Friday, May 23, 2014

Dye Day

Still catching up, because this dye workshop was actually held on May 3.

It was different for a local workshop--because I wasn't teaching it  :-)    A dyer from Gainesville came up to visit friends and give the workshop.

Specifically, it was a mordant workshop.  Natural dyes won't attach themselves to yarn or fabrics very well without a mordant--from the Latin word meaning "to bite."  This workshop was to show how different mordants can affect the colors.  Actually, we were just using two--alum and iron, with different proportions of blends of the two.

The mordants were thickened and then painted onto the cloth--pure alum on one end, pure iron on the other, blends in between.   You can see the iron mordant easily, because it's another name for "really rusty water."

After the mordents dried (we used hair dryers, sometimes blowing a fuse at our hostess's house when we were all working at once) they were put into various dyepots (onion skins, cochineal [a bug] and lac [another bug] for a half hour.  Rinsed and dried, we could easily see the mordant effect.

For my final sample, I used an old wood printing block to print a design in the iron mordant, then used a Q-tip to dab alum around the print.  The final result needs isn't terribly inspiring, but it does show the possibilities.

This was just a few days after I got kitten Wilhelm, and I tried not to let him be a distraction by keeping his basket away from the activities.  Didn't work very well--he was often passed from person to person (alas, I didn't get pictures).  No problem with him being socialized.

But to show how even letting a couple of weeks get away from you will let things change a lot, here's Wilhelm taking a nap in my hands.

And here's our formerly itty-bitty chicks, now out in the chicken coop.

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