Design Dye Workshop with Madder and Cutch
Last weekend, we explored Cutch and Madder Natural Dye in a custom workshop created for the California lifestyle brand Jenni Kayne. One thing, that appeals to me about the brand is the beautiful aesthetic and soft natural fibers like cotton and wool. Both of which dye readily with natural dyes.
As an artist, I always enjoy a collaboration and challenge to create some thing truly unique. For this workshop, we decided to hand-dye 100% cotton bandanas inspired the JK Summer Fall palette Blush and Canyon. For this, we began with a layer of avocado as dye, then we over-dyed with Cutch and Madder in combination to achieve the Canyon color-way shown in the pic at left. As a dyer with a background in painting, it was fun to play and experiment with what combinations could help us to accomplish something close to that palette. The idea is that the bandanas could compliment other colors in the collection. There are plenty of neutrals and with natural dye, we dive into the world of plant color.
For orange/reds we used madder and to deepen it and add brown we used Cutch. The madder, we used Rubia Cordifolia, a plant that has been cultivated as dye for centuries. The color comes from the root of the plant once it has been ground up. Cutch comes from the resin of the acacia tree. The unique part is that participants in the workshop could play with the balance of colors to achieve the desired results and balance the colors more red or more rust, hence the name: Design Dye workshop.
Because Natural Dyeing is a truly an art that takes lots of practice. I decided for this workshop to send out the materials in a kit that was pre-measured in advance. I needed to be sure that the weight of the fiber estimated at 200 grams max for those who wished to up-cycle or dye a new t-shirt along with the bandana.
The Design Dye kit included:
Although, I prepared my first bandana by under-dyeing with avocado (thereby adding tannin) and over-dyeing with 10 grams Cutch and 10 grams madder combined in a steel dye pot. Once the fiber was in- I kept the heat low for about 30 minutes.
I had an equally effective result by letting the dye-stuff open up in containers of very warm water and dyeing an additional piece. Madder is shown soaking in the large blue bowl, while cutch is in a smaller container up top. For this, I referenced Jenny Dean's book, Wild Color and followed instructions for similar to cold water dyeing. As you can see the triangle to the right has been under-dyed using avocado. Here is a side by side of the pieces, with the one to the right being dyed in the steel pot with both colors at once, whereas the one on the left was first soaked in madder then in cutch. This worked well because many new to natural dyeing might not have a steel pot.
Last but not, least I did a piece that featured the leftover madder bath and dipped the end of the piece separately in Cutch. The bottom edge became extremely dark as I walked away from thy dye pot and left it simmering for an hour.
For this one, I say that I was channeling Georgia O'Keefe as she is one of my favorite painters and the result reminds me a bit of Southwestern Art and her paintings of canyons.
I personally love a bandanna because it accessorizes nicely! Check out the lovely color that Jenn, one of our workshop guests got on her tee shirt to the left.
I hope you are inspired by the colors of avocado, cutch and madder root in combination.
Are you looking for an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of natural dyeing in a relaxed setting with guided lessons? Find more info on my brand new course Intro to Natural Dyes: Primary, which includes madder root.
Want to accomplish a weekend project that uses food waste as "dye"? Find out how to use food waste to Dye with Avocado to form a base layer here.
Drawing Inspiration from Nature & Found Objects
Continuing our interview series with artists who teach, Trudy Perry talks with Jenn Lima about weaving, drawing inspiration from nature and found objects from the hardware store.
Based in the Santa Monica Mountains, Trudy Perry is a working Fiber Artist. With a background in design, she creates large scale woven wall hangings using organic materials. Inspired by nature, she brings these elements into her pieces. Creating something that is intentional, thoughtful and visually appealing is deeply gratifying. She loves seeing the magic that happens when a piece is finished and the story it tells. She currently exhibits her work, creates commissions, and teaches weaving workshops.
1. We love that you incorporate everything from rose quartz to Hawaiian shirts and coconut husks in your pieces. Is there a material out there that you haven't yet worked with that's on your wish list?
Yes, I'd like to work with copper wire and found things at a hardware store. I know this is random but the most useful things are great incorporated into weaving.
