Even though the meetings and workshops are an hours drive (each way) I signed up for membership in PENWAG (Peninsula Wearable Arts Guild) this year because of the amazing sounding roster of speakers. I was really looking forward to hearing Brecia Kralovic-Logan speaking on "Wabi Sabi Wearable Art", and was so impressed with her presence and approach to teaching creativity that I signed up on the spot for her all-day workshop, even though it meant another 2-hour drive the next day.
As it turned out, there is no place I would have rather been than where I was in that workshop! We spent the morning dying pieces of silk habotai and organza, using Colorhue dyes. The advantage of the Colorhue dyes is that they are an instant dye on silk, which is great if you don't want to wait out the processing time necessary in some other dyes. The sunny, windy day dried our strips in mere moments (until the sprinklers came on), and after pressing, we ripped our fabric in to strips, ready for weaving.
Here are a few samples of the dyeing and weaving done by workshop participants:
The weaving was done by laying down a sheet of water soluble backing. We used hospital laundry bags (!), designed to dissolve in a hot water wash after being filled with contaminated bedding, etc. Brilliant, eh?
Then you lay out your fabric by weaving, or layering cut pieces, or making some sort of arrangement with fabric bits - the possibilities are endless! You top your piece with another layer of the water soluble plastic and pin everything in place.
Brecia admiring one of the student pieces:
I dyed my fabrics in a couple of different colorways, and wanted to use the earth tones in a scarf. I added some fabrics that I brought from stash in order to have enough to make a nice long scarf.
The darker pieces of fabric in my piece are silks from stash; the lighter pieces I dyed during the workshop.
My piece, woven and pinned and ready to sew:
I sewed down the center of each strip of fabric, both directions:
Once everything is sewn together, you give it a hot water bath (the hotter it is, the faster the process goes), making sure that the water soluble stuff is completely dissolved. Dry it, press it, and you're done!
I ended up with this:
Oops. Not quite done. I LOVE my colors! But... The dark copper-colored strips are a dupioni, which I felt took the process beyond wabi sabi and into sloppy, because of the loose weave and tendency to shred (note: I said SHRED, not fray....). After considering my options, I decided to even the edge along the long sides, and sew on a border fabric. This not only gave stability to the dupioni, but added enough width to take it from a wide scarf to a wrap. I sewed a French seam, which I then topstitched down, and did a machine rolled hem along the edge.
This is how my good clothes get ruined.
It's not easy for a gardener to avoid picking up a tool and getting dirty
just by stepping outside for a moment....
The silk is, not surprisingly, a bit futzy and fidgety.
I may need to utilize pins to hold it in place.
Here are the other two pieces I dyed in the workshop,
to be utilized elsewhere:
I'm in LOVE with this whole process! Can't wait to play with the dyeing possibilities some more, and the weaving, and the piecing.....endless opportunities for fun here! And I can't recommend Brecia highly enough - for her infectious enthusiasm, her delightful attitude towards the wabi-sabi approach to creativity, and her 'just right' method of teaching in an encouraging manner. She's based in Santa Barbara - check her out if you can!
How about you? Have you had fun and success at fabric dying? What methods, dyes, etc. do you love and recommend?