Friday, April 29, 2016

Mandalas Created with Ice Dyeing



These four mandalas were created using a new technique for me: Ice dyeing. After reading all I could find, and watching several clips from You Tube, I gave it a try. 


There are many ways to figure a contraption, but the goal is to drain the water and dye away from the fabric, and contain the mess. I used a discarded fish rack from our grill, and securely tied it to a Rubbermaid container through the holes. This was not as stable as it should have been so don't follow my lead. You have to consider the weight of ice will be added to the top unevenly distributing the weight. That is why we experiment.


I started with a squared piece of Kona pfd, soda ask soaked and line dried. I quartered it into approximately 21" squares. Then each was pressed, folded, and repressed identically.


I added ice cubes from my freezer, and this is where it became a bit tipsy. Cubes were falling below the grate, and were difficult to fish out and replace without dumping the whole mess. I debated about re-figuring my set up, but the ice was already starting to melt. I had no idea how long the process would take so I held off.


Using a fan pattern, I generously sprinkled an assortment of cool colored Procion MX dyes atop the ice using a teaspoon. The next time around I think a tea sieve would be better to distribute the dye. I realize I like to place color where I want it, and this is a more random process.


The set up and process was started mid-morning, and the ice had not completely melted off until that evening. I worked inside my studio dye room which stays about 70 degrees F.

You can see the chartreuse colored dye didn't entire penetrate the fabric in places, and clumped. Some of the outer edges were slightly out of the melt pattern, and were left without color. 

I waited until the next day to wash out the soda ash and extra dye. I was surprised at the colors, the difference in patterning, and the grill imprint left through several layers of fabric.


I do think they turned out quite beautifully, and appreciate the differences. You might see flowers or a Maltese Cross in each, or maybe the scale pattern jumps out at you. I'm taken with the one at the upper right because of the luminescent effect of the bright yellow behind the 'flower'. Something about mermaids calls out to me, but I don't know what yet. 

How will I use them?

I'm not sure yet. I imagine they will speak to me if I look at them long enough. Right now I appreciate them for what they are. The real beauty behind the Procion MX dyes is they are completely colorfast at this point. The fabric is very washable because it's Kona cotton, and would wear well in anything from a utility quilt to an art quilt. I value having materials that haven't pigeon holed my use for them because of special care needs, and believe we should use beautiful things everyday--not save our best for when company comes. 




For past Mandala work this week, 


Come on, Doxie girls.
Today we sew.

18 comments:

  1. They are just beautiful! My colors;-)

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    1. It's a favorite palette of mine, too. I think I grew up without ever wearing purple, and now remark that it's one of the main colors of my wardrobe. No idea how that happens, but I think we gravitate toward different colors that mean something to us.

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  2. Lovely! How soft does the fabric end up with using the Procion MX dyes? I've only been playing with screen printing inks, and cheep craft paints, and the end product is pretty stiff, which is fine for many of the types of projects I do, but I am starting to wonder about other options.

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    1. Hi, Teagan. Printing inks and paints are both applied to the fabric surface, and they will leave the fabric stiff and sometimes even abrasive. Do you know that you can use almost any latex paint to paint fabric with? Some will need heat seat, etc., but check out Liquitex's site for some good information. If you're looking for a paint that leaves your fabric softer, you'll want to find one that says it will leave it with a 'soft hand'. FYI.

      The Procion MX dyes are very cool because they chemically bond with the fibers. After the initial washout process where all the extra loose dye and soda ash is removed, and a good run through your washer on hot, you will find they do not fade or bleed. These are more permanent and color fast than other dyes, and the fabric feels no different at all.

      Start with an inexpensive sample pack which is lemon yellow, turquoise, fuchsia and jet black, and know you can pretty well mix a wide range from those. I would recommend you spend time on the Dharma Trading Co. site as they have a massive amount of free videos and information you would appreciate.

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    2. Thank you, I will check out the info on the Dharma site. :)

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  3. I wondered how the Mandela effect is achieved - thank you for the step by step.i feel like maybe I could try this now.

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    1. One suggestion: I am struggling a bit with the weight of the Kona for this project. I'm looking for a lighter weight PFD to replace it as you need to scrunch the fabric at an angle and rubberband it. I don't want to mess with silk at this point, but I can see what it's desirable for mandalas. It would be worth trying a sheer cotton once or twice, and seeing how it impacted it.

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    2. My go-to fabric is from Test Fabrics, I think it's called 419 (or maybe 420). I get it in 25 or 50 meter pieces at a time, and it dyes great all the time. But it's been a couple of years so I can't remember which I ordered last time... It's lighter weight than Kona cotton, and mercerized which helps to accept the dyes. I also got a bolt of high quality linen at a garage sale once and had great results, but that's gone now.

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  4. Gorgeous! Thanks for showing the steps.

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    1. Kat, you're so welcome. I want everyone to know this is an easy process--far easier than actual immersion dyeing, and a good one to start with.

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  5. These are beautiful Julie! I think I like the upper left best.

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    1. It's a wonder they're all so different, isn't it? I think I see the most possibilities for the lower right one. I like the Maltese Cross in it.

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  6. My favorite is also the top right square, with the lighter color. And I like the grill imprint very much! It adds interest and complement very well the general motif.
    Thank you for participating to my Fabric, Thread and Yarn link party. Have a great day!

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  7. Thanks for sharing, I'm excited to try this! Looks so fun and really not that hard for such beautiful results.

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Thank you for sharing your ideas and comments. It's always enlightening to hear what you think, or if you have a suggestions. Some of you really make my day with your wit! I admit I struggle to keep up with replies during busy times, but it's because I'm working on new things to share with you. Give me a shout with anything urgent at julie@pinkdoxies.com, and I'll try to get right back with you.

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Julie