Sunday, 23 September 2012

Dyeing Workshop

Well, as I have to wait for the Jubilation piece to dry I am using the time to catch up and post the promised photos from the wonderful recent workshop with Jan Myers-Newbury.  It was a 5 day workshop - 4 days dyeing and 1 day design, held in the fabulous Potters Barn which is Claire Benn's pride and joy and quite rightly so as she thought about every detail and has produced the perfect work space.

View of the end wall of the barn.
The workshop area.
There were ten of us and I knew one fellow CQer and knew of one of the other students.  Jan is a calm, extremely knowledgeable, encouraging and generous teacher.  The workshop ran smoothly because it was carefully planned and managed.  We all produced a substantial amount of dyed fabric which will be more than enough to keep us busy designing for quite a while.  I learnt a lot about the value of underpainting with dye - no soda in the dye or fabric - letting the fabric dry and then working with it (clamping, stitching, wrapping, etc) and dipping it into a dye bath with soda.  In fact I learnt a lot about the value of working on a piece of fabric through more than one or two stages.
Underpainted with 3 green stripes, then pole wrapped and dipped in brick red.

We clamped: wooden kebab sticks, coffee stirrers and tongue depressants (from dentist/doctor), empty celotape rolls, wooden coving and  kid's plastic train tracks - were some of the strange but very effective resist items used.
Kebab sticks between folded layers, carved erasers clamped
We pole wrapped:  first without using any string, but folding and wrapping different ways and angles.  The fabric was held in place top and bottom with elastic bands.  Then we used string, thick, thin, hairy - you name it.  I did one piece where the string went on very haphazardly and the results were brilliant.
Rope, poles and kebab sticks tied and ready to dye - most for the second time

Poles wrapped without string ready to dye
 We wrapped around very thick rope.
The wonderful effects of thick rope wrapping
Two of my best pieces were first stitched into tubes on a machine, one with darts in and the other with folds made as I wrapped it around the pole.

Tucks sewn in then wrapped
Folds added during wrapping
Here's my pin board with a couple of day's work, mostly with just one dyeing process, though the one with circles was underpainted as was the top left hand corner piece.
Part of 2 days worth of dyeing
The two dark pieces in the lower right corner were first clamped and dyed, then stitched in various ways and dyed in midnight blue.  Here they are ready to go in the dye bucket.

After 4 days of dyeing, we then had plenty to work with thinking about how we could use them.

First attempt - needs lost more work...
Piece by Jan using my fabric. 
Marks were made by the elastic bands holding the wrapped fabric on the pole top and bottom.

 And as a treat some photos of the washing lines to end with...            Hilary

Those wonderful marks made by plastic construction toy pieces.


  1. Amazing venue and amazing results. Very exciting! Look forward to seeing some of this patterned cloth in your work.

  2. You are so fortunate to have had this retreat to get into depth of dying and design! Thank you for sharing so much of your time and experience with us...very inspiring! Now I can't wait to see how you will use it in your work.

  3. Thank you for documenting this amazing experience to share with us! Exquisite results!

  4. Excellent results - really exciting!

  5. Fabulous. What a great way to spend 5 days. I particularly like the pleated 2 and the green with red overdye. We are going to have a Text'art dyeing day next month. Maybe we'll have to think about some of these ideas. On your circle one, how did you get the circular grid on it? Looks almost like a stencil.

  6. Dianne, after painting the 'rainbow target' and letting the fabric dry, I pleated and clamped it with perspex/acrylic circles and overdyed it. The clamps we used are really strong garage clamps. We also have a fellow quilt artist, Amelia, who has a little business creating and selling shapes cut out of perspex/acrylic - circles, squares, rectangles, rings, etc - wonderful idea.

    One thing I learnt was that if you want to be able to use the motifs individually afterwards you must leave space between them!!


  7. What an inspiring workshop and such a glorious venue! I have dyer's envy. And the desire to dash into my studio and dye more fabric. Thanks for sharing so much of what you did Hilary. It must have been a fantastic experience.

  8. Looks like you had a fabulous day and a super 'barn' to work in. Great documentation, thanks for sharing. You have some beautiful unique pieces.

  9. How amazing .... the venue, the results !!! Fantastic!