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.
The artist in me 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 the 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.
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 an artful sustainable 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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