It’s all about the dyeing

Well, not really


I have dyed everyday for a while now. For me, that means going out early, getting everything in the dyepots, starting the fire, and checking every 30 minutes or so. When the water is clear,  the burners get turned off and everything sits until the next morning. The process starts all over again. The yarns, eventually will be gradations of turquoise to violet to blue.

With the violet to blue series, I threw in some Texas mohair singles that was spun in a small mill many years ago. An unexpected problem cropped up–the skeins twisted back on themselves. That means the dye didn’t take properly.


Not to worry though. I’ve got a plan to use them. Experimental, so I hope it works out.


I am having an gallery exhibition of 6-8 pieces in December. Something I wasn’t expecting was a request for the title of the exhibition. Lately, I’ve been all over the place with my work. How does one choose a title for an exhibition of work that’s all over the place?


It’s happened again

Birthday flowers

How did this could have happened again?

I told everyone that it just wasn’t going to happen, but it has. Two at a time weaving! It seems that someone around here is a glutton for punishment!

However, like all the other experimenting lately, a lesson is learned each time. Both of these are simple, as to the weaving. Straightforward ikat on the left and a plain stripe on the right. Weaving progresses at the same rate, so that I can use the loom beater. Both are pretty narrow (18 inches), but they will have different lengths. 

Two at a time–again!


bobbin with ikat yarn


My frustration has been great as I try new things. When something doesn’t turn out like the picture in my head, all I can think of is how much time has been wasted, time that I don’t have. On the other hand, if I don’t try new things, I stagnate. Besides, I’ve got a pretty low boredom threshold and I like to learn new things. So, I’m trying to look at each experiment as a learning experience and to see what I can learn that will carry me on the next try.


This has been going on for a while now, the feeling that I’ve got to do something different. The problem is that I don’t know what that “something different” is. So many ideas, so little focus! Should I put all the ideas in a grab bag, and pull out an idea to stick with? How does one choose? Help!

At the Grackle 

Standing Tall                 





The flowers were beautiful, the food was tasty, the weather was great, and the art was inspiring! This vacation did exactly what a vacation is supposed to do. My mind left home along with my body. No haftas, shouldas, or anything else related to the to-do list intruded.

Masked Shaman with Shield and Ceremonial Staff

One of the items on my Santa Fe list was the Worrell Gallery. I’ve wanted on of Bill Worrell‘s pendants for several years. I loved several of them in person, but ultimately decided on one of the smaller ones. Many of his works are “interpretations of the ancient pictographs,” which I love.

Once on a trip to Jackson Hole, I noticed how abundant and colorful the flowers were. I attributed the prolific bloom to a shorter growing season, but who knows? At any rate, the flowers were abundant in Santa Fe and on both roads to Taos. Chamisa, asters, sage, Maximilian Sunflowers–all were beautiful.





And then there was this balcony.


And the clouds. You know what they say about the light in New Mexico. Artists love it. And I love the clouds!

From the car

There were four studio tours going on while we were there. We went to one-The High Road Artisans Studio Tour. A few of our stops:
Jennette’s Weavings

Los Vigiles Living Traditions Fiber Studio and Supply was not on the regular tour, but we stopped there anyway. It’s located in Chimayo, a place where I’d like to spend more time. They have a roomful of walking looms and many weavings, and Eugene was very helpful.

More later…

I’ve got art photos! Much inspirations! But not it’s time to get those dyepots going. aAt least six days of dyeing are in my future. The ikat tying is complete, dyed, and untied. Weaving has begun and is going well. Check out Instagram for up-to-date photos.


As I post these pictures, I’m wondering–can one stitch into mat board? I may need to try that.

Field, 13 x 8.5 inches, wool, cotton, dyes, mounted and framed, $105 ©Sherri Coffey

Naranja, 17 x 9 inches, wool, cotton, dyes, mounted and framed, $115 ©Sherri Coffey

The continuing saga

In this great mounting experimentation period of my life, I am discovering that certain things are hard to find. After looking at hardware on several of my framed art pieces, I tried to find the same things. The smaller pieces have to be hung differently than the big pieces.

For one thing, there has to be paper (not hardware, I know) on the back to hide all the ugly details of the mounting process. When I inquired of my artist friends about the kind of paper they used, they told me craft paper. My art has black paper on the back, which then began a search of black craft paper. They buy huge rolls of the stuff. I refuse to do that because I don’t know if I will continue this process, and so the search continued. I found small rolls of this stuff in the teacher supply section of local stores.


