Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Intersection of Art and Food

This post doesn't know where it belongs, in Field and Fen, since food comes into it, or in Art the Beautiful, because art pushed its way in.  So it's here, with a link over there!

It all started yesterday, out shopping for various vital ingredients for the next food adventure, when I came across a great buy on a bag of red and yellow onions, one bag of each, inside another bag. So I figured since I'm always using the yellows and wishing I'd remembered to buy reds, here's the chance to have a good supply of both in the freezer.

Then one thing led to another, as they do, and in a few minutes' of boredom this morning, not in the mood for anything, this is usually a sign of trouble for me, because it's when wild ideas come, I thought, hm, since I'm dyeing Dorset buttons for use in my Big Doorway piece, instead of silk dyes, why not take a shot at onionskin dyeing? been thinking about it and not doing it for years.

And then, oh, I have two colors of onions, yay, two sorts of dyes.  So out came the trusty knife and a couple of bags, and I cut the onions across the equator to freeze them -- this will give me the option of rings or dice when I later come to use them, always a good choice to have -- and noted the art of nature in the color and shape of the red onions.

And there were little net bags, thrown in, which will definitely find a home in my textile mixed media.  So I have two bags of onionskins and will transfer them to paper once I find paper bags, better than plastic.  And with my usual Ready! Fire! Aim! methodology, then checked out how to use them in dyeing.  Not too difficult, should be fun to do. I don't need big quantities anyway, and I don't have big quantities of skins.

Then once the onions were labeled and stowed in the freezer, very smug feeling there, and the skins temporarily housed in bags, I sat for a minute then remembered Quinn dunking cherry leaves in I think water....

aha, I pruned the cherry bushes a couple of days ago, to let the spice bush have her day in the sun, and I retrieved the prunings, a lot of leaves on them, and shoved them in a container of water.  

This entailed emptying half the storage place to get at the container and extract it, empty it of other containers, pausing only to repair the wheeled plantstand, which had cast a shoe or two, and put back all the pots and tiles and things.  I did find a handy big pot for another planting purpose, so all this heavy labor in the hot sun was not wasted.

And now I have all these preparations made, for the studio and the kitchen.  Where do artists who don't cook get their raw materials, I wonder?

One of my upcoming art capers entails the use of Vilene, a soluble fabric you stitch on, then wash away the fabric, leaving only the lacy stitching.  So now I'm wondering if I can do the Dorset buttons and intermediate joining stitching for the Big Doorway, on the Vilene, then, instead of dyeing separately, do the dyeing and the dunking at the same time...this could be interesting.  

I've done some dyeing where floss took the dye and the gold threads resisted it, very nice results.  Or it could be one of those what was I thinking operations. We'll see.


Quinn said...

Hey there, and oh my gosh now I have another blog to follow!
Good luck with your experiment - I look forward to seeing the results! I've never dyed with onion skins because I usually only have one onion on hand at a time and I suspected a bit more material would be required.

margaret said...

You are going to be busy, not tried the onion skins as suspect getting rid of the smell of onions could be a problem, will eagerly wait and see if it is or not. Are you using the cherry leaves to dye with too? Can`t wait to see ow the dorset buttons turnout.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I'm late to the party again, so I'm binge-commenting, which I guess is better than binge eating. I will be most interested to see the results of the onion dyeing - often wanted to give it a try but never seem to have enough raw materials on hand.