Indigo dyes

Indigo studio!

Sunday

Since the snow is gone (yeah!), I began indigo dyeing. It was finally warm enough during the May long weekend to set up an indigo vat. I happily spent much of the weekend dipping: two tablecloths, a dozen or more napkins, cotton/rayon scarves, linen handkerchiefs, and quilting cotton. Not ready to throw out the indigo vat, I stored it under our deck. 

trestles with board holding indigo vat and equipment for hand dyeing fabrics

A couple of weeks went by before I could get back to dyeing. I pulled out the indigo vat on Sunday to see if it was still viable. I tested a piece of pfd cotton and was surprised to find the indigo vat still had some life left! So I set up a makeshift indigo studio in the laneway.

indigo vat with fabrics floating on top in toronto ontario canada

I experimented with some small pieces of wool suiting, pfd cotton, linen/rayon crinkle scarves, cotton voile and double gauze cotton. The last two are new scarves that I am excited to be adding to my shop.
white cotton prepared for dyeing fabric dipped in indigo on fence
This pfd cotton has been dipped a few times and the colour is deeper than I was expecting.

wool suiting dipped in indigo oxidizing on tree toronto canada
One of the wool suitings scrunched and dipped. I didn’t expect the indigo vat to be viable so I didn’t have my drying rack set up. Instead, I used the bushes in our laneway.indigo dyed wool rolled up and tied with string by doris lovadina-lee toronto dyer
Another wool suiting rolled and tied.

yellow wool suiting dip dyed in indigo hanging from clothes hanger on fence post toronto ontario canada
This pale yellow piece of wool has a few moth holes, but I love the yellow and blue together.

metal stand with two pieces of indigo dyed cloth hanging toronto ontario
My neighbour showed up with this rack that she was going to throw out. It is perfect to use for hanging up the indigo dyed pieces. It just needs a little duct tape and will be a good addition to my dyeing supplies.

white cotton indigo dyed fabric and yellow wool fabric dyed in indigo hanging from metal stand

Here are a few of the pieces I’ve dyed during the second round of indigo dyeing drying on my new rack!

Monday

On Sunday, I left a piece of pfd cotton and a nui shibori scarf in the indigo vat overnight. On Monday, I pulled out the scrunched up pfd cotton and was happy to see a rich blue colour. 

cotton fabric dyed with indigo draped on bush

I recently read about an experiment where the dyer left pieces of fabric in an indigo vat overnight and compared those pieces to fabric that had been repeatedly dipped in the indigo. There was no difference in the depth of colour between the two, suggesting that repeated dips in indigo are not needed to dye a fabric, just a longer time in the vat. I haven’t washed these out yet, so I know that the colour will be lighter. I am happy to have had more time experimenting with this fascinating process.

 

Indigo scarves at Artfest on the Esplanade.

I have been waiting very impatiently for warm weather so I could indigo dye. Finally, I was able to spend part of this long weekend indigo dyeing scarves, napkins and some baby onesies too. I will be bringing these hand dyed items along with my snow dyed scarves to Pickering, Ontario for their annual art festival: Artfest being held in Esplanade Park.

arashi shibori cotton rayon scarf draped on green fence by doris lovadina-lee

Generously sized cotton/rayon Arashi Shibori scarf dyed in indigo.

itajime shibori indigo dyed sarong draped on green picket fence toronto ontario canada

Itajime Shibori indigo dyed pareo.

nui shibori indigo scarf draped on green picket fence doris lovadina

Nui shibori cotton/rayon indigo dyed scarf.

indigo dyed baby onsies on hangers

Ombre dyed baby onesies dipped in indigo.

poster for Artfest 2018

The Weather Network is calling for a sunny Saturday with a few clouds and a high of 25. Perfect outdoor weather to explore Artfest On The Esplanade. Hope to see you there!

Shop KOKITO for snow dyed shibori scarves!

I spent a lovely day in Prince Edward County meeting Shelley of KOKITO. This is a charming shop on Main Street in the town of Bloomfield, Ontario where the owners, Shelley Durnin and Jennifer Hadenne curate a beautiful selection of Canadian made and designed items. 

