Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Dye Day

Sue checks the pots of boiling water and adds leaves, skins and branches to start the dye baths

With heads filled with ideas and dreams of creating beautifully coloured textiles, a group of dyers met for the first Eco Colour Odyssey dye day at Sue Heydon's lovely home in July to wrap and stitch and boil chunks of silk and wool.

Sue has been a most prolific experimenter and her box of cannelloni-like rolls of wool and silk are a testament to her ability to try any combination of plant and mordant in order to get colour into fabric.
A landskin was the first large project to be attempted at India Flint's workshop and some of the dyers took work away to complete at home and we didn't get a chance to see their finished piece.
The landskin was a collage onto a merino wool base of gauze, embroidery and embellishment with other fabrics. Leaves and flowers were then laid out onto the base and the whole piece wrapped tightly and bound with string or lace. Metallic objects might also have been wrapped into the package to act as mordants. Then the bundle was plunged into boiling vats of onion skins, ake ake leaves, eucaplytus or any number of pots of leafy water.
India's advice to leave it for as long as possible, 'so magic can happen' was perhaps the most challenging of instructions for any of us during the workshop, so impatient were we to unwrap and see...but by the time the dye day came around, we had learned a lot of patience. Sue has a bundle that she intends to leave for some months....before unwrapping.
Chris, one of the less patient dyers, had finished her landskin during the workshop week and has since turned it into a very warm blouse. The landskin can be cut on any angle as it is free from grain and therefore economical and every piece used. Chris has trimmed her blouse with silk also wrapped and dyed during the workshop.

Chris has made her landskin into a garment trimmed with silk. In the background, is a jacket and dress that Sue has dyed.

1 comment:

  1. Chris that's a fabulous top. why didn't i think of that? sigh.
    looking forward to catching up in Nelson next year....