Saturday, November 30, 2013

Red Dye Intensive

This August we held a four day workshop where the focus would be solely on the dyeing with natural materials that give the color red. I had wanted to work on the dyeing of cotton and linen with madder for years and thought that holding a workshop would be the perfect opportunity to give me the push that I needed to do this. With Zoe's help we planned to have the first two days set aside for the mordanting and dyeing of the fibers and the last two days would be taking those dye stuffs and use them for printing and silk screening. We had four very enthusiastic participants....Jean Hosford, who came all the way out from Michigan, Billie Smith from New Jersey, Jane Quimby from NH, and Eileen Crawford from Vermont. The two exciting things for me were that we were going to be using my homegrown madder root for some of the sampling and that I had decided to try a real authentic "Turkey Red" receipt. Consequently I had started the mordanting process for that a month ahead of time. I was using the procedure outlined in the book by J. Liles, The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing which involved mordanting the yarn with oils, tannic acid and alum...over and over again...with a final soak in sheep or cow dung for good measure. He was very adamant that not just any red could be called Turkey Red and I quote.."Do not call your product Turkey Red until it is....and there will be no question in your mind when you have it". Well.....see for our yourselves if we didn't succeed in our attempts for the illusive Turkey Red! Besides that, we all had fun and learned alot.
Kate's fresh madder root ready for dyeing.

Cochineal on wool.

Jean with her sample of madder root.

Some of the cotton and linen skeins dyed with madder and cochineal.

Cotton and linen skeins dyed with lac and brazilwood.


Eileen getting ready to make dye paste.

Jean measuring something??

The mordant samples ready to dry.

Another successful day of dyeing.

Zoe explaining the workings of silk screening.

The silk screens ready for designing.

The dye paint samples.

Making up the sample books.

Jean, Jane and Billie starting to make up the sample books.   Kate looking on (note ice pack!)
A successful but exhausting four days!

photos by Jane Quimby and Kate Smith

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Summer Dyeing Memories

We're finally gathering up some photos from the summer dye classes and this batch is from a day of indigo dyeing with Zoe's zinc/lime vat and a Lye Hydrosulfite vat (Thiox Vat). Jane Quimby was here for our Red Dye workshop (more on that later) and she mentionned some of the interesting shibori dyeing that she was doing on her own for making quilts. Another student, Debra Bogart, was interested in dyeing some large pieces of cotton fabric in our indigo vats in shibori technique, so we put the two of them together. It was fascinating to watch Jane create the most amazing patterns using fabric stretched on pvc pipe. Here is a sampling of what they accomplished. Jane will be back next summer to teach her method of shibori during our indigo intensive so check the website for details and dates.
Debra ready with her scoured cotton fabric.

Jane and Debra taking out the first piece from the zinc/lime vat.
Watching the color change from green to blue.

Jane demonstrating her shibori technique of wrapping fabric around a pvc pipe.

Flat rocks holding down the pvc pipes in the Thiox vat.

The fabrics airing.

More of the unique devices that Jane uses to create patterns.

Some of the finished pieces.

A very interesting pattern from one of the pvc tubes.

The results of a fruitfall day of dyeing!