 

lamps, hoodies, bags handmade in canada available in Kokito a shop in southern ontario

Bloomfield is a small town located in the centre of the County. The Main Street is lined with small shops, restaurants and galleries. Everything is within walking distance and the shore of Lake Ontario is close by.

scarves, blankets, pillows and cards on display in back of Kokito store, locally made artisan shopThe shop stocks a great selection and variety of products all made by local artisans. Shelley and Jennifer source all the wares they sell in the shop personally, so every member of the family can find something they love. Kokito’s motto is: “Canadian Design and Lakeside Living” and this certainly describes the aesthetic of the shop.  

Shelves with hand made canadian items in KOKITO shop, Bloomfield Ontario

KOKITO store in Bloomfield ontario gift shop

I am happy to share that Kokito will be carrying my snow dyed shibori scarves as well as indigo napkins and table runners. The stack of hand dyed pieces below will already be out on display in the shop. 

shibori scarves, hand dyed placemats, indigo table runner available at Kokito in Bloomfield ontario shop

Prince Edward County is an area of southern Ontario that I had not visited. It has been described by friends as a beautiful, peaceful, yet vibrant place. I can see why! I hope you have the opportunity to travel to Bloomfield and meander around this pretty little town. When you do, visit Kokito and shop the beautiful locally made artisanal products for yourself or to give as gifts. You won’t be disappointed! 

Rowland Rickett’s Master Class in Indigo Dyeing

The Textile Museum of Canada in conjunction with the Contemporary Textile Studio Co-op in Toronto hosted Roland Ricketts in a sold out indigo dyeing workshop.

template for indigo dyeing with Roland Ricketts at the Contemporary Textile Studio Coop

Commonplace materials were used to create a template for stitching our design.

yukata cotton with dots showing the stitching pattern for indigo nui shibori

This chevron pattern was a challenge even though Roland very carefully explained the process! The design is transferred to the narrow cotton kimono cloth that is also used in making tea towels in Japan. The other end of the cotton is visible at the top. The edge has been marked and  gathered, ready for the indigo dye bath. These edges are held in place by 8 layers of folded cotton. This will give the design a continuous solid colour from edge to edge.

indigo tea towel sample by Roland Ricketts in the master class in indigo dyeing

I believe this is Roland’s example created in class. After being dipped in the Contemporary Textile Studio’s natural indigo vat three times, two stitches were removed and the piece was dipped into the indigo vat again. This gives the cotton a beautiful ombre effect.

set up for indigo dip dyeing to create ombre with roland ricketts

Another technique Roland demonstrated was how to create a gradient effect. The very thin poles are made out of bamboo and are inserted into the fabric edges. This easily allows the fabric to be held apart to facilitate the dyeing process.

roland ricketts demonstrating indigo dyeing technique in toronto ontario canada
My slightly blurry photo of this piece.

ombre sample dip dyed by roland ricketts in workshop drying

 Roland Ricketts’ work:

Roland Ricketts showing his indigo dyed table runner

Roland brought samples of his work. The designs, colour and quality of his indigo pieces are outstanding. I encourage you to view his much better photographs on his website: Ricketts Indigo. You will also see work by Chinami Ricketts. Chinami hand weaves beautiful cloth used in kimonos.samples of nui shibori indigo dyed samples by roland ricketts

folded indigo sample of stitched resist by roland ricketts

Chevron indigo fabric dyed by Roland Ricketts shown during the Textile musem indigo workshop in toronto canada

Wrapped in plastic to protect the handwoven cotton cloth is a kimono length woven by Chinami and dyed by Roland. This piece still needs to be overdyed before it is complete.Hand woven cotton by Chinami Ricketts and indigo dyed by Roland Ricketts

I took my indigo dyed pieces home and hung them outside to dry. The piece on the right is from the workshop. I dipped it three times and then removed two rows of stitching to achieve the lighter shade of blue at the top. The two handkerchiefs were brought from home and dyed with no resist.

