Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ruth Issett Workshop 'Surfaces to Dye For'

Been so busy recently with three exhibitions and family gatherings but still managed to fit in a two day workshop at Alston Hall, Lancshire with Ruth Issett entitled 'Surfaces to Dye For'. The aim was to see how different fabrics and fibres reacted differently to Procion MX dyes. Ruth is such a special lady she is so experienced in dyeing and an accompolised embroidery women. Having been in education for 30 years myself I can always spot a talented teacher and facilitator and she certainly is that. I personnally can't understand a 'teacher' who won't share their expertise and Ruth did so much sharing of tips and hints that all who attended went away with so much wealth of knowledge, it just wasn't long enough.

This is the sample experimental piece that we completed the first night so that we could assess the suitability of our stash of fabics.

We then spent a day and a half completing, in my case, two embroideries that utilised cotton, linen, viscose and silk plus a range of the 'newer' fabrics and fibres now readily available eg banana, hemp, sisal.

This was the cotton, linen and viscose piece. The fabrics tended to be heavier in weight and included muslin, builders scrim, tailors canvas, lace, binca and tapestry fabrics,

After dyeing the range of colours was amazing it wasn't until it dried completely that the subtlety of how the different fabrics took up the dye emerged.

This closeup shows the surface decoration in more detail. French knots, cretan stitch, whipping stitch, tassels, bullion stitch and some machine embroidery stitches in different thread to the couched thread.

This second piece below utilised silk fabrics in many weights, such as muslin, pongee, noile, organza and velvet. This closeup illustrates the vertical lines I achieved by laying down many threads some of which were couched, some left to dangle freely.

I choose to dye this piece with turquoise, lemon yellow and golden yellow, although it was relatively successful I now can see that some scarlet would have given some subtle burnt oranges and browns. All in all a very enjoyable two days and I learnt so much about how to utilise fabrics when dyeing.