Thursday, June 04, 2009

Dockside surface design

I love this time of the year. Warm sun, cool nights and ah yes, I get to open up my beloved little Art Shack. Every year, I happily lug several bags of dye & paint stuffs some 45 steps down a ragged cliff to what was once a garden shed, now a supreme surface design lab:

opened thermometer

Normally I only venture down here when the temperature hovers around 20C (or 80F). MX dyes like a warm humid environment. Frankly its still a bit cold – but I am anxious to get this shop going as I have a lot of work to do, it’s like camping!

Before heading down, I like to mix up all the MX concentrates that I will need for the season, approx 20 weeks worth. I don’t have hot & cold running water, only a hose with freezing cold water, but I do have a fridge. Luckily, Ann Johnson’s Color By Design has the how to for all these concentrates.


I now colour code each 500cc bottle with its own colour and recipe # (I use them over and over). These ones are the best, they don’t leak! When I think of all the junk I had to drink to get this marvellous collection of leak free ½ litre bottles… it was worth it.

Because I plan to thicken these dye concentrates I throw in a tablespoon of urea and a couple of marbles. The marbles help create the friction necessary to keep the dye in solution every time I shake the bottles, and I do this often. I found this gem of a tip from Doug Wilson from the DyersLIST.

formula grape

I have also learned to write everything down on each bottle. When I need more, the formula is right there. I picked this habit up the hard way from my own experience. I like to make 8% concentrate solutions (really really dark rich colours). For a 500cc solution, that means that I put 40gm of dye powder into each colour bottle. Here is what 40gm of Pro Chem grape 801 dye powder looks like. Seems like a lot, but it goes a long way.

More to come.


Jan said...

I hadn't checked your blog in a long time, I like the changes. Great idea to use the marbles. I keep my squirt bottles gathered from many shampoo empties. No drinking necessary! Thanks for sharing your art and ideas.

Kit Vincent said...

Hi Jan,
Thanks for the feedback. I like the changes too!
I should mention that my hairdresser gave me a bag full of small squeeze bottles - each holds approx 4 oz of liquid. They don't leak. Perfect for thickened dyes!