Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dyeing in the Blue Mountains

I've been absent for a while as I was busy getting ready and organised to leave home for 3 weeks.
Katoomba sunset, looking down Megalong Valley

I've been staying with my son and his fiancee.in Katoomba while I'm attending workshops at the Blue Mountains Contextart Art Forum, held at the Korowal School in Hazelbrook.  Being able to enjoy these beautiful surroundings and spend time in the extensive gardens was a bonus of the workshops

Over the weekend I did eco-dyeing using plant material from the nearby bush, with Kirsten Ingmar and Trace Willans.  They have very different methods, but both were great tutors and I had good fun, made some lovely new friends..........hello Pat and Christine.......and learnt a lot.  
  Pat and I collaborated on leaf dyeing this cotton tshirt by the bundling method.  Trace showed us how to use egg yolk to enhance the colour and print on cotton, by adding protein to the fabric. This would work on any cellulose fibre....linen, bamboo, rame etc.  We dyed the tshirt in a pot of mountain devil...a local native plant...mordanted with copper.  Note the green on the neckline where the dye has reacted with  perfume on the shirt.

 Back view, love that great string line pattern
 Leaf detail
Close up of string line

I didn't take photos of the bundling and wrapping process, but Trace has a great tutorial on her blog if you'd like to try it.

I did these samples using various shibori style techniques and chemical mordants in a variety of plant based dyes.

 Pole wrapped silk dyed in mountain devil, copper mordant.  It's more a green than the picture shows.
 Shibori folded raw silk, clamped and dyed between wooden blocks in bark with a copper mordant.
Silk georgette bundled with coreopsis flowers, dyed in onion skins with an alum mordant

Highlights of the two days

I'll be back again to post about the basketry workshop I'm doing all this week with Wendy Golden.  


  1. Nanette, oh good gracious alive! You've had a splendid week, I'd say -- the cotton top turned out so great, is it yours or the other person's? Love the neckline! The cloth sculpture/shadecloth has magic thread on it! Great photos. You will be operating on all this for a long time to come. How fun for you and fun for us to see it here. I've never taken a dyeing class but will be participating in a short workshop (half-day) in two weeks at an herb conference in TX. Yay. xoxo

  2. Hi Peggy..the tshirt belongs to my son's fiancee, she kindly donated it for the cause, and is looking forward to wearing it once it's dried properly. Your herb conference sounds wonderful, I look forward to hearing about that.

  3. Your eco dyeing turned out well, i look forward to seeing the results of the basketry workshop. Pity about all the rain tho this week.


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