Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Try It Out Tuesday : Avoiding Flat Colour

I need to make some pastel coloured lutradur and evolon, so decided to mix up some dye.  I've never really wanted pastel colours before, so, being an eternal optimist, I put less powder in than usual, and hoped for the best.  And, because I want rather a lot of the cloth, I mixed up a fair amount of dye... as you can see, I keep mine in coffee jars.  There's some lilac, some blue, some golden yellow mixed with scarlet and a darker red.
I keep the jars in a tray; that way, spills are kept to a minimum.  This is particularly important if you are working anywhere near wood.  Trust me, you will never get a transfer dye stain out of a wood floor...or cabinet...or anything you might be working near... sigh.

I use plain newsprint for my transfer dyes, if I want a large sheet; otherwise, I tend to use the cheapest possible copy paper for A4 and smaller.  Because I wanted  to use the dyes together, I simply took a pile of newsprint, put it onto the work surface and started sloshing on the paint.  You can see from the image above, that I really mean sloshing!  I want to
make sure that the paper is really well covered in the paint, as any missed parts will show up as white on the cloth...so the section on the right would have an interesting white triangle with a lilac blob in the middle.  Fine if you intend it...not so great if you don't.

When you take the first piece of paper off, you should find that some of the dye has soaked through onto the next paper.  This is good news... as you can then either continue to paint with the same colour, or add a second.

 The image to the left shows a piece of paper from later on in the dyeing, where the yellow/scarlet and the darker red had both soaked through.  As this was the last piece, I left it as it was.  It has some interesting patterning.

Then, I thought.... wonder if it works... so, when the paper dried, I tried some sample pieces.  As I had thought, the blue and purple were not strong enough; the reds, though, produced gentle, interesting colours.

 The red, on the left, had been combined with the blue; the yellow/scarlet with the red.  In both cases, you can see gentle variations in colour which I think are quite pleasing.  Tomorrow, though, I'll have to add some more dye powder to the mix and try again...  On the whole, I think I prefer to mix strong dye to keep in the jars, and add more water to the dye to produce pastels.  It's much easier to measure that way.

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