Monday, July 27, 2009

Dye Party

Back in May my friend Anna mentioned that she wanted to change from working with commercial prints to using hand-dyed fabrics.  I suggested that our group could meet and have a dye party, and if we each made yardage, we could possibly swap afterward, and we’d all have a bunch of new hand-dyed fabric to work with.

Today was that day, and though things didn’t work out quite the way I thought, they worked out so that fun was had by all.

First, a few pictures from part of Anna’s wonderful gardens, which are filled with plenty of surprises, including a labyrinth and frog pond.  I took these while June and Lynda set up the tables in the garage for the printing part of the day.

Anna's garden one

A delightful perch for a frog and a woodland friend.

Anna's garden two

A little pink pig hiding out by a giant toad stool.

Once the tables were set up, the fun began!

IAA Dye party one

Lynda and June were working with this “Aztec engine block” a wonderful machine part which Lynda brought for us to use as a printing image.

 IAA Dye party two

Izzy with our table of dyes and chemical water, ready to go.

IAA Dye party three

Izzy going all Jackson Pollock on a piece of fabric.

IAA Dye party five

June working on her shibori totem pole (fabric wrapped around a PVC pipe and tied with heavy twine).

We had all pre-soaked our fabrics in soda ash, and also had a  little extra soda ash solution in a bucket for any impromptu dyeing.  Anna over-dyed a piece of batik fabric she had, and Lynda generously donated some t-shirts for us to decorate as well.

IAA Dye party six

Here’s Lynda helping Izzy print a tshirt with the Aztec engine block (using Deka screen printing ink).  Lynda made a really cool piece by printing a length of fabric using the engine block and other shapes, letting it dry, then sponging thickened dye onto it after lunch.  I wish I’d gotten a picture of it, but I was too busy dyeing my own fabrics, including these:

IAA Dye party seven 

Thickened dye, painted and splattered on.

IAA Dye party eight

A detail of the red passage. 

IAA Dye party nine

This piece looks a lot nicer in person.  It came out really Monet-esque with the misty lavenders and greens.  Anna donated this linen/cotton blend with a nice nubby finish.

IAA dye party ten

This looks like it’s out of focus, but it’s not.  The dyes were applied by sponging.  By the time we were wrapping up, everyone was sponging their fabrics.  I got the idea to use the sponges by reading Ellen Anne Eddy’s “Thread Magic” (thank you Ellen!).

IAA Dye party eleven

One of my favorite combos, Sunset Red and Deep Yellow (I bought these dyes from Dharma Trading Company ).

And,  finally, my favorite favorite favorite, because I’ve had tigers on the brain:

IAA Dye party twelve

I accordion/fan pleated the fabric, holding it together with clothespins, then squirting the fabric with orange dye and then brown dye.

I don’t think any of us dyed pieces large enough to share, but we all had a great time and are already planning a batik day sometime this fall.  Making art in the studio by myself is fun, but it is great to occasionally get out of the studio and make art with a bunch of great friends like these!


gerri said...

my favorite is your favorite too. i love orange.

Trish Goodfield said...

Looks like lots of fun.

Andrea Stern said...

Gerri, I have loved orange since I was a little kid :)

Trish, yes, it was lots of fun, we were all little kids again for an afternoon :)

Attack of the Vintage said...


What a fun day!! I love when I can get together with other artists and just play with dyes and see the results.

My favorite is the orange too, I love oranges.