Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I dyed... and now I am blue.

I was lucky enough to take a local 2 day workshop in Indigo dyeing with Barbara Shapiro this past weekend. I have only dyed with Indigo once before, many years ago, but because of the necessity of having to use Thiox and a gas mask, I was never inclined to start my own vat. Barbara has a method that does not use Thiox and it is not overly complicated so an Indigo vat maybe in my future. 

The history of Indigo goes back thousands and thousands of years and seems to be a part of almost every culture. It really is fascinating how important it was for trading and how it helped shape the world.

The Indigo vat we used was made with a Synthetic Indigo. I am pretty happy with my results. Some of them are a bit lighter than I would have liked but the vats were shared and I think by the end, the indigo was almost exhausted. In order to get darker colors, the pieces have to be redipped in the vat. That was not always practical given that there were 18 of us playing.

I tried several techniques on cotton and silk. I even overdyed some pieces. I will explain each photo as I can remember. I wish on some I was smart enough to take before photos, but alas, I didn't.

The first two pieces we dyed were cotton that we folded and used chopsticks as a resist.... The white is where the indigo did not penetrate the fabric.

I brought with me some pieces that were headed for the trash bin. I decided I would give a try to over dying them to see if I could breath new life into them. Several years ago a took a mini class with Rayna Gilman at her studio. We were screen printing with paint and newspaper. Some of the pieces I did came out well but a few were just plain ugly. One of these I just scrunched up and put in the indigo vat, the other I folded and clamped on some tongue depressors before immersing it. I am happy with both now and I am sure they will somehow appear in some future work.

The next piece was a silk scarf I hated. I had been playing around with some Color Hue dyes and result was just deadly. I folded the scarf and used 2 wooden blocks as resists. I wish I had immersed it another time. I would have liked it a bit darker, but I think I have saved this scarf. It is still a bit blah, but usable.

This next couple of scarves were virginal. Two of them were pole wrapped and the last one was just knotted.

The last project was a hemmed napkin that I stitched before dunking in the indigo vat.

This one I really wish had come out darker.

I am happy with all the results and I learned some nice things in case I do decide to get a vat going.  I really like the results of over dying using resists and this is what may pushe me into doing this at home.

Next project is an ice dye.....