June 23rd 2018 Getting Better at…Dyeing

Today’s meeting turned into an exciting ‘dabbling’ day with the opportunity to try something new or be experimental with more familiar techniques.

Ann’s flower pounding was a striking success (pun intended).  She had prepared cotton fabric mordanted with alum and participants taped on their chosen flowers or leaves and hammered away.

Linda Rudkin’s book ‘Flower Pounding’ (A C Black 2011, ISBN 978-1-4081-2746-9) details the process and gives examples of other techniques and the embellishment of the basic outcome.












Mandy had brought her collection of Wilton Icing Dyes, a very concentrated form of food dye which does not dilute the icing when used for cake decoration.  White vinegar is used as the fixative.  The colours may be mixed and Mandy provided both yarn and tops for people to try…much alchemy and positively ‘edible’ results!









Then back to school for a chance to investigate colour mixing with acid dyes on silk hankies.  A limited range of colours, in this case: turquoise, hot pink and yellow, will produce a wide spectrum when mixed. A word of caution, not all colours mix to produce pleasing secondary colours, some experimentation and sampling is needed.  White vinegar is included in the dye mix.

For this workshop the hankies and the tops/fibres were wrapped in cling-film and microwaved in two minute bursts (longer for larger amounts).  Wrap securely to avoid leaks! When any ‘exhaust’ liquid is clear the dye has been absorbed.

Janet went on the demonstrate making silk paper with the dyed hankies and wallpaper paste. She explained about ‘throwster’s waste’ . Available gummed or ungummed it appears coarse but can be teased out, dyed and used to make or embellish silk paper in other ways.

Recommended is Kath Russon’s book: ‘Handmade Silk Paper’ (Search Press, 1999, ISBN 085532 893 2)







Looking forward to seeing results at the next meeting or ‘show and tell’ at the Christmas party in November.