My local surface design group doesn’t meet in the summer months but we had a challenge for over the summer. Each of us was to use surface design techniques on a 2 yard piece of silk. I can’t remember exactly what type of silk it is but it is very heavy and not really suitable for nuno felting. So I decided to try some dye techniques on the silk.
Someone on the forum posted a technique using plastic cups to direct the dye to look like flowers. I couldn’t find the link and hadn’t really paid that much attention to the technique other than you use cups, put the fabric in the cup and pour the dye into the cup. So I decided to try this and go for the look of poppies. The first step with the red and orange dye went very well (sorry, no photos) and I ended up with very large flower like dyed areas on the silk.
The next step was to over-dye to get a green background. I used fiber reactive dyes but the first set of dye had been mixed up at least a month ago. I mixed yellow and blue to get a light, sage green. But the blue disappeared and I ended up with a golden-yellow background.
So I decided to try again and mixed up a new, dark green dye. You can see on the wipe up paper towel above, that it was dark green. So I soaked my silk in soda ash solution for about an hour, laid the silk out on plastic still wet and applied the green dye with syringes. I didn’t really try to make exact leaves as I wanted to keep it fairly abstract. I also added some black dye into the center of my “poppies”. It looked great when I finished. I rolled it all up in plastic and let it batch for 4-5 hours.
But then when I rinsed it out, all the blue in the green mixture washed out. I am back to very little green and a whole lot of golden-yellow in the background. This shot probably shows the most green in the entire two yards of silk. Sigh.
This photo doesn’t show the colors well but I used the remaining dye on my work shirt. It stayed nice and green. So it wasn’t the dye. It seems this silk somehow doesn’t like blue. Weird. So back to the “drawing board”. I think the solution is paint. I will use Dye-na-Flow paint on wet fabric to achieve the dark green leaves that I have envisioned for this piece. I’ll let you know how it goes. All these steps I’m sure will be worth it in the end as it will give it more depth. Or so I keep saying to myself.