I don't know where to begin! This weekend gone has been really got the creative juices flowing and the information intake in overload. After the previous instructional day it was time to jump in and start creating. I was keen to to some more Shibori but was mindful that this is something I can likely do at home. So instead I decided to play around with hand dyeing. This appeals to me in a way that pigment printing doesn't (screen printing pigment onto fabric was offered as one of the three techniques taught at this workshop). Dyeing the fabric actually changes the molecular makeup of the fabric. It becomes part of the fabric rather than sitting on top of it like pigment does. More than this concept blowing my mind, I remaining conscious of the reason I began this journey. I want to make products that are beautiful, ethical and therapeutic. The gold standard for me is to use silk. To put pigment on silk would not have a great aesthetic (in my opinion), but it would also be heavy and thick, therefore counteracting the soft and therapeutic qualities of silk that I want to champion.
My first lesson is identifying how dye reacts to mixing with other colours creating various "bleeds" and "halos". The degree to which the dye bleeds is hard to control. Unfortunately I ran out of time to experiment fully with the Manutex to increase the thickness of the dye and reduce bleeding.
The incredible shine and vibrancy of this yellow is hard to communicate through my iPhone camera. I would love to try a better colour tested and large-scale version of this.
Above is the result of my testings but on silk. As expected, the bleed of the dye was high, but the colours were brilliant. I am yet to steam and rinse this piece for fear of the dye running. If I had to do this piece over, I would attempt to control the black (which appears blue here) dye bleed with Manutex or opt for a gentler colour so as not to overpower the beautiful yellow and oranges in the background.
I definitely took a deep dive into experimentation. While others in the class rushed around trying to finish final products to take home, I was keen to make as many mistakes as possible with Jo on hand to show me the way. I also created some strong monochrome pieces and one gorgeous Shibori scarf. That is for another post!
My first attempt at the Shibori method. Less hippy than your classic tie dye - and that's a good thing in my mind! Would love to have another go and leave my scrunched up fabric bound in elastic bands in the vat for longer. Maybe I will get some time tomorrow.
Second Shirobi experiment. Water needs to get to the fabric to ensure the indigo dye takes later on. Results below!
I would have liked some more penetration of the dye on both of these but it is early days and these results were achieved with single 10 minute dunks in the vat.
Then it was on to some painting work mixed with the use of masking tape. This was a lot of fun and while I only had a short time to experiment with this method I can already see infinite possibilities for further exploration tomorrow.
A lot of information for the first day. Jo is great. Her enthusiasm for our love of textiles and her vast knowledge are obvious and not intimidating at all. A true teacher, Jo's warmth put me at ease and I am reminded that mistakes are important. Also good to have a great bunch of women in the class with me of various experience and backgrounds.