Indigo and Shibori Dyeing

Indigo dyeing - Heart Space Studios' alternative to washing

Heart Space Studios went blue last week – indigo blue, our first Shibori dyeing class by Teresa Searle who is a textile designer maker and author and now developing new workshops for us, her next class is textile  jewellery and she is working on a course in experimental stitching for later in the year. When I walked into the class at mid morning there was plenty of experimental stuff going on.

starting the process and taking notes.

There were stones, elastic bands, thread, and all kinds of fabrics being worked on, from embroidered silks…..

Chinese embroidered silks tied with elastic

to cotton dusters.

cotton duster gets the same treatment

I even found someone stitching.

stitched duster
ruched duster

The fabrics were also being wrapped around tubes and tied in a seemingly random fashion – I could be wrong – it may have been very mathematical.

tubular elastic resist - in more ways than one

After the morning’s work spent wrapping and tying all the fabrics were into put water to soak

soaking samples

while I organised lunch

lunch in the front studio

Simple lunches are always provided at our whole day workshops, I have found that eating together gives everyone, usually all complete strangers, a chance to catch up and see who does what, and very often as this is a local venue, find that they have all sorts of things in common other than a love of textiles. The food is kept simple – salads, soups, decent breads with fruit and cheese and we always cater for tricky diets – most of us have had allergy problems ourselves. Also it makes the whole experience more of a treat, students can  just concentrate on the class for the whole day. Apparently this group thought they were getting wine when I brought out the stemmed glasses – fat chance – wine, then in charge of a dye vat! I don’t think so….must get new glasses to save further disappointment.

dip dying for gradated colour

Then outside to do the actual dying, the indigo needs oxygen (and it does tend to stink) to make the reaction from deep green to that beautiful singing blue…watching the colour change is always fascinating. Teresa gave a simple and informative demo and explanation of times and strengths of dye, rigged up a washing line and let them all get on with it while being on hand to help, everyone was so excited – especially me.

immersing the rolls of bound cloth in the dye bath.

The dyed pieces were then left out to dry, while the students got on with more experiments.

dip dye developing colour

colur developing in the open air
Frustratingly I then had to get back home to meet and greet my own studio visitors but Jan Connett, one of the founding members of Heart Space Studios, stayed with the group and took the following pictures for me.

the most exciting moment - unravelling the ties

I wish I could have seen the faces of the students when the first ties were being pulled off –  pure magic – as are the finished results.

unfurled wrapped fabric washed and hung out to dry.

If you want to try this with us keep checking theHeart Space Studios website  for the next classes, Teresa is planning some different typed of shibori dyeing classes for later in the year.

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