Thursday, August 13, 2015

Experiments in printing and dyeing.

Printed calico bag - inverted
I've been busy since I last wrote. Firstly, I was involved in a delightful printing workshop. This was such fun. We were printing bags ready for the Festival of Quilts. They were donated to the Tombola which raises funds for The Quilters' Guild of The British Isles of which I am a member.

Printed bamboo bag - correct orientation

Printed black calico bag - correct orientation
We could each buy three different bags - two were calico, one being black. The third was a little more unusual, being made of bamboo. I must admit to having preferred the calico bags. I brought six extra bags home with me to print as presents. The three shown will be, by now, with their new owners since I donated all three bags which were completed on the day. The photos were taken as they dried on a washing line.

Last Friday I was really lucky and went to an Introduction to natural dyeing with the Frodsham Friday Felters group. We travelled to North Wales and visited Helen Melvin in her fascinating Blaen Wern Dye Garden.

Rhubarb root (Rheum sp)
The photos you see here are the wet samples of the different dyes we tried as they waited on the draining board in my kitchen. I shall post photos of the rinsed and dried samples in my next post.

Japanese Indigo (Persicaria tinctoria)

Persian berries (Rhamus sp with rusty nails)

Helen's dyed wool - fermented Alder Buckthorn

Alder Buckthornm (Frangula alnus)

Cochineal (Dactylopius Coccus)


Dyers Greenwood (Genista tinctoria)

Madder (Rubia tinctoria)
It was really interesting to walk around Helen's garden with her commentary on what each plant was and the colours that could be achieved using different mordants. Different parts of the plants were used - dried berries or roots, or fresh leaves (Japanese Indigo). All dyebaths, bar the Japanese Indigo, were prepared by Helen before we arrived so that we could make the best use of our time with her. I was able to help collect the leaves and liquidise them ready for use. Since I had forgotten to wear gloves, my nails were a rather nice shade of turquoise by the time I had finished.

The last photo shows the bodice I have been making. I am intending to print and paint the dress while it is in two pieces - the as yet uncompleted bodice and the skirt. The skirt has still to be assembled.
The almost finished bodice
You may have seen the pattern photograph in my last post. You can see it here.

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