The group was given 4-5 pieces of calico each and then asked to make our way into the dye lab. Steve demonstrated the Procyon Dye process, giving us all a health and safety lesson along the way. The dye baths were heated up to specific temperatures and 4 colours were added to the baths; Brilliant Emerald Green, Direct Bright Lemon Yellow, Indigo Navy Blue and Raspberry Pink.

1/2 tsp/2.5ml of Procyon Dye + Handful of Salt + 3 second squirt of Acetic Acid (Distilled White Vinegar) were added to hot water within the sinks, creating the 4 coloured dye baths. Individual pieces of signed calico were submerged within each different dye bath.


For best results, cloth should be submerged within dye bath for approximately 30-60 minutes, this allows the dye to bind to the fabric at a molecular level.


When the colours were initially chosen, I was adverse to Pink. For some reason I really detest the colour, maybe due to to it’s feminine context or simply put, I have no affinity towards it. My favourite colour is Blue, but the dye lacks any strength, vibrancy or depth, in fact it is my least favourite of the resulting 4 samples.

After lunch I was given a basic demo in the Sbibori. I decided to purchase my own resist equipment from Staples, and this included elastic bands, string, clamps, lollipop sticks and wooden spatulas. Because I know it has the most incredible/endless creative possibilities, I decided to step up and share my equipment with the group.

The initial results, minus my recently acquired resist equipment, results were extremely poor. The one lesson I could take from this exercise pointed towards a correlation between the strength/weakness of the dye and the potency of the final result; concentration of dye to water could play a huge factor in achieving the desired saturation. The insipid nature of these 4 samples did not stimulate much creativity to progress any further with these dyes.

Luckily, Steve concocted a dye experiment within the dye lab. This experiment was created to test our denominating skills; which dye bath would be associated to a specific fabric? Four fabrics (silk, calico, polyester and an unknown) were cut up, and I had the job to match each to the suitable dye bath. Immediately I knew that silk fabric required a warm, but not hot dye bath solution, the others were a little trickier. However, from the previous experiment, I remembered that the pink dye bath had proven extremely successful in dyeing the calico, so another conundrum had been solved. It was a trial and test for the last 2 fabric/dye bath matches. I thought it prudent to just drop a few samples of each fabric in these two remaining baths. Below are the results.

Note to self, ask TD far more questions over the purpose of the experiment and how it relates to future exploration. The day finished in limbo.

Author: vmhtdesign

First Year Student @ Cardiff Met University, Lllandaff. BA Textile Design.

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