When we do the annual Dyeing Days at our house, we get colorful from head to toe. All year long, everybody keeps an eye out for things that are composed of natural fibers that just might benefit from a jolt of new color. Tshirts are certainly a part of the pile, but we also dye jeans, shorts, socks and hats and other clothing.
Then there are the bolts of cloth, the spools of ribbons, the hanks of fiber and skeins of yarn. This year I have a bowl full of bamboo beads ready to get colorful. They started out as a placemat. They’ll soon be dyed to match silk and rayon ribbons and more. Bamboo and other wood and vegetable fiber items can be dyed beautifully using Procion Fiber Reactive Dyes. When my kids were little, we used their wooden blocks as part of the tied resists when we dyed a batch of clothing, and the resulting wooden blocks were really gorgeous. We liked the shirts too–but the blocks were the visual winner THAT year, and we hadn’t intended it at all.
In addition to my wardrobe of colorful, comfortable cotton socks, shown above, here is a picture of 12 pieces of cotton cloth that were dyed a few years ago using bound dye resists like string, rubber bands, and wooden clothespins. (Those soaked up the color too, but werent as nice as the wooden blocks, which were made of nicer wood.) The cloth is 100% cotton jersey and cotton flannel.
I get my dyes and more from Dharma Trading Co. who have had “Fiber Art Supplies and Clothing Blanks Since 1969”. The selection of dyeable goods there is staggering. They have clothing and accessories, fabric by the bolt or yard, ribbons, banners, fibers and household items. All are in black and white, and can be dyed, painted, and embellished with a myriad of textile arts techniques. Take a look there if you enjoy color!
And if you do, be sure to visit Maggie Maggio’s Smashing Color site. Its a visual treat and a great informational source for artists who use color.