Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Book Spotlight: Natural Dyes

Natural Dyes by Domique Cardon
Natural Dyes by Dominique Cardon is the definitive book on the subject of natural dyes and their use.

The hardback book includes 778 pages with 560 illustrations, covering the world wide sources and dyeing traditions, along with details of dyeing technology and the science which lies behind colouring with naturally occurring materials.

The chapters cover history, including the history of Japanese dyeing, and the discovery of successful mordanting with the five core mordants in use today. They then proceed into each of the main colour classes and the related families of dyestuffs of reds, yellows, indigotins and tannins, then on to lichen and fungi and finally the molluscs and scale insects.

Priced at £95.00 the book would be a considered purchase, although the depth of study makes this fascinating and informative title unequalled - it is a must for the libraries of dyers, scientists, designers, artists, weavers, spinners, curators, conservators and restorers, museums and research institutions. In fact all those who have a professional or personal interest in, or passion for, colour. 
If you would like to buy this book, please visit the Book Shop on our website, there is free p&p on this item.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Screen Printing with Selectasine

The Selectasine screen printing products offer an economical alternative to ready-mixed screen printing inks and are used by schools, colleges, professional screen printers, and textile artists.
Binders and pigments for making printing ink
The screen printing system comprises a large selection of binders which can be mixed with the range of concentrated colour pigments, which also include luminous colours.  The pigment is added to the binder at a rate of 35g to 100g (depending on the intensity of colour required), and the mixed ink can be used for both block printing and screen printing onto paper and fabric. 

The ink is made permanent on fabric by allowing it to dry before ironing it on the reverse with a hot iron (find out more about fixing the ink from the George Weil Fact File.) 

We sell the pigments in 50g, 100g and 500g bottles and the Selectasine Solvent-free Binder SF20 in 1 litre, 5 litre, 20kg and 45kg quantities. 

A screen printing frame and squeegee
The Selectasine screen printing system is not just limited to producing standard screen printing ink.  There is an opaque white and an opaque binder which will cover most dark colours, a metallic binder and fine metallic powders for creating gold or silver screen ink, a special pearlised binder for making pearlescent colours, and a puff binder which expands when heat is applied.  

The choice of binders and pigments provides great scope for experimentation, and as the binders are all acrylic based they can be intermixed to create differing effects.  To ensure your projects get underway without any problems we recommend measuring of quantities prior to mixing, note keeping and swatch testing.  These will be invaluable once you have achieved a successful print.

You can find out more about Screen Printing and the Selectasine Screen Printing system from the Fact File or you can browse our range of Screen Printing supplies (these links will open in a separate window and take you to the George Weil website).

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Space Dyeing in the Microwave with Acid Dyes

Here we include a recipe for space dyeing yarns, fibres or fabrics. The randomness of this microwave method is so satisfying - there's no need to fret about precise colour measuring and each attempt will give you varying results.

The recipe is for dyeing white or pale coloured protein fibres such as wool, silk, cashmere and soy bean.  Our photo (top right) shows a random dyed silk yarn on a hand spindle.  Susan Litton first dyed the silk fibres using the method below before spinning the fibre into the variegated yarn.

You will need at least 2 colours of Acid Dye and white (distilled) vinegar.
  1. Mix 2 teaspoons of vinegar to 1 litre of tap water and soak your material thoroughly.
  2. Line a microwave dish with sufficient cling film to be able to close over the top.
  3. Squeeze out and spread the material randomly across the dish.
  4. Lightly sprinkle the acid dye powder onto the surface of the material. The more powder you add, the denser the result of the colour. Add a second and a third colour if desired.
  5. Dampen with a small amount of hot water and work the Acid dye powder into the fibres.
  6. Fold the cling film over the dish, ensuring it is airtight, and place in the microwave
  7. Heat on high until the parcel 'inflates' and then reduce the heat to 'defrost'.
  8. Cook until the parcel begins to billow up again, turn off and leave to cool. 
  9. Take care when you take the parcel out of the microwave as hot steam may still be trapped in the cling film.
  10. Rinse the material in warm water until the water runs clear, and hang out to dry. 

Vibrantly coloured space dyed Silk Tops

Friday, 2 September 2011

Felt Artist Sarah Brooker

What with our current special offer on Merino wool tops, we could not help remembering the work of artist Sarah Brooker.

One of Sarah's early works was used on the 1996 cover of the Fibrecrafts catalogue and Sarah continues to produce superb felt 'paintings' such as those featured below.

You can find out more about Sarah from the website run by New Brewery Arts or enjoy more examples of her work featured in our Fact File.