an artists' view

an artists' view

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Plant Dye-ing

Linen painted with soya milk, then dyed in an oak-leaf dye bath. 
I think I have cracked this plant-dyeing! Not being a chemist, the processes involved in creating dyes using plants is a bit of a mystery to me. But after reading, and experimenting, I think I've learned how to get good results.
As I've been using cottons and linens, because I don't want to use silk, I'm working with cellulose, and plant dyes don't tend to be as effective on these. They work best on 'proteins'...which are the wool and silk materials; basically materials that come from animals. Which leaves me working with materials that are difficult to use plant dyes on. Hmm, talk about making things hard for myself! Well, that's a common thread! 
BUT; using soya milk, creates a 'protein' on the surface of the linen/cotton, and allows the plant dye to adhere to the fabric better. And I've seen the result of that in the piece above. It's a massive step forward in the dyeing I've done since August.

I have just received a sample chart/s from Greenfibres of organic cottons, linens, silks, and hemps; organic wool/s (plant dyed!); and organic cotton threads. Their silks are 'wild harvested' maybe I could experiment with them? Of course, they are very expensive, certainly compared with fabrics I can buy locally. But I'll be looking into their products in the future. 

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