Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More Natural Dyeing - Japanese Style

Today I just finished taking my first workshop of the week at Convergence: a fabulous 2-day with John Marshall on kyoukechi Japanese clamp-resist dyeing.  Here's a link to an article by John in Turkey Red Journal that describes the process.  The most exciting thing I think I got out of the class is what a wonder substance soy milk is.  It has several characteristics that are really useful in dealing with textiles and dyeing that I plan to explore.

Here are the samples I completed in class.  They are all the kyoukechi except the one on the lower left which is just normal fold-and-clamp resist.  The one in the upper left is made with a block I carved myself in class using a router.  The others are all blocks borrowed in class that John had carved.  My favorite is the middle-left piece.  The greenish one just to the right of it was supposed to be an image of a footprint, but as I stared at it as it was drying, they looked more like sheep to me, so I gave them eyes, ears, nose, tail and hooves with a brush, using a mixture of soy milk and indigo bloom.  Maybe if you zoom in you can see the details.  All the samples have indigo dips as the final dye step.

Here are the two halves of the block I carved, approximate mirror images of one another.  It is made from redwood that John brought as part of the provided materials.  This was the first time I'd used a router that you have to push down as well as "drive around", and it was hard to remember to keep pushing it down constantly while trying to control the side-to side movement.  You can see my hollows aren't very neat, but the dye still seemed to flow just fine in those areas.

Even the rags I brought the samples home in are kind of interesting.

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