About Me

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Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
Jean Cockburn retired from her professional career as an academic librarian in 2008 to become a textile artist living on Denman Island, British Columbia. She draws, quilts, embroiders, knits and crochets, makes wearable art, weaves baskets, dyes fabric, and paints watercolours. Her work has been exhibited locally in juried and group shows on Denman Island, in Courtenay, Comox, and Duncan on Vancouver Island, in West Vancouver, and across Canada with the Surface Design Association.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cochineal dyeing and an art piece to submit to the West Vancouver Ferry Building Gallery

Last year my sister-in-law brought me home some cochineal dye from Oaxaca in Mexico. Over the weekend I dyed a piece of white wool melton. The colour is not as deep as I would have liked, but is still a very soft pleasing red.



I don't think that I scoured the wool fabric as well as I should have, and I did not have alum for a mordant so I just used some cream of tartar. When I rinsed the fabric, after leaving it for 24 hours, so much red dye came out, all over my hands and the towel that I used with the fabric for the final rinse in the washing machine is now a very pleasing pink.

I am using some of the lovely red wool fabric to create an art piece which I will be submitting for possible inclusion in a juried art show at the West Vancouver Ferry Building Gallery, "Love in Many Languages", planned for February 2016.

I drew my husband's right hand, the back of the hand, and my left hand, palm up. Then I used the drawings as templates and traced the images onto some lovely Kona cotton that I had dyed in fall 2014 with Big Leaf Maple leaves. I interfaced the fabric, then free motion quilted the hands onto maple leaf dyed wool felt to give them dimension. Then I cut out the hands very carefully, and satin stitched them to the red wool fabric. Next batting in between, and more red felt as a backing. One line of stitching around each hand to quilt the sandwich, and finally a gold silk binding, that needs to be hand stitched to the back.


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