The Happy Pigment

Tie dye, fabric and textiles artist and lover


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Fluid art

I’ve been bitten by the fluid art bug. Resin, acrylic pour, alcohol inks, I love it. And it’s everywhere, everyone’s doing it. Type in #fluidart on instagram and hundreds of thousands of results show up. So I’ve jumped on the band wagon and started making my own style of fluid art, on fabric.

orange and blue violet

I am passionate about recycling, so where possible I try to use recycled materials for all my art works. To make my style of fluid art I used recycled matboard (you know that board used for framing) and recycled fabric. Just bits of cotton that I’ve picked up from the op shop or from Reverse Garbage in Brisbane (my second favourite shop).

blue and black cherry

I had quite a few goes at it before I was happy with any of the results and discovered that less is definitely more in this case. I use Procion mx fibre reactive dyes for all my dyeing and it is strong stuff! And for this project a little bit goes a long long way because I’m using small pieces of fabric that are not folded like tie dye.

ice fluid art

These pieces and more will all be for sale from the 8th of Feb either through my Etsy shop or Facebook  or Instagram. Or you can always contact me here.

 

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Clear out!

I have so many creative ideas bursting out of my brain 24/7 but most of them require funding. So I’m on a mission this week to sell everything I have from last year, and sell it fairly cheaply too might I add! If it’s not gone in a fortnight, I’ll head down the the local Sunday markets to see if I can’t move it all.

Before you start selling online no one tells you just how hard it is. A bit like when you have kids really! (Insert evil laugh) it takes a hell of a lot of effort. And I’m finding myself working harder and harder everyday! But I guess I’m struggling with transitioning from the stock that I have left over from last year and the things that I want to have for this year. I’m not a fan of the grey area!

If you’d like to see everything I have for sale, drop me a line and I’ll fill you in x


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Sew Good.

I don’t know any woman that doesn’t love a light summer cardigan on a breezy evening!

I love them so much but rarely find what I want in the shops. So I’ve begun making my own. Problem solved!

Ages ago my mother in law gave me I light rayon summer cardigan thats a one size fits all thing. And I loved it and wore it heaps but rayon is not my favourite fabric to wear. When I had a look at it I realised the pattern was so incredibly easy that I just had to make one in a fabric that I find more comfortable, which is just a simple lightweight cotton jersey that I purchased online from www.remnantwarehouse.com . Their fabrics are great and way more affordable than at a Spotlight store.

I set about dyeing the fabric first using the low water immersion technique, which is one of my favourite tie dye technique mostly for it’s quick batching time. I planned for it to be a big double spiral so that when you lift your arms it appears like a butterfly image on your back.

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The pattern is one big rectangle with the top and bottom hemmed as well as the sleeves. So Simple! and The results were amazing. I am so happy with it. Although I’m waiting for Autumn because Brisbane Summer is just a bit too hot!

If you would like to order a summer cardigan like this just contact me and we can arrange it with your choice of colours and patterns =)

You can also find instructions on how to tie dye with the low water immersion technique on Paula Burch’s website http://www.pburch.net/dyeing/lowwaterimmersion.shtml

 


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#Goals

This is kind of a new years post but a couple of weeks late!

2017 was a rocking year of change and personal growth for me. I prematurely started a hobby business tie dyeing clothes with no real planning. I ran my first market stall and threw myself out of my comfort zone time and time again almost in desperation! No longer could I sit back and just be a mum.

Now that it’s 2018 (and I am turning 30 very soon!) I can look back on last year and laugh and be proud of everything I accomplished. I set goals and I achieved them. And that feels amazing! I feel more satisfied with what I have done in 1 year than ever before. But I also look back and see that all of those achievement were just stepping stones for the great things to come in not just 2018 but in the next 5 years before my youngest child goes to school.

I went from dyeing clothing to donna covers and tapestries. From buying clothing to dye from op shops and chain stores to dyeing fabric and sewing my own clothing designs (I will post on that very soon). All of which led to creating original artworks that I feel are a true expression of myself and my experiences and being able to share these with my greater community and the world via this rich online community.

As I said, it was a rocking year!

But here is 2018 and it’s time to set out what I want and need to happen this year. So number 1 goal for 2018 is Only do what you love. With each birthday that passes I have come to realise with most things, if you don’t love it you will never be satisfied with it. And if you don’t love it, it shows in your end result. So in a practical sense for me that means the only t-shirts I will be dyeing are custom orders, or gifts for family and friends. I don’t love buying t-shirts to dye and selling them either online or at markets, so I’m not doing it anymore. I am still going to do markets but I’ll be selling items I’ve sewn and dyed myself and the big, badass donna covers that are far more rewarding.

doona

Goal number 2 is to increase my online presence. Technology is racing forward at a hot pace and if you’re not online, it’s hard to keep up. Even though I often loath sitting at the computer or doing anything on my phone, I realise that it’s an integral part of any modern business. So that is why I am making an conscious effort everyday (or at least every other day) to contribute to this online world and community. So far so good with that one.

Goal number 3 is to sell my artworks. It sounds pretty simple, pretty achievable. But I’m finding there’s a bucket load of other things that I need to improve on to achieve this. I don’t have a budget where I can hire help with things, at home or professionally so it’s lucky that I’m good at researching! I need to work on photographing my work, describing it, putting it in a neat little box that is easily found on a shelf. No easy feat from where I’m sitting but I am more determined than I’ve ever been before and I have no doubt in my mind that I am able to create this reality.

And thats it! My 3 main goals for 2018. I know that they’re achievable, with a bit of passion and elbow grease. And from a personal perspective, being honest with myself, then forgiving myself and learning instead of getting down on myself. I know that if I live  that there is nothing that can hold me back.

