Monday, October 11, 2010

Test strips

A lot of the dye powder you get is a mixture of other colors. So even though you have a nice shade of red, it might have some blue or yellow in it to give it a different shade.

Sometimes the technique will allow the dye to separate. The different colors may travel through or along the fabric at different rates. The stitched Mokume technique is one where this can happen. Because the fabric is pulled up tight it keeps the dye from easily getting to all parts.

If you've tie-dyed shirts before you might have seen this. You might get a 'halo' of color at the edge of one. Also, think of the last time you tried to get 2 different pieces of navy clothing to match.

The picture is of three strips of fabric I intentionally wanted the dye to separate. I wanted to see what kind of color the halo would give me. It also gave me an idea of the color cast. All 3 were browns; mink, chocolate and bronze. But the separated colors don't look much like that. I want a brown to go with a mauve, so I think the chocolate will be best, it has the tone I like better. The bronze surprises me with how green it looks when the yellow/orange is pulled out.

To do this I used 3 small, shallow containers. Mixed up a small amount of dye in each one. The put just one end of the fabric in the dye. The dye wicked up the fabric and the color that travelled faster went up higher.

I remember doing something like this in school. We used a felt tip pen to make a dot on a coffee filter, near the bottom. Put some water in a shallow dish and put just the bottom edge of the filter in the water. The colors should separate. Try different brands of pens, even if they are all black they might still look different. Don't use permanent ink.

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