Archive | Dyeing

Yummy buttons and fun with snow dyeing

Around Christmas time I treated myself to a few of Lisa Peter’s gorgeous raku buttons – I love her pottery and I had a hard time deciding which to buy.  I love the earthy feel of these three….

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Also around this time, I decided to take advantage of the snow and do some snow dyeing.  I did this totally erratically without referring to any written instructions but I like the way these turned out.  I piled all the fabric on top of each other and this is what it looked like with the snow on top (complete with bits of organic greenery to add to the design!)

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Here is one of the pieces of fabric – this is quite transparent cotton organdie (I always wondered what organdie was from the song Scarborough Fair!).

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I hung this up on my design wall over the top of one of my practice reeds samples and was interested to note that the reeds were more visible through the black part than the white, for some reason…

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Here is a closer look so you can see what I mean:

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I think I’ll have to exploit that property sometime!

This is some silk crepe fabric:

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I love the strokeable texture of it here:

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The colours are closer to the above photos but this one captures the markings better.  I may have taken it when it was wet.  For some reason, silk crepes and organzas are very difficult to photograph without the colours being washed out.  Anyone know why?  I wonder if it is related to the way the light reflects off the fibres.

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Yummy, luscious compost dyed fabric!

Unless you’re a gardening afficionado, the words ‘yummy’ and ‘luscious’ don’t really appear together with the word ‘compost’ but wait till you see this fabric I just rinsed!!

A couple of years ago I bought the DVD Markmaking with Nature from Kimberly Baxter Packwood.  Kimberly is extremely knowledgeable about all things related to natural dyeing, and one of them is a technique she calls compost dyeing.  I have been intrigued and wanted to try it for a while now, but didn’t get round to it till January.  Basically, it involves laying natural dye extracts and other vegetable matter on fabric and shoving it in the compost heap for a while. 

Well, it was January, so I left out the compost heap bit, but I did the rest, wrapped it up with a load of natural dye extracts and some banana skins and rolled it up, soaked it in vinegar, nuked it in the microwave to start it off, and left it for 2 months.  How about that for self discipline?!!  Anyway, yesterday the suspense got too much. I was going to leave it for a while longer given that the weather wasn’t all that warm (it has been inside, not out so it didn’t get TOO cold).  And the results were amazing!

I did two pieces, both silk.

purple compost dyed silk

This one is a sort of silk crepe.  I put a lot of logwood on this, I think, and various other things (I was extremely disorganised and just grabbed handfuls of whatever dye extracts I have). 

close up of purple compost dyed fabric

This shows some of the markings on it.

And this one is a habotai silk scarf.  I think I used a lot of madder on this one.

reddy compost dyed fabric

This was the one which had the banana skins rolled in with it.  I had to hang it over the chair to photograph it – it was incredibly hard to photograph as the light just bounced off the sheen of the silk.

red compost dyed silk scarf

Both together:

purple and red compost dyed silk

I’m so glad these turned out well, because I also tried rinsing a thin section of some of the screenprinted fabric and ochre painted fabric that I also did with natural dyes and those were disappointing.    I don’t know whether the gum was too thick or whether I just need to leave it a lot longer, but most of the colour washed out of the tiny sample that I did.  I may just leave the ochre painted one as most of my art won’t be washed anyway.  Time will tell…

Jane Dunnewold’s Art Cloth Challenge

In December, Jane Dunnewold of Art Cloth Studios issued a challenge to 12 brave and adventurous art cloth makers. This was the brief, in Jane’s words:

In December of 2007, I issued an invitation to surface designers through the Complex Cloth Internet list. Anyone who was interested in working on a dyed two yard length of silk habotai was to write to me and indicate interest. I put all the names in a hat, and drew out twelve participants’ names. I wanted it to be a democratic event.

I spent a happy evening reading the wonderful blog The Art Cloth Challenge. Go and have a look – it’s really worth it! And amazing to see what different cloth resulted from 12 people’s vision of the same piece of cloth and to read their journals about how they altered it.

Dyeing with onion skins

I have been collecting onion skins for ages now, for dyeing, and I decided the other day that I was sick of the sight of them hanging round.  So I mordanted some pencil roving and some fibre in alum (the pencil roving had previously been dyed with indigo but was fairly pale and patchy).

This is what it looked like all pristine and white:

white pencil roving 

This is it indigo dyed:

indigo dyed pencil roving

I boiled up the onion skins for about 45 minutes and extracted the dye and then simmered the roving in it.  Haven’t got any photos of that stage but here is some silk which I did in the exhaust dye.

silk simmering in onion skin dyestuff

Now it’s hanging on the line:

onion skin dyed rovings on line 

close up of onion skin dyed roving

Here’s the fibre I dyed, drying on some newspaper:

onion skin dyed fibre

And here is a photo of the silk – it is actually a deeper colour than that.

onion skin dyed silk

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