Thursday, December 31, 2015

We end with the old and begin with the New!

It has been a busy year in Dye World!  My students and friends have turned out some exceptional work and we have together gained much more knowledge about our craft.  We have enjoyed sharing our work with you and have appreciated your comments.

Here's to wishing you the best in the New Year;  Health, Love and Happiness!

Silk Satin Scarf, 22"x90", Eco Printed with Acer and Casuarina and Camellia japonica petals and fine wires from truck tires then over-dyed with an exhausted Cochineal bath.

A close up detail of the scarf

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Third time is the charm!

Maggie Clark shows with her two latest silk scarves that you aren't stuck when your print does not turn out exactly as you hoped on the first try.   Unhappy with the first eco print, Maggie re- printed the bundle using new and different plant materials and cooked them again.  Still not happy, Maggie added some rusty metals, new and different plant materials and re-cooked the bundle in a used bath of cochineal dye  The third time is the charm!

Lovley design with good prints and some interesting colors.

I love the overall textures and colors on this scarf.  So much visual interest and texture.

Detail photo #1

Detail photo #2, even though the fabric is flat, there is great 3-d texture.

Detail photo #2 show great color and texture

Blocks and stencils and stamps....Oh my!

Last Sunday's workshop was a real treat.  Beautiful temperatures, bright sunny skies, hard-working students letting go with their creativity made for a very special day.  It was an indigo only workshop, but we worked with two resist paste techniques. Most of these examples will show how different each resist technique differs, but more importantly, they will show that even from the not so great prints, there is plenty to salvage.  There will be no waste.  We used things like doilies (plastic and cotton) stamps, ( I was fortunate enough to find some beautiful recycled hand-carved teak stamps from India) quilt stencils to use with either Cassava paste resist or with clay resist paste.  This is our second class on resist pastes, and the students were well over their fears, and no longer seeking perfection in each piece.  I hope you enjoy their work.
Maggie Clark used Cassava Paste Resist pounced through a plastic doily to create this lovely design.

A collection of recycled wooden carved teak stamps from India with cassava paste resist created the diapered pattern.

A plastic quilt stencil of birds and cherry blossoms used with Cassava Paste resit tamped on cotton.  Clarity will become better with more experience in how to fill large areas with resist.

This cotton fabric has not yet completely dried after stamping with cassava paste resist using large teak stamps form India.  The outer border was free hand stamped with foam paddle to create a lovely textured border.

Another plastic quilt stencil, but this time used with clay paste resist.  The fabric is still slightly damp after rinsing, but fine detail was easy with this type of resist.

This pineapple design was from a plastic quilt stencil used with  clay paste resist

Kay Stanno used cassava paste resist with a Sun flower-carved teak stamp block form India. The paste had started separating, but served to highlight the actual design of the stamp.

All over use of 3" teak stamps with cassava paste resist with a foam roller created a nice pattern on cotton muslin.

Bits and Pieces!

I am writing this post to show what can be done with just Bits and Pieces of fabrics.  It is kind of a predecessor to my next blog post.  I helped teach a 4-H Summer camp on quilting, and gave each student a small paper bag to tape to the table in front of their sewing machine. It was meant to hold the little scraps of cloth not used after trimming their blocks during construction.  I was amazed to find how much fabric had been thrown away when the class had ended.  I created these blocks with the scrap pieces from the bags to show them how much farther they could have gone with just a little effort and with using their imagination.    The next post will show two resist techniques on small pieces of fabrics.  Many students thought their samples were not worth much, but I assured them that using a design like this quilt, they could turn their seemingly worthless trials into something beautiful.  First, the quilt top (it is filled and basted, ready to be hand quilted "in the ditch".

Friday, October 2, 2015

Indigo!...The blue that captured the World!

I have made many posts that show finished indigo pieces, and a couple that have explained techniques that I've used and taught.  But it dawned on me that many have no idea how the blue dye  comes to us and how labor intensive is the production.  This year, we have been very fortunate in obtaining seed of Indigofera tinctoria, one of the "Dyer's Indigo" plants.  It takes 120 days for a crop of Indigofera to mature and then the real work of production begins.  I will post three photos now and more later to show the steps of obtaining that lovely blue dye pigment.

Fresh leaves stripped from the plant, ready to begin fermentation..

Water to cover the leaves, then weighted to keep leaves under water

Close up of the beautiful coppery film and the blue indigo pigment stuck to the fermentation bubbles.

I will be adding the next few steps taken to obtain the pigment paste, and to show how it is prepared into Indigo dye.  Stay tuned  for the next exciting chapter.

Take a sample of the extracted  pre-indigo and fill a bottle half full, add a little lime water, hake it and you will see if indigo is present.