So Goodbye 2017, you were great! And Hello 2018, you’re looking pretty grand!

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dyeing to op shop

I’m totally addicted to op shopping (aka thrift shopping). I discovered op shops in my teens and never looked back. Nearly everything in my wardrobe is second hand, actually a good 70% of everything in my home is second hand!

In my early 20’s, before my children were born, I would visit my favourite op shops once a week in rotation. More often than not I would come home with at least one new outfit and at least one book. After my children were born my buying habits changed and I was getting kids clothes and kids books. Every now and then I would find some little gem for myself, but when you become a mother you prioritise differently.

Now that I’m finished having babies and I started this creative journey, I visit the op shops to hunt for clothes and things to up-cycle. Recycling, up-cycling, repurposing, I love it and I hate wastage! It’s just so wrong that objects that are still usable or have the potential to be usable again should go to landfill. So now I’m always on the look out for white clothing that I can dye for my little shop. And boy! have I found some winners.

upcycled overalls

These overalls were awesome! I dyed them using ice dyeing method but had them on an incline to get that downward sort of effect. I loved these and wanted to keep them for myself but sold them at the markets soon after they were dyed.

butterfly up

This top I had hung on to forever, I bought it at an op shop and wore it a fair bit but always looked after it. I’d had plans to dye it for ages and was too scared that I’d stuff it up, then I went on a dyeing binge before The West End Street Art Festival in October and added it to my stock for that. It sold on the day.

pretty dress

But this is my favourite. Photos just don’t do it justice, which is why I haven’t listed it in my Etsy shop yet (although I just really need to get off my bum and do that!). It’s not my size or my style of dress so I can’t keep it but I love it so much. It’s understated but eye catching at the same time.

So this new career choice has had some big advantages for me. I love everything about it, even the cleaning up parts. And isn’t that what we all strive for? To do something that we love? It’s not a huge money maker but it sure is satisfying.

 


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Showcasing!!!

10x10 bullseye

I am beyond excited to be taking part in an upcoming Raw Artist showcase!

Sometime through last year I went off on a tangent of creating art with tie dyed sewing scraps because wastage breaks my heart and I had an idea! I nervously posted it into the social media world and awaited a response. To my delight it was well received! People actually liked it! And that gave me such a boost in confidence, so I kept at it. A week or so later, Raw Natural Born Artists organisation contacted me inviting  me to do a showcase. And that lifted my self belief up to a whole new level!

the mermaids pool

Now I have a whole new set of goals for 2018. Selling my art is at the forefront and increasing my online presences is also on the list. It’s so liberating to realise that what I have to offer artistically is worthy and is good enough because for such a long time I didn’t believe that it was.

So if you see any of my pieces on this blog that you like and would like to purchase, please feel free to contact me. I will also be doing my first commissioned piece in the next few months, which will be a massive challenge as the buyer wants a very large piece!  But I will keep this blog updated so that you can see how it comes together.

If you’re in Brisbane and you would like to check out my works in person you can visit www.rawartists.org/brisbane/thehappypigment to buy a ticket for the Envision showcase on the 8th of February.

Stay tuned and follow my journey through colour and art.

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The Balancing Act.

Oh I have been neglectful of this space! Safe to say I’m not very good at keeping up with technology. Don’t get me wrong I love technology! But between parenting, partnering, running my house hold and trying to run this little dye shop on the side, all on next to no sleep, I’m finding it increasingly hard to keep up with everything, and to top it all off my espresso machine broke yesterday! But I vow here and now to be more active on my blog!

So lets get up to date. I have had some great successes with tie dyeing and ice dyeing of late and a few flops, but lets focus on the positives.

I recently had the privilege of  dyeing a couple of dresses, something I haven’t done much of previously. I had grand ideas for these dresses and luckily the results were just as grand. I couldn’t have been happier.

The first was for a little girl, the idea was create a dress like a spiral dyed rainbow dress she had when she was younger, But little girls grow up rather quick, and her tastes had grown with her so it ended up being a darker colours, and a bit more grown up style. She requested an ice dyed spiral and it turned out amazingly well! The only pity is that the white dresses suitable for dyeing are really hard to come by at a decent price in Australia.

ava's spiral

I love this. It’s gorgeous. If it was my size I would wear it!

The next dress was made for a wonderful friend, unlike the first it was tie dyed instead of ice dyed. Mostly because the cotton it was made of was quite a lot thicker than the first. I chose the ‘V’ shape for the folding pattern because I love the way it flatters the contours of a womans body. This was one of the biggest pieces I’ve dyed so far and folding it was a bit of a mission, but one I thoroughly enjoyed.

cl dress folded

My friend had requested a dress in blues and greens so I used royal blue, turquoise, mermaids dream and black to give some sharp definition. The finished product is just about my favourite thing ever! I need to make myself a dress like this!

coral-lees dress

The only problem I found with these dresses is that I had to order them from America. Now that would be fine except the shipping is only worth while if you order in bulk. I don’t quite have the funds to order so many just yet and I can’t find any dresses quite like these in Australia that are a decent price and therefore worth my while to buy and dye. Which is fairly disappointing because they are both so gorgeous!

Last week I also had the pleasure of creating a family set of rainbow shirts for a The Indian Festival of Colour – Holi. I felt so happy that my friend liked my work so much that she wanted something special made just for this day. And the shirts turned out fantastic. Each one unique but still a rainbow of colours.

happy Holi.jpg

Now after all this I need to once again get my house in order after having family over most of the weekend and letting the kids run wild as usual. So until next week!

Always Love xx