The Dye Lab

Clockwise, model in toile, exposing screen with ultraviolet light, silk screen, logwood test pot, madder dyed on silk drying, logwood screened with discharge tests, cutting quilted coat, madder pot, logwood dye pot

Clockwise, model in toile, exposing screen with ultraviolet light, silk screen, logwood test pot, madder dyed on silk drying, logwood screened with discharge tests, cutting quilted coat, madder pot, logwood dye pot

I’ve been using natural dyes since last fall. I haven’t mentioned it much – because when you work with something all the time, I just think that it permeates the air I breath, so of course you must know about it….but alas, I had a moment of clarity recently and thought, why not do a post about this most lovely of things? Last fall Yannick, Clement & I began foraging in Pollok Park (where else?) for all things dyeable. I had two good books on the subject – The Colour Cauldron and The Scottish Natural Dye Handbook. I collected loads of Elderberry, Rosehips, Marigolds, Oak galls and bark, Heather, Tansey, Yarrow and many unidentified flowers. I cooked them up and made samples in cotton, linen, silk and wool. I started a log book to record notes and colour samples. Over the spring I began silk screening with the natural dyes and with a lot of trial and error, I figured out how to make  a good print that was wash fast. When we were in Turkey I met up with a couple who run a natural dye shop and purchased 6 different types of dye plants (Madder, Pomegranate, Sumac, Oak galls, Weld and some Sakiz (no translation) as well as a Turkish version of black oak) I’ve been spending a lot of time figuring out how to use my print work with the dyes in combinations that look good as well as technically work …ie, it doesn’t wash out.  The colors produced have been amazing and I’m really excited. For the collection, I’ll be using mainly silk and wool. I have the 5 looks in toiles finished and over the next 2 and 1/2 months I’ll be producing the textile dyes & prints, and sewing up the clothes. It is really fun to see the different areas of the work come together and it’s surprisingly very colourful. There’s really nothing better than having an apron on, pots on the stove, colours emerging from a vat and the smells of the earth all around you. It’s pure magic I say.

H

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