Still Dyeing but with Cochineal

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Cochineal dye pot

Ok, so on day two of Art Camp Connie had an extra bonus for us. Yes, there was a Cochineal bath (as well as an Osage Orange dye bath but that is later). Now, if one of your favorite books is A Perfect Red, and hence you are madly in love with the word Cochineal let alone the dye, can you imagine my excitement to actually get to dye with it? Such a deep lovely color in the dye pot. I could stand and look in that pot all day. We had a bit of a time getting it going as the hot plates didn’t heat up. But then after trying an iron in the outlet, we discovered that it was dead. Actually, the gals ironing and heating water in electric kettles learned that all the outlets on that side of the room were gone. So we shifted the table to the other side and got it going. The gal working there got the privilege of calling and learning where the breaker box was for that room and how to get us back on that side of the room but that only helped the irons at that point. We had hot water and dye going on the other side.

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Cochineal over-dyed with indigo with lines from twine

I don’t remember in what order I decided to dye things. I’m sure I just threw something in because I had to see that color. But to start with I did pleat up a long piece of cotton Connie had given us. I then put a block on it and dropped it in. As we were all wanting to drop something in that tiny kettle we were limited on time so after about 20 minutes it came out. Undid it and hung it up. Drying. UGHHH. Rather a dull pink. Not very interesting at all. Hmmm… I then decided to over-dye it in the indigo. But what to do. I folded all my pleats back in and looked at it. Knew I needed to keep with them. Then decided to tie it onto a pole. It fit just around the big one. I then tied it on in sections with no scrunching. In it went to the indigo bath. Out it came. Drying again. OOOH! I liked it so much better. So you see, a good dye can cover a multitude of sins.

I like what a classmate said of this piece. It made her think of a roll of film and the fading images. Fading memories.

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left: folded and rolled, right: folded and flag folded

I did drop my two silk pieces in the cochineal. I folded one up into a small packet of flag folds and a block. It came out mostly white with red about the edges of the folds. Not a winner but not too awful. The other – well I don’t remember what I did with it. I can tell I folded it in fourths the long way and short way. But I don’t remember what I did for the design element beyond that. Ohhh… Maybe something is surfacing from those fading memories. I think maybe this is a piece I just rolled up then tied twine around it and just dropped it in. Nothing fancy. Boy, now that I look at it more, I am being amazed at it. I didn’t have much time there to marvel at it as it was the end of the day these were unwrapped but now. I may have to try that again.

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Three different cloths with different shades

But no we are not done there. One thing I found interesting though not over exciting was with three pieces that just went in the pot as is. One was cotton and came out fairly light in color. One was silk noil and boy does it show what a wonder cochineal was to the world when brought back to Europe. And one was in between. Now I don’t believe all these were in the pot for the same amount of time though it wasn’t too far off. But look at the different shades of pink and red. One could really have a time of exploring every shade out of that pot. Then go and drop some acid in and totally change it and keep on going.

So what more did I do? I did drop in one small skein of yarn I had brought. Wool it was. I didn’t get a great picture of it to show the shade well but I do like the little thing and it will be added to my zoom loom project.

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The twine used to dip it is still attached

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Categories: dyeing, Fiber Arts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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