Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Art Shack Underway...or

How I spent Canada Day, Independance Day, and my Birthday week.
I have come across several posts recently from fellow surface designers about how dyeing in hot humid summer months produces superior results i.e. better dye exhaustion and deeper colours. MX procion dyes are cold water dyes in name only... what they really really really want to quote the Spice Girls is an ambient temperature between 70 and 90 degrees (20 -25 C). That translates well for southern Ontario's hot humid summer weather that we regularly try to escape from with modern air conditioning.
So I went dockside and took another look at our neglected storage shed. I saw its future as a hot wet studio for the summer months. It had 'Art Shack' written all over it!
In its glory days, this shed/shack was a pre-war cottage built on a narrow ledge giving out onto the St Lawrence River. It had a kitchen, a bathroom, electricity and running water. Sadly, all this was removed except for the structure when we built our home (zoning laws).

I started with an exterior paint job, and spruced up the windows and their screens.
Here is an interior shot. Some of these windows have screens that open up, letting in gentle breezes off the water. I know my fabric will be very happy, but some of this furniture has to go.

Meanwhile, I painted, painted, painted. The old fridge might have been useful for storing dyes but it is an energy guzzler (the door doesn't close all that well) so its gotta go too. The pot belly stove has been disconnected and is too heavy to move, so it stays...an elegant reminder of bygone times.
I removed huge amounts of red indoor-outdoor carpeting along with its rotten under-padding, yuck. The carpet had been glued to tintest (?) that had been nailed to a layer of battleship linoleum...nails spaced every 4 to 6 inches apart (ugh!). What lay underneath were beautiful pine floor boards, painted deep yellow and green - how eccentric. I wonder when it was that deep yellow floor paint was fashionable?

Given that this will be a working studio and I will be dripping fabric paint and dyes, I don't plan to do a major floor-sanding job. Just enough to keep the floor very clean and functional for the fabric. I really don't mind the distressed look.

That's it for now. I'll keep you posted on progress as the summer unfolds.


Lisa said...

Kit - how awesome! What a great place to dye fabric. Now I really need to come visit.

Kit Vincent said...

I need a fellow dyer to help me crack this art shack open this summer.
You're on - just say when.

Cathy Kleeman said...

How cool to have a studio like that. Make a total mess and then just shut the door and walk away. Lucky you!

mary andrews said...

What a cool place to dye. Get all the fabric dyed in the summer, close it up and sew all winter in the warm studio. I love your vilew of the St Lawrence. How inspirational!