Sunday, August 4, 2013

Zoe's Sail

Zoe was back again this summer to spend the month of July and her project this year was to expand on her printed bandana theme and to create a printed sail for a small wooden boat that was being made by her father. Her previous work on making indigo dyed bandana's involved using a silk screen with a paste resist and then dyeing with indigo. This project was on a much larger scale and was going to require some different techniques in both creating the design and in actually dyeing the fabric. Starting with a cotton bed sheet, the first step was to come up with a resist that would hold up to the repeated immersions in the indigo vat. Wax turned out to be the favored medium and then it was just a matter of how to apply the wax to the design. A yard sale find of an old fondue pot turned out to be just the thing for keeping the wax at the right temperature. The next hurdle was to find a suitable container to dye that large of a piece of fabric and fortunately I had an old stainless vat that was just the perfect size. Working with the zinc/lime vat meant that the vat needed to stay at a pretty consistent temperature and that was solved by placing the vat over a small gas burner and keeping it well insulated. It didn't look very pretty but it worked....and having two weeks of 90 degree weather also helped! The vat was so happy in fact, that with just 10 dips a marvelous dark shade was achieved and when the wax was removed the whole effect was spectacular. Stayed tuned for a photo later on this summer with the sail in place on the wooden boat sailing off the coast of Maine!
Zoe checking the zinc/lime stock solution.

The dye receipt book and some preliminary samples.

A test piece using a wax resist.

The bamboo streching device.

Creating the design with the wax resist.

A yard sale find of an old fondue pot proved to be the best way to keep wax melted!

The finished border design.

Setting up the indigo vat in a stainless vat....with insulation to keep it warm and a gas burner when it got too cool.

Blessing the indigo vat with some of Norman's home-made wine.

The happy stock solution ready to go into the vat.

In she goes....

The sail ready for it's first dip.

The first dip!

Submerging for another dip.

The fourth dip.

The tenth dip and the wax removed.

The happy dyer!