Monday, October 12, 2009
Does it seem like I only post on a holiday weekend? I really do mean to post again before Thanksgiving. :-) By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends!
Last month I attended a dye workshop with Sonya Lee Barrington from San Francisco, brought to Maine for the fall PTQG member's meeting. Sonya has been dyeing fabrics for 30 years, so she had quite a store of knowledge and experience to share with us. It was a fun day; I even took a day off work to attend.
At the workshop we were introduced to a number of different techniques to create visual texture with Procion dyes. One method is to take 3-4 inch strips of fabric and braid them very tightly. Immerse in dye and when completed "unbraid". This creates a white (the original color of the fabric) and color spotted fabric. You can then braid the strips and dye another color. Sonya had some beautiful examples of this.
Another technique that is very simple and effective is to scrunch up a fat quarter in the toe of a nylon knee-high sock. Tie the sock and immerse in dye. You get a lovely mottled fabric.
The third method I chose was to sew a piece of fabric into a tube and slip it over a piece of PVC pipe. You then twist the tube and scrunch it down the tube, so it is very tightly twisted. Rubber bands hold the fabric top and bottom. The whole thing is immersed in dye. I had white fabric and put it into yellow dye. The result is a diagonal yellow stripey fabric. I want to sew it into a tube again and immerse it in another color, say orange, to get another layer of color.
This past Saturday I joined the Art Quilt chapter of PTQG. We had Suzanne Drown Trout of Portland give a batik workshop. Another fun day! Batik is a resist dye process. We painted with melted soy wax on our muslin squares. I made sea stars with lots of dots and practiced writing, too. We used Sumi brushes, which are used in Japanese calligraphy. We also got to try a special device called a tjanting, which is especially good for applying fine lines and details.
After drawing our design in wax we were ready to paint with dye. We were given the three primary colors of dye mixed with a thickening agent. I mixed up a peachy orange color and then experimented to see how well the colors mixed together on the fabric. I left some areas open and applied solid yellow next to the orange. A chemical water could be added to the dye to thin it and make it flow more quickly.
I really enjoyed batik and would like to try it again at home. The soy wax washes out easily with hot water and soap. No tedious removal of wax the hot water, scraping, and ironing. That's for me!
After lunch we discussed the December meeting and also challenges to work on. Lots of great ideas and it was so good to be with so many other women who are enjoying the creative process. I felt like I was with "my" people!