Saturday, May 21, 2011

A bird is nesting

I saw this pic on someone's blog of a humming bird in a nest and loved it.

Unfortunately I can't remember which blog I saw it on. The picture gave me the inspiration to start my latest piece. If anyone recognises the picture can you please advise so I can give credit to the photographer.

I chose three shades of green and cut numerous leaf shapes which have been basted on to some cream flannelette backing. There is a lot more stitching to come, finer branches and more leaves..... lots more growth to come.

For the nest I have used some white silk which has been dyed using pottasium permanganate. This is an interesting technique which I picked up from Ailee Snow who was my tutor at the Tafta Orange Fibre Forum in April.

Place dampen silk pieces in an alfoil tray, scrunching them into folds, then lightly sprinkle over the pottasium permanganate crystals. The crystals eat into the fabric leaving lovely lacey patterns and staining the fabric. The process works faster on lighter weights of silk, so it's just a matter of checking the fabric every so often to see how much has been eaten away. Medium weight silks take approximately 2 hours. This process will work on any natural fibre material. I experimented with various natural fabrics with varying degrees of success but I found silk works the best. This is a piece I did in class which I have used for the nest.

PS: Can anyone else see a cat on the lower left hand side of the piece. Enlarge for a better look!


  1. I envy you your dying experiments. I never have time and then there is also the phobia I have of dirty's true, I can't bear it!

  2. Yes definitely a cat lurking there, but then my friends are often amused that I claim to see all sorts of creatures and shapes in hand dyed fabric and paper!

  3. Judy, just to let you know you won the Faerie Shoes Giveaway.Would you email me your address thanks.

  4. The nice thing about KMnO4 is that you can bleach it back to the give the original colour of the fabric... try it with lemon juice if you don't want to use nasty stuff....

  5. Oh and of course those of us who mess with chemicals need to be aware of the dangers... check it out.
    Thanks for following me by the way... It means a lot to me.

  6. Lovely birds nest & interesting dye technique - haven't tried that one yet.
    Thanks for your comment.

  7. Yes, definately try dyeing the fabric a nice shade of brown with the crystals and then discharge with lemon juice.
    Thanks for following my blog.