Monday, October 7, 2013

Out of the Blue..... Cathie Style

Finally got the courage to open up that stinky vat of indigo yesterday that has been fermenting for almost a week in my garage. I was almost giddy with excitement - albeit a little hesitant.

Intimidated by little -  my faithful companion and trusty studio assistant bid me adieu, high tailed it and ran for cover when I opened the vat.

I didn't see him for at least a few hours.  To his credit - the smell was so bad - it did make my eyes water.

I spent my first day in blue dipping pieces that I had previously prepared with resists. I used a variety of fabrics - silk noil, cotton, linen, duck, gauze and the techniques I used were the resist materials with stencils, stamps, dry brush and crackle.

 Dipping fabrics resisted with flour, elmer's glue gel and Cleanline in indigo proved challenging.  I was concerned with cross contamination of my vat (particularly with the flour) so I had to be swift, yet careful so as not to introduce much oxygen into the vat.

I  experimented with timed dipping and repeat dipping.  I learned that time "in" the vat was not really important at all.  It is time "outside" the vat that is important - when the oxidation occurs. And then, equally important  repeat dipping - color building.

In addition to being up to my elbows in blue, I also had a few solar jars of walnut working for a few days.

Ahhhh the results are spectacular.  Silk noil really loves the walnut, taking in the dye to create the most luscious browns - rich and deep.
And the cottons, they accepted it gingerly creating gentle of shades of light browns and brownish mauves.  Walnut dyeing is quick and provides instant gratification.  You don't have to let it soak too long if you don't want to. I really enjoy letting my jars sit in the sun. I'm not so sure that affects my results though.

To sum my indigo experience up..... it takes PATIENCE.
It takes patience to work with indigo.

It takes patience to create the vat.
It takes patience to work with the dye (as you must move slowly.)
It takes patience to get a nice deep blue (because you must dip,  oxidize, dip and repeat, and repeat again for the darkest blues.)
It takes patience to do the clean up afterward.

It's a wonderful and enjoyable process. Very centering.  

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