07 September 2010

studying with the master

When Cathy put up the class listings for this year's Fabrications Retreat, I was immediately drawn to Carol Soderlund's Color Mixing for Dyers I class.

I'd heard talk about that class, that you come away with a bible of colors (affectionately referred to as "The Book"), formulas, precision. Any of you who have been reading my blog for any length of time know that I have a love/hate relationship with dyes. I've never been able to force them to do my bidding (even after swearing at them which often works with knitting but not so much with dyes, they are apparently immune to my fits). I figured I'd take her class, walk out with some dye formulas and be a happy little camper.

Oh what a naive little dyer I was.

By the end of the first day of class, it was clear that this was not your typical class. Carol meant business. She was intent on cramming as much knowledge into our brains about dyeing as humanly possible in five short days.

I admit that I was overwhelmed by Tuesday night but by the end of the next day, I was totally in love. She knows everything. I mean it. Everything. There isn't a single thing this woman doesn't know about dyeing and she's happy to throw as much at you as you can take.

We worked in teams of three, mixed, stirred, dyed and otherwise crossed over into slap happy territory more then once - and it was perfect. I plan to track Carol's class schedule closely, there isn't a single thing she teaches that I don't want to take. She is precise and expects hard work and I have nothing but the utmost respect for her. (No, I cannot stop gushing...)

I didn't take as many pictures as I usually do this year. Probably because I was so immersed in the class but I did manage a few. Here are some of the lovely people from class:

Lauren (she, me & Cathy were one team)


The lovely, sweet, friendly, helpful, funny, talented Judi Hurwitt of Approachable Art


Jolly Janice, always with a smile on her face!


The master herself, Carol (I want to be her when I grow up)


And just because I love how fabric looks when its dyeing, here are a couple shots of the dye buckets:

We did several dye baths and then each team swapped. I only have one third of my book put together. I plan to work on it when I'm less tired (I've been a total t.v. zombie slug the past two days trying to regain some energy). If you want to see a little bit about it and some more shots from class, be sure to visit this post on Judi's blog.

And just to prove that I do exist (I tend to flee from the camera), here is a shot of me yapping and stirring dye buckets:

I've actually been dreaming about dyeing fabric. That's how much this class has gotten me excited about working with dyes and colors. Of course, its usually some bizarre circumstance like pulling dye buckets out from beneath a counter in a bank and just dumping dye and fabric into them while I'm waiting for the teller to complete my transaction.

Grand time. I highly recommend Carol and the Fabrications Retreat, I can't sing their praises enough.

Carol read us this poem on the last day of class. She said it sums up her love of color and I have to say that if I had read it prior to taking her class, I don't know that I would have understood it. But I do now.

The Place Where the Colors are Made
by Stephen Beal

Someday I will see the place where the colors are made,

The place of my joy.
There will be stairs leading up, wide marble stairs,
and there will be a room,
vast and vaulted and inspiring,
and there will be music, one hundred strings under the baton
of Carmen Dragon,
and there will be dancers, one hundred blondes
gowned by Jean Louis,
whooshing between the pillars in pastel chiffon.

The place is it: huge bubbling cauldrons of color
in which innocent cotton is transformed to gaudy hues,
to scarlet and fuchsia, to purple and gold,
to greens that bite your eyes and blues that lead you on until you think
the world will never end.

Oh, this is it, the place where all your dreams come true,
Where nothing is as it was and everything develops the potential
of what it can be.

Here is the stuff of change, the very stuff,
and you can take it home and hold it in your hands.
No paint will do, no paint will ever come close,
When you can stitch your lover a heart of ruby red, and say,
“This is the color – and the texture – of my love for you.”

Yes. This is the place where the colors are made.
This is the place of joy.


Gerrie said...

I have never taken Carol's class, but I just love her as a person. I imagine a class would be fantastic. I want to take her discharge class.

Approachable Art said...

Fantastic post, girlie, you explained things much better than I was able to! (I'm still suffering brain fry... that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!) I love your photos, too... so many of mine didn't turn out at all (and all the ones from the Tapas bar were so dark they might as well be photos from the inside of my purse.)

Carol said...

Dreaming about creating color....Yep! That's it for sure! Loved having you in class, Lynn, and thanks for the lovely words!

Gerrie, I would love to spend time with you in discharge class, respirators at the ready!

Stitch 'n Dye said...

Loved reading your post and reading that there are now new 'converts to the cause'. I took the class in April 2007 and it truely revolutionised colour and MX dyeing for me. It answered seemingly hundreds of questions I didn't know I needed to ask before the class. That wonderful woman changed my life. I just love playing with white fabric and buckets of coloured water now:) Part II class is pretty wonderful too.

Oh and that poem - made me cry.

Pamela Price Klebaum said...

Thank you for sharing your photos from the dyeing experience of a lifetime!

Leann said...

OMG, Carol must be magic, you actually put a picture of yourself on your blog!

Deb H said...

I'm still finishing up my book too. The class was soooo great! I'll never look at color the same again. So, when do we sign up for the next level?