Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Humble Rewards

These are photos from a couple of recent eco dye batches I did.  I'm getting quite a little stack of eco dyed fabrics but I haven't yet been able to get really good leaf prints although I've thus far tried several methods of processing.  With any luck I'll be able to amend that last statement a few days from now when I unwrap some of the bundles I dyed over the last weekend.  Time is of the essence in these matters ~ as in, more time to let the fabric sit before unwrapping.

The first photo above, probably my best yet, is onion skins on silk.  Protein fibers -- silk and wool -- take eco dyes much more readily than cellulose fibers.  But rather than run out and buy a lot of silk which I don't have on hand and can't easily afford these days, I'm using mostly cotton and linen fabrics which I'm premordanting in either protein or alkaline solution, or both.

The middle photo is cotton.  The photo below is silk gauze and it's very shear -- you're looking at the piece folded four times so the dyed coloration is evident.

In addition to three batches of bundles air processing, I have a pot of pieces stewing in eucalyptus extract.  The dyeing is almost finished.  Then I'll let it cool completely in the dyebath and unwrap.  Hopefully there'll be a few nice pieces to show.  I am finding, though, that the best way for me to proceed with this whole thing is to have no expectations and be delighted with whatever shows up.

Just a note here, and possibly for myself more than any of you readers ~ Even though I am experimenting now with eco dyeing, I have no plans to give up fiber reactive dyeing.  I did too much work earlier this year developing my own color palette with FR dyes and I like the results too much to give them up and move entirely to a new dyeing paradigm.  And yes I know there's the toxicity issue and environmental concerns.  All things in moderation, I've always said.  Too many times in the past I've thrown out the baby with the bathwater, and I don't intend to do that with dyeing.

8 comments:

Deb Levy said...

I think you got some nice patterning in these Connie!

susan christensen said...

Thank you for sharing these results, Connie - I am going outside right this minute to collect some plant materials for dyeing the silk from a shirt I got at Salvation Army recently.
(I,too, cling to FR dyes over all - just can't quit the COLORS). -sus

Sandy said...

Interesting results.

Jeannie said...

Thanks for sharing your results. I am trying eco dyeing also and have been frustrated. I guess I am supposed to learn patience!:-) Your results are wonderful, especially the one from the 10th. (I still like my FR dyes and their colors best.)

frazzledsugarplummum said...

These are beautiful, Connie. Well done.

Approachable Art said...

eco dyeing never works for me, I'm glad to see you got some good results!

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