Natural Dyes, New Methods
Session Two - June 18-24, 2017
In the first part of this class, each participant will use natural dye extracts to construct a color library. This color library will be created using mordants and a broad palette of dyes. This will become a reference library for future projects.
The second part of the class introduces polychromatic dyeing. Prior to dyeing we will apply mordants to cloth through a variety of techniques, including shibori and hand application, discharge and overprinting. In a one-color dye bath we will attain multiple colors and patterns, depending on mordant mixtures and where and how they have been applied. We will also explore hand-painting a range of dyes onto the mordanted cloth, thereby achieving an even wider range of colors, shapes, and spaces.
Elin Noble is a textile artist and dyer who maintains a studio and dye facility in New Bedford, Massachusetts. She has exhibited in group exhibitions nationally and internationally. She has had one-person exhibitions at the Schweinfurth Art Center, The New Bedford Art Museum, The Textile Center in Minneapolis, Visions Art Museum, the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum, and the Hillestad Gallery. Elin is the author of Dyes & Paints: A Hands-On Guide to Coloring Fabric. She has lectured and conducted workshops worldwide, most recently in Tilburg, Netherlands; Budapest, Hungary; and Tokyo and Osaka, Japan.
I have investigated and taught dyeing techniques for more than 30 years. I am fascinated by the investigation of material and process, and in pushing beyond traditional boundaries within established fields. In my work I am as interested in the format of the quilt as I am in new experimental formats for pictorial imagery. I work in series and I am strongly influenced by literary references.
Website: Elin Noble
- Scissors for paper and to cut or snip fabric
- Permanent black marker for marking your name on your cloth
- Roll of masking tape (partial roll is fine - any width)
- Roll of paper towels and sponge for cleaning up around your table
- Rubber gloves (Casabella or Playtex-type household gloves that are at least 4-5” above your wrist) that withstand hot water
- A few pair of close fitting disposable gloves
- Smock or apron
- Selection of paint brushes - bristle and/or foam - various sizes
The cloth needs to be 100% natural: plant or animal. No polyester or acrylic, or natural cloth treated with permanent press or protective finishes. Bring silk, bamboo, rayon, cotton, linen, hemp, or any blend of these. Check thrift stores for silk and linen garments to dye.
Here are some possible sources and a list of some cloths to consider:
- Dharma Trading: www.dharmatrading.com CPC Cotton Print Cloth Mercerized, HS Hemp/Silk, HR Hemp/Rayon, VC Viscose (Rayon) Challis, BBF Bamboo Rayon, SD Silk Dupioni, ST Silk Twill, RS45 Raw Silk, Crepe de Chine, and Charmeuse.
- Thai Silks: www.thaisilks.com Silk Crepe, Silk Charmeuse, Silk Dupioni, Silk Shantung, Silk Noil, Ribbed Silk Linen, Silk Linen Suiting, Bamboo Silk Twill, Silk Wool, Silk Broadcloth, Linen and a Linen Twill.
- PRO Chemical & Dye: www.prochemicalanddye.com Style 100 Mercerized Cotton Sheeting, and Style 200 Mercerized Cotton Broadcloth, 8mm China Silk, and 16mm Crepe de Chine.
Bring a 1¼ yard piece of cloth that you wish to make your color library on. Feel free to bring additional cloth to make the color library on different cloths. We will begin the class by hand painting stripes of thickened mordants in one direction and stripes of thickened dyes in the other direction, making a color grid library.
Bring an additional three to five yards of cloth (and or scarves) for polychromatic printing, which we will do after the color library is completed. Bring the amount of cloth according to your work habits. You know your own working speed, desire for variety and size of cloth you want to work on.
We will be laying down mordants, discharging them, adding more mordants, and finally hand painting the dyes before steam setting.
Scour your cloth before coming to class. Proper scouring is essential to good dyeing. Improperly scoured cloth does not dye evenly and may not be fast to washing. If the natural coatings on cloth are not removed the dye will attach to these and not the cloth, and wash off later.
Scour for cellulose/plant fibers:
Simmer the cloth for approximately 30 minutes in a pot of water with 4 tsp soda ash and 1 tsp synthrapol, or dish detergent, or orvis paste per pound of dry cloth. Make sure the cloth is covered and do not crowd it in the pot. Rinse in warm water and hang to dry.
Scour for protein/animal fibers:
Heat the pot to 180F with the cloth for approximately 15-30 minutes in a pot of water with 1 tsp orvis paste or dish detergent per pound of dry cloth. Make sure the cloth is covered and do not crowd it in the pot. Turn the cloth gently in the pot, do not agitate too hard. Allow cloth to cool down in the pot then rinse in warm water and hang to dry.
Things that are handy to have - I will bring these items for the class to share
-Selection of rubber or wood stamps
- 2 or more sheets (18” x 24” or larger) of clear flexible vinyl (from fabric stores) for monoprinting
- Brayer and/or foam roller (the single handle small circumference dense foam roller)
- We will do a little bit of screen printing. If you have a small screen with an image, thermofax, etc, then bring it
- Old towels, any size to use for clean-up that you don’t mind getting dye on
- PVC pipe length 1/2” - 3” in diameter for pole wrap techniques
- Rubber bands
- Wood or plexi shapes and clamps to use for clamp-resist process