Dying Process

The goal is to weave a vest out of recycled materials. I obtained five brand new cotton/spandex turtlenecks from Goodwill. They were each  mordanted in alum. I created two main dye baths with yellow & red onion skins and fresh & powdered turmeric. The turmeric bath included a bit of washing soda to bring out the yellow. Dividing the two main baths into several other pots I  created various shades and totally new colors by using different measurements of iron and myrobalan. I also experimented with painting the onions skins on the turmeric dyed fabric and and vice versus as well as double dipping into all the dye baths. Simply reordering the dye baths when I was dip dying produced different results. Next I washed all the shirts in synthropol and cut them into tiny strips with the grain.

The result was seven different colors of varying shades of blue,purple, yellow and pink. I will test out different colorways with warp and possibly make some accessories along with a vest.


Red & yellow onion skins

Fresh & powdered turmeric



Washing soda



One response to “Dying Process

  1. Mary-
    Great process photographs. I also like the writing and how you state your intention, include a detailed description of the natural dyeing and then describe the result. I think thats a nice way to organize your writing: Intent, Process and Outcome. It’s good to see the Ingredients listed…it really gives transparency to the making of your work.

    Consider partially retaining the original garment that you deconstruct and re-make into a vest. Think about weaving into something rather than completely disassembling and then re-making. I think it may be interesting (both formally and conceptually), to link the new garment to the context and meaning of the old one. Maybe you should do some studies using different garments made from textiles of different fiber content and construction. They may preform very differently even though they are re-woven in the same way.


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