July 22, 2013

Indigo Blue and Shibori with Pam Woodward

Coral Jewell and I have just returned from a wonderful week in Haliburton where we attended a five day workshop with Pam Woodward at the Haliburton School of the Arts.

Pam is a wonderful teacher. She never seems rushed yet I have never learned so many techniques nor have I been as productive as in this course of five days. There was never a dull moment. Pam kept a close watch on us and when we ready she would introduce yet another technique to try.

 Because we had to first mix our dye baths and wait for it to "Bloom", Pam started us off with the Shibori stitching techniques.

Stitching a Sampler 

We did straight line stitching, and used folds to make circles.  Folded pleats that were whip stitched gave a different effect.

Coral opening her stitch sampler.

An Example of the Effect just from Straight Stitching

We knew our dye baths were ready when they developed what is called a bloom. See the top of one of our dye baths.
This bloom had to be skimmed of the top very carefully so as to not introduce any air bubbles as this can oxidize the bath and render it useless. You may not get all of the bloom so you have to check after dipping and rinse off any bloom residue.
The same care has to be taken when introducing the fabrics into the dye bath to keep the bath viable for use as long as possible. Coral and I shared a bath and found we needed a new dye bath about every two days but we made a lot of fabric from each bath.
In the picture below, you will see a piece I am dipping again after removing some of the resist. Note the green colour. Initially, when you remove the piece from the dye bath it is green and then it quickly oxidizes to the blue. The more often you dip, the deeper the blue.

Some other techniques we learned are:

and Clamping

An Example of Sewing in a Cord to Make a Spiral

Pole Wrapping with String or Sewing a Tube

One Effect from Pole Wrapping

Using Found Materials such as Washers to Create Resists

These are just some of the techniques. Here is our creative classroom in action. Pam, herself, had many samples to demonstrate the techniques but it was also wonderful to see the work of the other students. Curtains, skirts, dresses and all sorts of fabrics were brought for experimentation.

On Thursday, Haliburton School of the Arts asked each of the course participants to do a display of their work and we are able to see what other people had accomplished in their courses. It is good advertising as you see many interesting things you just might want to try next.

Some of Coral's Work and My work Hanging for Display

It is recommended that you wait as long as possible before rinsing and washing your fabric to give the dye more time to oxidize. Indigo blue fabrics do not penetrate but sit on top of the fabric so the more time you give the process, the deeper your colour will stay. Coral and I will be airing our fabrics for at least two weeks and then it will be time to plot out a quilt.Oh, joy!

 If you have a fascination with Indigo Blue fabrics and are prepared to turn blue, this is a course for you. The Indigo Blue dye does wash off easily from your skin, if you catch right away. Otherwise you may need to soak and scrub a bit. My Blue nails are now almost clear again.

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