Further natural dyeing trials.
Having already experimented with natural dyes earlier in this assignment (posted here) I have been continuing but have moved away from golds, browns and charcoals into more dull green colours.
Whilst I have been working solely on different silks I want to incorporate some cotton scrim (also called gauze or muslin) into my felted surface. The dyeing technique I’m using is best suited to silk but I know from cotton string wrapping that cottons will pick up a certain amount of dye – not much, but a little. The photo taken of the dyed scrim isn’t worth posting as it barely registers the colour on the flimsy surface, but it has given me the outcome I was hoping for.
Left: Tissue silk folded into eight layers width-wise. Banksia and hydrangea leaves, along with lavender heads and ferns have been trapped between the layers before wrapping and tying around a wooden block and dyeing. The white marks are from the string.
At this stage the colour looks very strong.
Above: The final result after washing and ironing. As the tissue silk surface is so fine there is a limit how much dye it will take up and I’m delighted with the result. It can only enhance the felting I intend to use with it.
Above: Left – Silk Noil straight out of the dye bath. Right – starting to unwrap. The method I use means that the outer surface of the fabric always picks up a lot of dye and so you get a portion with marvellous lines from the string against a very intense background. The difference between this area and the inner wrappings can clearly been seen in the photo. As Noil is very heavy it is hard for the dye to penetrate to the core sections.
Above: Left – removing the leaves, ferns and lavender heads. Right – close-up of leaf transfer. I’m very pleased with these results as the leaves have a very skeletonized look, the images have layered well on to the fabric surface and they complement my Synthesis theme.
For these samples I was very strict with my recipe and note taking so I can reproduce them. I used rocket as my plant base, adding copper sulphate as the mordant. The colour was a little too green so I also included a smidge of iron sulphate to take the sharpness of the green away. Leaves, lavender heads and ferns were trapped within the layers to create the patterning. Extra protein (egg) was brushed on the leaves to improve the image transfer.
Whilst the colour results have worked well I feel that the Noil may be too heavy to incorporate into the final project. However the tissue silk should be perfect. The Noil will come in handy another time.
I now have sufficient dyed fabrics to start looking at how they will come together to form the base of my art piece.