My framed art has a type of hardware not found in stores here locally, and you have to buy huge quantities. However, I did find a small number on Amazon for me to experiment with later. The pieces above are attached vertically on the frame, and coated wire is attached to the section in the middle. These would probably be overkill for these small pieces. 

So D-rings will be used and attached at at the same distance from the top as the other hardware and the coated wire stretched between the rings. Now there is a problem with this kind of setup on the wider pieces–getting them straight on the wall. My frame shop showed me this setup, but the hardware is kind of expensive, so it will be a last resort.

Corner sawtooth

Will this continue?

Maybe I’ll get good at this someday. I do know that if the process doesn’t get speedier, all future mounting will be farmed out, or there will be no more smaller pieces requiring mounting.




Fall Gallery Night 2017

Fort Worth Weavers Guild postcard

Fall Gallery Night is coming up, and I will have work in two places. The Fort Worth Weavers Guild biennial show will be at the Fort Worth Community Center and the Fort Worth Art Collective will be at Grackle Art Gallery. Both of these exhibitions will be up for the month of September.

Here are some Facebook pages:

Fort Worth Weavers Guild

Fort Worth Art Collective

Grackle Art Gallery

I’ll have some pictures of the show to post later. 

Green with Squares, wool, linen, dyes 67.5 x 28.5 in, $1,695,  ©Sherri Coffey Guild Show

Turquoise, Orange, Red, wool, dyes, cotton, 50 x 29 inches, ©Sherri Coffey Grackle Art Gallery

Razzle Dazzle, wool, dyes, cotton, 29 x 29 inches, $835 ©Sherri Coffey Grackle Art Gallery

Another busy week

Ikat back on board

Frustration on two levels

Even though it was a bit of a frustrating week, things got done. Above is the dyed ikat back on the board. It looks like measuring in 1/4 of a woven inch is working better. This is only partially untied, but as you can see where the pink arrow is, the line between dyed/undyed is pretty crisp. Now will it stay that way as I work? Who knows.

A seam ripper comes in handy when untying the ikat tape. The only one I had was small, but that’s an unimportant detail because I couldn’t find it. Off to the store and getting a collection of seam rippers, none of them small. I need one with a Bluetooth connection that I can use my phone to find.

collection of seam rippers

And more frustration. My Rowenta iron died. It’s the kind with the huge separate water reservoir. It stopped steaming or holding a temperature. So, being that kind of person, research was necessary. The kind that shut off automatically drive me nuts. In a Good Housekeeping review, I found this one, ordered it, and got it Monday. Back in business. It does turn off automatically, but if it’s on its heel, after 30 minutes. I can live with that.

New iron

The iron was important because I had committed to getting this one piece mounted. And here it is! Done! I stretched canvas over stretcher bars and then covered that with linen. Then I stitched the whole shebang to the canvas. I still need to put paper on the back and a hanger, but the hard part is done. This piece, before mounting is about 28 x 4 inches–I think. Will measure later.

Tah da


On couch

Ikat, ikat, and more ikat

The experiment

Following up on the experiment

Below is the actual project that will be using the colors from the photo above. After getting all the ties done, I will dye the yarn the red/violet above (hopefully a color a little lighter; it’s hard to estimate the dye needed when part of the yarn will not be absorbing the dye).

In progress

I’m also hoping I’ve solved the problem of the white areas showing up after dyeing by using smaller bouts. The bouts in the top experiment were 14 wraps (one woven inch). The bouts for this new piece are 4 wraps (1/4 of an inch–about).

The ends

When the wrapping gets to the ends, I slip a thread into the loops and tie that new thread onto another set of pegs. That way I can wrap to the very tips of the yarn sections. This is a tedious and difficult part to do for me. I have found it hard to really make those tips dye-proof!

Tying the ends

Directorial debut–that’s a joke!

I also experimented with making a video using a tripod, my phone, and a Gorilla pod to hold the phone. Of course, one has to start the video before sitting down and getting to work. So, that meant some editing, something I had a hard time doing. This video has been edited down to 16 seconds, and I’m not sure why anyone would want to see more than 5 seconds of the video. 

I’m also embarrassing my self by posting this video. If you looked at “real” ikat weavers, you would see that their technique is much more refined than mine. Maybe I’ll practice that someday–in my spare time. Those experienced ikat tie-ers carry a knife in their hand as they tie, so that they can cut the ends quickly and efficiently. I tie the knot, pick up my scissors, and cut before moving on.

Continuing education

Before I go into my new learning experiences, here’s what my weekend looked like.

