Sunday, May 22, 2011

An amazing day of Dyeing and learning

On Saturday l went to an amazing workshop on Natural Dying with a group called Bricolage Textile Collective. Read about them below.

Bricolage is a textile collective specialising in contemporary bespoke textiles for interiors, and we are all graduates of the Chelsea College of Art & Design, University of the Arts London.
Our collective expertise covers a variety of traditional and innovative textile skills, including screen-printed wallpapers and textiles; hand and machine knit; crochet and up cycled quilting. We share an aesthetic which favours a bold use of colour, an appreciation for traditional craft skills and the use of sustainable materials and processes.
As individuals, we all work to commission with each client on bespoke designs or sell a small range of ‘off the shelf’ products. We are also open to commissions as a collective.
Our shared studio space/showroom in east London acts like a creative laboratory developing our individual making skills whilst also supporting our collaborative practice together and across other design disciplines. Think part work-space, part café, part blue-sky dream space!
We are also passionate about passing on our textile skill and knowledge and have developed a series of workshops in creative textile recycling and other craft techniques.

The two artists involved in this weekend workshop were Clara and Katherine and to-day's course was run by the fantastic artist Claire Wellesley-Smith. This was actually Part 2 of a 3 weekend course. The first was about Block printing, today was 2nd part and next weekend Sat 23rd May ( 11-4pm) will the final bit of the course Quilting. It was possible to take whole course or just one day. It was an amazing day and l wish l could have done all 3.
Here is how the day went. Enjoy.
The course was held in Bermondsey Village hall in SE1...yes a village hall in the middle of Central London..( by London Bridge) amazing place.

As an ex RAF daughter and an ex-Army wife the sight of Chinooks flying over and over the venue was amazing. Love the sound of these machines.

Clare the tutor, ( was such an interesting and talented artist and a joy to learn from. She told us some History about Natural Dyeing and a few very funny stories and put us all in the mood to learn. I must admit l could have sat and listened to her for hours..really interesting stuff. I will be off too the Libary first thing on monday.
Get ready to Dye......

We had discusstions on which materials were naturally dyed or Acid dyes and why we thought that and so much more.
The course included a bundle of interesting materials foe each student and there was also a heap of other materials supplied by the Bricolage, for us to try if we wanted to.
Getting started....
The three dyes we were going to be learning about today were Madder, Indigo and Weld.
The first dye l will deal with is Indigo.

In goes the wrapped or in this case..clamped cloth..into the blue dye......

Out comes the "bundle"
The exciting.
My piece which resulted in this please with this first result.

Um...needless to say..these are my hands. Well l find it hard to work in gloves.

More work in progress.

This the Madder dye bath. Madder is from the roots of the plant, Nature is so amazing.
Leave to soak in dye for a while, then hang out on line to dry. We were so lucky with the weather, it was a blue sky, sunshine and happiness day!

This came from the Weld, which l seem not to have taken an image of boiling in it's! This is the  dye the colour Kharki comes from.

More Indigo dyeing.

This is cotton NOT paper.

Just incase you do not know about is an image demonstration. First wet your material and put into dye bath. The liquid in the tub is covered with cling-film so it is NOT exposed to the air. Move the film and dip material into dye bath. Hold it there for as long as you want then lift out a GREEN coloured material and watch it slowly turn, turquoise, green and then blue, as it makes contact with the air!


Then we were given a surprise dye bath to try..Elderberry..gorgeous.
Show and Tell time. Everybodies work was amazing and so many different designs, shades and colours.

This made me giggle but at the same time l understaood why Claire bought "Northern" water with her. Our water may give a different result from what she is used to. When teaching, unlike when being an Artist, surprises you do not want!
Know this is not about the day..but l do love my new shoes!
A very tired but VERY happy Lynda.

Thanks everyone who was involved in the day for making it such a great experience and l hope we keep in contactxlynda


  1. so true............nature is amazing.
    Madder is my favorit, so is indigo and........... well, all colors!

  2. now all you need is blue nail varnish to match the hands lol what great fun it must have been!

  3. thanks guys. it was an amazing day and actually l do have blue nail varnish some where..l am off to hunt it out!Haxx happy daysx

  4. truly an amazing day, hard work with great results. thanks for sharing

  5. Hello Lynda, I did enjoy this visit and read about the process of dying fabrics.I did some of this in college courses, fun experiments in color. The indigo and elderberry are my favorites. Thanks for visiting my blog too.

  6. Ohhh, it looks like it was an amazing workshop. I love all the vibrant colors you achieved and the delightful designs. I also love your new shoes and your new hair! Isn't it amazing how a little hair color and a pair of scissors can give us a whole new look.

  7. wow... what a fun day you must have had! i haven't done any indigo dyeing for a while. and it's so much more fun to do it in group :)