Doris Lovadina-Lee's indigo samples from Roland Ricketts master class in indigo dyeing workshop by the Textile museum of canada

The scrap cotton that was used on the ends of the bound piece have an interesting texture. You can see the small dots, some with the threads still attached where the stitching was secured. These small bits will find a way into my work too!Scrap cotton from the roland ricketts indigo dyeing workshop attended by doris lovadina-lee in toronto canada

The indigo will need to be stored in a dark dry place for a couple of weeks before I finally wash and neutralize the fabric. I am looking forward to using this fabric in some new artwork.

I learned so much taking this indigo dyeing workshop and realize that I have so much more to learn. Making time for learning, sharing and meeting other artists is so very important. I hope you take the opportunity whenever you can.

Aga Khan Museum

A friend and I visited the Aga Khan Museum this weekend. A very knowledgeable and enthusiastic docent began our visit with an introduction on the design of the building by architect: Fumihiko Maki. He was given the theme of light as his inspiration. An interior courtyard brings light into the center of the building and provides a lovely outdoor space in warm weather.

Leaf from a Qur'an Manuscript North Africa, 9th-10th centuries ink and gold on blue-dyed vellum
Leaf from a Qur’an Manuscript
North Africa, 9th-10th centuries
ink and gold on blue-dyed vellum

Artifacts that are centuries old have colours, textures and designs that seem modern and timeless.

Oculus Syria, Late 12th-early 13th century Fritware, molded and glazed
Oculus
Syria, Late 12th-early 13th century
Fritware, molded and glazed

The museum’s collection of pottery, glass, metalwork, and calligraphy is a source of inspiration.

Bottle Probably Iran, 9th-10th centuries Glass, wheel-cut
Bottle
Probably Iran, 9th-10th centuries
Glass, wheel-cut

The mosaic tiles in the fountain can be translated directly into quilt blocks.

Fountain Syria, 16th century and later Marble and sandstone mosaic
Fountain
Syria, 16th century and later
Marble and sandstone mosaic

Turquoise, blue, and gold colours found in the pottery, are some of my favourites and I imagine them in a project.

Muqarnas (Squinch) Elements probably Samarquand, Uzbekistan, late 14th-early 15th centuries Fritware, carved and glazed
Muqarnas (Squinch) Elements
probably Samarquand, Uzbekistan, late 14th-early 15th centuries
Fritware, carved and glazed
Muqarnas (Squinch) Elements probably Samarquand, Uzbekistan, late 14th-early 15th centuries Fritware, carved and glazed
Muqarnas (Squinch) Elements – detail

More designs that can be directly translated into quilt blocks. Also Ideas for arranging the blocks in various configurations.

Box Spain 16th century Wood inlaid with bone, wood and mother-of-pearl
Chest
Spain 16th century
Wood inlaid with bone, wood and mother-of-pearl
Candlestick Anatolia, Turkey, 14th century' Copper, tin, and zinc alloy, inlaid with silver and gold
Candlestick
Anatolia, Turkey, 14th century’
Copper, tin, and zinc alloy, inlaid with silver and gold

The circular design in the candlestick above reminds me of the New York Beauty block. I can imagine this block on a solid background and heavily quilted with angular lines like in the background above.

Bowl Nishapur, Iran, 10th century Earthenware, slip-painted and glazed
Bowl
Nishapur, Iran, 10th century
Earthenware, slip-painted and glazed

Two dishes in the collection look very modern. I loved the simplicity and elegance of the designs. More information for both of these pieces and many others are available on the museum website in the Collection Highlights tab.

Bowl Nishapur, Iran, early 11th century Earthenware, slip-painted and glazed
Bowl
Nishapur, Iran, early 11th century
Earthenware, slip-painted and glazed
Flying Carpet, 2007 by Farhad Moshiri b. 1963, lives and works in Tehran and Paris 32 stacked macine-made carpets
Flying Carpet, 2007 by
Farhad Moshiri
b. 1963, lives and works in Tehran and Paris
32 stacked macine-made carpets

Although the Aga Khan Museum features historical cultural artifacts from Islamic civilizations, it also features contemporary artwork. The piece above: Flying Carpet by Farhad Moshiri is a stack of 32 machine-made carpets that has a fighter plane cut out of the centre. The artist, Moshiri, was inspired by a documentary on Afghan carpet weavers. They had been incorporating modern technologies into the design of the carpets – planes, drones and other military armaments.

