Commonplace materials were used to create a template for stitching our design.
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.
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.
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.
My slightly blurry photo of this piece.
Roland Ricketts’ work:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
This beautiful lightweight linen was purchased in Venice, Italy this spring. I only bought enough to make three scarves. This is the only one left! Linen has a lovely drape and is perfect for the summer. I love the dramatic lines in this scarf.
This pole wrapped scarf is a gorgeous satin back crepe. It has a lovely sheen and weight. It drapes beautifully. I wish you could feel it!
The next two scarves are dyed using a lighter weight silk, equally soft and luxurious.
Once the linen/rayon fabric was washed in preparation for the dyeing process, soft crinkle folds appeared. I love the texture. These scarves are easy to wear and travel very well. This Itajime shibori design was first dyed in a soft blue before being dipped in indigo.
Italian Cotton Gauze
This soft as a cloud cotton gauze was also purchased in Italy. While in Verona, I found a fabric shop that had a beautiful selection including some designer fabrics.
The scarf below surprised me when I unwrapped it. I first dyed the cotton gauze in a very pastel turquoise. I folded the fabric and used a metal switch plate as the resist. It was dipped in the indigo dye bath. Once it was unwrapped pink areas were visible, but no pink dye had been used! I am guessing that the metal switch plate reacted to the indigo. I thought that the pink would eventually fade away but it hasn’t and won’t. This scarf has been washed, dried and pressed with no change to the pink. I like it even though it wasn’t planned. Do any of you have an explanation for the pink?
All of my scarves have fringed edges and are machine washable. The Italian cotton gauze scarves and the linen/rayon crinkly scarves are available for $40.00 each. The silk scarves are available for $50.00 each and the last Italian linen scarf for $60.00.
A group of creative women gathered together on Sunday at Amy’s Handmade Place to make their own hand dyeing silk scarves. Peggy (@peggythompson) listened attentively while I showed examples.
I demonstrated how to fold scarves to create different shibori designs. These pictures show glimpses of Amy’s beautiful studio space, located in the back of her shop: Amy’s Handmade Place. There is even a small deck outside the back where we enjoyed showing off our scarves.
Wendy (Pook & Thy) mixing up the dyes – turquoise and fuchsia for her scarf.
Scarves were rinsed but not yet washed and dried. They couldn’t resist showing off their handiwork!
Washed, and ironed. Lovely and soft. It was a fun day showing these eager students how to dye silk scarves.
Ginnie, Peggy and Amy wearing their very stylish scarves.
Amy and I in her store, can you see another one of my hand dyed scarves in the background?
There is another workshop scheduled for June 11th, join us!
I am very happy to be teaching two afternoon workshops at Amy’s Place Handmade at 155 Main Street, Toronto, Ontario. Working in a sunny, bright studio, we will be dyeing a one-of-a-kind beautiful silk scarf. The dates are Sunday May 28, 2017 and Sunday June 11, 2017 from 12-3.
Step 1: Folding, twisting and preparing scarf.
Step 2: Applying dye
Step 3: Rinsing and washing scarf
Step 4: Admiring scarf!
Below are a few scarves I have dyed using very simple techniques that create beautiful textures and designs.
I hope that you will join me at Amy’s Place Handmade. Take a few hours for yourself to learn a new technique, make some new friends, have some fun and go home wearing your own original silk scarf.
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.
I had some pfd fabric that I wanted to dip in the pot, as well as some scarves that I wanted to over dye.
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.
Three scarves and one metre of pfd cotton folded and clamped.
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.
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.
It was a beautiful, sunny warm day and I set my work area outside. The drying rack is loaded with some of the dyeing.
I hung some of the fabrics from some low hanging branches in between dips.
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!
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.
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.
This year, the president asked the members to create a 12 x 12 inch quilt based on a song or song title. The quilt could be made with any technique, with or without embellishments. I pieced the top using my hand dyed indigo fabrics.
The nui shibori strips were fussy cut from a piece of indigo linen that I dyed in the summer, while the rest is cotton. I added a hint of gold to reference the trumpet that Miles Davis plays.
The quilt top was heavily quilted with straight lines using a walking foot.
Kind of Blue is a great album that contains a couple of songs with blue in the title including: Blue in Green and All blues. What’s your favourite song?
I dyed two cotton gauze scarves and one piece of pfd cotton at the same time. This is the last batch of snow dyed fabric for winter 2016!
My favourite Shibori technique is Arashi – where the fabric is wrapped around a pole, scrunched down and the dye applied. I wanted to try this technique in combination with the unpredictability of snow dyeing. I was very surprised and pleased with the results.
There is a lovely pattern on the gauze scarf created by the resist that looks feathers.
The other gauze scarf was loosely pleated along the length, twisted tightly and placed in the same tray. This scarf has more variation in colours where the red, yellow and blue dyes combined to make green, orange and browns.
The last piece I dyed was a metre of cotton folded into a wedge to create a beautiful Mandala.
This is a very vibrant piece that reminds me of a luscious slice of an exotic tropical fruit!
The snow dyed fabric looked a very dark before it was rinsed. I could see some purple and a little blue, but mostly it looked grey and black.
After, the fabric was washed, the vibrant colours and stunning patterns were revealed. It’s always a surprise to see the washed results of snow dyeing, you can’t predict the colour or the design.
I love the piece below, it looks like you are looking through a leaded glass window!
My most incredible piece of snow dyed fabric is the mandala shape below. A metre of fabric was folded into a wedge shape and the melting snow created this magical mandala!
I dyed a few more pieces of fabric before the rain fell and melted all the snow. I will rinse and iron those fabrics and have them ready next week. I wonder if we will get more snow soon? I think I’ve found a new addiction!
This is what it looked like in the corner of our backyard yesterday. A very light snow fell consistently throughout the day, prompting me to do some snow dyeing!
The fresh snow was perfect for dyeing fabric with Procion MX dyes. Vicki Welsh of Field Trips in Fiber recently posted tips on snow dyeing. She achieved some very beautiful results. I especially loved the mandalas shapes that she created.
I have done some snow dyeing in the past and have been happy with the results. What I haven’t tried is dyeing fabric using Shibori techniques to create mandala designs. I folded a one metre cut of fabric into a wedge and then refolded it into a rectangle.
The other two white pieces of fabric are fat quarters accordion folded into: a triangle and square. I used Nui Shibori on the olive fabric, creating a row of diamond and a row of circles, the rest is scrunched up. The fabrics were soaked in soda ash, wrung out and arranged in a plastic tub that I poked holes into for drainage.
I went outside and packed snow on top of the fabrics, piling up about four inches or so. I placed the plastic tub into another tub to catch the melted snow. I layered a few plastic yogurt lids underneath so that the perforated tub would sit above the melted snow.
I mixed three colours of dye: black, cerulean blue, and fuchsia and randomly poured the dye concentrate over the top of the snow. The entire project was placed safely into the laundry tub overnight. I expect that all the snow will have melted by the end of my work day today. I can’t wait to see the results!