Last Saturday I spent the day learning a new skill. Tie-dyeing.
It was a colorful, super fun day!
The workshop was called “Immersion & Shibori Fabric Dyeing”. Shibori Fabric Dyeing is the Japanese art of resist-dyeing fabric. It sounds really fancy and it can be quite complicated and gorgeous but to this color-loving old hippie, it’s just another form of tie-dyeing and a perfect way to spend a Saturday.
The instructor was Fiber Artist Jane Hartfield. She was a delight to work with and she shared so many things with us. We all got to make several pieces, so I made 3 t-shirts and a scarf. All in a bright beautiful, rainbow of colors.
The process was super fun and it was one of those workshops that was more fun than frustrating, so thank you Jane and the Center of Art and Education for that.
So before I forget what we did, here is the low down on Tie-dyeing the Shibori way.
The material we were using ranged from 100% cotton to soft and yummy silk. I had picked up a few 100% cotton t-shirts from Michaels and pre-washed them before class but Jane came loaded with all kinds of cool pieces of clothing and clothe we could use. So I grabbed a nylon scarf for my first attempt and a t-shirt that was more feminine than what I brought.
The dyes we used were specifically for dyeing fabric and Jane said they would last a very long time, not rinse away like the Rit Dye’ and Vinegar we used to use!!
Are you old enough to remember that?
She brought some luscious primary colors to explore which made this color-crazy gal very happy. The dyes were Procion Fiber Reactive and she got them at Dharma Trading Company. You can also get lots of blank fabric and clothing articles through them as well. She also suggested Pro Chemical and Dye for dyes and fabric. I found this kit on Amazon which I may just have to spring for because it has everything I need to make more Tie-Dye T’s .
Prepping the Material
The first thing she really stressed was the use of Soda Ash Water. Soda Ash brings up the PH of water and helps the dye bind to the fabric. She suggested one cup of Soda Ash to a gallon of water. I have Soda Ash in the Studio but its used a lot in Swimming pools so its readily available. You just need to get the fabric wet with the Soda Ash water and begin dyeing.
The “resist” part of the process comes from either the way you fold it or with rubber bands. There are a whole lot more very cool ways to resist the dye to make cool patterns but these were the method I chose.
For one of my shirts and for the scarf, I used rubber bands to bundle up the fabric to make those cool circles we so loved in the 60’s. HINT: It’s easier to get the rubber bands on when the material is dry. You soak it in the Soda Ash water after bundling it all up.
My other two shirt I made, I used a vertical accordion fold. HINT: This is easiest to do when the material is wet with the Soda Ash water.
Ready, Set, Dye
Once I was ready to start adding color I used a spoon to guide where I wanted the color to be. I spooned color on one side then flipped it over and added it on the other side. I was worried about the dye left in the plastic bucket when I turned the piece over but it didn’t seem to bother it. I didnt have a lot of that so maybe it just added to the color! If I did this more often I would probably use squeeze bottles.
Notice where the Turquoise and Yellow meet, I got a bright green!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!
Once all the dye is on we allowed it to sit and set for 45 minutes.
“Hey Google/Siri, Set a timer for 45 minutes”
Then the REVEAL HAPPENS.
We rinsed off all the piece in cold water with a drop or two of Dawn Dishwashing soap. Then we took off the rubber bands or unrolled the piece and continued to rinse until the water was almost clear. We rinsed in Cold water, then warm water, then hot water.
THAT WAS IT!!!!! WE WERE DONE! There were so many gorgeous pieces and we loved everyone of them!!!
I took my shirts home and washed them together in my washing machine on Cold water, then again in hot water.
They came out beautifully.
Now I have three new bright and cheerful shirts to wear to the studio and keep me living colorfully!
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