Search This Blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Natural Dyeing

Before 1850, colour on every cloth was created with natural dye. I was looking at the British Designer, William Morris, for a rug I am going to do, and I found that he became an expert in natural dyeing.

Finding a store at Granville Island in Vancouver, my daughter, Liv, kindly obtained some natural dyes. Then she told me it was a mother's day gift. How lucky was I? I have an Indigo kit, natural dye kit, alum, marigold, pomegranate, henna, and brazilwood. The natural dye kit has osage, madder, logwood, natural cochineal, cutch, and tannin. They were obtained at MAIWA Supply, 1 604 669 3939 and at Recipes can be found on the Maiwa website.

The soft, muted shades of old hooked rugs are part of their charm, and many produce warm earthy tones. While synthetic dyes over the last 100 years have taken over natural dyes, now there is a renewed interest in the environmental sustainability of natural dyes.

Direct natural sunlight for drying naturally dyed material is recommended, and only natural fibers can be dyed using natural dyes. Mordants, those metallic salts that make the colour penetrate the wool fibers, can also be purchased through MAIWA.

I will bring the dyes to the Watrous weekend to show those who may be interested. No pictures yet, but when I do some dyeing, I'll post them.


Book Review

Miriam Miller pioneered the revival of "proggy" and "hooky"* rugs in Australia. She has just released a wonderful book on her work and that of the Narrawilly Proggy Ruggers who meet at her home: Proggy and Hooky Rugs (National Library of Australia, 2008. ISBN 9780646488721).

Featured in contemporary art galleries in Australia, Miriam’s body of work breathes life, joy, and colour galore. There are sections on design, dyeing, finishing, flowers, and even plastic bath mats. Patterns are included. The section I most enjoyed dealt with children’s hooking. It is an uncomplicated book, with fairly easy-to-do projects. I recommend it for beginners.

Both Rita and I have copies of the book, if you would like to borrow one. I will bring mine to the Watrous festivities.

* “Proggy” is proddy; “Hooky” is hooking.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Colour Planning

One of the most challenging parts of hooking is colour planning your rug. A colour wheel is a helpful tool, and the one at is amazing.

This web site instantly allows you to see a whole range of colour schemes by first choosing a scheme (click on mono, complement, triad, etc.) and then clicking on the colour on the wheel that you would like to include as your primary colour.

So, for example, if you want to see a complementary colour scheme that contains red/orange two clicks will produce the scheme. What an interesting way to study colour!