Wednesday, June 06, 2007

New take on tray dyeing

This pic to the left shows 4 metres of gorgeous PFD cotton that was tightly pleated against itself, liberally squirted with procion MX dyes and was left to cure overnight. The wait was worth it. Right now the length is slopping around in the washing machine with some synthrapol.

While in San Antonio last February, I came across Leslie Morgan and Claire Benn's book on Tray Dyeing. I thought that there was nothing new to learn about tray dyeing, but I was wrong.

To get really deep colours and rich textures, I had overlooked the importance of tightly pleating or scrunching the fabric in the tray; AND the importance of using salt (good ol' NaCl) and lots of it!
forget ludigol, urea or calgon...lots of salt.
Oh yeah, and generous portions of sodium carbonnate (ash) for the pre-soak.

To quote Leslie "we've tested dyeing with and without salt and in our minds, there's no question that salt makes a difference to getting a decent strike.
As salt is cheaper than dye, we choose to use it."

Needless to say, I am back on the salt bandwagon, specially for direct application techniques like tray dyeing. These results are gorgeous!

On a completely different topic, I just finished two weekends of open house studio tours. For the tour, I made up some 15+ small colour studies from bits and snippets of hand dyed fabric that were lying around. In many cases, I added a bit of hand stitching. This turned out to be a good idea as they were very popular, and most sold. These are the only four I have left. Worth repeating I think.


Jan said...

I checked at Amazon but couldn't find this book, Tray Dyeing. Do you know where I could find it for purchase? I love those fabrics you created.

Anonymous said...

Dharma Trading ( has this book, as well as any material, dye, tool and book I have ever needed for dteing, painting, and fabric crafts.