Friday, March 26, 2010

My Dye Retreat

Several issues ago, Pokey Bolton (Quilting Arts) mentioned taking a week to have a personal surface design retreat in her own studio. She set aside that time to play with all the techniques and materials she had been accumulating. I love this idea and decided to do the same with dyeing techniques this week. I quickly found out that unless I find a way to lose my family and dog, it's not quite a retreat experience, but at least I did get some focused time to explore. My dyeing has always been hit or miss, so I wanted to find out what really works for me.

I started by building up my supply of graffiti fabrics:

I paint black and white pieces using anything I can find: brushes, sticks, credit cards, and my favorite, a bundle of fresh pine needles:

Some of these pieces stay black and white, others get overdyed. I compared the difference in using my standard acrylics and using the Jacquard textile paints. There's not a huge difference, but the Jacquard does dry more pliable. It feels like the regular acrylic may want to flake off eventually.

The first thing I wanted to dye were sheers to return to using them in ways I did here and here:
I dyed silk chiffon, silk gauze, found patterned sheers, and my new favorite--silk organza (it's the one on the far left--super smooth and sheer.) I love what Jude is doing here with light silks by blending them into the background with lots of kantha stitch. I'd like to try some of that with the sheers.

I played with some basic shibori techniques.

Gathering stitches:

And pole wrapping:

Some of my favorite bits came from the simplest technique, the crystal wash low immersion process. You can read about it on the Dharma Trading site here.


I love how some of these automatically get a piece started. That last one just begs to be a spring bouquet.

And then I played with some luscious burn out velvets:

I have to have another retreat next week because I didn't get to discharge dyeing yet.



13 comments:

Cindy Woods O'Leary said...

Wow--this is fantastic! Love what you're doing with your mark-making, and the burnout is yummy too. Hard to pick a favorite. Can't wait to see what you do next. Can I come to your next 'retreat'?

Jacky said...

Now, I would have loved to be part of your retreat! What fun you've had and your dyed pieces are fantastic.
I too have the dyeing bug. Recently bought some silk velvet (bit tentative as yet to *play* with that), but practicing away and finding what works best for me. I think its a great idea to dedicate a week to trying out techniques.
Thanks for sharing all your dyeing experiments with us.

Jacky xox

jude said...

oh, love this release process, retreat indeed and lovely results!

arlee said...

i really like the black and white, as it is and as a base--nice! I've had some luck with cheap acrylic paints--if it washes off it leaves a delicate stain so still useable.
these are all YUMTH

Robin Olsen said...

It would be a fun retreat to do with others, but then I take up the whole room with my mess! Jacky, I still have a lovely big piece of silk velvet that I haven't been able to touch yet either, so I know just what you mean.

Stephanie said...

You got a lot of fabrics...I agree, I love the pine needle print.

In my 'other' life I was a textile artist and died my own yarns and fabrics. This makes me want to play with dye! maybe on paper

Threadspider said...

It's good to catch up and see your dye experiments. A "retreat"seems such a good idea and you have come up with some amazing results. I also wanted to say how much I liked the stitch piece in your last post-especially the way the stitches dimple the surface.

Anonymous said...

What fun! It would be great to do it together maybe at Silver Falls Retreat Center! Lenall

Robin Olsen said...

Lenall, it sounds fun but I've learned that this really isn't much of a group activity, unless you have a huge room with lots of tables, big sinks and washing machines.

lynne h said...

hee! yes, another retreat is called for! a lot of beautiful pieces here, robin, and many good links - thank you. this black and white idea has got me thinking...

cynthia said...

Ohhh, these are gorgeous. I especially love the burn out velvet piece, but each one is beautiful in its' own way. Thanks for sharing everything.

Judy Martin said...

Amazing and inspiring work. It's wonderful to see what you can achieve on your own. I also have been fascinated by the Pamela Allen class. So nice to visit your blog - Thanks very much.

lee said...

isn't the silk organza lovely stuff? I have this major major thing going for it. I took Glennis's online shibori class, and found that the organza takes dye like anything, and produces the most amazing clouds of color...