September 9, 2010

vegetation dyes used for eco wax batik

Just thought I had better talk a little bit about the vegetation dyes used in eco wax batik.

But before I do, here is a photo for yvette. A wire clothes rack.

In Australia you can find these in opportunity shops, and most big department stores. They are used to drying clothes inside the house in winter.

Oh and thanks for the thought about googling eco batik penny. There is a web called eco batik and so I have changed this name to eco batikT. Just incase.

Vegetation dyes and eco wax batik.

This is very slow cloth, and your patience will be tested with eco wax batik.

OK, firstly, the solar dye techniques used for eco wax batik are similar to that shown in the book Eco Colour by India Flint. It is in this book that you will find a full description of solar dye techniques that do not use chemicals and I highly recommend this book to you . THis book also discusses fabrics and how silk, cotton, and linen take in the dye at different rates, and the different mordants you can use.

There is a slight variation in the dye technique, in that instead of a glass jar for dyeing, it is best to use a wide open pan that can be gently heated either in the sun or on the stove every now and again to keep it slowly steeping.

The wide open pan is important because if you scrunch your batik up too much you will end up with breaks in the wax and this in turn will make your design look marbled. Although, it can look very effective marbled, depending on the outcome that you want.

Anyway, back to the dye.

Wax has a fairly low melting point. And so you cannot boil up your dye once you place your batik into the dye. There are two ways to get your colour in luke warm water. And its probably wise to start doing some experimenting now with the dyes that may be useful in your locality. Because the plants that I use here are not going to be plentiful in your region.

The dye techniques are dependent on the seasons and vary from summer to winter.
  • SUMMER. The first technique is to place a large open pan of vegetation out in the warmest sunniest location you can find for about a week. Place a small sample of silk, cotton, or linen in this container to monitor the colour change. Once your sample is looking a deep colour tone, then its time to place your batik into this pot. You then leave it until it drinks up enough colour. Remember that the fabric always looks darker when it is wet.

  • WINTER. You need to pick your vegetation, soak it, place a pan of vegetation on the stove and heat it to release the colour. Place some small samples of fabric into the pan. If the colour and tone is acceptable then you can place your batik into the warm water, and then just leave it in a warm place for a few days. Or just keep warming the pan slightly every now and again. (don't forget the pan or you will end up with a bubbling pot of dye with wax floating on the top and all you batik will be lost, this happened to me the other day)

Most of you are probably already doing vegetation dye, and understand the differences between silk, cotton, wool, and linen. But if you do not understand this, then you probably need to start doing a few experimental pans of vegetation dye with a small sample of silk, cotton, linen, and wool in it. This will help you understand the dye intakes of the fabrics.

Here is part of my collection of recycled fabrics. All of my cotton and linen is from second hand shops. I like to use reclaimed or recycled fabrics if I can, however I do but some new silk from time to time. Silk is hard to find in the second hand shops here.

Hopefully you have a collection of reclaimed fabrics to try in your batik adventure.

In the next post we will start to get into the waxing.


Deb G said...

Your process is similar to what I've been doing so far (just got Eco Colour last Saturday). This is also how I did my one sample I've tried. The only thing I've done in a glass jar has been the marigolds. Silk is hard to find around here too. Makes me sad since it takes color so well.

kaite said...

all good so far T.

yvette said...

hihi, I should have known..wire clothes rack.

It's so interesting Teresa!

T said...

hey its always good to get a bit of feedback here.

yeh deb, most of what I do with this eco wax batik is pretty straight forward. And you are right the vegi dyes do take to silk better than cotton. Always good to remember that you are after mid to dark colour for most batik work to give the contrast and definition to the work.

thanks kaite

thanks yvette


Penny Berens said...

I'm hoping my copy of India's book arrives this month..I ordered it months ago!

T said...

hope it arrives soon too penny, I have had my book for two years now, and refer to it often.


Julia Moore said...

This post was very (underlined) helpful in regards to how to dye pre waxed fabric pieces without melting the wax. Regarding finding silk in second hand store--look in the men's shirt, and ladies skirt and blouse sections. I have bought old silk clothes and cut them up for reuse. Thank you for putting up this wonderful, adventureous blog!

ant [anna in tampa] said...

Now where do I find a wire clothes rack here in Tampa [aka Podunk when i t ocmes to finding stuff-sigh] I have a wooden clothes rack I use for hanging my dyed yarns and other dyed things on to dry - will that work? If I'm doing masking work with wax, I always work flat as in on a table...

T said...

Thanks so much for your wonderful feedback Julia, it is so nice to have some appreciation coming in from out there.

the wire clothes rack is good because it is used to peg the fabric tight across the top. The wooden clothe rack cold be used if you can find pegs to hold your fabric taught. Working on a table the wax tends to puddle and spread rather than let the excess wax drip through the fabric. However, working on a table is fine.


dorie said...

thanks Teresa for so much information. Btw like your new pieces of treebatik showed in the flickrbar

T said...

thanks dorie