Hanging on Thursday

Even for one wall, it takes a lot of time to hang a show. This is from my local art group, Fort Worth Art Collective. We were participating in These Are My Friends art party put on by Art Tooth. This was five hours on Thursday night.

Working on Saturday night

Then there was 3.5 hours working the “booth” on Saturday night. A group of interesting and eclectic people attended the party.

Then, finally!

I removed the ikat tape from my dyed sections.

My most of the day Friday

Here’s the way it looks with all the different colors of ikat tape removed.

Lessons, lessons, lessons

One of my goals is to end up with multiple colors instead of just two. So far in my ikat career (very loosely described, believe me!), I have started with one color and overdyed with another that is compatible with the first color. In other words, start with blue, tie a section, overdye with black. Eventually I will start with white, tie and dye, tie again, untie, etc. 

In the piece this time, I started with a yellow/orange. You can see the results below. I like the colors except the green. If everything had started as white, I could have had red/orange, red, and blue–or another such combination.

I measured the bouts in sections of one woven inch, which is part of my learning experience. You can see where the green joins the red/orange that there’s a bit of yellow showing up. That doesn’t really bother me right now, but with some future project, it would. Next time I will measure in sections that weave up to be 1/2 inch–7 picks vs 17 picks.


Here’s what it looked like earlier.

If you want to compare this to untied

And I’m weaving!

Shuttles filled with ikat-dyed yarn ready to go

School suppliesMonday I went to a store that I seldom go to. Among the things on my list was a re-positional glue stick (I hear there is such a critter out there somewhere). Unfortunately, I found other supplies that just happened to make it into my basket. 

School supplies

The weekend

Razzle Dazzle hung at CAC

This is a crazy, busy week–storms, branches blown off trees, experimenting with my twice-dyeing ikat, guild show publicity, well, you get it. So, I’m sharing pictures of last weekend. Above is Razzle Dazzle hanging in the Texas Artists Coalition juried show. Below is one of the sculptures in the show.

Scuba Sperm sculpture

Then there was the Denton weaving guild activity

This was really quite fun. We met in the fibers department building at the University of North Texas. I loved the huge posters of clothing they had hanging. 

We did batik, and below are some of the items done in class. They will be dyed later and the wax removed. This one below was stamped with a “real” batik stamp carved from wood.

Batik stamp

Others used freehand applications of wax.

Batik brushed

Batik crumpled

Below is an application of wax with a brush that had sections of it cut out.

Batik-cut brush

This silk was folded and then the edges were dipped into the wax.

Batik folded and dipped

Below are some stencils that were used. They are still on the fabric, but will be removed and then the fabric will be dyed. The bird on the left was on wool felt, and was not very crisp when the stencil was removed. The others seem to be crisp in the bit that was looked at.


And that brings us to this week

After first round of dyeing

First round of dyeing done

Under the red and green tape, it’s yellow/orange. Next steps are to tie the red/orange sections and remove the green tape. Then back to the dye pots for another round of dyeing.

Back on the boards

Back on the boards

Tying the red/orange with yellow tape. The red tape will be left as is. All the green tape will be removed for the next dye session. What color will replace the yellow/orange under the green tape?

August so far

I cut the piece below off the loom over the weekend. Still need to do the finish work. Instead, I cleaned up in the studio. It’s too embarrassing to post a picture, but believe me, it was a mess! I pull out lots of yarns, and once a decision is made, I don’t put them back before the weaving starts. Now the yarns are put away, the floor is swept, and I can breathe and work without distraction again.

All the trimmings

I have a white paper bag attached to my loom bench with tape. This is where I try to throw all the trimmings, although I sometimes forget, and in my haste, toss them on the floor. The bag is about 12 inches high and is full. I had thought to experiment with making a felt ball, but they may just all go in the trash.

Cut off

I still can’t get the vertical rectangles to resemble the color they are, but here it is in all its glory. ;)) The shot that show the color best is in another post.

Standing Tall

You might remember the piece I designed with color aid paper.

New ikat

And now on to the latest ikat experiment. A little translation of what you’re seeing–the sections tied in red are going to be the color of the yarn. The untied sections will be overdyed with scarlet, and will become whatever they become. The sections tied in green are not finished yet. They will be tied to their tips on the right, which will involve slipping a string into the loops around the pegs, tying that string to the pegs on the outside perimeter, removing them from their current pegs, and tying to the very tips. That whole section will be tied from top to bottom. Those ties will be removed at some point and overdyed with blue, and will become whatever it becomes. As I said, an experiment!

New ikat