Flying Carpet, 2007 by Farhad Moshiri b. 1963, lives and works inTehran and Paris 32 stacked macine-made carpets
Flying Carpet – overhead view by Farhad Moshiri

Another special exhibit on display until March 26, 2017 is Syria: A Living History. This exhibit contains historical artifacts and contemporary artwork illustrating the diverse culture and history of Syria. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in this exhibit, so you will have to visit the museum to see the collections in person. The grounds around the museum are also worth visiting – I will need to return in the spring when the weather is a bit warmer!

Indigo Bursts: textile paintings

Indigo dipped cotton, linen and white pique are combined to create four individual pieces of textile art. Machine quilting adds beautiful texture.

Indigo Bursts by Doris Lovadina-Lee
Indigo Burst: tetraptych
2016 ©Doris Lovadina-Lee
6 x 6 inches each
fabric, thread, dye on stretched canvas

Each textile painting is wrapped over a 6″ square gallery canvas.

Indigo Burst 1 by Doris Lovadina-Lee
Indigo Burst 1
2016 ©Doris Lovadina-Lee
6 x 6 inches
fabric, thread, dye on stretched canvas
$75.00
Indigo Burst 2 by Doris Lovadina-Lee
Indigo Burst 2
2016 ©Doris Lovadina-Lee
6 x 6 inches
fabric, thread, dye on stretched canvas
$75.00
Indigo Burst 3 by Doris Lovadina-Lee
Indigo Burst 3
2016 ©Doris Lovadina-Lee
6 x 6 inches
fabric, thread, dye on stretched canvas
$75.00
Indigo Burst 4 by Doris Lovadina-Lee
Indigo Burst 4
2016 ©Doris Lovadina-Lee
6 x 6 inches
fabric, thread, dye on stretched canvas
$75.00

These textile paintings can be displayed individually or grouped in twos or fours to create a diptych or a tetraptych.

If you are interested in having unique artwork to display in your home, contact me, I am happy to ship directly to you.

How would you choose to display these Indigo Bursts?

Over dyed Indigo shawl

I had dyed a shawl in the spring, but I wasn’t happy with the look. So I took the opportunity to redye it in indigo.

Indigo shawl
Indigo shawl

Indigo shawl

I folded the piece, so that the a portion of the ends were left unbound. This created a dark blue border.

Indigo shawl folded with resist
Indigo shawl folded with resist

Indigo shawl

The shawl has a lovely soft drape and could be used as a sarong over a bathing suit or wrapped warmly around your neck for the next few months!

Indigo Linen Napkins

I am pleased with the results of dyeing linen. I made two sets of napkins from some beautiful cream coloured linen. The first set of four are cocktail napkins about 9 inches square. Two resists were used to make the design.

Indigo dyed linen cocktail napkin
Indigo dyed linen cocktail napkin
Indigo dyed linen cocktail napkins folded
Indigo dyed linen cocktail napkins folded
Indigo dyed linen cocktail napkins folded
Indigo dyed linen cocktail napkins folded
Indigo dyed linen cocktail napkins folded
Indigo dyed linen cocktail napkins folded

I took a photograph of the linen napkins, before dyeing them. They are shown below, folded and clamped with their resist. The piece in the centre is cotton wrapped around two CDs and bound with elastics. I haven’t yet washed this piece out.

Indigo dyed linen napkins clamped
Indigo dyed linen napkins clamped

The dinner napkins are a generous size. At 19 inches they will easily shield the messiest diner!

Indigo dyed linen dinner napkins
Indigo dyed linen dinner napkins
Indigo dyed linen dinner napkins folded
Indigo dyed linen dinner napkins folded
Indigo dyed linen dinner napkins
Indigo dyed linen dinner napkins
Indigo dyed linen dinner napkins
Indigo dyed linen dinner napkins

In our house we always use cloth, most of them vintage. Do you still use cloth napkins?

