Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Finding a Rhythm

It's now been a year since I made the decision to eschew all synthetic dyes, electing to work only with natural dye materials and as far as possible to only use plant stuff foraged from my local environment.  It has been a difficult but wonderful venture....weaning myself off Procion dyes proved extremely challenging and I just had to go 'cold turkey' in the end!  The greatest change has been in the rhythm of my working; I've had to surrender to nature and the seasons, dyeing fabric like a lunatic in the summer when there was a wealth of plant material to harvest,  whilst this winter I've withdrawn to my studio to pursue sketchbook work keenly waiting for Spring.

I've missed having a dye pot on the stove so a few days ago I tried bundling up a bunch of flowers which were sat wilting on a shelf, wrapped them in a piece of old sheet and let them simmer for a while.  The piece is quite pretty with some nice markings.....
The pink areas are from some dried flowers which must have had a synthetic dye sprayed on....I'm not worried about that, I was recycling and reusing which was the most important part of the process.

I've also produced another length of rust dyed fabric, this time combined with tannin which has turned the cloth a beautiful cool, bluey grey.....I just love this piece.....

.....in fact I think I love it so much I won't be able to cut it up.  This is a problem since I dyed it to complete a large wall hanging I'm working on.  I am becoming more and more precious about these dyed lengths of cloth...it never used to bother me when I dyed synthetically, I suppose I knew I could easily replicate the colour and in no time at all.  With natural dyes however I may spend weeks on one piece of cloth, slowly allowing the colours to reveal themselves and the results are so intricate and delicate that I can hardly bare to touch them afterwards.  It makes me wonder where my practice is heading.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jacqui,

Thanks for introducing me to your blog, love it. The naturally dyed cloth is beautiful, I didn't know that was what you were working on theses days.
In terms of framing, I once used some chestnut fencing to make a frame, it was lovely when rubbed down. You will have to become a skip diver or whatever they're called! Sturdy twigs or very small branches could work, and then there's driftwood.

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