Thursday, May 19, 2011

Huge dyeing messes-

Back to synthetic dyes this week.

I posted a challenge to my Quilter's Palette class to see who has the biggest mess to contend with and while I always have huge amounts of awfulness all around me, I am sure that I am not alone in my crapulence.

My dye studio looks like I slaughtered a pig or did some sort of ritual sacrifice. It's gruesome if you don't know the truth of the matter.

I also have a large fabric painting I am working on that you cannot see in the photo.

It seems to me that the worse the mess, the higher the level of creativity and glee. Is this true for you as well?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Olives as natural dyes

In our quest to find even more local resources for natural dyes, my daughter and I headed out a few miles from town to an olive orchard.

Our Yolo Arts Council has an Art/Farm program that is fabulous. A number of times each year, opportunities for artists to visit the farms with easels and cameras and paints are opened up allowing us to spend the day puttering or painting or pondering. The really sweet deal is that they reward our participation with a stipend for supplies with the hopes that in the fall, our creations will be a part of the Art/Farm art show.

Now I ask you, isn't this something you would participate in if afforded the opportunity? You can spend the morning in the fresh air, in peace and serenity, walking among fields and flowers and trees; occasionally chatting with another artist you come upon...drinking it all into your soul. Then you go home inspired and ready to make art having been paid to do what you would pay them to do? Win-win.

Above are the results of last month's flower dyeing of wool roving on the far left. Merino wool yarn is next to it that had a weak baking soda mordant added. Next to that are two examples of wool dyed in an olive brew that was made from olives that weren't quite ripe yet. We did not want to pick the olives so only allowed ourselves to gather fruit that were already on the ground. They were still pink or dark red- not black yet which certainly affected the final color.
Here is a photograph of the rows of fairly young trees where we gathered the fruit.

This is the wool in the dye bath. It made a nice medium brown.

Finished wool yarn with baking soda rinse.

Beautiful results.

We have yet to use the leaves we collected which also will yield color.

This was easy to do and we intend on trying again now that we know what we are doing and once the olives are ripe around town. There are zillions of trees available where we can gather what we want without guilt that we are taking a farmer's lively hood away from them. Sometimes you have to try a process to know if it is worthwhile or worthy of further investigation, yes?

Next time I will show you what I did with left over fabric and my garden umbrella. Cool.

About Me

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Woodland, California, United States
I am a fiber artist. I am a teacher. I am a Reverend. I teach, I create, I counsel, I listen.

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