Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Cedar Bark workshop - Day 1

I am back at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg, TN this week attending the National Basketry Organization Conference. I am taking a three day workshop with Dawn Walden on Contemporary Cedar Bark. I am so excited with the amount of technical information we are getting in this workshop!

The image below is the start of my base for the vessel we are going to make. I love working with cedar bark. It is so much like leather when damp, but then very sturdy when dry.

After my base was twined, it was attached to a mold, to form the shape. Then I wove a twill pattern for the body.

Here is my finished form, drying on the mold until tomorrow at which time we will embellish it with cedar and spruce roots. Can't wait!!!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Natural Indigo Vat

Working with a natural indigo vat is wonderful! I made both a weak and a strong vat in my studio. This provides me with the ability to dye a wide range of beautiful indigo blue. I love that the indigo is ready whenever I want to dye with it; however the vats do require daily attention to be sure that they are always reduced. 

This is the 3ply Paternayan tapestry yarn, with a 3, 5, and another 5 minute dip in the weak vat, from left to right.

Below is the Harrisville Highland  2ply wool with the same 3, 5, and 5 minute dips. The results are so much paler than the tapestry yarn. So I concluded that not all wools dye the same. Perhaps there is more spinning oil in this yarn than the other, despite my scouring it before dyeing it. It still is extremely beautiful. 

Using the wool yarn that I recently dyed in goldenrod, I used the weak vat to over dye the rich golden yellow in one dip of 3 minutes and a second dip of 5 minutes. I am very pleased with the results. 

I then took those same three samples and modified the colors using a warm bath with ferrous sulfate (iron) in it. The iron causes the color to become a little duller than the original. I just love this ability to dye one color of natural dye and then modify it using indigo and iron!

My last set of samples on the tapestry yarn, from left to right are:
Goldenrod, goldenrod and a 3 minutes dip in the weak indigo, goldenrod with a 3 and 5 minute dip in indigo, goldenrod and iron and goldenrod with a 3 minute indigo dip followed by iron.

Stay tuned for more experiments using both of my indigo vats!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dyeing Wool with Goldenrod

As a continuation of my natural dyes workshop at Arrowmont, I decided that the summer months were the perfect time to try dyeing some wool using goldenrod. I gathered some not too far from my house and spent a good part of the day extracting the color from it, mordanting the wool and dyeing it with the goldenrod. I am delighted with the results. 

Here are the freshly picked flower heads.

I placed them in my enamel pot with enough water to completely cover them and allow them to move freely.

As they gradually came to a boil, I simmered them for a good hour. During that time I watched the bright yellow color dull down and the water gradually gained a rich yellow color. Then I strained the flowers out of the liquid.

Here are my small skeins of wool being mordanted with potassium aluminum sulfate. 

My dye bath with the wool showed me that not all wool takes the dye at equal rates. I am dyeing some  Harrisville Highland 2ply and some 2 ply Paternayan tapestry yarn. The tapestry wool definitely took up more dye.

Here is the result of my dye day using goldenrod. I LOVE the resulting yellow colors and plan to use them later in the week with ferrous sulfate as a modifier and a dip in a pale natural indigo vat. As I reflect on these gorgeous colors, I think about being part of a wonderful history of when our ancient settlers in the Northeast had dyed in a similar manner for their weaving.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Natural Dye workshop Day 5

These samples are the results of my exploring color using a base color of natural dye and then modifying it using ferrous sulfate as well as one dip in indigo. From left to right, in sets of three, are cochineal, madder, Osage orange, pomegranate and cutch. The colors are a little bit off in hue, but I think you have a good idea of what can be done with just a few colors of dyes to work with. I am going to continue this exploration of color in natural dyes over the next couple of months, creating a sample notebook of recipes to use for future reference in dyeing wool for my tapestries.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Natural Dye workshop Day 4

I had a busy day today, dyeing base colors of natural dyes. We did cochineal, madder, pomegranate, and Osage orange. The Osage orange was a special treat. The resident artist in the wood studio had some Osage orange wood shavings and gave them to use to extract the color from. 

Here is the gorgeous yellow we got from the Osage orange dye bath on my wool.

I had a chance to help grind some cochineal bugs into a powder and then extract the beautiful red color from it. Here are my dyed samples on wool.

We did a madder dye bath and got this nice strong orange color from it.

I explored some over dyeing at the end of the day and discovered that one two minute dip in the indigo vat made a huge transformation in the colors. I absolutely love them!!!!! This is the beginning of a color study of natural dyed yarns overdyed in indigo. I can't wait to get home and order the supplies needed to create my own indigo vat and get started.