After the lime water is added to the tub, you must aerate it by dippping in and out and letting the liquid fall back into the tub.  Do this until the bubbles stop forming.
The bubble are beginning to disappear by themselves, time to filter..
Line a  screen with muslin and begin pouring the liquid from the tub through it.  The indigo will stick to the fabric..
If you have done everything right, all that will flow through the muslin are the flavonoids.

This is a cotton muslin filter cloth, it is not wet but dry, filled with over 60 grams of pure indigo pigment.  The oval is about 13" x 16"

I read online that in 1769 they used cotton flannel instead of cotton muslin as filter cloth.  I tried it and it works great!  I have been able to filter 4 times the amount in one day than was possible with the muslin.  The flannel allowed some indigo through at first, but then settled down and held the pigment while the yellow-brown flavonoids passed through.  It sure made me happy to speed this process up!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Birthday gift for sure!

Yesterday was my birthday, and I could think of no  better way than spending it with ;friends and holding a workshop.  Some beautiful gifts were received as well as a birthday cake and a pumpkin bar cake..  Everyone had a very creative time as my photos will show.  I just noticed that for some reason, all of the photos were put on in upside down order.  I don't think it will lessen the enjoyment of the work though.

One of Amy Greif's machine-stitched Shiboris opened up.

Another one of Amy Greif's machine-stitched Shibori opened up.
Amy Greif machined stitched on accordion pleated cotton then dyed in indigo.
Amy Greif's clay resist stencil work.

A melange of clay resit techniques by Linda Johnston
A recycle embroidered card tablecloth Shibori dyed by Linda Johnston
Beautiful prints on paper and post dipped in indigo
Detail of the silk scarf by Linda Johnston pattern left by ceramic tile during cooking.

Candle wax dripped on silk then dyed in indigo by Hope Martin
A lovely silk eco print and indigo scarf by Linda johnston

3 of Kay Stanno's prints on paper
Another group of Maggie Clark's lovely prints on paper
Paper prints by Hope martin

Left, a clay resist pattern by Marilyn Hines  Right, a Cassava Paste resist by Amy Greif


Maggie Clark's lovely prints on paper
Close up detail of pine branches brush with clay resit and printed on paper

Kate Weatherly's first ever indigo clay resist


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I couldn't resist trying this!

I have purchased and loved all three of the Natural Dye Workshops from Michel Garcia and Galli Studios.  I learned so much and saved sooo much time in experimenting.  They are worth every penny, and I highly recommend them.  Today I want to post the results of my first attempt at using Michel Garcia's Clay Resist 1-2-3 Recipe that is found on the first workshop DVD "Natural Dye Workshop with Michel Garcia, Colors of Provence, using sustainable methods"

The recipe is a very simple one, for every 100ml of water you add 10gms of epsom salt, 20 gms of gum arabic and 30 grams of clay powder (the kind of clay used to clean your hair.  I used Bentonnite).  I started with warm water so the epsom salt would dissolve quickly, then the gum arabic and then the clay powder.  You can do this in a mortar or use laboratory beaker with magnetic stirrer.  The clay resist should be stirred until smooth like heavy cream with no lumps.

You fabric should already be washed and dried and with as few wrinkles as possible.  Place the fabric flat on a non-absorbent surface.  Using a bristle brush or foam brush, dip into the clay resist and paint your base drawing ( this will be the lightest color on the piece in the end.  Allow to dry completely, then dip into your indigo vat for 1 minute.  Rinse to oxidize the indigo, allow to dry and then repeat the process, covering the areas you wish to remain light  with clay resist, covering some of the blue you wish to keep as a light shade.

Remember, you are working backward.  When you repaint the clay resist over the previous work and dye, you are keeping some parts of the original design and some parts of the subsequent addition from getting darker as you progress.  The next photo will show the piece aft the second resist layer and dip in indigo.

The next photo will show you how the last clay resist layer was painted over the previous work to protect everything I wanted to remain the same, only the background and any unprotected areas would change to darker shades.

Here is the finished piece. Can you see how many shades of blue are now in the piece, one drawing, one indigo vat and about 4 shades of indigo in the finished piece.

I had a little clay resist left over, so I decided to try another experiment.  What if I spread some clay resist on a foam stamp.  Would it print?  Yes it did.  So now I have a lead into my next post of resist dyeing with indigo

It's funny, when you get started on a new path, every couple of hours a new idea pops into our head.  I decided to take the very commercial looking stamping and do a little free hand clay resist painting and see what would happen.  This photo shows how just a little handwork can make a design much more organic looking.  I think I will continue to see how far I can take this piece.