5/24/2012 A perfect day to dye   1 comment

Last Sunday we hosted a dye workshop at our house. Margavati had been wanting to try out some dye ideas and Domenica, who has dyeing expereince, was willing to help out. Then we opened it up to anyone else that wanted to come out so it became this cool self-directed experiment day. Everyone had a dye or two they were playing with and shared it with whoever wanted to try.

Indigo, cochineal, tumeric, dandelion, camomile, tea, madder. Wool, silk, linen, bamboo. There was quite a rainbow on the drying line. We set up a bunch of prep tables on the right side, where Ophelia, Murien and Jennifer wound mulberry silk, linen and bamboo into small skiens for dyeing.

We had both tin and alum for mordants. Domenica had some cool little disks to tie on the materials to track fiber, mordent and dye. After sitting in it’s mordent for awhile, it went into the dye bath. We ran a row of coleman stoves on the left side of the driveway for the dye pots. 

We learned that indigo didn’t need a mordent and neither did the tumeric. The tin with cochineal gives a spectacular scarlet red on wool if it’s the first thing to be dyed. The bath seemed to loose strength after that and the silks and later wool ended up pink. The indigo lost intensity after a while too, but Rhydderch had taken off the stove to dye so it could be it was too cool and oxygen returned to the bath.

The tumeric gave a surprisingly bright and intense yellow and was set with vinegar. Margavati painted a piece of cotton, then dipped in amonia to show how it turns orange. A dip back in vinegar and it returns to sunshine yellow. Science!

Domenica discovered that while egg whites are a great binder when block printing mordents, but they dry hard as a rock and refuse to liquefy with water. Luckily the blocks got washed immediately.

Indigo is always fun to play with as it changes colors during oxygenation, but we were finding that the dye wasn’t taking evenly. Best guess is we were crowding the fabric. With several applications we were getting deep blues. Ophelia experimented with over dyes: indigo-cochineal-indigo got a deep grape purple. Margavati tried tumeric-indigo and got a tie-dye effect with green/blue/yellow.

Domenica and Ophelia came out the day before and while Ophelia learned to fly fish with Rhydderch, Domenica finally got to meet my horses :) We spent several hours at the barn, including a training session with Picaro where I showed her how I use positive reinforcement techniques to switch his brain from instictive flight mode to thinking mode when challenged with scary objects. This is very useful for SCA events and games and also training her husband’s horse for Civil War events. I also taught her and Tammy the training game. It’s great way to learn +R, especially timing. The look on their face when they each got their first “good girl” is so much like Picaro and Nico when I’m training a new behavior. I couldn’t stop laughing.

More pics of the dye workshop are on my Flickr site.

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Posted May 24, 2012 by studioloperyn in Oooo! Shiney!

One response to “5/24/2012 A perfect day to dye

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  1. What a wonderful time! The whole weekend was great!

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