Indigo dyeing Fall 2016

I was hoping to squeeze in one last weekend of dyeing and was lucky to have a beautiful day this past weekend, to set up an indigo dye pot.

oct2016_indigo_preparation
Arashi and nui shibori

I had some pfd fabric that I wanted to dip in the pot, as well as some scarves that I wanted to over dye.

Sushi and itajime shibori
Sushi and itajime shibori

I tried one new technique: sushi shibori. The fabric is fan folded and then rolled up like a sushi roll, wrapped with elastic bands or string.

Itajime scarves and quilting cotton
Itajime scarves and quilting cotton

Three scarves and one metre of pfd cotton folded and clamped.

Linen napkins and quilting cotton wrapped and bound - itajmie shibori
Linen napkins and quilting cotton wrapped and bound – itajime shibori

I made two sets of linen napkins: four are cocktail sized and four are generous dinner sized napkins in a light beige colour. I use all sorts of items as a resist including canning lids, paint stir sticks, plastic electrical wall plates, elastic bands, and pieces of wood.

Scarves to be overdyed
Scarves to be over over dyed

I had a few scarves that I had dyed but wasn’t happy with the way they turned out. Two of them were rayon but they didn’t absorb the dye very well and turned out very pastel. The green in the lower right was dip dyed in green and yellow dye baths but the result was not very interesting. The shawl on the left was dip dyed in blue and it was boring as well. All of these were destined to be re-dyed. I am looking forward to seeing the results.

Indigo bundles and fabric drying
Indigo bundles and fabric drying

It was a beautiful, sunny warm day and I set my work area outside. The drying rack is loaded with some of the dyeing.

Indigo yardage
Indigo yardage

I hung some of the fabrics from some low hanging branches in between dips.

Indigo yardage and overdyed scarf
Indigo yardage and over dyed scarf

The cotton yardage is still wet in the photo above and is darker than when it is dry. The green strip is one of the scarves I over dyed. It already looks much better than before!

Indigo scarves and yardage
Indigo scarves and yardage

I wanted to speed up the oxidation and drying process, so I carefully unfolded some of the clamped pieces and suspended them from low hanging branches. I am still waiting for some of the wrapped arashi shibori pieces to dry.

Indigo arashi cotton fabric
Indigo arashi cotton fabric

Last night I carefully unwrapped the damp fabric from one of the pvc pipes. I love the texture of cotton. I hope that the deep blue colour remains after it is washed. There are still a few pieces I haven’t unfolded, maybe next week.

Fabric dyeing, Indigo and Shibori books

There are many books on fabric dyeing. I’ve listed a few of the titles that I’ve used. This is not an exhaustive list, just a few that I either own or have read and enjoyed.

Fabric to dye for by Frieda Anderson
Fabric to dye for by Frieda Anderson
Modern Color by Kim Eichler-Messmer book cover
Modern Color: an Illustrated guide to dyeing fabric for modern quilts by Kim Eichler-Messmer
Indigo: dye it, make it by Nicola Gouldsmith
Indigo: dye it, make it by Nicola Gouldsmith
Shibori for Textile Artists by Janice Gunner
Shibori for textile artists by Janice Gunner
Color by accident by Ann Johnston
Color by accident by Ann Johnston
Tie Dip Dye by Pepa Martin and Karen Davis
Tie Dip Dye by Pepa Martin and Karen Davis
Handbook of Indigo Dyeing by Vivien Prideaux
Handbook of Indigo Dyeing by Vivien Prideaux
Shibori: the inventive art of Japanese shaped resist dyeing by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellog Rice and Jane Barton
Shibori: the inventive art of Japanese shaped resist dyeing by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellog Rice and Jane Barton

Some of these title are newly published, while others are classics in their field. Perusing these titles is a good place to start if you are interested in the history of dyeing, setting up your own dye workshop or just looking at beautiful textiles.

Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

 

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