them:

 Kind of pretty. A little stinky since they are busy rotting. But still kind of interesting results anyway:

There are a few things about this that go outside my normal way of working. #1 is that I rarely work on white fabric. But I knew whatever pigment was left in these wouldn't stand a chance against a color fabric so I yanked out some off white Kaufman solid I had in the stash.

The other thing that is different about this for me is that its got pink on it. Pink. My least favorite color in the world. I tend to approach that color much like my sewing machine these days - we're getting used to each other. I'm curious to see if I can work with this color in a way that jives with everything else I do.

I want them to dry out before I rinse them. My theory being that the longer it has to stain, the better the stain will hold. I could be totally wrong. I'm hoping I come away with nifty marks after a water rinse (I know better then to run this through the washer) and then I can start building a piece for the show I'm in in April.

I left them in the garage to dry since its supposed to rain. Wanna bet me the garage smells like a compost pile? ;-)

I'll post what becomes of them, hopefully something interesting.


Anonymous said...

Next time, be prepared with fabric premordanted in alum. The stain from the fruit will stay a little longer. I doubt it will be pink after a rinse. More likely a ruddy tan.

mary said...

i agree it will most likely be a ruddy tan.
i have done some flower pounding and such before and a rubber mallot lets you really take a good whack at it too!

Michigoose said...

They are crab apples....but just a different variety than the kind you purchase for eating. :) Crab apples come in a variety of sizes from pinkie tip sized to the apple sized ones which are preserved and used to be served on buffets...which I adored as a kid.

I'm with yarngoddess. I'm thinking too that you'll get a greyish/tan more from the juice stains than the color from the skin (pinks). But still, I'm sure it was great at getting rid of frustration and experimentation always jazzes one!

Jeannie said...

Sometimes it just feels good to take a hammer to something.;) Maybe next time drive over the fabric burrito with your car - tire tracks + crabapples! Perhaps a sit a bit in some vinegar might help the color stay, but probably will turn beige-ish. What the hey, you had fun - right?

Deb H said...

I can sooo picture this! I bet it was fun too. The Alum will help - you can try mixing some up in a spray bottle and spraying it since the hammer bashing is already a done deal. :o)

Approachable Art said...

And you never know... the pink color now may fade to a more rosy/brown that would be more in line with your aesthetic?

Anonymous said...

How much fun! I liked all the other helpful comments. However, immediately I thought "let the stained cloth dry completely. Then place it flat between two layers of paper - i.e. grocery sack thickness - and iron it very well on HOT. Let cool. Then rinse.
I am anxious to hear about your result with this serendipity. D