Monday, July 29, 2013

Natural Dye workshop Day One

I am so happy to be at Arrowmont School of Art and Craft this week, studying Natural Dyes with Catharine Ellis. We began our day with the preparation of a natural indigo vat. I LOVE this recipe because it uses natural indigo extract, henna or fructose and lime (calcium hydroxide). There are no offensive smells like in your typical synthetic indigo vat, only the sweet aroma of the henna or fructose. In addition to that, I can now make a strong and a weaker vat and maintain them properly over time and be able to achieve lighter values of indigo blue from the very beginning and still not worry about sacrificing light fastness.

This picture shows the wonderful surface of our natural indigo vat as well as the flower it created in just a few hours. We are letting it sit overnight to continue reducing. Please excuse the shadow from the porch where we were working outside. The vat itself already has a beautiful mustardy yellow quality to it. 

We did a test strip and it looks beautiful. I'm anxious to see the difference in tomorrow morning's test strip.

We also talked about the role of tannins and then prepared some of our cellulose fibers with a tannin. I brought a prepared Tencel warp and some weft to weave a scarf and treated that with tannin. I cannot wait to start dyeing my warp tomorrow. 

We ended the day by making an indigo paste resist. It is water soluble and very easy to rinse out of the cloth. So I used one of my new stencils from The Stencil Girl to apply the paste to my cotton fabric. I will post pictures tomorrow.

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