Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Doing some dyeing!

My kitchen has been turned into an art studio this week: my daughter has claimed the breakfast table for her paintings, and I have taken over the counter, sink, and work table for fabric dyeing.

I cleaned everything up this afternoon, just in time to take a few photos before it got dark, so I can link up to Texture Tuesday over at Kim Klassen's cafe.  The theme this week is "Do...."  Well, I've been doing lots this week... but not photography! Click here to check out the gorgeous images submitted by thoughtful artists who take their craft seriously -- my photos were taken almost as an afterthought; still, I think you can see I am in a colorful mood!

Kim Klassen's "Scripted Autumn" (overlay @100%), my "medium copper" (lighter color  @70%),

"Scripted Autumn" (soft light @100%), my "medium copper," (inverted, soft light @100%)

"Scripted Autumn" (overlay @100%), my "light copper" (inverted, soft light @50%)
Sometimes I just want to make colors, and that's why I love to dye -- I really enjoy the mad scientist aspect of mixing the dyes and playing with chemicals.  But most of all, I am thrilled by the mystery of how it will all turn out.  I like to do low-immersion dyeing; the patterning of the colors on the fabric (and even the colors themselves) comes out differently every time since I don't follow exact recipes.

(I generally leave the fabrics in the dye anywhere from 4 to 24 hours.  I am not overly fussy about the batching time.)

This time I also dyed yarns, threads, cheesecloth, throwsters waste, and silk carrier rods.  They all took the dye beautifully!


I like to use the spent dye to stain tissue paper or paper towels for use in collage.  The dye that has already been used to dye fibers still has enough umph to color the papers and since I hate to let anything go to waste, I embarked on a major paper staining sub-project.  You can see in this photo how you quickly run through stacks and stacks of tissue paper; for some reason I ended up with miles of green paper.....

One thing leads to another, and since I had all the equipment out, I wanted to try batiking using dyes instead of paint.  (I had previously taken a workshop on soy wax batik with Melanie Testa using fabric paint.)  The soy wax stood up pretty well to all the rinsing you have to do to get rid of excess dye.  The beauty of soy is that it is safe for household plumbing -- a good thing since much of it washed out in warm water.  The photo doesn't do justice to these pieces.... they turned out very well:


As if all this wasn't enough, I've been reading Jane Davies' new book, and thought I'd try out the tyvek technique she mentions in it.  You basically just iron some tyvek between sheets of newspaper (you can use an express mail envelope from the post office).  After a few passes with the iron, it will begin to shrivel and distort.  Being careful not to melt it too much, you can get some interesting weathered effects.  Here, I've taken shriveled tyvek pieces and painted them with metallic paints.


British artists such as Maggie Grey and Jean Littlejohn and Jan Beaney use these in their free-form embroideries, but I think they would also work well in collage. Here, I've used a piece as a decoration for a box I made:
Sometimes I think that I enjoy making the elements of art -- the decorated papers, the painted and decorated surfaces, the dyed fabrics -- even more than the finished artwork.  I love color and texture for its own sake.  What's your favorite part of the process?

15 comments:

Pat Mark said...

Oh my gosh, this is so interesting. I love all the colors. Wow, just beautiful.

hannah said...

A girl after my own heart!!!
Me too: I love the 'ingredients' of fibre crafts, but am never that enamoured of the finished product.
Love your coloured pieces and am so impressed with your organized inventory.

I still have unspun wool that I dyed with natural dyes many years back. keeping them away from the light means that the colours are still fresh and strong.
I shall have to try and get a post together on this. Will call you over when done.
Happy colour play.

Kia said...

Fabulous array of colors and images, Kathleen! :)
I loved to dye yarns, but I haven't done it in ages. Have a lovely and creative day! :)

johanna said...

your thumbnail at TT guided me to your blog - and i found so interesting treasures... what an array of cool colorful photos!! divine!

Victoria said...

Oh my goodness, how fun!
I want to come to your house and PLAY!

Evelyn S. said...

Oh, so much color on this page!! Fabulous! I have never tried one of Kim's textures on a fully colored image. Nicely done!

Ruth said...

wonderful colours, so full of energy :)

Cedar said...

Wow, that is a lot of "do"! Photography is my only creative outlet, but I love every step of it.

The colors in this post and all those yarns and paper--absolutely gorgeous!

Barb said...

Wow - you are one busy lady! what gorgeous dyes and fabrics and papers . . .

Kim Klassen said...

truly amazing.... wonderful DO....

xxo, Kim

deb duty said...

All three textured flowers are gorgeous, but my favorite is the purple one.

Pat said...

You certainly accomplished a lot in one day! You're brave to dye in the kitchen. I do it in the garage and it's always a mess by the time I have finished.

Your photos of the dyed papers, yarns, etc. - love them.

ShonEjai said...

I love your blog! Very colorful indeed! Great photos.

sabrina sane said...

Kathleen, Oh my, in love with the color! Is that first rose Double Delight? I miss my roses, lost them all after the three hurricanes in a row we had a couple of years back. Anyway, your copper texture adds such a great feel. Also, really enjoyed seeing your dying. That is on my list of artistic adventures.

colorpoems said...

I love color! I love texture! It seems you took my thoughts and put into a great post. We are "Starting the Journey" together at Kat's Find Your Eye. I just read all Jane Davies books recently too. I love your last image, decoration for a box - the colors, ohh!!