Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dyeing a Mandala

Experimental Dyeing Process: Mandala #1

I spent several months working with both vat dyeing, and low immersion dyeing. I played with wax/paraffin, soy wax, and glue resists. I stitched shibori. But up to this point, I never did good old tie dye as most of us grew up with. It was time.

The soda ash soaked fabric was ironed well, pleated off into 15 degree wedges, and bound at angles with rubber bands. I've been using all Kona pfd fabric as it has a nice weight for quilting, and my fabrics have been going into my designs meant for both art and utility.

Mandalas are fascinating creations. They draw the eye in, and though we visually wander all over the piece, inevitably, we come back to the center.  You can read whatever you'd like into it, and I'm not going to suggest anything more. Mandalas have religious and spiritual significance for many people and cultures. Do your own research, if you'd like. Mine are being made for design experiments.

Using the term, 'Everything, but the kitchen sink', I pulled out 3 jars of dye languishing in my chemical refrigerator. I transferred a bright red, a deep purple, and an unlabeled brown I'd created into squirt bottles.

At the mercy of a strange color palette, I started with red at the center. Purple next, placing some near the outer banding also, and then finishing up with the nondescript brown. I bagged it, and put it out of the way.

About 24 hours or so later, I started a cold water rinse, removing the bands as a went. Then, from cold to warm to hot, and a good wash hot with Dawn blue dish washing liquid to remove all remaining dye. I was delighted in what I saw, and even more so in that some of the Procion MX dyes were over 4 months old. I had them stored in the refrigerator in covered jars as recommended, and they seemed to hold up well for a project such as this. 

What do you think? 
I'm so drawn to the olive tones.

I think there's some more of this in my near future. As a matter of fact, I feel like I could do this every day. I have a very interesting project to use this first mandala in, and I hope you stay with me. I have some more dye projects to share with you next time, too. 

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew, and color our world!


Anonymous said...

This is so beautiful! I need to get my dyes out this summer. I have to try this!

Tish Stemple said...

Julie, this is beautiful! I will definitely be staying tuned for what's to come.

Jayne said...

I have not tried this yet! Yours turned out so gorgous! I have a feeling you will be doing more very soon. As for the dye, I've never had a problem with using older dyes. I just make sure I let the fabric soak longer. Since it's such an ordeal mixing it...I am not going to waste it! You only used three colors? You dip the middle first, and then do you squirt the dye on the center and dip the last part?! You are using full strength dyes right? When you say bag it...what exactly do you mean? Sorry for all the questions, but this is so interesting to me!

Angie in SoCal said...

Wow - that center shimmers. What an interesting piece.

Linda Swanekamp said...

I just love mandalas!! I don't want to make them though, just sew them. How are you planning to put it in a quilt or aren't you? I have some ones someone gave me and can't figure out how to use them well.

Julie said...

Thank you, Katy. It was quite a surprise to see when I opened it!

Julie said...

Jayne, I transferred all my dyes to squirt bottles for this, and applied that way. I doused the first side well, squished it in a bit with my hand, and flipped it to do the other. I do lighter colors first if I want them to blend so red before purple before brown on this.

Full strength? It would all depend on how I mixed them originally or for what application. Low immersion for me is different than vat or dip dyeing. Two of these were color concoctions I had mixed to match specific colors so I really can't say anymore. Adjust your dye amount for the color value you desire.

As for bagging it, I keep a good supply of plastic grocery sacks to wrap my work, and keep the moisture in. Dyes quit working when the fabric dries. Sometimes I throw pieces in little plastic shoe boxes, and stick a lid on them.

Hope this all helps.


Julie said...

Thank you, Angie. I think the color combination is a little bit of a shocker, and doubt I'd have paired these planning a piece. On the other hand, after seeing the red against the brown here, I might do it intentionally because it does make the red pop!

Julie said...

Linda, I think mandalas will work well as a center in a quilt or even as a wall hanging. I can see a small border working on this one to frame it a bit and provide calm, and have already tinkered with ideas of how I might quilt it. Both long arming a radial pattern or even hand stitching appeal to me. I'd love to see your ideas, too.

Kate said...

Wow! Your first one turned out beautifully. Looking forward to seeing how you use this in a project.

Julie said...

Kate, I know I should be making these with a project in mind, but for now I'm just happy to be immersed in the process. Any ideas for me?

Julie said...

Thank you, Tish. I'm looking for just the right color combination to do something on my longarm, but I think that will be soon.