Friday, August 9, 2013

Family Visits....


 We have just had some precious visitors that we just do not see often enough. My sister in law and my lovely nieces and nephew came to stay for a few days....on their way to a wedding in Vancouver...Mostly we visited the beaches, and ate blackberries and bounced on the trampoline....and chatted endlessly...all good summerly things....and of course we had some creative time together....


Terri Bibby of Saori Salt Spring had organized a workshop on Bengala Dyes- a form of earth pigment dyes created in Japan. This, of course, was irresistible! My two nieces and I attended and had so much fun....The colour potential in these dyes are incredible.  They seem to produce more intense colour on cellulose fibres like cotton and hemp and linen. We dyed several lengths of a delicious hemp/organic cotton blend jersey that I have in the studio, planning on going home and sewing up some simple T-shirts with the fabric. We also dyed a selection of silks using itajame shibori techniques....My nieces are bringing these home to flutter in their forest home....


 The dye baths are created with cold water, and the pigments need to be kneaded into the cloth. As a long time plant dyer, I was interested in the process. I've dyed with earth pigments a few times in different parts of the world and understood the naturals tannins and oxides of the soil to act as the "mordant".  It is one point I have with the Bengala dye literature that it does not use mordants in the process- it feels like an unnecessary differentiation. Really, as with many plant dyes and natural pigments, the "mordants" are inherently part of the chemical makeup of the pigments, allowing it to act as a substantive dye. These dyes are very fun and easy to use...with beautiful results.


After the wonderful workshop we came home, stopping at a few of Salt Spring's roadside farm stalls to collect of bounty of freshness for our lunch. We played around with the fabrics in the studio and with some simple cutting and stitching created a dress, a skirt and a T-shirt....We were all amazed at the stunning range of colours the earth and these pigments provide.  A great day....and an interesting new dye process....

 Although my nephew did not come with us on our dyeing adventure, I can't miss including him here....


They are all so dear...and such sweet company....
Happy travels, happy dyeing and happy summer days...
Fiona

2 comments:

  1. Ha Fiona, I'm sure you ALL had a wonderful time dyeing with those earthcolours (Mmmmmm Mother Earth puts on her best dress ;-) !!!)
    Lovely you had family visiting (you normally seldom see) and made a great memory out of it .... a memory to wear also ;-)

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  2. Hi Fiona,
    It's funny I didn't put this blog which I found on Pinterest along with the Felt-feutre Community Felt Sculpture. Until I saw your name and had to do a bit of backtracking because I knew I saw it somewhere! I am sending a piece to be apart of that project...you may remember our Facebook chats. I have just started a Facebook page called "Studio C Feltworks", if you would care to join me. But between pinterest, blogging and facebook, I think we can call this "full circle", lol! All the best, Cathy

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