On the weekend of April 25 I taught my first fabric dyeing workshop to five energetic, creative women, and it was so much fun that I can’t wait to do another one. Saturday morning we started by dyeing the 12 primary, secondary, and tertiary colours.
Regina hangs the bright colours on the line.
We put them on the wall of my quilt studio to take a look and then it’s time for a group portrait.
I'm on the left in my dye-splattered T-shirt, then it's Suzanne from Mabou, Helene from Oyster Pond/Northeast Margaree, Cynthia from Sydney, Candy from Mabou, and Regina from Antigonish.
Next each person does their own dye mixing across the colour wheel, mixing various proportions of complementary colours to dye more subtle colours.
The earthy colours go up on the line.
Then we all stand back and take a look.
Everyone got a small sample of each of these colours.
Saturday afternoon we did group experiments using techniques to create unique textures and variegated colour mixtures.
The process itself is full of surprises.
Below we dye three pieces of fabric in layers using three different colours. Regina chooses the colours, red-orange on the bottom, yellow in the middle, and red-violet on the top. Each piece of fabric is scrunched or manipulated in a different way.
Here Helene is spooning on red-violet dye to the top layer. You can the the red-orange layer on the bottom and the yellow layer in between.
Now we look at the results! Here are the bottom red-oranger layer and the top red-violet layer...
...and the middle yellow layer was spectacular!
A large piece of fabric has been folded several times, and now Candy and Helene are painting purples and greens on it using foam brushes.
The fabric is turned upside down and Candy paints the other side.
You can see the results of the folded fabric on the left. The other fabric was folded and clamped with round plastic disks before dyeing.
Sunday afternoon we met again and everyone did their own individual experiments. Among other things, Suzanne tried a stitched resist and finished it with rubber bands, Helene tied fabric around small rocks with thread, Regina made more circles and dyed cheesecloth and silk ribbons, Candy dyed a big linen tablecloth blue, and Cynthia created a small landscape.
Inspired by the setting, Cynthia shows her landscape in its wet and scrunched form.
And here's the final version of the landscape.
By the end of the weekend, we were all tired but excited about everything we’d accomplished. Cynthia, who is from Sydney, a 2-hour drive from Mabou, had stayed overnight at a b&b and managed to fit in some hiking and an outing to the West Mabou square dance Saturday night. When she got home Sunday, she arranged all her fabric on the living room floor and sent me the photo below. In her email she said, “Spring is great! And your workshop was so inspiring for the rest of the blooming and growing year!! And I don’t mind if you mention in your blogs about the fun I had dancing, and watching sunset and pussy willows shining in the sun …… “
Cynthia's fabric on her living room floor. If anyone else has a similar photo, please send it on!