2. The natural world plays a huge role in your work, both as inspiration and as elements of your woven pieces. Has being in Topanga altered your practice at all and do you draw from its creative energy?
I wouldn't say it's altered however the peaceful and natural setting has charged my creative juices. My studio is on Chumash land and I can sometimes feel the energy there.
3. Is there a jumping off point that you typically begin with when starting your creative process such as a location, memory, or the materials themselves?
It really depends on the project I am working on. Sometimes I am inspired by the materials, or the space a piece is going in. Weaving is intuitive for me so sometimes I just am in the flow of things and a design just comes out.
3. Could you talk about how you came into weaving and the importance of passing the practice to others? Has teaching others inspired you to experiment with your own practice?
I came into weaving on a trip to India. I was inspired by a man weaving on a giant loom and he looked so peaceful and the piece he was working on was so beautiful. I decided I needed to try that when I got home. I was living in Hawaii at the time and there were so many wonderful things to incorporate in the weavings. Self taught, people started to ask me how to weave and I so enjoy sharing this time honored craft. I definitely push myself and try to learn more so I can answer all weaving questions. I really find the joy in seeing the amazing pieces participants come up with.
4. The tactile shapes incorporated in your pieces invoke waves, skylines, and landscape elements. Do you find that you plan out a piece inspired by your surroundings or do you find the environment influencing your process as you continue to work a piece?
I am inspired by my beautiful surroundings and if I don't find something nearby, I will drive to a new space like the beach, museums or art shows. Sometimes just a drive along the coast we get my creative juices flowing.
Thank you, Trudy for sharing a peak into your weaving practice with us. We look forward to gathering in the Santa Monica Mountains (at a safe distance) and weaving with you!
Take a peak at all of our artisanal and meditative workshops below.
Watercolor or Relaxation
Natural Dye Group
Round Weavings with Natural Fibers- small group in-person
What types of creative practice most inspires you?
DIY Abstract Interior Painting - inspired by Leah Bartholomew
I have heard from many of you that you are looking for a creative outlet at this time to share with your kids! Perhaps, after being at home over the past few months, you have even tackled some home projects and have the desire to refresh your walls. I personally love a project that is created with my own two hands- along with one that sparks a memory for all of those involved.
What better way to tap into your creativity than with an abstract painting project- that can even be accomplished with kids?!
This project is one part color mixing and the other part observational drawing-both of which can be incredibly satisfying and fun! As you may know, I love to paint, especially abstracts! I often get the urge to paint more freely and in a meditative way. Color and abstraction really lend themselves to meditation. I recently came across Australian artist, Leah Bartholomew's work and I really fell in love with her style. I am a big fan of color, especially blues and pastels, so I got really excited. Here is a picture of one of her rooms below. One thing that you will love about this project is that you can do it alone, in tandem with your kids at home.
Abstract Painting Materials
You will want to gather some supplies for your abstract painting. First off, I would like to say that you do not need all of these supplies although paints, paper and glue are essential. I was actually able to clean out my collage paper drawer which consists of wallpapers and construction paper and I was able to re-use in that way.
Studio Time • Process •
Here is where I will summarize, what the process looks like for me.
Here are some results from my students!
Later, I added in a pear and an apple! I felt that fruits were easier for my students to draw than flowers. We used tracing paper to draw on, so that background would show through. I added a bit of Modge Podge on top to seal each one. If I were doing the project on my own, I would sketch in botanical illustrations in pencil.
You could also experiment with size. Instead of ordering a set of 3 canvas panels, you could do one large canvas like Leah does - I like this 30" x 40" canvas size for interior art. It would even be fun to create a custom painting using interior paint colors in the room!
I have to share one more of Leah Bartholomew's beautiful pieces with you before you go! So bright and summery, no?
HI, I'M HILARY.
This is where I share inspiration for a hand-crafted lifestyle from natural dye methods, textile surface techniques, and the best of contemporary California design. I love dreaming up products for a sustainable art filled home. I offer workshops to inspire you to live your best life by connecting you to your creativity and others. I hope to meet you in person at one of my current craft workshops for creatives like you! Join my tribe to receive your first free video on Shibori folding with me.
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