Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Deal

So, here's the deal: Several years ago, I began to dye fabric for sale, choosing to model my work after Ann Johnston's book 'Color by Accident'. That was fun for a season, but then the honeymoon began to wane.

See, the thing about selling fabric to the masses is that, unless there's a sugar daddy involved, making accidents can be kind of expensive. I'd say 20% of my work was truly fabulous, 40% was seriously mediocre and 40% was complete crap that I couldn't even put out for sale. There is overdyeing for the 'C.C.', but believe me...I have plenty of that by now.

I needed to find a way to bring category #1, "Truly Fabulous", into a higher percentage. After much reading, studying of all kinds of fiber artists, etc.... I'd concluded that I should study with Carol Soderlund to learn as much as I can about layering colors and how dyes work together. Buuuuuut...

(Oodles of Complete Crap+No Money Ever) x (Can't-wait-until-June-200?-for-the-class) = Taking a stab at it all on my own.

So, here goes:
set up
Lots of itty-bitty cups containg dyes and 2" squares. See my teenager trying to veer out of the lense? He was my minion for this project. And a fine minion he was, by golly!

I'm waiting....
AND waiting....hate the waiting. Waiting is eeeeeviiilll.

Evil waiting's over and some squares laid out in order:

Then rinsed....

Then stuffed into a ripped up pair of kid tights:
in the nylon

And put through my usual rinse-hotsoak-finalwash:
after final wash

Finally glued to cardstock:
finished project

Now, here's why I (ahem)...I mean...'You' should pay the stupid $ and just take the class with Carol:
-She's already done the math----there was lots of math. And though I love math, my brain was floating in a sludge of numbers by the end.

-Teamwork. This project was a ton of work (according to the 'backache' scale). It took me just as long to cut and glue all the little squares as it did to do the math and get them dyed. In Carol's class, because of teamwork, you accomplish 3 times as much in half the time.

-Mistakes and Safety in Numbers. There are some mistakes on my pages, places where the colors don't grade quite as smoothly as they should. Because I was dyeing such small pieces, dye was measured in tenths of milliliters. One little accidental drop of red could mess up what is suppose to be pale mint. In Carol's class, you're making more fabric per color and there's more room for error.

The good parts:
- I got some of the knowledge I needed right now.
- I tend to be someone that works best with my own systems (kind of a blockhead that way) and have never been a great 'taker of classes'.
- I needed an intense distraction from Christmas. Love the holiday, hate the expectations and the work.

So there you have it. I'll probably do this again now that I've done it once. And as seen in the previous post, I've already begun to apply the knowledge.


gerrie said...

As someone who is totally attracted by little squares of rainbow colored fabric - your post just got my juices flowing this morning. I am in awe that you did all this work and now have this record of your work. I will always be an accidental dyer, but then I don't plan to go into the business.

Emily said...

I am in awe.

Karoda said...

its great to read this update! a friend of mine took Carol's class and I've seen that book...you definitely have a tenacious spirit to attempt this on your own.

Connie said...

Such lovely stuff. But I am still stuck on the teenager thing. N is a teenager? When did that happen?

PaMdora said...

Holy Cow! I was thinking about starting up dying again because I'd like to have more colors available, but this looks like a crazy amount of work!

barbara said...

i can't take carol's class but have been wanting to make my own swatches...and i would if i knew where to start with amounts, formulas, etc.
can you point me in the right direction or elaborate on your system...i LOVE what you have done...

Sarah Ann Smith said...

I've been trying to scratch together the money for Carol's class for nearly 3 years now. I finally sold my Pfaff (sitting in a box since I got the Janome), so I WILL in August at ProChem! Glad to hear your results...and recommendations. I'm more than ever content that I decided not to try this on my own...with the dog, cats, kids, and lack of space and ba-zillion cuplets doing it on my own would be sheer insanity! Great work, and hope it helps.

And I totally agree...the CC and "creative mistakes" are expensive. That's why I want to take the class...I can afford bolts of "oops" on the shelf!

Cheers and thanks,

Thelma said...

Awesome Work!!! I have to start saving my money and take Carol's class. I would love to have all these formulas and pieces. I have just started dyeing and love it. I plan on doing some mathematical formulas of my own. Have you ever read Faber Birren's Creative Color. I am hoping to use some of these formulas for hand dyeing.