Now for something totally out of its logical place in the order of things. Before I went to Allansford, I decided to go all out in exploring the depths of my ignorance. It’s my observation of learners that many of us over estimate what we know. We haven’t grappled with our own ignorance sufficiently to realise what a teacher has to offer us. We haven’t applied what we think we know enough to realise where its outer edges are.
I decided on an all out attempt to use my stock of knowledge and supplies to find the limits of my own understanding. I’d been itching to dye and unable to find time, so holidays were a gift. I had multiple attempts to dye with woad and then turned over to dyeing with what indigo I still had. I used up my remaining fructose, and couldn’t find more. So I experimented with sad fruit from the bargain pile at the local shops. I also collected fallen fruit and such. I read all the books and instructions again. I had no joy with the woad no matter what I did and in the end composted two vats.
I tried a yeast vat. It was quite something watching it fizz! In the end, I weakened and bought another package of colour run remover and rescued some indigo with that. between all these vats, I overdyed leaf prints I hadn’t liked much. I dyed scraps and offcuts from old shirts that had been turned into drawstring bags. I even tore up a very worn, patched and mended damask table cloth from the stash and dyed that.
I achieved only soft blues, but soft blues are beautiful.
I went to Allansford convinced that I was struggling with achieving reduction, and maintaining temperature, and quite possibly other things besides. And it was really helpful to go, knowing this, and to be able to see that I had been aiming (mostly) at the right things, checking (mostly) the right things, and had some concepts right, but was applying them in wrong places. It gave me a really strong sense of the limits of my own judgment.
Some of the bits and pieces have already begun to re-form… a bit like my understanding of how to dye with indigo!