Adding color to maki-age shibori

12 October 2007

Indigo and white is a classic color combination that I love and the Japanese adore.  But it is not right for all situtations.  Sometimes we just need another color.  White, because of its extreme value ( or luminosity ) only works in few combination; dark indigo and white, black and white and red and white.  Previously I have immersion dyed the whole cloth before doing the maki-age resists and dyeing with the following results:


Here the silk noil gauze was immersion dyed with Lanaset dyes a pinky beige and then dyed again in the lavender grey giving me very tight control over the colors.

In my experience with dyeing, immersion dyeing is my favorite for the quality of the color achieved.  It gives a kind of stained glass quality to the color that I thinks comes from the total penetration of the dye into the fiber.  If you cut a fiber that has been dyed and look at the  cross section thus the color goes all the way through.  This is the most easily observed in china silk that is translucent.  Anyhow I like these colors that are achieved by immersion dyeing.

Direct application such as painting on thickened dyes, even the same ones, give whimpy colors to my eyes.  I tried the so called silk paints such as Pebeo Soie testing the theory that these are more concentrated/better designed for this application.  Before and after steaming, I still precieve the colors as whimpy; kind of chalky more like the colors of tempera paint than stained glass.  Silk painters use a lot of crepe de chine which has a very high surface area and gives richer color.  So I think that these are only binding to the surface of the fiber not penetrating all the way through. 

In my experimentation I have found one method that I think gives  richer colors and that is using foam to hold the dye.  The dye stock and acid are mixed into the the foam, usually shaving cream.  This holds the dye and you can see it transfer from the foam to the fabric.  This is a technique used in industry when dyeing things they don’t want to get sopping wet, such as carpet and ties.  So here are some process pictures from samples I made last spring .


Here is the thin noil, you can see the grey table top through it, marked with motifs and some dots for kanoko bindings.  I used a dressmakers marking pen that uses a fugative dye.  The purple lines disappear the first time it gets wet.


Next the perimeter of each motif is stitched with a running stitch.  You can see the large knots and long tails  on each motif.  The dots have been bound, they will remain white.


Then I mixed the dye stock and acid into the shaving cream.  The pink foam was daubed on the dry cloth inside the motifs.  Notice how the dye is moving from the foam to the fiber and the foam turns white.  more can be applied if you want a more intense color.


When the color value, actually darker since it is now damp, you want is achieved, let the foam dissipate and then gather the stitches.  Then bind the gathered motif.  Binding damp cloth gives a lot of compression, you can feel how hard the bound part is.  When the binding is complete, the cloth is soaked and then dyed in a dark lavender grey immersion dye bath.  Any pink dye outside the motif will come off in the soaking or the intial dye bath, then the heat of the immersion dye bath will set the remaining pink.


Sometime we percieve that the resists are just the strings.  Here you can clearly see pink areas that are not just under the strings.  The cloth is just so tightly compressed that the dye could not penetrate. Other parts such as the tips are lose and they did dye the darker color.  


Careful removal of the threads  was sucessfull, and the design has white dots, pink motifs and a on a grey ground.  This method of spot dyeing opens  many color options for magi-age.


3 Responses to “Adding color to maki-age shibori”

  1. isa vogel Says:

    I was intrigued by the use of the shaving cream. The “acid was added with dye” to the shaving cream-could you would yo elaborate more on this system i.e. how do you make the chemical compound that binds the dye? Thanks so much and congrats on great work. Isa Vogel


  2. Karren Says:

    When I do direct application I add the acid to the stock, the kind and amount appropriate for the dye ( ammonium sulfate for those that work at pH 6.5, acetic acid for those that work best at pH4.5). Squirt the foam into the tray, add the dye stock and mix.


  3. And I have had similar reservations about painted warps–as does Darwall. I have done them, though, but with Tencel (not my favorite fiber!) Darwall dip dyes his warps. He’s got a wonderful setup for this. Am trying to figure out how sometime I might make do (acid dyes). Probably the answer likes in at least some ikat work.
    Anyway, I love the way you get color into your resisted fabric. It’s lovely.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: