Monday, August 1, 2016

Eco Printing

Had oodles of fun yesterday learning how to do eco printing. It was an afternoon class offered for SAQA  members. There were 6 of us in the class, taught by Molly Koehn, a graduate student at ASU in Tempe.

Molly provided us with most of the fabrics but we were also allowed to bring our own. We used raw silk that was treated with a mordant, a silk/wool blend scarf, and other assorted silk pieces. The first thing we did was walk about the campus and collect leaves and some picked old flowers.

The next step was to choose which fabric we wanted to start with and arrange leaves, etc on half the fabric. We folded over the other half then rolled it tightly around an assortment of items such as dowels and pvc pipe. Someone brought in a piece of copper pipe as well. After it was rolled we tightly wrapped string around it. The idea is to make sure the leaves have as much contact with the fabric as possible. Our bundles were dropped into pot of simmering water and left for an hour. In the meantime, we did up more bundles.

Molly also provided us with a liquid post mordant that she had made up to use with the fabrics that had not been previously treated.

I brought with me a disaster of an experiment using thickened dye on a silk scarf. I figured it was already heading for the garbage heap so I might as well experiment. I am so glad I did. It turned into a beauty.

The results are all over the place. The fabric that was pre-treated had the strongest results, but I am not sure that it wasn't because it was a thicker fabric. I am definitely going to be doing some experiments.

Raw silk pre-treated

Raw Silk Pre-treated
Redeemed silk scarf
Silk/wool blend

Sheer silk

 I will be playing around with this technique using a variety of fibers and different mordants, both pre and post.
I had a blast.

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.....