Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

bearbutt
Posts: 533
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by bearbutt »

I've starting dyeing hackle for the Carrie Stevens project. Part of the trick to dyeing hackle is to create a slightly variegated effect. Colors in nature are rarely 'pure' or 'solid': they're usually a bit 'dirty,' flecked with ambient color and shading, which you don't notice until you look closely.

Rather than dye whole necks, I dye sets of hackle attached to a bulldog clip: they are treated with different dye densities and mixes, then the dye is partly stripped--sometimes the stripping process only last 15 seconds, sometimes a couple of minutes--and then they are redyed. The process of underdyeing and overdyeing creates an imbricated layer of color that is imperfect as a dyed feather, but more perfect as far as nature is concerned. Nature is messy.

Here are some pictures of in-progress samples.

Image

Image

Image

Image

For her Grey Ghost streamer, Stevens used dyed dun that, over 70 years of exposure to light, changed in color: while some of her Grey Ghosts are still a light dun, or dunnish, many have oxidized to a pink or red-tinged brown, and some are an orange-tinged tan. The changes remind me of what happened to Mark Rothko's iconic brownish-purples, and how they have become more blue over time. This happens to art more often than we think, especially when light-sensitive dyes are used, instead of colorfast pigments. Dyed feathers and dyed papers are both very vulnerable. Most fly tiers in the past didn't have a choice--they used what their fly shops stocked--and they were tying flies to catch fish, not mount in shadow boxes and hung on the wall. The archival stability of their materials was not a consideration the way it is for collectors, museums, and conservators today.

So--I've been working on getting my dun looking aged and faded. I'm not totally there yet, but getting close. Dyed orange-tan tinged 'dun' on top; original Stevens on the bottom:

Image


bb

Theroe
Posts: 751
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:46 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by Theroe »

Oh boy.......I think you will be pleased with what I sent you.......
“Time to go fishing”

bearbutt
Posts: 533
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by bearbutt »

Thanks, Dana!

Dana's care package included some Mustad 3907B hooks in #4, and a huge pile a beautiful hackle from the 1940s--duns of different shades and badgers and grizzly--all perfect for tying Stevens-style streamers. (And a very special set of flies tied by The Master, which requires a separate thread.) The blue dun in particular had oxidized to dun-tan and dun-pale green. The hackle was a bit kinked from being stored in glassine and cellophane pockets and envelopes--but it straightened easily by putting it in a bulldog clamp, and giving it a ten-second long shower in a stream of hot water from the faucet--and it came out beautifully:

Image

Image

I used some of Dana's dun for Grey Ghost wingsets:

Image

All-in-all, I made about 150 wingsets in the past few weeks. At Gary's suggestion, I used for the first time Loctite instead of Griff's thick, and it worked well. I have some other work to attend to presently, then a fishing trip to make, so I might not be back into doing the assemblies--hookset, wingset, and throat/underbelly--until later in the summer. There's no rush though. If you tie Stevens-style streamers, there's no rush at all.

A few more pics of the project-in-progress:


Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

bb

User avatar
gt05254
Posts: 386
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:57 pm
Location: Bennington, Vermont
Contact:

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by gt05254 »

bb - as one who knows well how much work we're looking at in those pics, all I can say is "WELL DONE!" The bodies are the easy part.
Gary

User avatar
gt05254
Posts: 386
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:57 pm
Location: Bennington, Vermont
Contact:

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by gt05254 »

Can't resist posting this. Apologies for a slight hijack of your thread:
Image


Gary

bearbutt
Posts: 533
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by bearbutt »

Thanks, Gary. I'm very happy with how these are coming along. Probably less a labor of love than a labor of madness, lol.

Time to go fishing!--will get back to them later in the summer.

bb

some more:

Image

Image

Theroe
Posts: 751
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:46 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by Theroe »

Absolutely beautiful work, Joseph!!

I for one cannot wait to see the finished product(s)
:D :D :D

Dana
“Time to go fishing”

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest