John’s Art – Pick of the Week: Felicitations Quilt Q-056
This week I’d like to focus on employing many layers of paste to create the sense of drama I sought. A somewhat similar technque is used in oborobingata.
The Traditional Bingata Pigments Used to Dye Felicitations

Some of the dyes used, such as arsenic and mercury, may send up red flags for you, and rightly so. However in the normal course of this dye process the dyes will never come into direct contact with the dyer’s skin and the pigmentsbecome completely encapsulated in a protein polymer (soy milk).
Once the dyeing process is complete, the textiles dyed in this manner may be safely washed. The pigments coupled with the soymilk form a very strong bond with the fiber and are very resistant to fading with time.

The elements depicted in  this wall hanging are all felicitous images. The crane and the tortoise suggest a long and fulfilled life; the pine, bamboo, and plum (sometimes referred to as the three sisters) represent aging with wisdom and dignity, the ability to remain flexible in mind and spirit, and the grace to maintain one’s delicacy and tact in all situations.

Felicitations, Q-056, by John Marshall, Natural Pigments on Silk Tussah
The first step was to apply the rice-paste resist through the paper stencil.
This was followed with the application of the natural-dye pigments using the pasted lines as a guide.
copyright John Marshall, 2011
As with the oborobingata, fusenori paste was used to blot out and protect the now dyed crane.
Next the large circular arrangement of bamboo was applied, overlapping the crane in both paste and colors.
Again, fusenori was applied over the newly dyed bamboo, and so on until all of the elements of my design were pasted, dyed, and protected with fusenori.
With each new application of paste, I toned down the colors used to dye that section, so that little by little the images seemed to float on separate planes as they recede into the background.
Unlike silk screening, in which a different stencil is required for each color and each shade applied, stencils for Felicitations had only one function–and that is to apply the outline of the image to the silk. It just so happens that I am using many stencils because I elected to layer them. However, since the dyes are applied by hand with brushes, I can use far fewer actual colors than required if the dyes are applied with stencils, and by blending them as I work, achieve a far greater range of gradations of colors and delicate shadings. Below are the only dyes I used to achieve all that you see to the left.
Traditional bingata pigments used:
Red–cocheneal pigment (carmine) 玉虫
Yellow–arsenic trisulphide (orpiment)  石黄
Blue–azurite 群青
Green–iron oxide
Navy Blue–indigo pigment 本藍
Vermillion–mercury sulphide (cinnabar) 金朱黄口
newsletter Signup.png