'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Monday 19 September 2011

Dyeing in Dorset.

Despite the weather, and the traffic on the way home, A. and I had a great weekend. We went down to Walford Mill for a ‘Dyeing the Blues’ 2 day course with Tiggy Rawling – and had a wonderful time. Tiggy is an excellent teacher, and I would strongly recommend her courses if you want to learn about shibori and indigo dyeing.

On the first day – when we  had a bit of sunshine – some of us tried out dyeing with ferrous sulphate solution [bottom centre, clamped and overdyed with indigo].

Then we tried some shibori – which I have tried before with little success, though A. is expert at it. I was more successful this time – some samples bottom left. I think it helped using thicker thread and slightly heavier fabric, which made it easier to get a good resist.

Then we learned the care and feeding of indigo vats, and got down to the really exciting bit – standing with our hands in a murky, warm, blue green liquid, taking them out, putting them back etc. etc. etc.image

Top left is a plain piece, dyed for later discharge [bottom right] with potassium permanganate paste. This was the least successful process for me – I either got too much of the paste, as you can see here, or too little, when I tried using some wooden stamps. I’ll show you what it looks like after discharge when it’s dry!

Top centre is some pole wrapped silk noil, unwrapped top right. I’m very pleased with this, which I think is just about long enough to make a scarf. [While we were dyeing on Saturday, one of the other visitors to the Mill came over and asked A. what the fabric was for. A., very quick wittedly, started talking about cushion covers. We got the feeling that ‘It‘s for stroking’ would not have been an acceptable answer – and A’s indigo dyed silk velvet was definitely for stroking.]

Overnight we all went home and did voluntary homework – some more stitched resist for me and this experimental piece, which I neglected to photograph before it met the indigo. Visimagecose wool felt, marbles and string. Hairy string, which in this case was not a good idea. The little beads were attached at Tiggy's suggestion so I could tell my dripping blue lumps from other people’s dripping blue lumps. Surprisingly, there seemed to be no doubt about who owned this one…

  1. Post dyeing and machine felting bottom left
  2. after I'd separated the hairy string from the hairy felt, and removed the marbles top left. A couple of the marbles had already made a bid to escape – hence the holes, which I love. It makes me think of bladderwrack.

On the second day – when it rained – we retreated upstairs at the Mill for more shibori-ing. I did a couple of traditional tie dye targets, an experimental button resisted piece – which got more experimental when I dropped a button and couldn’t find it again, so had to rethink the design - and made lots of hanks of thread and wool. We dyed again in the afternoon when the sun came out, and finished with the discharging I’ve alreimageady mentioned.

This afternoon I tackled this lot – rinsing, untying, and washing – show you more when they are dry.




Thoroughly exhausting but great fun – and lots of ideas to try with procion dyes as well as indigo.

1 comment:

Tiggy Rawling said...

Hi Celia - great post on the weekend, and I got to see some of the end results! Look forward to Part 2.

I am going to add a link to your blog, so everyone can see the weekend from a students view.

The word verification is 'entenso". Very apt!