Saturday, 7 April 2012

Two in one week

This is the first time in ages that I have written two posts in one week, but the mood is on me.  Typically for those of you for whom a public holiday is precious time-off work, the weather is chilly and dull, but I have been creating a bit of rainbow to cheer you up.  Here is my first attempt at using Procion MX dyes. I was using a low immersion method by placing the fabric and dye in a plastic bag. It is a fairly straightforward process, but it does require a certain amount of forward planning and organisation, which does not come naturally to an impulsive creator like myself.  I was going to photograph my progress but I didn't want to stop the process especially as it involves wearing rubber gloves, perhaps next time.  I am sure many of you have used these dyes before and have got a routine off pat, but I had the kitchen layed out like a science lab, and Mr T had strict instructions not to interrupt. I thought I had thought of everything - plastic 'glasses' for mixing the dye in, plastic teaspoons for measuring the dye powder, zip-lock bags for the damp fabric, mixed solutions of salt and soda ash. All started well until I tried getting a teaspoon into the small size jars of powder I had bought! I needed one teaspoon of powder to 250ml of water.  Luckily I had bought a set of measuring scoops and the half-teaspoon size just fitted in the jar. I also decided that 100ml of each colour was plenty for the amount of fabric I was dyeing. 
I do have to declare the experiment a success and I now have six rainbow-hued pieces of  Egyptian cotton.

I also wound skeins of cotton and silk to dye - here you can see the silk, but I swear I had wound off six skeins. Procion dye is not supposed to be so well suited to silk, but these threads took up the colour beautifully.  I only left them in the solution for an hour, but the cotton was left overnight. Below is a piece of cotton muslin and a couple of skeins of crochet cotton I coloured with the left-over dye
All of this is new to me, so pleased excuse my excitement.


Using Procion dye is so much easier than having to boil up a pot of Dylon on the stove.  That takes me back to college days when friends who were studying creative embroidery would be boiling up mixtures of threads in catering sized tin cans on the baby Burco in the students' kitchen.

Rinsing was a bit of a chore - the purple mix seemed to take forever to rinse out, and there was still some surplus colour even after I had used up a reservoir of water, so a daren't use the washing machine in case the colours cross-contaminated, which meant a long time standing at the kitchen sink.  I may have mixed the colour up a bit strong, if anyone has some tips, I would be pleased to hear.  There are plenty of demos on the net, but each one is slightly different.  I have three different shades of red, yellow and blue to try next.

Back to paper with three double spreads in my sketchbook exploring 3D. 







Thank you for your lovely comments - they are very encouraging and make me feel happy in continuing to share my learning progress with you. 
I do hope you are enjoying your Easter weekend,
Jill

11 comments:

thekathrynwheel said...

Wow! Gorgeous. I love the look of your dyed egyptian cotton - such lovely colours :-)

Maggi said...

Lovely dyeing experi,emts. Procion dyes are perfect with silk. Just don't leave the silk in the soda ash soak for too long if you are pre-soaking. As far as rinsing out goes, did you rinse with cold water first? Purple and red always take the longest to rinse. Once you have rinsed just put them into your washing machine with 2 or 3 colour catchers - no cross contamination and beautifully coloured colour catchers that you can use as well. Lovely sketchbook work.

vintagerockchick said...

Ooh very inspirational. I have had some Procion dyes for about ten years and never had the courage/confidence to use them. By the time I get around to it they'll be past their 'use by' date. Have dyed buttons though, with transfer dyes, and that's worth trying x

Carol Q said...

I understand your excitement at dying. I did the same last time I had a few days off and to see those lovely strong colours appear is so exciting. The sketchbook explorations look very interesting.

Emma said...

Fabulous colors, I've never had the courage & didn't want to waste money. I can cope with silk paint/dye. One day, when I've run out of the recycled fabric (!) & I want a color I can't find....

Beautiful sb work, here & below. The drawn shapes turning into prints then into 3d is so exciting.

Printed Material said...

What a feast of colour Jill! You've got some beautiful, deep shades there, especially that magenta piece. I am a long time dyer but every time you do it the alchemy grabs you so this pleasure is now here for many moons to come! It sounds like you were well prepared for the process and although you didn't mention it I hope you had a mask on when you tried to get the Procion out of the bottle? I am not always sensible about H&S precautions (dyed hands to show for it many a time) but a mask with Procion is an absolute must. I suspect you were very sensible and that will be the teacher in you! Have a great Easter!

Jensters said...

Wonderful dying and colours....i might have ago being as i have some of those dyes....thanks for your comment on my blog and will bare it in mind what you said...lol

Menopausalmusing said...

Lovely colours there, but its the 3D work that fascinates me - glad you took that bottom photo because it explains what I had been trying to work out. Really love it.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Lots of interesting 'stuff' here Jill! The 'pop out' artwork is great - you must be pleased with the results. Have a good week. Lesley x

Linda said...

Fabric dyeing is just a mystery to me...(thankfully I have Maggi nearby ;-) ) So I am in awe of your experiments! I really like the pieces in second photo.
Great sketchbook work too.....

Sarah Anderson said...

I've only ever dyed something using the washing machine!!! Your fabrics and threads look amazing, such stunning colours. And I love the 3d work in your sketchbook, especially the last page with the b/w drawings