23 March 2013
pondering eco coloring
I don't know if it's because spring is nudging it's way in or if the seams of my artist self are tired of being tied together so firmly. But I'm searching for new things, new ways to express through fabric.
I've been struggling with one item in particular - dyeing. I'm trying to make peace with the fact that I am leaving working with MX dyes behind. There are a variety of reasons for it, but I've decided it's not something I'm going to do anymore. But removing dyeing from my skill set is not something I'm wild about.
I've been researching a lot of different options. At first I turned toward natural dyeing but there are some chemicals there I'm not eager to get my hands on. Spice dyeing? Tea dyeing? Coffee dyeing?
Nothing was making me rush to the studio to experiment.
Until I remembered that I had this on my bookshelf:
I spent a long time reading it last night. It's not a formula book but it's a whole different way of adding print and color to fabric I hadn't considered before.
I can't call it dyeing (neither does India Flint, do visit her site, it's incredible) and durability of the color is very questionable. But for some reason I find that...exciting. There is a lot to learn about this method of cloth coloring, it will be something that takes quite a bit of time I think. And I will most likely also have to concede working with cotton, it does not create as vibrant of prints. I need to find some form of silk that I can make friends with (not a fan of the shiny flowy stuff, feels too formal to me).
I also found another eco artist in my search today online (Pinterest is proving to be a great resource). Elizabeth Bunsen also makes beautiful fabric. Aren't you intrigued by that?? And check out Lotta Heleberg. *swoon*
While I was in the studio today, I remembered this experiment. Out of all the pieces I clipped to that crabby frog, the only one that survived not being blown away is this one:
It was outside for nearly a year. Through a rather unkind winter, I might add. It's been bleached by the sun (this photo shows it's original color) and to be honest, it's nothing exciting. But the idea of letting things sit and slowly transform is rooting quietly in my mind, taking hold.
I had great aspirations to start experimenting with eco coloring for a big new piece I'm starting but if I'm being honest with myself, there are too many unknowns to me right now and trying to rush through them will not serve any purpose.
So until the studio shakes loose and I'm free to wander off into this unknown territory, I'll keep pondering and studying. The timing feels good as we are moving into the seasons with plenty of fodder.