Thursday, July 25, 2013

One-time Obsession

My art group is interested in trying out the method of dyeing fabric that my friend Judi Kane and I used, so I will be leading a dye session at next month's meeting. I haven't actively dyed fabric for maybe 15 years so have been boning up this week, getting into the box holding my books and dye records. Gee, do you think I had an interesting in learning how to dye fabric? And this does not include the other books I own devoted to marbling, stamping and other surface design techniques. I read and research but frankly, haven't done much past the first few experiments. But every time I get the books out, I can feel the excitement building. By making me get back into my dyeing stuff, the girls may have started something. And if not them, then Judi, as she passed on all her dye powders, chemicals and pdf pfd fabric to me before she herself passed. Damnation, you sneaky friends!

For all the different methods of dyeing I looked into, what Judi and I ended up using was Adriene Buffington's book Hand Dyed Fabric Made Easy, and that led us to so much dyed fabric and more things we wanted to try that Judi decided we needed to start selling it. Thus K-B Obsessions was born (get it? Kane and Barnes and boy were we obsessed). I'd had my stint in retail and wasn't crazy about getting into it again, but I agreed to help Judi get a business off the ground, helping to develop recipes, set up a numbering system, designing our logo and packaging system. Judi handled the bookkeeping and provided the space for dyeing as well as the freer spirit to create the beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces that I was a little too uptight to do well. I was more comfortable dyeing up the gradation packs using the recipes that would assure we could duplicate a color on request. We both dyed and processed and packaged and sat at quilt shows hawking our wares. 

It was a pretty good match that balanced out our strengths and weaknesses, but oh, it was so time consuming. I found I had little time for the more meticulous "one of a kinds" I enjoyed experimenting with before becoming a business (see examples above) or to make quilts from the beautiful fabric we were creating.

Miniature Pineapple Quilt of K-B Obsessions Hand-dyed Fabric

So once the business was fairly established, I bowed out, occasionally helping Judi vend or making up a sample for her booth in exchange for more fabric and her continued friendship. Although the days were long, we really enjoyed traveling together to those quilt shows, spending an entire weekend together while getting a chance to show off our merchandise. And that is why we were pretty sure we could make a go of the extended time in Rochester last year, looked forward to spending some quality time alone again. It had been way too long since the co-conspirators had hung out together. Yes, we both wish it had been under better circumstances, but we couldn't help saying with a certain amount of glee..."ROAD TRIP!"

Judi & me on my birthday in 2000, shortly after she took over the business

Judi & me on my birthday in Rochester last year


Mary Stori said...

Wonderful tribute to a great friendship...I'm glad to hear you are passing along her love of dyeing!!

June said...

Once again I'm impressed (bad word, but I can't get to another) by your bonds with Judi. I am trying to give away my Buffington book -- I can't give up the Ann Johnson yet. And I have tons of dye stuffs, blank fabric and dyes, that I will be tacking next -- don't have the stamina to do the work, but still yearn over it. Thanks for reminding me....

Cathie said...

What a great post. Look at you and Judi! Love it.
thanks so much for your comment Beauty on my Who Says you Can't go Home? post. YOU get it. What you wrote - it was like I was writing it. I have been back there twice in the last month for a week at a time - and it is everything that you said - familiar vistas, familiar names on tv, familiar accents. It is like a breath of fresh air to me. I feel so much like myself = there. Someone I lost is still inside me - and I feel her - when I am there. Thanks for the words. It's always so nice to hear from you.