A few weekends ago I had the chance to attend a silk painting workshop put on by the Alberta Human Ecology/ Home Economics Association (AHEA). I also took the opportunity to drag Rory along.
I have done silk painting and shibori dyeing on cotton before in classes, but without the proper studio space, I haven’t done it since. I really wanted to get back in the studio. This workshop was taught by the lovely Willow, of Willow Bud Designs , and she taught us how to color silks in the shibori style. I was excited because I hadn’t done this particular combination of method and fabric before.
She showed us three popular and simple methods of coloring silk; folding and pressing, pole-wrapping and stamping. They are pretty much self explanatory as to what you do with the silk, but the end results are anything but predictable. Using traditional methods of fabric dyeing requires a lot more thought as to where the dye is going to end up on the unfolded scarf, but there’s a certain point where you just leave it up to chance.
The dyes used were Dylon Fabric Dye for Hand Use. The dyes didn’t require any ‘finishing’ time, they bound to the fabrics immediately, so it was perfect for a quick afternoon project. We used yellow, blue, pink, purple and green. Perfect colors for spring.
My first scarf used the pole wrapping technique and I went for a light yellow/green combination, and Rory first tried the folding and pressing method, but went on his own path and disregarded all instructions and folded his own pattern and dipped in blue and purple. Mine came out soft and light, perfect for wearing in my hair at the park, and Rory’s came out in a surprising checkerboard layout, which was an unexpected outcome.
Our second attempts, we switched methods, and I folded and pressed and Rory explored again with a modified pole wrapping technique. Come to think of it, we switched color combos too.
The coolest part of creating in an open group environment is seeing the outcomes of everyone’s creations. It was amazing how with only 3 methods and 5 colors how many distinctly different designs were made.
I was definitely inspired by the days activities and really want to start creating more textiles. Hopefully I can manage to make a little studio space somewhere this summer and start pumping out some more scarves.