Friday, April 24, 2009

Tassel Makers

My piece on the The Three Brother Tombs has reached that point where it is almost finished, except I can't help feeling it needs zapping. I have several ideas but need to keep it out of sight for awhile and then re-visit. This is not unusual. I consider it to be a healthy part of the process and usually find that when I do do whatever I think needs to happen next, the result has been very much worth the 'time-out'.

There is always something else to move on to and I have been experimenting with a couple of my printing blocks. These are made from wooden blocks (expertly supplied and cut by wood joiner son). The yellow is a very dense foam which has been carefully cut into strips. These have been stuck on to the block with double-sided carpet tape, obtainable from carpet shops. The block surface is first covered with the tape, then (in this case) the strips accurately placed. The carpet tape is so strong that it is impossible to re-claim a piece of foam wrongly placed as it will be damaged while removing. In fact one has to be careful not to inadvertently touch the tape as it will become a permanent fixture. The whole thing certainly stands the printing processes and washes.

The two blocks I have been using. Next week I will show you how I have made my printing pad.

Two experiments using the blocks and left-over dye and pigment. The left side has had circles of freezer paper ironed on to the cloth to act as a resist. Some sponge rolling on the right and below a carved wooden block. I hope to show you more about this particular block later.

Left over bits of Procion MX dye activated (with soda ash)and Manutex (sodium alginate), all colours combined. More useful than discarding the dye...

Same thing with textile pigment

More photos, this time of the tassel makers. They will make any size, colour tassel, for any decor. I have been asked about the smells in both Syria and Egypt, and I am pleased to say there was no evidence of any. The weather in Syria was surprisingly cold, but not wet; it was very early spring. Egypt was warmer.

Making tassels. Once again the cleanliness of this work area left alot to be desired, but the men seemed happy.

Display of tassels in the shop. Note the very large green one, next to Jackie

Plying gold threads on to spools, just in the photo at the lower edge, ready for including in tassels

Next Blog: Carpet Makers

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