For the last 6 weeks I have been immersed in an online course through Maiwa’s School of Textiles (https://maiwa.com/) called Print and Paint with Natural Dyes. It’s been quite intense, but I have learned quite a bit about printing with natural dye pastes. We used powdered dyes. I wasn’t cooking up anything from scratch although I was crushing up cochineal bugs with my mortar and pestle! Ewww!! Quite often I felt like a mad scientist mixing up various ingredients to use the pastes in various mordant processes and cooking up various things in large vats. There are 9 modules with the 9th being a wrap up of what we have done. I’m just finishing up module 8 at this writing and getting ready to prepare my citric acid discharge paste that will be used on fabrics first soaked in a gallnut tannin bath and then half of the fabric went into an alum mordant bath and the other half went into an iron mordant bath so we could develop more samples. I’m super excited to see how all the samples turn out!
Here is my colorful array of dyes.
Some of the pastes were fixed by steaming.
The natural dyes produce some amazing colors.
I tried to paint designs on all the pieces with the idea of being able to use them whole. The long strips are probably going to become table runners. Everything is still wrinkled as everything still needs to be soaked in Synthropol once they cure a bit longer.
This was an iron mordant paste on a myrobalan tannin. The lower photo is using a wood block. I have great respect for artisans that work with the wood block patterns! Such precision to get the right amount of paste onto the block, the right amount of pressure and getting them lined up properly!
This was a long sampler that was painted with various ratios of alum to iron mordant pastes with 100% iron on the left and 100% alum on the right. The sample was then divided into 4 pieces and then each piece was dipped into its own dye bath of either cochineal, buckthorn, pomegranate, or madder.
Just look at all the colors!
This one is the same alum/iron mordant paste fixed in a myrobalan bath.
It’s been great fun to learn this process. Maiwa has an online natural dye class becoming available in August that I may be taking. I would like to learn how to use natural dyes for the background fabrics I use for my tile quilts. They also show how to dye yarns and threads in that class as well as work with an indigo pot. Maiwa does a great job with their videos.
I’m having lots of fun in my studio!
I think I also promised to show you the quilt I made using the painted fabrics I made awhile back. Here are a few samples of those fabrics:
Here is the result of using 95% of the fabrics painted/marked/dyed by myself. I call it Snow Moon. It just got juried into a show called “CQA at 35” that will run July 15-Aug 28 at the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Arts Museum in LaConner, WA. USA (https://www.qfamuseum.org/). It is 32 ½” wide x 37 ¾” tall.
And here is an update on what I call my “ruler” quilt (aka Welsh quilting) where I am using plastic rulers to machine quilt the design. This was my progress through the first round.
And here it is after the second round.
I have the third round cut out, but still need to mark the design onto the pieces before I start quilting it. I’ve been distracted from this project because of the other rabbit holes I’ve been going down! More on those in another blog post!
Hope you are all having as much fun learning and creating as I have been!