Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why I Dye

The picture does not do it justice!  This is cotton, dyed with a yellow from Pro Chem that I've never used before, golden yellow from Dharma, and charcoal gray from Dharma.  The combination of yellow and gray makes some of the most glorious greens I've ever seen.

Originally I was going to use the Pro Chem yellow with cerulean blue in a snow dye to get the green I want for my next piece.  When I put the blue dye in the yellow, I could see immediately it wouldn't work- I had a bottle of baby puke or baby diaper (take your pick).  I did the snow dyeing, but not until I'd mixed up my trusty lemon yellow from Dharma.  (More on that later in the post.)

After I did the snow dye setup, I figured I might as well use some of the dyes I have in my dye frig just for fun.  I took the Pro Chem yellow 114 and golden yellow and splattered them across a length of cotton.  I wanted to add something, so I looked to see what I already had mixed up.  I almost grabbed light red- then I saw the charcoal gray sitting in the back.  I grabbed that, and liberally doused the fabric.  I left it to batch overnight, just scrumpled up in a container.
I washed it out this morning, and loved what I saw after I ironed it.  Those lighter spots up at the top just glow against the darker values!

My snow dye was much less successful.  It came out yellow, not green.  I now know why you don't use old snow to dye- it has STUFF in it.  Yes, it all rinsed out ok, but still- what a pain.  After rinsing, I dumped the fabric in soda ash again to soak, while I mixed up more lemon yellow and turquoise dye.  I laid out the fabric on plastic, and sponged on color where I wanted it.  

It is now scrumpled up in a container, batching under a heat lamp.  I won't wash it out until tomorrow afternoon, since turquoise likes a longer batch time.

I also grabbed three silk scarves I've had sitting in the studio since I rust dyed them last fall.  They came out ugly- so what the heck, I decided to find out what happens when you mix MX dyes with rust dyed fabric.  I soaked the scarves in vinegar, then chose colors.  One got charcoal gray, one got turquoise, and one got that baby puke/diaper color I'd mixed up yesterday.  After nuking them one at a time, they got washed out with the cotton.  Here's how they came out--

An improvement for sure.  I was floored at how turquoise the one scarf is- I figured it would  be more brown-y, since the whole scarf had a tan undertone.

I also decided the turquoise scarf needed more- so I screened on some DeColourant, using sequin waste.  It is now hanging on the design wall, drying.  I'll iron it tomorrow to see what happens.  Since turquoise is notorious for NOT discharging, we'll see what this new product does.  And regardless, I think I will do some more screening on this scarf.

So, to answer the question at the beginning of the post- how else could I get such unique, glorious color?  I don't worry about running out of a fabric, I can always create more since I keep a pretty good record of my dye sessions.  It may not be identical, but it will definitely blend and coordinate with anything I created with the same dye colors and similar process.  And, as Margaret Miller, says, why use four fabrics when you can use forty?


Judy said...

oh, I'm a huge fan of that scarf in the back right! ;)


Debra Spincic said...

I do have a lot of dye just sitting around waiting . . . . .

(I just don't know if I want to tackle the learning curve)

tiedyejudy said...

Girl after my own heart! I love using leftovers to see what I get, and I'm usually pleased! And if it doesn't come out just right, add a layer, discharge, screen print... the possibilities are endless!

Del said...

Wowie-Zowie! That green on the top makes my heart pound. Just the sort of thing that is not available in commercial fabrics. The scarves are also great. Keep at it. [your secret word seems to fit right in "Hasto"!] Del

Rayna said...

Personally, give me the puke green every time- LOL. As you know, there is (almost) nothing that can't be saved. I love that yellow/gray fabric and you couldn't pay me to snow dye. Seriously! Well, maybe a $$million but less than that - uh uh.

Margaret Miller is not only a sweetie,she knows whereof she speaks.
Thanks for sharing these pix. I will be interested in whether the de-colorant does anything with the turqoise.

Karoda said...

I have one piece that I rusted and then dyed with a red and I love it! Your scarves are fantastic! And the first piece you posted must be heart stopping in real life because it is jumping on this screen!