This week I ran a natural dyeing workshop for my Guild. It was exhausting but fun! I tried taking a picture inside the hall and my poor old camera wanted to use the flash–pretty useless. Between that and having a lot going on, I decided to forget taking photos. We ran lots of dye pots: E Scoparia bark, dried E Scoparia leaves (oranges), silky oak leaves (yellow), logwood from the abandoned/donated dyestuffs of the past stash (purple), black beans (not as blue as I hoped)… we mordanted with alum and with soy, there were leaf print experiments. We dyed silk, alpaca, wool, cotton; fleece, roving, yarn and fabric. Phew!
I came home with cooked bark and leaves and ground soybeans to compost, quite a bit of remaining pre-mordanted yarn, a bucket of black beans with yarn tucked into it, a bucket of homemade soymilk and the logwood bath. Can I just quietly mention how relieved I was when I got home without having sloshed a bucket over in the car?
I have run the logwood bath twice more so far. This is the second effort: superwash wool in the foreground, alpaca/wool blend in the middle, and greeny-grey-blue black bean dyed sock yarn at the back. I have some roving still soaking and rinsing after the third logwood bath, and I’m mordanting more fibre to go into a fourth bath right now. I wish that logwood was a sustainable local dyestuff. It is spectacular and straightforward, and purple is a great colour. I loved pouring boiling water on wood chips and getting purple water; dipping fibre into what became a brownish dyebath and pulling it out purple. But logwood isn’t local or sustainable, so I’m making the most intense use of the logwood that I have been given that I can figure out.
I hope that my forebears at the Guild who abandoned the logwood there or donated it to the Guild would be happy if they could see the excitement it provoked in the workshop. It’s possible that the former owners of this logwood are still coming to the Guild and will let me know what they think when word gets out of what we did in the dyeroom this week. I feel so blessed to be part of the Guild–fancy being part of an organisation that has a dye room!
6 responses to “After the workshop”
I can only wish to have such success when I run my first dying workshop, got any tips for me ?
This isn’t my first, and I definitely benefited from running shorter workshops wth lower outcome expectations the first few times. My tip would be: make sure you allow enough time, and don’t attempt too much. It is easy to underestimate how many questions there will be, and how different people’s skill, confidence and speed levels will be. Participants need breaks and so will you.
Fun! A successful workshop feels good, doesn’t it? Definitely worth all the planning and work.
Very much so… and next time I’ll be more realistic, take less stuff, and maybe have some pots running before participants arrive.
Time to put up your feet and bask in the pleasure of a workshop well done. Your participants went home with some gorgeous colours and a greater appreciation, we can hope, of the work involved.
Thanks! That did seem to be the way they felt about it 🙂 I’m still trying to exhaust the logwood bath…