I am just back from my 2nd trip in two weeks…a short two-nighter to the Pacific Northwest. It all started with an air credit on Alaska Air, and where could I go for $120?
I decided to take a one day class at the Pacific Northwest Art Center in Coupeville, WA on Whidbey Island. This was my fourth trek there for a class so I knew the territory well.
I flew out of our regional airport where there are some really gorgeous vineyards and wineries quite close by. One of the things I love about this route is the scenery. One can literally hop along the Cascades all the way to Seattle. Never have I seen Mt. St. Helens so close-up as on the return flight.
The class was a one-day dye workshop with Carol Soderlund. My primary objective was to figure out how I can continue to dye fabric in a drought. While I haven’t done much dyeing as of late because of the drought and how much water it takes to rinse out, I have continued to screen paint onto cloth to layer and add color.
Carol is extremely knowledgable about dyes and colors, mixing etc. I was reminded immediately that I can produce any color, plus neutrals from the basic primaries of red, yellow and blue.
Therefore all the fancy schmancy dye colors that are sold are simply money makers for the companies. There may be an ounce of color in 3 ounces of filler. Of course I knew I had fallen victim to this scheme! My thinking being based on convenience…oh why not just buy the deep purple instead of having to mix it up?
I went downstairs to my wet studio this morning to put away class supplies from the weekend. I decided just to check how many fancy schmancy dye colors I had? It was shocking…I have about 8 jars of primaries and at least 40 x 4 oz jars of lapis and charcoal, rust brown and maroon brown, navy blue and chartreuse, curry, periwinkle, raspberry, avocado, victorian blue and olive green and on and on and of course a BIG jar of deep purple! Besides the fact that all these dyes are minimally 3 years old yet likely even older.
Predictably there was a slight bugaboo in my class dye experience. I had received some very unsettling news the night before I flew to WA. Toss in your average travel stressors and I admit to being distracted in class. So much so that I inadvertently confused the dye recipes and used half the dye that I should have. I used the recipe for 1/4 yard fabric on 1/2 yard fabric.
I also lost the advantage of having the cloth batch for a day or longer as I had flown rather than driven from home. The cloth had to be nuked, rinsed, washed and dried before I left the class.
I was shocked when most of the cloth came out pastel! I am not a pastel person normally but now I own 12 yds of pastel fabric. I was not overjoyed. It was not until the next day that I realized my mistake. Last night I pressed all the cloth and re-sorted. I have intentions of over-dyeing the pastels soon with the correct recipes.
All in all it was a fun class, a good learning experience but tiring after two trips in two weeks. In the past two weeks I have walked through ten airports and been on six flights. I am ready to stay home for awhile and get my hands dirty making art again.