textiles · exploration · misadventure


On Art and Self Doubt: Reverse

Abstract painting of pink poppies with orange, yellow, white background.

I went in the wrong direction.

214When I first started dyeing last summer, my plan was to dye cotton with natural dyes, sew a skirt with the resulting fabrics, and embellish the skirt with hand-dyed yarns. I used one of my favorite skirts to create a pattern, and made good progress sewing the skirt.

As time went by, I realized how bloody hard it is to dye cotton naturally. I mordanted, then mordanted harder, then allowed the fabric to cure, and really, not much happened. The wools have been terrific; the cottons? Well, brown is easy.

It was disappointing, and honestly, discouraging, but I had this feeling of failure I wanted very much to rectify by getting this dyeing right.

I could blame it on the book. The book says choose a project and stick with it, the implication being if you don’t stick with it you’re lacking something. But I know myself, and frankly, despite being labelled stubborn by those who might not have my best interests in mind, the last thing I lack is tenacity.

After thought and some reading in one of my bitchin new dyeing books Matthew got me for my birthday, I’ve concluded it’s ok to put the project on a back burner, and let it come to fruition in its own time, and it’s ok to reverse course and choose a direction that feels more organic and natural.

07 pipe unwrapped (3)In other words, I’d like to follow up something that’s both exciting AND working. Right now, that’s rust dyeing.

Rust dyeing is pretty much the only dyeing experiment with which I’ve had unmitigated success on cotton.

It’s been so good, in fact, that I recently started working with larger pieces of fabric, linens, and commercially dyed fabrics.

I’m amassing a stash of rust-dyed fabrics, with which I plan to make another quilt, and probably additional rumpled and hand-stitched projects. So it’s not a complete 180. It’s more of a 45-degree turn.
rust dyes
The funny part is, I actually did end up making a skirt. And I actually might rust dye it. It’s just not the full on Art Project I’d envisioned, and I won’t be embellishing it with hand-dyed yarns, ’cause I really like it as it is.

PicMonkey Collage