Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dyeing Silks for Custom Colors and Patterns

by Barbara Bechtel

Earlier this year, I took a eucalyptus dying class with Kim Mailhot at my favorite local studio, Art More Place. It turns out, that the green eucalyptus we see in floral arrangements and the favorite food of koala bears, when heated and steamed in dye bath turns a beautiful rusty color.

Here, you can see the beautiful rusty leaves and the impressions they left on the silk bags.

Another useful technique that Kim shared with us is that sari silk and other dyed silks can often used to add pops of color as well. When heated in a boiling steam bath, the dye transfers away leaving a beautiful watercolor effect to the formerly solid silks!

See those little lines? Those are made using tiny threads pulled from sari silk! On the left, you can see some faint lime green lines left from a piece of dyed green silk from Marsha Neal Studio.

I can see so many possibilities with this to customizing and dying your own silks for use, can't you?

Here are just a few of the silks that I dyed in my class!

In the same vein, recently I saw this tutorial floating around Pinterest and Facebook for dyeing easter eggs with old silk ties and that really got the wheels turning in my head because it essentially follows the same method that I learned with the sari silks!

These follow a similar approach! I can't wait to try this method with a silk to silk dye transfer!

Have you ever tried to dye your own fibers for your jewelry? I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments below!


stacilouise said...

how fun! I used to love tye dying shirts when I was younger. i have never thought to play around with dyes now though, and I LOVE the natural ways you can dye things now. thank you so much for sharing!

Almost Precious said...

I've never been so adventurous as to dye my own fabrics, threads and yarns. However I have dyed some clothing in the past, using Rit dyes and, needless to say, the mess I created was not worth the time, effort nor the cost of the package of dye. :D
I do have a very talented friend who weaves the most beautiful, silk scraves on a loom, and she insists upon dying all of her own skiens of silk to ensure getting the shade and color that she desires.
However using nature's own elements as dying agents does sound like fun and perhaps not nearly so messy as the store bought dyes.
By the way, the silks you dyed are gorgeous.

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

Wow - those colors are so "soft" - like a watercolor painting! Beautiful!

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