Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dyeing with snow

What is a sensible way of spending one’s time while one is still waiting for the new sink in the newly tiled laundry room, when one really wants to be dyeing? Add another component to this scenario – the fact of lots of snow piling up around the house, with a possibility of being snowed it – then what do you do?

Exactly! You start dyeing with snow.

Mixing the colors is slightly more of a problem because you have to lug everything upstairs to the bathroom as there also is no faucet in the laundry room right now – but I was so eager to get going that I took that easy. However, this picture of our bathroom sink once again convinced me that dyeing is nothing you want to be doing in your bathroom!

I had made plans for snow-dyeing when I first heard about it from a participant in one of my classes. She had brought beautiful examples of snow-dyed fabrics. After that all it took was the right kind of weather.

Of course you need containers and a method to prevent that the fabric will muddle up in that soup of melting snow and color. I decided to make use of some of the many empty marmelade jars downstairs and put them on the bottom of the container upside down.

On top of these I put a mesh to make sure the fabric would not slide into the melted snow-water on the sides. I still had several pieces of fabric that had been pre-soaked in soda ash, so that did not need to be taken care of anymore. And I was lucky enough to find these pieces right away when I started looking for them.

To be on the safe side I decided to start off small, using only two containers. Into each came two pieces of fabric each, on top of the glasses covered with mesh. And on top of the fabric came hand-reaped freshly fallen snow from right outside our front door. (It does make sense to use gloves for this, and not the rubber gloves you use for dyeing, but real gloves.)

Each container was meant to hold a different shade of color. Recently a friend had given me all her colors that she wasn’t using anymore, amongst these was a shade called „brown rose“. Since I had never had that shade before I had no idea what it would turn out like, so I decided it was the right shade to participate in this experiment. I did not measure exactly but simply mixed the remaining amount of powder in the little jar with water. The other color was a shade of blue, also mixed in a rather random manner, no exact measuring. The color was then squirted onto the snow.

The containers were left sitting in the basement where the snow melted slowly during the day. As the melted water dripped down onto the fabric the colors were reacting with the soda-soaked fabric.

I have checked the first batch and it looks wonderful and exciting, results of a kind I have not had before. I will present the first results after washing.

But I can tell you this: I have decided to set up a double container of snow-dyeaing every day for as long as we have snow! I already have several more ideas of different experimental set-ups which I want to try out.

And: the sink has been mounted, too. I can now mix the colors in the basement. Much easier!

No comments:

Post a Comment