18 May 2010

embracing mud

If you own any dye books or have taken any classes, they all contain this particular statement: "Don't mix too many colors at one time or you could end up with mud."

But what if you like mud?

When Cathy and I planned a weekend to dye things, we put a lot on the menu. This was the original agenda:

1) Try out the dyes of pre-mixed colors (in a mud palette) that I've been collecting for a while

2) Try out indigo dyeing

3) Make screens and do deconstructed printing until we couldn't stand anymore

Turns out that I collected far more colors then I realized. 19 to be exact. Which didn't leave a whole lot of room for other things. We mixed all them up - plus a few extra colors in brights that Cathy had laying about which gave us 25 colors total - and just sort of stared at the incredible amount of dye that we needed to use:

We quickly revised the plans.

We tortured a bolt of unbleached muslin to get solids.

And rummaged through a couple of bins of lacy things lurking in Cathy's studio (which really made me happy because last summer Jackie dyed up some lace she had and I loved it so much I wanted to knock her down and run off with it) and tossed them into mixtures they probably never thought they would have to face:

I realize that they sort of look like they are sitting in a puddle of muck but what can I say? I like me some murky mud. Besides, it never washes out that dark.

Here are the results:

Many of the colors look worn, like something you found in an old trunk that had been shoved in the back corner of a basement for years.

Which is exactly what we were going for.

I can see a difference between the colors on the fabric and the lace, threads and cheesecloth. The fabric was unbleached so it has a muddier tone to it. Everything else was white. I have to say that I like the way both turned out.

Now I know which colors I'd like to use for deconstructed printing so the exercise of trying out all those colors really was an excellent one.

And Cathy is a real sport, the woman has no fear when it comes to the dyes. Actually, she doesn't seem to have much fear about anything (I have the goofy photos to prove it). She is a hundred different kinds of awesome.

I've been carving out a little dyeing area in the garage for a while now. Recently the garage was completely cleaned out and I didn't waste any time dragging an old shelving unit into a corner and setting up an old table that will never be taken down again. Soon a laundry sink will be put in there and then I'll be able to do dyeing far more often.

Today I have a date with my sofa. And the westie. Time to recoup and then get back into the studio tomorrow.


wlstarn said...

You can keep dye for quite a while in the fridge. My daughter's old dorm fridge now sits in the storage room full of dye. It tends to get too cold and freeze things. I emailed Paula Burch, queen of all things dyed, and she thought that freezing would probably keep it lasting even longer. I leave at room temp overnight befoe using, or a short while outdoors in summer would probably work as well (already HOT here!). I am using up dye I mixed in October & still getting great results.

Linda Branch Dunn said...

Totally wonderful way to spend a day. I feel better just looking.What will you do with it all now?

mary said...

love it...love the laces!

1000fibers said...

Ooooohh! Yummy!

Rebekah said...

My kind of colors! Lovely!

janice said...

Wow what a stash! Is that PINK I see on the top of the pile? I am jealous, I guess I am going to have to mix up some dyes, prepare some fabric and then send Atticus off to doggy day care the next day and go at it. Thanks for the inspiration.

Deb H said...

You two produced some lovely colors. So, what is the next layer going to look like?