Friday, 11 September 2015

Work in Progress: Kathleen Murphy

A murderous hand..?

 A. Big. Fat. Halt. 
Progress with my project piece came to a shuddering halt in April. Other commitments became more pressing for a while and I was just not feeling enough oomph about any of the ideas in my sketchbook to see them through to completion. I was getting tangled in a need for the piece to have significant meaning and nothing felt meaningful enough. Rather sadly, I had also begun to really dislike the name Daphne.
By this point, as the project's administrator, the other artists began sending me their finished glove pieces. Beautiful, thoughtful, well executed works of art. Gulp. This did nothing to help the creative freeze. 
A few months go by & I'm ever aware of the ticking Daphne clock. I take out the glove again and give it a thorough inspection. It's lacklustre, the fabric has bobbled slightly from wear and it has been repaired twice at the thumb. My initial plan to keep it whole and use it as a hand was blocking me. I needed a new tack.  
There was only one thing for it, Daphne must be chopped up and the glove must DYE!

With a frankly cavalier attitude to plant material choice, I retrieved a bunch of beetroot leaves destined for the bin, a handful of onion skins and a couple of avocado skins for good measure, and concocted a witches brew to boil the offensive item in.  
I wasn't expecting a great result. Not only was it a mixed bag of plant material which may work against each other, the glove hadn't been mordanted in any way. Being a nylon mix fabric, any colour absorption was going to be slim. Some scraps of cotton, wool mix fabric & another old glove were added to the dye pot to see what would happen. The fabric was boiled in the brew for an hour before being allowed to cool in the pot over night. 
Well, what do you know -the pale glove sucked up the colour! Not the most attractive colour, a sort of sickly, lichen-green, but something I could work with. Already I was starting to feel more positive.
So what's next? Ah yes, chopping & the deconstruction of Daphne. Mwoar-ha-ha-hah! "


  1. Go for it Kathleen. Just think your glove had been repaired so the original owner treasured her gloves, was not going to discard just because of a small hole. Now in your hands the glove needs to tell another story and become treasured once more good luck

  2. Thank you for your kind wishes chaps. A new story will emerge...

  3. How intriguing and mysterious, Daphne the phoenix rising to the challenge....

  4. I am off to my allotment to pick chard leaves, beetroot and onions! Have always avoided natural dyeing as I thought you needed a mordant. Seems you don't!

    1. Definitely worth boiling them up Mandy & see what happens! Do share the results.